The Divine Eye
The Divine Eye (Thiên Nhãn / 天眼) is the single common characteristic of every Cao Đài/ God's Altar.
The Divine Eye became the main worshipping symbol of the Cao Đài Religion after His Holiness Ngô Văn Chiêu, the first Cao Đài Disciple, was granted a vision at Phú Quốc (a small island in the Gulf of Siam) in 1921. A Divine message (25 February 1926) proclaimed:
“The Eye is the manifestation of the heart:
Two sources of light (Yin and Yang) are the Master;
Light is the spirit;
The spirit is God;
God is Myself.”
"Nhãn thị chủ tâm,
Lưỡng quang chủ tể,
Quang thị Thần,
Thần thị Thiên,
Thiên giả Ngã giã."
The Divine Eye is a feature of the facade of the Great Divine Temple, of the windows along the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 and upon the Universal Globe of the altar. The Divine Eye is represented above the home altars of Cao Đàists. In spirit and in pictorial representation, it serves to remind Cao Đài believers that the Supreme Being witnesses everything, everywhere, constantly. At the local Cao Đài Temples, the Divine Eye has 16 rays of light emanating from it. Nine radiate upward representing the nine levels of heaven, and seven radiating downward representing the seven emotions, which believers must control.
The mystic and universal symbolism of the Divine Eye extends throughout the religious history of the world. For the ancient Egyptians there was the eye of Horus; for the Hindus the third eye of Siva (Shiva); and for the Norse the single eye of Odin. All of these symbolised omniscient and divine attributes. As the Encyclopedia of Religions (ed; Micea Eliade) explains, "The Indo-European world attached the same value to the eye as to the sun and to the gods, that is, the quality of being able to see everything." (vol 5 page 237) The Buddha is said to have received inner enlightenment through the celestial eye and this "permitted him to see the life of all beings simultaneously and gave him knowledge of the chain of the fundamental forces of existence."
Continue to "The Universal Globe"