The mystery of Creation presents us with two enigmas: the attempt to know the Visible and the attempt to penetrate the secret of the Invisible. It is possible to know the Visible, but to penetrate the secret of the Invisible is not easy. The Visible is separated from the Invisible by a mysterious veil which, since the creation of the universe, has not been completely lifted even by initiates who have been raised to the stage of wisdom.
Humanity alone holds in its hands a key to this: it lies in the observation of the harmony of the manifestations of these two enigmas, or more simply these two aspects, to become aware of the union of the Visible and the Invisible.
In the existence of creatures, according to the mechanism of the Creator, Essence and Matter must be mingled into a “Oneness”. Heaven and Earth have their principles, Yin and Yang, beings have their physical reality and their intelligence, human beings have their bodies and souls. The vitality of created beings in the Universe is always brought forth by the union of matter and spirit.
The souls of minerals and vegetables, of animals and men, of Genies and of Saints, of Archangels and Buddhas are different because of the individual degree of evolutions; thus the exterior physical form of one does not look like another. Minerals are different from vegetables, vegetables from animals, animals from humans, humans from Genies, Genies from Saints, Saints from Angels and Archangels, Angels and Archangels from Buddhas, Buddhas from God. To summarise, the difference between the Temporal and Spiritual is clearly defined. Matter depends of the essence which gives it its exterior form. The undeniable proof of this is that human beings differ from each other in their physical appearance. Evil people are unattractive on the outside, while those who are virtuous attract us by their gentleness; in this way people in the past came to know others through their cast of feature.
The body, then, must be in harmony with the soul, like Matter with Being. Matter is visible and Being is invisible; to form the union, the two must be in harmony, for the Visible implies the Invisible and vice versa.
Thus the Temple of the Nine Degrees of Evolution (Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺) makes up the Body for which the Temple of the Divine Alliance (Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺) is the soul. It has already been said that the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 is the temporal part of the New Religion, while the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 is the spiritual part, that is, the Spirit. Now Matter can be defined, but Being cannot. In the Way of perfecting of Wisdom, while many evolved divine beings wish to be reincarnated into poor families, other lower divine beings can reach a high level, thanks to the knowledge and application of the Holy Teaching. In this way the Spiritual is limitless just as the New Religion is limitless. This is the foundation for the mystic side of Caodaism.
Disciples will know that our Divine Master has not defined fully the duties which are incumbent on the dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 and this causes some lack of understanding in the hierarchy of the ones chosen by God, on the part of the adepts. This is the desired effect, since Our Divine Master makes it clear in this way that all members of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 are their own responsibility and must become worthy of the grade of office attributed to each one. The Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 represents the Temporal, the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 the Spiritual. The Spiritual must guide the Temporal in order to establish a divine organisation which has been given the purpose of saving humanity. The salient point is that without the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 Caodaism cannot exist. Heaven and Earth may pass away, but the Divine Way will not pass; humanity may be brought to nothing, but the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 will never be.
The dignitaries of the Temple of the Divine Alliance have the spiritual mission of raising the veil of the Invisible and they act as a unifying bond between Humanity and God. They are Mediators who are to create harmony between the Temporal and the Spiritual. This is why Our Divine Master has recommended all the disciples to obey His Will.
Below are His Teachings :
Divine Text : The Temple of the Divine Alliance is the sacred place where God is made manifest to give spiritual direction to the New Religion. As long as Caodaism endures the Temple of the Divine Alliance (Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺) exists.
Commentary : The Divine Master is the Unique Creator, the Supreme Head of the Universe and Master of the Invisible. Since He is Master of the Invisible, He is Master of the Esoteric Power. Thus where the Supreme Master is found, the Holy Doctrine is found.
The Temple of the Divine Alliance is the dwelling of our Master and it holds the Spiritual Power of the New Religion. As long as the New Religion lasts, the Seat of our Divine Master exists. Otherwise the world would end. Since the New Religion is eternal, the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 must equally be eternal
Divine Text : The five branches of the Great Doctrine are given material form through the believers who are heretical and who day by day move further from the Truth, completely perverting the significance of the Holy Religion. For this reason I made the unshakable resolve to come MySelf and teach My children, not to entrust the teaching of My Holy doctrine any longer to Incarnate beings.
Commentary : This text is clear. Our Divine Master has stated simple the profanation of the Holy doctrine by those very people who were given the task of spreading it. With time, Faith lessens, human passions are born again stronger than ever, the Holy Words are perverted so that it is adapted to material needs. This is the way that the divine Doctrine is gradually changed into human doctrine.
Today the Supreme Master decides to come HimSelf to teach His disciples and no longer wishes to entrust the Holy Mission to human beings.
On this point, if someone says : “The Supreme Master has said that He no longer entrusts to humans the task of guiding His disciples in the Way of God. Why does He Confide it to the dignitaries of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 and of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 who are just as human?” A passage from the discourse of Hộ Pháp / 護法 read at the Holy See on the fourteenth day of the second month of the year Mau-Thin (1928) give an explanation for this observation :
“The Divine Master is coming to encourage all the fore-ordained Missionaries which He sent into this world to form His Holy Image, which is the Body of the Saints. Thanks to this Body of the Saints, which must be the members of the Sacerdotal Council, the Supreme Being is avoiding an incarnation throughout this Third Amnesty (or Alliance). Now the Caodaist Sacerdotal Council consists of two visible sections in this world :
1. The dignitaries of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺: they represent the Material Body of the New Religion;
2. The dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺: they represent the element of this Religion which is part-material, part-spiritual (Perispirit).
Finally the third invisible part made up of the Divine Beings of the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺 (the Council of the Great Spirits which heads the Eight States of Soul of the Manvantara). This group represents the Spiritual or the Soul of the New Religion.
As it says in several passages that have been quoted above, our Master is the Supreme Being, the Omnipotent Creator of the Universe, and He is also by definition Master of the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺. Since He is Head and Master of the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺, He is the Soul of the New Religion. Now the union of the Soul with the Body can occur only through the mediation of the Perispirit (Chơn Thần / 眞魂). The Body must be Holy to have a Holy spirit. Thus the disciples and dignitaries of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 are only able to reach the Virtue of God through the intermediary of the dignitaries of the Hiep-Thien Dai.”
A second observation could be made :
“The Eternal Omnipotent has said that He no longer entrusts His Holy Mission to the Incarnate Ones. Why does He need to found the Temple of the Divine Alliance? Without the Dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺, would He not be able, by His Own Power, to form the New Religion?”
Our answer would be as follows :
“The Eternal is Absolute Master of the Spiritual world. He has given Humanity an intelligence which is adequate to direct the corporal world and to rule over other living beings. To effect the harmonising of the Universe, God and Humanity must be united in perfect agreement: Humanity needs the help of God, but God too must depend on the potentiality of Humanity to bring all His creatures towards the Good and the Beautiful.
Humanity which is placed under the spiritual power of God who determines its destiny according to the Karmic Law, has available only the one freedom and the one power: it must become self-mastering and must maintain itself in the way of Perfection. The plurality of existences has as its clearly defined aim the attainment of supreme Wisdom in the Virtue of God and thus unification with the Omnipotent. This freedom of acting and this power over oneself have been given by the Supreme Being to all His creatures and cannot as a result be suppressed. It would be impossible for Divine Justice which cannot belie Itself to stoop to this. Since Good is rewarded and Evil is punished, all children of God must be allowed the freedom to choose their own Way.
Hell and Paradise are the symbols of Perdition and Eternity. Hell is reserved for cruel souls, just as Paradise is reserved for Good Spirits: this is the way the Divine Law is fixed. Nothing forces us into Hell, just as no one helps us to go up to Paradise. The two Ways open before us: it is up to us to make the choice of making ourselves worthy, or of destroying ourselves. The divine beings can only lend us their clearsighted guidance.
If by his psychic Power and his miraculous Manifestations our Master strengthened the faith of all His creatures, the whole of Humanity would certainly abandon Evil and would do Good. The Divine law would then be one-sided, since our Master would raise all souls to Paradise and would close the gate of Hell. On what base then could Divine Justice be upheld: What would be the use of Karma and of the Law of reincarnations?
What is more our Master and the Divine Spirits have neither body nor words. How can They communicate with the visible World?
The dignitaries of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 and of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 merely form organisations to assist the Supreme Being and the Great Spirits to found the New Religion to guide Humanity in the True Way of God.
The Law of Reincarnation is a divine mechanism which allows souls to expiate their faults and to make progress along the road of Evolution. If Esotericism were suppressed, what would be the foundation to support the Holy Doctrine?
Humanity understands evolved beings, perverse spirits and impure souls which form different degrees of the bodily society. If our Divine Master made use of his miraculous power to assist all souls to make progress in the Way of Salvation, so that they reached the Heavenly City in one reincarnation, what merit would there be for the Spiritual Hierarchy?
As it is already set down that the Temple of the Divine Alliance (Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺) is the Perispirit of Caodaism, the Temple of the Nine Degrees of Evolution (Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺) makes up its Body and the Temple of the Eight States of Soul (Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺) represents its Soul; the union of the Soul and the Body only occurs through the mediation of the Perispirit which is partly temporal and partly spiritual. It acts as a link to unite the Spiritual and the Temporal.
Thus the New Religion receives the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit to spread it through the World.
Divine Text : Humanity must be united with God just as the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 is united with the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺.
Commentary : The Invisible Temple of the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺 is the Soul of the New Religion, placed under the aegis of our Divine Master. It is natural that the Body should be guided by the Soul to that it can be holy. Now as the Soul of the New Religion is formed by the Eternal One, the knowledge of the Holy Doctrine depends not on the Visible World but on the Omnipotence and the Wisdom of God. This is the meaning of the saying of our Divine Master, that he no longer entrusts the teaching of the Holy doctrine to human beings.
Divine text : What is more, the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 is the mystical place where the Pope comes and is placed in spiritual communication with the Thirty-Six Heavens, the Three Thousand Worlds, the Sixty-Seven other Earths and the Lords of Karma so that he can pray for the Salvation of Humanity.
Commentary : This text is already explained in the chapter on the powers of the Pope.
Divine Text : You already know the spiritual powers of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺. I am now speaking to you about the temporal powers of the dignitaries of this Temple.
Commentary : From the spiritual point of view, the dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 act as Mediums between the Pope and the Great Spirits of the Invisible World. They are the unifying links between the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 which is entrusted with the conversion of souls, and the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺 which is concerned with the salvation of souls. The Temple of the Divine Alliance is also the place where all the Spirits of the Universe are united. This is the spiritual mission of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺
As far as temporal powers are concerned, the dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 are entrusted with the maintenance and application of the religious Rules and Laws so that they can watch over the good progress of the adepts in the Way of God, transforming the Cycle of Destruction into the Cycle of Renewal (The Cycles of Creation, Destruction and Conservation have already been explained in the chapter on the Powers of the Dignitaries of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺. The Temples of the Nine Degrees of Evolution has its Religious Tribunal, just as the Great Spirits of the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺 have the Spiritual Tribunal. If someone who is accused finds the verdict pronounced by the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 is unjust, such a person may make appeal to the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺. If he is still not satisfied, he makes a further appeal to the Tribunal which is under the control of the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺 [this is a rare eventually]. As for the formation of the Tribunal of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 or the procedure of appealing to the Spiritual Tribunal, this is the legislative power of the Hộ Pháp / 護法), to assist Humanity to bring to reality the Era of Peace and to escape from the Era of Destruction.
Divine Text : The Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 is placed under the authority of the Hộ Pháp / 護法 (Head of the Legislative Body). He is assisted by the Thượng Sanh /上生 (Head of the Temporal Section) and by the Thượng Phẩm /上品 (Head of the Spiritual Section). The Hộ Pháp / 護法 is concerned with the Laws and with Justice.
Commentary : Just as the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 is placed under the Pope's orders, and the Bát Quái Ðài / 八卦臺 under the Power of God, the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 is placed under the authority of the Hộ Pháp / 護法. From the spiritual point of view, Caodaism has its divine Laws, just as from the temporal point of view, Humanity has its laws and its justice.
Hộ Pháp / 護法 is the one who unveils the Mystery of the Invisible and is the Maintainer of the Rules and laws of the New Religion. He is the one who pronounces judgments on the dignitaries and disciples, elevates the dignity of the fervent through their merit and brings sanctions against those who have committed faults. He is actively involved in assuring that the religious Rules and Laws which have become Divine Laws are carried out in detail, in order to keep the dignitaries and adepts free of the sufferings inflicted by the Lords of Karma.
In so acting, he watches over the positive progress of the disciples in the Way of God, and guides all evolved souls to achieve the Divine Phase of the Great Spirits. He holds control over the Legislative Power both exoterically and esoterically.
The Hộ Pháp / 護法 presides at all session of the Upper Chamber of Judgments.
Divine Text : He has control over four Lords of the Zodiac, namely :
Tiếp Pháp / 接法 (Juridical Legislator)
Khai Pháp / 開法 (Juridical Reformer)
Hiến Pháp / 獻法 (Juridical Renovator)
Bảo Pháp / 保法 (Juridical Conservator)
Tiếp Pháp / 接法 (Juridical Legislator)
Commentary : The Head of the Legislative Body has under his authority four Lords of the Zodiac who support him in his lofty task.
These four dignitaries have the same power as He when they have the duty to represent him to carry out his lofty mission. Each of them as well possesses distinct powers.
The Juridical Legislator (Tiếp Pháp / 接法) is concerned with the aplication of the religious jurisdiction, and receives all complaints and appeals. He may grade the issues as of lesser importance, or refer them to the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 and he does not involve himself in any but significant situations which merit to be examined or judged again. In this case he is to hand over all the records to the Juridical Reformer (Khai Pháp / 開法).
The Khai Pháp / 開法 on receipt of the documents transferred by the Tiếp Pháp / 接法, is to study them in detail. If it concerns matters which will be judged by the Tribunal of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 or which are under appeal, he is first to inform the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 that they must postpone the date of the hearing of the Tribunal for a fortnight, and secondly, advise the Hộ Pháp / 護法 who calls an assembly of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 for this purpose.
The assembly of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 makes the decision, after having heard the Khai Pháp / 開法, whether it is necessary either to make some modification in the penalties awarded by the religious Laws and Rules, or to uphold the verdict to be pronounced. In the latter case, the Khai Pháp / 開法 must hand over in his turn all the documents involved to the Juridical Renovator (Hiến Pháp / 獻法).
The Hiến Pháp / 獻法, after receiving these documents, is to carry out a careful investigation in order to gather all the evidence related to these matters, and to submit it all to the Juridical Conservator (Bảo Pháp / 保法).
The Hiến Pháp / 獻法 is forbidden to communicate either with the Hiến Đạo / 獻 道 (Religious Renovator) or with the Hiến Thế /獻世 (temporal Renovator). All matters once surrendered to the Hiến Pháp / 獻法 become secret, even where the dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺.
In his turn, the Bảo Pháp / 保法 keeps the files which are handed over under seal of secrecy, and after much deliberation, proposes all the penalties and sentences to the Hộ Pháp / 護法 for his judgments.
The Juridical Conservator (Bảo Pháp / 保法) is the Director of the offices of the Hộ Pháp / 護法.
Divine Text : The Hộ Pháp / 護法 is concerned with the conservation and application of the religious Laws and Rules, temporally and spiritually. Every transgression of the law must be brought to the awareness of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺.
Commentary : To sum up, the Hộ Pháp / 護法 is the Sovereign-Protector of Religious Justice both esoterically and exoterically. He is concerned about the conservation of the Holy Doctrine to help Humanity to follow the Way of God. Every transgression of law on the part of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 or of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 must be severely punished.
In order to be able to carry out in a divine way this Lofty Mission the Supreme Being requires the Hộ Pháp / 護法 and his four fellow-workers (Chi Phap) to swear to be impartial during the exercise of their functions.
Thượng Phẩm /上品 is the Representative of the Hộ Pháp / 護法 in the formation of virtuous souls of the Priestly Group / Sacerdotal Council.
All children of God converted to the New Religion have their spiritual dignity. To guide evolved souls to move through the various stages of Perfection to attain supreme Wisdom is the aim of the Amnesty of God.
Thanks to Thượng Phẩm /上品 all lofty souls and those in the process of evolution may make their spiritual ascent in peace and tranquillity. Thượng Phẩm /上品 is the one who keeps them alert to any transgression of the divine law, who watches of their spiritual development, and insists that they submit to priestly discipline.
In a word, the Leader of the Spiritual Realm (Thượng Phẩm /上品) helps the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 to live in an atmosphere of happiness; he reveals the Heavenly Voice to virtuous souls, and guides them to the Divine Phase of the Great Spirits, while closing behind them the Door of regression.
All religious offices depend on Thượng Phẩm /上品 if they are to raised according to the merit of the dignitaries. He considers the priestly laws to take up the defence of all dignitaries and adepts; he prevents all perversion of the Divine Rules, and helps all initiates to attain their aim.
He is simultaneously the President of the Hall of Defence, and Protector of all disciples.
Divine Text : The Thượng Phẩm
/上品 is Leader of the Spiritual Power. Under his command he has four Lords of the Zodiac, namely :
Tiếp Đạo / 接道 (Religious Legislator)
He is concerned with the meditation cells /houses(Tịnh
Thất / 淨室) and the Temples / Churches
(Thánh Thất / 聖室); he supervises all disciples and defends them against abuses by authorities.
Khai Đạo / 開道 (Religious Reformer)
Hiến Đạo / 獻 道 (Religious Renovator)
Bảo Ðạo /保道 (Religious Conservator)
Tiếp Đạo / 接道 (Religious Legislator)
He is concerned with the meditation cells /houses(Tịnh Thất / 淨室) and the Temples / Churches (Thánh Thất / 聖室); he supervises all disciples and defends them against abuses by authorities.
Commentary : All meditation houses/cells depend on the power of the Leader of the Spiritual Realm. He is entrusted with the defence of the adepts against all excessive uses of power. He is the one to allot offices to candidates in the provincial parishes and he apportions work to members of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 having regard to their talents.
The Leader of the Spiritual Realm symbolises the Holy Doctrine (the Dao). Wherever the Heart of the Eternal (the Dao) exists, there Thượng Phẩm /上品 is found.
In terms of his office he is ranked with the Legislative Cardinals, and embodies the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 to the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺. This means that he exercises administrative power in the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺, a body which is essentially legislative.
The four collaborators of Thượng Phẩm /上品 have the same power as he does when they represent him, but they have distinct areas of concern.
The Tiếp Đạo / 接道 (Religious Legislator) receives and examines all protests and claims about justice. If there are cases worth a defence, he passes them on to the Khai Đạo / 開道 (Religious Reformer).
Once in receipt of the documents passed to him by the Tiếp Đạo / 接道, the Khai Đạo / 開道 must study them in every detail. Where there are issues which involve the intervention of the Hall of Defence, the Khai Đạo / 開道 must first ask the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 to delay the decision for a period of no longer than a fortnight, and secondly inform the Hộ Pháp / 護法 who convokes the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 for this purpose.
Before this assembly occurs, the Religious Reformer is to provide detailed explanations about the issues in question, and he is to convey in his turn all the documents to the Hiến Đạo / 獻 道 (Religious Renovator) only with the approval of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺.
In order to carry out his role, the Hiến Đạo / 獻 道 is to try to reach a profound understanding of the issues involved, and he conveys all of this to the Bảo Ðạo /保道 (Religious Conservator).
The Hiến Đạo / 獻 道 is forbidden to communicate with the Hiến Pháp / 獻法 (Juridical Renovator) and the Hiến Thế /獻世 (Temporal Renovator). Once they are placed in the hands of the Hiến Đạo / 獻 道, all matters become secret, even where dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 are concerned.
In his turn the Bảo Ðạo /保道 preserves the same secrecy, and after familiarising himself thoroughly with the contents of the files sent to him, makes a draft of all the required conclusions in order to present them to the Thượng Phẩm /上品 who has the responsibility of defending the issue. The Religious Conservator is the Director of the Offices of the Leader of the Spiritual realm.
The Thượng Phẩm /上品 and his four collaborators must swear an oath of impartiality during the exercise of their functions.
Minerals have their own life just as vegetables do, and animals and birds, and humans. They are all creatures of God which include pure souls (pure souls have existed since the creation of the Universe), souls which are in the process of evolution, or impure souls (souls in the process of evolution or impure souls were formed only after the creation of the Universe) , and vicious or perverse souls (vicious or perverse souls are souls whose life is evil, and which move along the way of Evil involving both pure and impure souls. The law of suffering is for all, even for pure souls after they have been reincarnated, for God forges all great souls in the crucible of suffering).
Pure spirits are Angels of Light incarnate among men who seek of mission of perfection or of Salvation; spirits which are in the process of evolution or are impure are souls which have moved from the stage of vegetal and animal beings to reach the level of humanity. Perverse spirits are pure or impure spirits which become involved in a path of vice and plunge into the state of demons because of their evil actions.
Among all these creatures, the human race occupies the highest rank, and what is more from the temporal point of view humans are the most evolved. In creating the Third Amnesty, the aim of our Divine Master is to lead all souls back to the Way of Salvation, what may be their origin.
Whether it is a matter of pure souls experiencing their purgatory, or of souls in a state of evolution living out their karma, or perverse souls repenting of their evil actions, all these souls must be converted by the Thượng Sanh /上生 in order to be able to cross over the Temporal Stage. He has control of all the laws and rules which relate to the worldly life of all adepts to guide them out of the Abyss of Suffering.
He may present a formal complaint before the religious Tribunal against all those who impede the faithful as they move along the Way of God, and he may ask for sanctions against any office-bearer who gives an example of impiety to [his] co-religionists.
He is the President of the Hall of Accusation, and is responsible for the Public Ministry linked with the Religious Tribunals.
Divine Text : The
Thượng Sanh /上生 is concerned with the temporal life of the New Religion. Under his command he has four Lords of the Zodiac, namely :
Tiếp Thế / 接世 (Temporal Legislator)
Khai Thế / 開世 (Temporal Reformer)
Hiến Thế /獻世 (Temporal Renovator)
Bảo Thế /保世 (Temporal Conservator)
Tiếp Thế / 接世 (Temporal Legislator)
Commentary : Everything which involve the temporal life of the New Religion is part of the concern of the Thượng Sanh /上生. His four collaborators have the same function as he does when they represent him to fulfil their temporal missions.
Separately they have different functions.
The Tiếp Thế / 接世 (Temporal Legislator) receives all suggestions about temporal rules, and all complaints against the dignitaries of the Priesthood. Whatever the rank of those accused, he is to convey these complaints to the Khai Thế / 開世 (Temporal Reformer).
The Khai Thế / 開世 tries to discover the cause of all these complaints, and if the charges brought have a significant base, first he is to notify the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 of the importance of the affairs, and secondly he is to inform the Hộ Pháp / 護法 who convokes the assembly of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 in order to decide what course to follow. The approval of this assembly must precede the transmission by the Khai Thế / 開世 of all the documents to the Hiến Thế /獻世 (Temporal Renovator).
In his turn, the Hiến Thế /獻世 opens a serious inquiry to see all the witnesses and proofs involved with the accusations which have been initiated, and directs the whole matter to the Bảo Thế /保世 (Temporal Conservator) with a detailed report. The Hiến Thế /獻世 is forbidden to communicate with the Hiến Pháp / 獻法 (Juridical Renovator) or the Hien Dao (Religious Renovator). Once they have been put into the hands of Hiến Thế /獻世, all affairs become secrets, even where dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 are involved.
The Bảo Thế /保世 in his turn keeps all matters under seal of secrecy when they are handed over to him, and he prepares a draft of all the necessary acts of accusation, so that he can submit them to the Leader of the Temporal Realm who has the task of prosecuting the accused, whether before the Religious Tribunal of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺, or before the High Court of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺.
The Bảo Thế /保世 is the Director of the Offices of the Leader of the Temporal Realm.
The Thượng Sanh /上生 is the Symbol of the Temporal Realm, that is to say, of Humanity. Thus wherever the Symbol of Humanity is found, Thượng Sanh /上生 must be there.
He has the right to control the office-bearers in the accomplishment of their duty and he may ask for the dismissal of any who fail to match the loftiness of their apostolic task. In rank he is classed on the same level as the Legislative Cardinals (Chưởng Pháp / 掌法).
The dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 derive from the Legislative Group, but Thượng Sanh /上生 fills an administrative role. Now Thượng Sanh /上生 is the embodiment of the Cửu Trùng Ðài / 九重臺 at the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺.
Thượng Sanh /上生 and his four collaborators of the Temporal Power must take an oath of impartiality during the exercise of their functions.
Aside from the High Dignitaries whose powers are decided by the Supreme Master, there are other members of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 who are under the authority of the Hộ Pháp / 護法, such as the “Bảo Văn Pháp Quân /保文法君” (Conservator of Arts and Literature), the “Bảo Sanh Quân /保生君” (Protector of Public Relief), the “Bảo-Học-Quân” (Protector of Teaching) and other members of the academy whose arrival is expected by Hộ Pháp / 護法.
Divine Text : I advise you to maintain your impartiality in the exercise of your functions. Do not forget that anyone who has great power has a heavy burden of responsibility.
Commentary : This admonition from Our Divine Master is the basis for the Pope Li-Tai-Pe's requirement that all the Dignitaries of the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 should swear an oath of impartiality before the Priesthood during the exercise of the duties. And to indicate the greatness of their power, the Pope gives to each of them a sash of command. Wherever they may be, when they wear this sash to carry out their duties, all dignitaries and adepts must obey them in every detail. The Priesthood alone has the right to decide their degree of guilt if they are at fault.
On reception of legislative power from the Hiệp Thiên Đài / 協天臺 all dignitaries must likewise take an oath of impartiality. The “Bảo Văn Pháp Quân /保文法君” (Conservator of Arts and Literature) must also take an oath of fidelity to the Temple of the Divine Alliance.