Bibliography & References
Outline of the Canonical Chapters:
Chapter I - Hierarchy of Religious Dignitaries
Chapter II - On Believers
Chapter III - Establishment of A Parish
Chapter IV - The Five Prohibitions
Chapter V - The Four Great Commandments
Chapter VI - On Education
Chapter VII - Sanctions
Chapter VIII - On the Promulgation of the Law and Regulations
The House of Meditation
Outline of the Constitutional Sections and Clauses:
Part One. Powers of Cuu Trung Dai
Part Two. Religious Vestments - Ceremonial Dress of Dignitaries in the College of Men of the Cuu Trung Đai
Part Three. Dignitaries of The College of Women
Part Four. Law for the Election of Dignitaries of the Cuu-Trung-Đai
Part Five. Powers of the Hiep-Thien-Đai
Part Six. Religious Vestments: Ceremonial Dress of Dignitaries of the Hiep-Thien-Đai
The principal aim of the Cao Đài Religion is to syncretize the teachings of the three main Religions. For this reason, in establishing the Codes for the Faith, the Sacerdotal Council intentionally adopted their key rules and laws, while also adjusting these to be in line with human evolution. According to the Collection of Divine Messages, the Codes were reviewed and approved by the Divine Beings, especially the Spiritual Pope Li Tai Pei and the Supreme Being.
The following sermon demonstrates how Divine and integral the Codes are to the religious organization:
“The Sacerdotal Council convenes to draft the Canonical Codes like the way the Lords of the Twelve Heavens devise Divine laws. The twelve Lords submit the laws to Me; so will the Sacerdotal Council. The New Canonical Codes and Divine Laws shall have the same value. If the Hộ Pháp violates any of the Codes, He shall be summoned to the Tribunal of the Cửu Trùng Đài (the Nine-Divine-Plane Body). His Divine title shall have no bearing; He shall be considered a regular disciple. Likewise, if the Pope violates any of them, He shall be summoned to the Tribunal of the Hiệp Thiên Đài (the Divine Alliance Body) in the same way with other disciples.” (His Holiness Hộ Pháp, Holy See, 1928)
The Consitution consists of fundamental principles upon which the Cao Đài Religion is organized and governed. It states clearly the duties and rights of each dignitary and disciple in the religious organization, including administration, propagation, legislation, and judiciary. Despite the large dedication to establishing order in the central organization, it governs matters in both Spiritual and Temporal regards thanks to the roles of the sub-dignitaries. Sovereignty is distributed on a federal basis because each state has the right to adjust certain laws in case they are not in line with local customs. However, critical decisions still have to be made at the unitary and central levels, because of the principle of unity. Equal standing is stipulated for the female college in comparison to the male, but each is to function separately without any infringement upon each other’s authority. Detailed commentaries accompany each clause in the Constitution to add clarity, comprehensibility, and granularity. In addition, there is an entire section dedicated to religious vestments for each role with very vivid and detailed descriptions.
According to religious scriptures, the core clauses in Constitution were stipulated by the Supreme Being Himself after the inauguration ceremony in 1926. Under instruction by the Divine, His Holiness Hộ Pháp added detailed commentaries and explanation to each clause, which were then reviewed and revised by the Divine Beings, especially His Holiness Li Tai Pe. Like the Faith itself, the Constitutional clauses were devised on the core principles of Love and Justice.