The Diêu Trì Festival has come upon us again this time of year. The world hardly knows what this festival is for and why it was held in the first place. Very few understand its real meaning other than a colorful lively celebration. Many may simply and mistakenly attribute it to the traditional mid-autumn festival in East Asia.
The Origin of the Festival
Professor Hartney at the University of Sydney published his seminal work on this in 2019. In this book, he retold the original story of the first banquet held in Saigon in 1925 between the first Cao Đài disciples and the Divine. This very first and simple one became a model for what the festival is today, since it exemplified purification, reverence, faith, and holiness in the presence of those from different realms. In this Holy moment, a Supreme Deity came to bless Her pious children who have devoted themselves to Her mission.
We revealed in a previous post that the Divine Horsemen arrived on this earth in the place of God. They were following Her Divine Will too, because She herself pleaded for His mercy to establish the Third Amnesty and save all their children (His Holiness Ho Phap, 57).
Who is She?
She is not new to mankind on this earth. Evidence from the time of the Shang dynasty (3,500 years ago) showed that Xi Wang Mu or the Queen Mother of the West was already venerated in that period (Hartney, 13). Her early depiction often involved many outrageous details like animal shapes and a bringer of calamity (Irwin 4). Not until the Tang dynasty did Her humanized image emerged in Taoist scriptures. During this time, She was revered as the consort of the Jade Emperor who was associated with good harvest, fertility, and immortality. Her peach banquet of immortality and Her residence at the Nacre Lake on Kunlun mountain have been featured prominently in different scriptures and novels (Irwin, 6). One story has particularly been passed down through generations about Her feast with Emperor Wu of Han where he was blessed with seven peaches and precious teachings.
Who is She really?
Her true Divine image has not been revealed until the advent of Cao Đài. In the teachings of His Holiness Ho Phap, She is described not as a consort nor on Kunlun. Rather, She is the Supreme Mother of the entire visible universe. According to the Divine Mother Sutra below, She governs the energy of life and of Yin, and uses it to give birth to all beings including matters, plants, animals, humans, Divine Beings, and even Holy figures such as Jesus and the Buddha. Through evolution, beings transform from matter all the way to the Holy figures when they are consecrated by the Holy Spirit or by God.
"We have the Divine Mother who holds the power to create our visible bodies. The Supreme Being is the Father of our spirit...; the Divine Mother is the Mother of our form who bestows on us our energy; our earthly parents follow Her dharma to give birth to our physical body. The power to govern our bodies belongs to the Mother... I would like to attest that the Divine Mother has the same nature with our mother on earth, but with more love, care, and protection."
(His Holiness Hộ Pháp - Head of the Divine Alliance Body; 1947)
As mankind remains unaware of Her presence, they can be considered orphans in spirit. Our world, therefore, is an orphaned one.
Why is there so much suffering in this world?
A question has been asked many times by adepts of different faith traditions: if our Divine Father and Mother love us so much, why is there a vast sea of suffering in our world? Why are we facing the End time? God already answered these questions in His Divine Messages. However loving He is, He cannot bend Divine Laws to free us all from the consequences of our own karma. Mankind has been serving devilry for thousands of years, and devilry leads only to destruction. The path to Heaven is narrow and thorny; few ever find it. The road to hell, on the contrary, is wide open for all those who choose its easy way. For this reason, mankind is inflicting suffering and disasters upon ourselves. Our earth has, in some way, been turned into hell. Although our Father and Mother have been trying to save us time after time, we have kept running away from them to run after His enemy. However loving and merciful They are, They cannot blot out our sins and delusions. Now is the last time for us to run into Their embrace before it is too late.
How can we reach our Mother and partake in the festival?
God has said that He can be reached simply by praying with sincerity and faith. She too can be reached in the same way. Cao Đài disciples are very fortunate in that we can be heard by the Mother daily in Her Temples. What She would love Her children to do is love each other as brothers and sisters of the same Mother and Father. She also would love us to support and guide each other in body, mind, and spirit.
For this reason, the Charity Body was formed in the Cao Đài Religion which aims to relieve all suffering in this world, be it physical, mental or spiritual. Only when these pains are alleviated will its mission be fulfilled. Without the blessings from our Divine Mother and Father, such a mission would be impossible simply because this sea of suffering is too immense to drain.
In this special time, we would like to share with you the Divine Mother Sutra so everyone can reach our Mother every day and carry out Her Will to the full.
Questions for Contemplation
How should we treat each other and other lesser beings like animals and plants, knowing that we ourselves evolved from their level and we all have the same Mother?
What can we do to help Her realize Her mission(s)?
How can we re-establish the Charity Body after its demolition by the Vietnamese government and its false religious council?
What are the benefits of sharing this knowledge and wisdom with the wider world?
Hartney, Christopher. Our Divine Mother. Center for Studies in Caodaism, 2019.
Irwin, Lee. The Great Goddesses of China. Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 49, 1990, pp. 53-68.
His Holiness Ho Phap. Collection of Sermons by His Holiness Ho Phap. Center for the Study of the Cao Đài Religion, 2015.
The Divine Mother Sutra. Center for the Study for the Cao Đài Religion, 2021.