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Cao Dai

Cao Dai is a religion founded in 1926 in Tay Ninh, southern Vietnam, by Ngo Van Chieu, a civil servant in the French colonial government. It is a synthesis of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Spiritualism.

Adherents engage in ethical practices such as prayer, veneration of ancestors, nonviolence, and vegetarianism with the goal of obtaining a favorable rebirth or escape from the cycle of birth and death. Saints revered in Cao Dai include Lenin, Louis Pasteur, and Victor Hugo. The Supreme Being is symbolized by an eye within a triangle.

The faith has a hierarchical organization resembling that of the Roman Catholic Church, with a pope, cardinals, bishops, and priests. Ordained women may attain ranks up to cardinal.

Cao Dai currently has an estimated seven to eight million adherents in Vietnam, and an additional 30,000 (primarily ethnic Vietnamese) in the United States, Europe, and Australia.

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