Foreword

Foreword

 

This series of thirty five sermons, delivered by His Holiness Hộ-Pháp Phạm Công Tắc, is entitled “the Divine Path to Eternal Life / Con Đường Thiêng Liêng Hằng Sống”.

 

The Divine Path to Eternal Life explains the path of evolution for the ten thousand beings. It is a path of reincarnation.

 

Throughout the thirty five sermons, His Holiness Hộ-Pháp Phạm Công Tắc guides his audience to travel towards the divine realms and begin to comprehend the mysteries of the subtle soul.

 

Along the way he explains how those intellectual souls who lack of faith in the religions of the world can break free from the prisons of their thinking. It shows how they can seek and understand the profound nature of the invisible and the higher worlds. It shows how we can all better understand The Divine Law.

 

Indeed, these sermons make for an essential guidebook for all souls. Especially those who feel it is time to become interested about life on the other side of that ‘reality’ we think we know. It is a vital text for those who would like to reach to heaven. In the following sermons, His Holiness takes us on a spiritual journey through life and death. This text will inevitably spark the interest of all students of Truth and for all seekers of the Tao.

 

Translators’ Note:

The following translation is a work in progress. We have encountered a range of difficulties in placing highly technical Vietnamese religious terms into appropriately descriptive English terms. And in certain cases we had to translate for sense rather than literal meaning. Nevertheless through continued study of the text and readers feedback we hope to continue improving the following translations of one of Caodaism’s most important texts.  

 

 

Explanatory Introduction by Trần Văn Rạng

 

The book The Divine Path to Eternal Life / Con Đường Thiêng Liêng Hằng Sống  is holy scripture which is equally hard to read and to understand. This is because the sermons that make up this book discuss stories derived from the realm of heaven. Stenographers and auditors, stood by to listen to these sermons, but only a few of them were spiritually awake (satori) to the esoteric depths of the following verbal cultivation. There were also other difficulties which can be divided into three categories; the spiritual level of cultivation, time, and terminology.

 

The spiritual level of cultivation: in the Cao Đài Religion there is a school of five levels, these levels are: The Way of Humanity (Nhơn Đạo), The Way of Geniism (Thần Đạo), The Way of Saints (Thánh Đạo), The Way of Immortals (Tiên Đạo) and The Way of Buddhas (Phật Đạo). The Stenographers and the general audience of believers were only at the level of Geniism (that is, on an earthly plane) ad this made it difficult for them to really hear and comprehend this higher process of cultivation? The dignitaries of the Religion who were present and practicing the Way of Cửu Phẩm Thần Tiên (Those in the Executive Body of the Religion) did not yet understand the profound nature of various terminologies of the higher realm.

 

The stenographers * used their own words to record the ideas of our master. In this way there are occasions when the writer could not see the principals of the speaker clearly because the philosophy being expounded went quite beyond their level of understanding. The book Con Đường Thiêng Liêng Hằng Sống still has not yet been comprehensively checked by His Holiness Hộ  Pháp Phạm Công Tắc, therefore there must remain some uncertainty about the text as we currently have it.

 

Let us consider the period of time over which the sermons have been given. His Holiness Hộ  Pháp Phạm Công Tắc began preaching this cycle of sermons on the night of 13th of the 8th month year of the Mouse (16 September 1948) and continued through to the 27rd April 1949 (Lunar Calendar 30th Day of the 3rd month, year of the Buffalo). If you count it through this is a little more than seven months. This period of time is shorter than an academic year, so how can we speak of the matter of cultivation?

 

Terminology and repetition. Various philosophies and theologies all have their own terms that enable concepts to be well described. If one does not understand these terms completely one can easily misunderstand the terms or confuse one term with another.

 

Moreover, the method of preaching by His Holiness often related to the invisible realm. One example is when he spoke about the Tạo Hóa Thiên (Heaven of Creation [The Seventh Heaven]) which he linked to the Diêu Trì Cung (the Heaven of Creation under the Mother Goddess. A palace at Precious Jewel Lake). The Diêu Trì Cung is a heaven of the Cửu Thiên Huyền N (Buddha Mother) it is the ninth of these heavens.

 

The terms which are often repeated in this book include the Ngọc Hư Cung (which belongs to the Hư Vô Heaven). This is the Heavenly Council of the Eternal Law which controls and keeps the Divine Law. It also controls the progress and movement of the universe. Other terms include the Divine White Jade Palace (The Court of God/The Council of God.), Diêu Trì Cung (the Heaven of Creation under the Mother Goddess. A palace at Precious Jewel Lake), The Bát Quái Đài (the Council of the Great Spirits which head the Eight States of the Soul. It is also the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, or the Eight Trigrams Palace.). At the Ngọc Hư Cung the head is the Nam Tào & Bắc Đẩu (Nam Tào & Bắc Đẩu are the two Immortals who are in charge the registration of the birth and death of human beings on Earth (Nam Tào who is in charge the registration of birth and Bắc Đẩu who is in charge the registration of death.). Indeed the Ngọc Hư Cung and the Linh Tiêu Điện (The Court of God. The palace where the Supreme Being holds meetings with the Heavenly Council) is the palace where the Supreme Being overseas the cosmos. Nam Tào & Bắc Đẩu (accordning to earthly treatises) are only caretakers of this palace. Their residence is the Ngọc Hư Cung but the place where they exercise their dharma is the northern and southern hemispheres. Another example is the Holy Mother her residence is the Diêu Trì Cung, yet the place where She exercises her Dharma is the Heaven of Creation (Tạo Hoá Thiên). If we understand these things clearly then they are deeply fascinating and the book presents no difficulties to us.

 

In the book The Divine Path to Eternal Life there are 30 (out of 35) sermons that deal specifically with the journey to the otherworld. These are divided into two parts; the Earthly World and the Realm of Heaven.     

 

  1. Concerning the earthly world there are only two sermons. They start from the time that the believers walk in the footsteps of the Hiệp Thiên Đài (this literally means the Temple of the Divine Alliance, The Heavenly-Union Palace. It is the Legislative Body of the Religion which has the duty of communicating with the occult/esoteric power to receive divine messages. It also preserves the religious laws and hears the complaints of the discontented in order to symbolize equality in the Religion.) and head towards the Cửu Trùng Đài (this literally means the nine-sphere palace. The Executive Body of Caodaism which takes charge of the administration of the Religion and its missionary activities. It also refers to the Temple of Nine Degrees of Evolution or Nine Spheres Palace.  - , the palace of nine divine planes, or the Palace of nine degrees of evolution. The Palace of nine degrees of the Episcopal Hierachy) and proceed towards the Cung Đạo (The Religious Palace, this palace is called the Cung Thánh [The Holy Palace] in the book) and on to the Bát Quái Đài (the Council of the Great Spirits which head the Eight States of the Soul. It is also the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, or the Eight Trigrams Palace). Here, His Holiness relates the invisible world of the Bát Quái Đài and the realms of the heavens (see sermon number four).
  2. The realm of the heavens or the realm of the eternal life. His Holiness did not explain the heavenly realm according to the nine-cycles of prayer of the Caodaist burrial rituals, instead he only highlighted the vital points for the path of cultivation.

 

The starting point for the journey is the Cung Thế Thiên Hành Hoá  (The Palace for those Divine Beings who missionise the Way at the Command of Heaven. ) and over the Bích Hải  (The sea of suffering, the ocean of human pain) bridge at the realm of the Earthly World and the Realm of the Heavens.

 

The palace of the Hiệp Thiên Hành Hoá is where the worshipping the three Lords of the Earth takes place. These are Ly Thái Bạch / Li Po/Li Tai Pei (Tai Bai Jin Xing; Thái Bạch Kim Tinh), Quan Âm / Kuan Yin (Guan Yin Ru Lai; Quan Âm Như Lai), and Kuan Kung/Guan Gong (Guan Sheng Di Jun; Quan Thánh Đế Quân) (see sermon number eight).

 

The palace of Tạo Hoá Thiên, here His Holiness relates the invisible realm with that of the Diêu Trì Cung and the Ngọc Hư Cung.

 

The palace of Phục Linh (to resuscitate your former lives for your soul to examine them) is only a branch of the palace of Hổn Ngươn. If we reread the Maitreya Sutra we will see the Phục Linh Buddha (The Buddha who holds the Kim Câu or golden and mystical mitre which He uses to manifest each of our former lives and we see them resurrected in front of us. Every time he waves this staff we see another life, eventually we see every life we have been.) reside in the heaven of Thương Thiên  Hổn Ngươn (the ninth heaven). The name of the Buddha at the seventh heaven is not named, but this is the name of its position, for example the Thủ Luân Buddha, Chưởng Hậu Buddha and so on...

 

The palace of Hổn Ngươn is the ninth heaven where there are; Diêu Trì Cung, Ngọc Hư Cung, Linh Tiêu Điện, Bạch Ngọc Kinh (The Divine White Jade Palace). And further along on the right side is Nirvana and Lôi Âm Tự (Temple of Thunder in the Paradise of Extreme Joy)  

 

To avoid complications when desiring your progress on the Divine Path to Eternal Life get used to this Divine Path which is leads to the heavens. Please read the poems which summarise the sermons in a 6-8 syllable verse. After this you can read, one-by-one, the sermons.

 

I wish my co-believers can achieve peace in their hearts so they can enter the Path of Eternal Life.

 

Trần Văn Rạng

(A Disciple of the White Cloud Lodge)        

 

 (* Translators notes – interviews with Stenographers reveal that they were charged with writing verbatim what the Ho Phap spoke and held back from writing the sermons in their own words.)

 

  1.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 16 September 1948
(Lunar Calendar 13th Day of the 8th month, year of the Mouse)

What is the Divine Path to Eternal Life?
There are three methods of creating a Divine Position.

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Tonight Bần Đạo (The Hộ Pháp refers to himself throughout as 'Bần Đạo' or 'poor monk') comes to preach to you, so please sit and try to listen.

 

From tonight I would like to speak to you about the most important of topics. I need to address this issue over several nights in order to explain it comprehensively. Therefore, every fourth night I will come here and talk on this subject. I am doing this to make an essential and precious gift for the children of Đức Cao Đài (God, the Supreme Being)  - a cherished secret for them to keep at hand. With this you may, one day, find out how to attain the Way.

 

Tonight’s topic is: the Divine Path to Eternal Life / Con Đường Thiêng Liêng Hằng Sống.

 

What is this “Divine Path”? If our understanding is based on the true dharma of Đức Cao Đài, the “Divine Path to Eternal Life” is that path reserved for true souls to travel after they have left their physical bodies. By this path they make their way back towards the “Ultimate.” These true souls shall return to their spiritual domain, rising higher, or falling lower as their previous life’s merit dictates. If we wish to understand this path according to the Way of the Buddha, then the Divine Path to Eternal Life is known as the path of reincarnation.

 

This is a very difficult topic to speak about. If all the Children of Đức Cao Đài were to understand this path completely, a massive book would need to be written. Such a tome would comprise several thousand pages!

 

Therefore, Children of the Ultimate Being, you must try to listen. You must come here, pray, and make offerings (i.e. at the Great Divine Temple) then afterwards come and listen to these words. In the future you will not regret that you came. Nor should you complain in the future that I did not let you know in advance of the revelations of Đạo Cao Đài / Cao- Đài Religion. Only in Caodaism can the profoundest and loftiest of all the philosophies be unveiled.

 

(It is by the special grace of Đức Cao Đài, for our religion today, that there are a few young men available who have tried to learn shorthand so that they can write down these words as they are being preached).

 

Remember! These words are not the words of a Phạm Công Tắc, they are the words of the Hộ Pháp (Protector of the Dharma). The Hộ Pháp is speaking on behalf of Đức Cao Đài, so this is a message that the children of God must hear. That is why these words are so very precious.

 

I am extremely fortunate to have been selected by Đức Cao Đài as his Ngự Mã Quân / Ambassador (Translators note - " Ngự Mã Quân " was one official who accompanied the Emperor - it has relevance to Confucian Philosophy). On behalf of Him, I am working to form the True Religion - this Caodaist Religion - the religion that will replace all the religions that have ever been. Because the religions of today are no longer adequate in terms of human thought and consciousness, in other words their paths of progress have been closed off.

 

Do you remember some time ago when the Supreme Being / Đức Chí Tôn ( literally 'the most high' another term for 'Đức Cao Đài') selected Bần Đạo for the position of Hộ Pháp? He taught Bần Đạo how to be a medium and how to develop automatic writing (chấp bút), especially the “chấp bút." With the “chấp bút" Bần Đạo was taught by the Supreme Being how to meditate. This higher meditation was slowly revealed to me (nhập tịnh or mystic meditation , internal alchemy, [Chinese: nei tan]) . This mystical meditation is not easy - a simple mistake or omission can ruin your whole life. To under-practise "nhập tịnh" could leave you sleepy and nodding, to over practise could leave you mentally disturbed. When you practise correctly you need  the Divine Beings on hand to help open your huệ quang khiếu (celestial eye , sky door, crown chakra, pineal eye). When this happens your perispirit can exit its physical domain (xuất hồn). The path upon which your spirit returns home to the Supreme Being - this is the 'Divine Path of Eternal Life'. Bần Đạo's Celestial Eye was opened by the Supreme Being, this allows me to meet with the Supreme Being and learn many secret and essential things from Heaven.

 

Today Bần Đạo is preaching about the Divine Path of Eternal Life, I would like to guide all the souls of the children of God back to Him by the very form of the teaching you are now listening to.   

 

The Path that takes you back to heaven is not an easy path to travel, and your return will not be instant. As we desire to travel home to Đức Cao Đài, we must pass through many temples, many palaces. In each temple we will be confronted by strange things. In each palace we will face a different mystery. Yet we must struggle to understand them and pass beyond them. Only by desiring spiritual evolution can we progress along this Path to the Eternal - and return home to the Supreme Being! There is no happiness equal to this.

 

Even after a lifetime of cultivating the way, there is no guarantee that a soul will return. Over ten thousand years and a thousand lives if a soul never cultivates the Way it can never return. Brothers and Sisters, you must try to remember this. What is cultivation? The Cao-Dai Religion has already explained cultivation to you. Bần Đạo has already spoken of it a great deal. You must uphold the virtues (Lập Đức), do good works (Lập Công) and speak the words of the Great Way (Lập Ngôn).  

 

Now I return to the topic of how we can, by desiring spiritual evolution, progress along the Divine Path to Eternal Life. A little while ago I mentioned that, by the special grace of the Supreme Being, I was granted the favour of an audience with Đức Cao Đài. Before this audience I was able to meet the Divine Beings in the realm of Eternal Life. 

 

From tonight Bần Đạo is not really teaching you, I am only recounting what I have seen, heard and learnt when meeting the Divine Beings in the Spiritual Realm. Telling you this is also a way of allowing the children of the Supreme Being to visualise the spiritual realm in advance. This will save your soul from confusion in the event of your return.

 

As Bần Đạo talks, the Children of God must listen and imagine that you have a guide. Where ever you go the guide will explain the scene to you. For example when a foreigner comes to Vietnam, the visitor is provided with a guide to help explain the scenery.

 

Each soul on this planet, when leaving the physical body, must gather here at this Great Divine Temple, you must go from inside this building in order to reach other realms. Why must you enter this Great Divine Temple and not other temples? This Great Temple is a great examination centre. Just as every year the Government holds the baccalaureat, the location of your soul's elevation has already been decided. You must come here if you want to be qualified or valued.  It is this Great Divine Temple that Đức Cao Đài has made for His children to "lập công", "lập đức," "lập ngôn" and prove worthy of their return.

 

To enter the Great Divine Temple means entering the Hiệp-Thiên Đài (the Temple of the Divine Alliance, The Heavenly-Union Palace) and moving from there to the Cung Đạo / Religious Palace. In order to reach the Cung Đạo you must make your way along the Cửu Trùng Đài (The Temple of Nine Degrees of Evolution, Nine Spheres Palace). At each of the nine levels of the Cửu Trùng Đài your soul will be confronted and tested by the Divine Beings. Also, on each step, one of the Nine Female Buddhas / Cửu Vị Nữ Phật will appear to offer mercy and guide the soul who begs for salvation. If you are not sure, Children of the Supreme Being, read again the prayers from the Đệ Nhứt Cửu Prayer (chanted nine days after death) then read all the prayers until the Đệ Cửu Cửu  Prayer (the last prayer in a cycle of nine prayer days which take place once every nine days), and Tiểu Tường Prayer (said 281 days after death) to Đại Tường  Prayers (said 581 days after death).

 

In the Cao- Đài Religion there are three methods of returning to the Supreme Being, and gaining a position in the spiritual hierarchy.

 

The first method  - is for the soul to manifest inside a physical body that must follow the ranking of the Cửu Thiên Khai Hóa (the Masters, Divine Beings of the nine heavens), - or following the Sacerdotal Council or the Cửu Trùng Đài. This method requires you to use your talents and abilities to contribute to the Religion (and thus to humanity) as a path for attaining the Way. This path leads from a normal believer (Đạo Hữu), to Student -Priest (Lễ Sanh), and from Priest (Giáo Hữu) to Bishop (Giáo Sư) and so on… On this path you must serve from tiểu thừa (novitiate) to trung thừa (intermediate) and then to đại thừa (superior), these categories include practising vegetarianism from six days a month to ten days a month and then full time respectively. One must cultivate the way firstly within oneself, then within the family and the country, and finally for all humanity. When you follow the ranking of Cửu Thiên Khai Hóa your soul must have confidence in it's own spiritual direction so that you can lead others towards their salvation. This is what makes the Cao- Đài Religion different from others. You must save yourself, your family, people outside your family, only then you can save all humanity. One must study in order to understand the Way. When you understand you must teach your family, but not just your family, you must teach the whole of humanity. One studies in order to understand the Way and this is lập đức, to teach the Way to one's family this is lập công, to save the whole of humanity, this is lập ngôn. These three duties must be fulfilled in order for one to return to the Supreme Being along the path of the Cửu Thiên Khai Hóa (the Masters, Divine Beings of the nine heavens)

 

The second method - To gain a ranking in the spiritual hierarchy by following the Thập Nhị Đẳng Cấp Thêng Liêng / Twelve Spiritual Levels means that you must follow the Hội-Thánh Phước-Thiện / Charity Body. Here, besides practising a vegetarian diet, following the religious laws, and also the true teachings of God the Father, one must use virtue to rise to a position.

 

In order to lập đức one must start and serve from Minh Ðức , Tân Dân , Thính Thiện , Hành Thiện , Giáo Thiện , Chí Thiện , Ðạo Nhơn,  Chơn Nhơn , Hiền Nhơn , Thánh Nhơn , Tiên Tử , Phật Tử  (Translators note: there are twelve ranks within the Charity Body).

 

What is lập đức? It is using love in order to save humanity, as God said "love is the key that opens the door of the Jade Palace / Bạch Ngọc Kinh."

 

Souls incarnate through life on this planet over the turbulent waves of the suffering that Buddha spoke of in the Four Noble Truths. In order to escape from suffering one must first endure suffering. By enduring suffering one can triumph over suffering. One who follows the Thập Nhị Ðẳng Cấp Thiêng Liêng /Twelve Spiritual Levels shows others how to endure suffering in order to triumph over suffering. To show people how to endure suffering, firstly we must endure suffering ourself. When you want to endure suffering there is nothing better than by using the virtue of love: therefore the first level of the twelve spiritual levels is Minh Ðức. (“Minh Ðức” is literally “Bright Virtue”).

 

Love enables one to endure suffering, loving your parents means that you must suffer as you serve and protect them in their old age. Loving your children means that you must work hard to take care of them as they grow. Loving the disabled and the destitute means trying to find a way to help them, finding this way also means suffering.

 

To endure suffering allows you to overcome it; but not just for one day, you must do this right to the end. For example you must look after your parents throughout their old age, and your children until they grow up. Yet these two things are easy when compared with the task of helping the whole community. When you look after the whole community suffering never stops, when you are finished taking care of one person, there are always others that you must deal with, this continues until the end of your life. By doing this, one can overcome suffering, and in doing this you will be able to return to the Supreme Being by way of the Thập Nhị Ðẳng Cấp Thiêng Liêng / Twelve Spiritual Levels.

 

The third methodTu Chơn or Tịnh Luyện styles of meditation comprise the third method. Those who have followed the path of Cửu Phẩm Thần Tiên (the nine spiritual levels) or the path of Thập Nhị Ðẳng Cấp Thiêng Liêng / Twelve Spiritual Levels and feel that they have fulfilled lập đức, lập công, lập ngôn, or feel that they have already endured and overcome suffering, and still feel able to progress in their spiritual quest, can enter a meditation centre for the practise of mystical meditation. At the meditation centre adepts will learn the method of: - refine the essence and convert it into energyi (luyện tinh hoá khí / lian jing hua qi), - purify energy  and convert it into spirit (luyện khí hoá thần / lian qi hua shen), - refine the spirit and return it to nothingness (luyện thần hườn hư / lian shen huan xu). – [ translator’s note : then finally  crush the nothingness (fen sui xu kong / luyện hư hườn không) . This is the unity of the three treasures (tinh khí thần hiệp nhất, that is a returning to the void).

 

Now we return back to our discussion of the Divine Path to Eternal Life. When we pass through the Cửu Trùng Đài and enter the Cung Đạo suddenly we look up, we will no longer see the Bát Quái Đài (the Council of the Great Spirits which heads the Eight States of Soul, the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, the Eight Trigrams Palace), but the vast sea, which is so great, it is unimaginable. At this point we begin to walk the Divine Path to Eternal Life.

 

If you follow the path of Cửu Thiên Khai Hóa or the Thập Nhị Ðẳng Cấp Thiêng Liêng you will wait to the end of your life before returning to God the Father and return with both your perispirit and your soul. However today we can travel back to the Supreme Being by the perispirit (chơn thần) for by a special favour of Đức Cao Đài, Bần Đạo has been permitted to travel by this shorter way.

 

We look up to see a vast sea, but in fact this is the sky of the universe, and there in the distance, sometimes visible, sometimes not, you can see a magnificent and beautiful palace. The moment you see it you want to rush toward it. But you realise that you don't know how to move, it is then that you realise that your astral body (Pháp Thân / Dharmakaya) is attracted to this palace by an incredible force. You do not propel yourself yet you come, you move fast as though flying in an aeroplane.

 

When you arrive you see innumerable beings, human beings, coming and going, there are too many to count. The crowd is silent, very ordered and secure. This palace is called the Cung Thánh, that is, the place where souls leave the spiritual realm (to journey back for reincarnation), it is also the place where souls are welcomed back after they have left their physical body.

 

It looks like an airport or a railway station, people are coming and going at an uncountable rate, leaving is sad, coming home is joyful, but the face of each soul, whether they are coming or going, carries the strain of a common worry. Those going down are worried, wondering if they can carry out the duties of the assignment given to them by Đức Cao Đài. Those coming home are also worried because they do not know if they have retained or lost their position in the hierarchy of the spiritual realm. They worry too much, so much worry, everybody is worried.

 

Next time, Bần Đạo will preach on the subjects of the Cung Thánh and the Cung Thừa Thiên Hành Hóa.

Bạch Ngọc Kinh - Jade Palace.

 

Bát Quái Đài - the Council of the Great Spirits which heads the Eight States of Soul, the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, the Eight Trigrams Palace.

 

Bần Đạo -  His Holiness Hộ Pháp Phạm Công Tắc refers to himself throughout as 'Bần Đạo' or 'poor monk'.

 

Chấp bút. - automatic writing -

 

Con Đường Thiêng Liêng Hằng Sống  - the Divine Path to Eternal Life .

 

Cung Đạo  -  Religious Palace.

 

Cửu Trùng Đài - The Temple of Nine Degrees of Evolution, Nine Spheres Palace.

 

Cửu Thiên Khai Hóa - the Masters, Divine Beings of the Nine Heavens.

 

Cửu Vị Nữ Phật - Nine Female Buddhas

 

Đạo Cao Đài  - Cao- Đài Religion.

 

Đức Cao Đài - God, the Supreme Being.

 

Đức Chí Tôn - the Supreme Being.

 

Hiệp-Thiên Đài - the Temple of the Divine Alliance, The Heavenly-Union Palace.

 

Hộ Pháp - is the one who unveils the Mystery of the Invisible and is the Maintainer of the Rules and laws of the New Religion / Cao- Đài 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.

 

Huệ quang khiếu - celestial eye , sky door, crown chakra, pineal eye

 

Lập Công  - doing good works , contribution.

 

Lập Đức  -  upholding the virtues .

 

Lập Ngôn  - speaking the words of the Great Way.

 

Ngự Mã Quân  -  was one official who accompanied the Emperor - it has relevance to Confucian Philosophy , God’s ambassador

 

Nhập tịnh - mystic meditation , internal alchemy, [Chinese: nei tan]

 

Pháp Thân -  Dharmakaya


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 2.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 21 September 1948
(Lunar Calendar 18th Day of the 8th month, year of the Mouse)

The Realm of Thế Thiên Hành Hóa

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The last time we spoke Bần Đạo promised that we should vigorously encourage each other in our progress upon this Path to Eternal Life. Previously, in our journey we arrived at the "Cung Thánh" (or palace of heavenly arrival and departure). Now we have understood generally about the way of human beings on this planet Earth. Today, I will take you, gentle friends, to enter the 'Cung Thừa Thiên Hành Hóa' (or Palace of Divine Beings who missionize the Way at the Command of Heaven). In this place, these Divine Beings assist and measure out the matter of the future. They do this from this earth right through to all the other planets. In this Palace there is not one moment when these Divine Beings are not considering the human spirit at any level of  the universe; from country to country. In this Palace the highest priority is given by the Divine Beings to the planning and creation of schedules that decide who will go and who will return in order to offer salvation to the various worlds. This happens particularly in the Cung Thừa Thiên Hành Hóa. We understand that at no time do the Divine Beings forget to guide our destinies. We must maintain our desire to progress further along this path for now that we are at the 'Cung Hành Hóa ' we come upon a way that is very long, narrow and quiet. There are very few souls who walk this way. This is because for a very long time, and right up to today, becoming an Immortal or a Buddha has been an extremely difficult task. From the time human beings became aware of their existence can we now see how the dharma can help human beings become Immortals or Buddhas? We would like to become Immortals or Buddhas, but how many years must we cultivate the Dao? We question why religions are not able to progress forward faster. We observe how religions help people attain spiritual positions. Yet the Chinese and Japanese deification systems have been unable to help people, rather these systems leave them dissatisfied, and they continue in their cycles of samsara (rebirth). Most people can return to heaven, but it all depends on their karmic results. Not surprisingly, we can see that on this planet there are many people who show animosity towards religions.

 

Bần Đạo has set out these things in order to make this observation; we have to progress on an endless road, people might say that life is easy - but it is hard to keep to the Truth. Away from this chaos, we should consider some other sights.

 

Away from this, the path we take today will be very mysterious, peaceful and beautiful. Upon approaching the path, our body will feel very light, elevated, relaxed... On either side of us, as we walk, we see things of great wonder; they are so extra-ordinary that when you are reminded of the Earthly world its inadequacies make you sad. But here, no other scenery can make you feel such ecstatic calmness. When we think about Immortals we see them. Friends do you know why it is like that? We think that sometimes our dreams are just dreams, that they are not the true story, but here they are, we think and it is real! Walking further we feel extreme joy, complete ecstacy.

 

We are moving towards the place where whole dharma realms can be made by us. Here your desires are mystically requited in unlimited qualities. Here we see the things we are not yet able to achieve, but you can see the faces of the Beings. They are not indifferent to us, rather, they are waiting to welcome us. We can see their faces, full of wisdom, gentleness and spiritual virtue, they have none of the characters of the earthly realms. The beauty of this apotheosis remains mysterious and limitless. Whatever they think beauty is, then so it is. Yet for us they still maintain their external appearance which is easy to look at; as we see that the pictures of the Eight Chinese Immortals (Bát Tiên) barely change over time so it is easy for people to recognise them. Because in that sublime heart of hearts which has given us a way of obtaining nature, we have seen an earthly realm not less than the universe which includes in it everything from the ancient times. I want to say that not only the Beings of this planet earth make friends with us, but also beings from other earths come to befriend us. Those beings who came here from other planets returned from other earthly planets and obtained sublime positions. As I have said, on this the 68th planet, there are many rebels with serious intent, but you will not find many children.

 

I have said while they are talking, over their heads nimbuses fly about in the sky. When they are talking here they can communicate with other realms. As the whole Universe is so mysterious and limitless, we are unable to describe it. This is a position of Thế Thiên Hành Hóa (replacing heaven and teaching the way) which holds the power of creation and there is nothing that they cannot do.

 

Their power comes from the ancient times, they “tiền trảm hậu tấu” [ed - in the past an imperial officer may act if an emergency arises and report to the Emperor later]. Souls return and some of them flatter, but the Divine Beings are looking for souls who have spirit, energy, who strictly follow the rules, but with a mind capable of understanding esoteric mysteries. At the Cung Thế Thiên Hành Hóa where there are all kinds of scenes, we see there a situation that is full of Dharma, and there is no skill lacking in this place. We on this planet, if we want their assistance enough, will see them protecting us and we can survive without diminishing any of its constituent Dharma.

 

Bát Tiên - Eight Immortals. They are:  Li Tie Guai / Lý Thiết Quả, Han Zhong Li / Hớn Chung Li, Lü Dong Bin / Lữ Đồng Tân, Cao Guo Jiu / Tào Quốc Cựu, Han Xiang Zi / Hàn Tương Tử, He Xian Gu / Hà Tiên Cô, Zhang Guo Lao / Trương Quả Lão, and Lan Cai He / Lâm Thể Hoà.

 

Cung Thánh -  palace of heavenly arrival and departure.

 

Cung Thừa Thiên Hành Hóa Palace of Divine Beings who missionize the Way at the Command of Heaven.

 

Dao Đạo (Vietnamese) , 道- Dao , Tao (Chinese) , the Way.

 


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 3.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 10 October 1948
(Lunar Calendar 8th Day of the 9th Month, year of the Mouse)

The Form of the Bát Quái Đài
The Sea of Suffering

Tonight Bần Đạo will continue to speak about the Path to Eternal Life. We have already visited the Cung Thế Thiên Hành Hóa, today we will talk more about it.

 

We continue to see the extraordinary scenery, and the best of it will compose tonight's talk. This talk is directed principally at the Heavenly appointed hierarchy - those who make-up the core of the Holy Body (i.e. sacerdotal council) of the Supreme Being. We walk down this endless path unable to guess at how long we have been travelling. As we go on, (it is quite extraordinary) you go as if you are flying in a plane, you don’t know how, but this is how it is. This journey is wonderful, mysterious. Sitting on a mysterious vehicle of Dharma, you are in fact sitting on the sacred vehicle of the Supreme Being as it takes you towards the clear and brilliantly illuminated palace of Heaven. This palace has eight sides and is called the  Bát Quái Đài. It is so magnificent we are unable to describe it with words because it is endlessly changing and reshaping itself; it has eight doors and looking out of these doors we can see everything (“Vạn-Linh and Vật-Loại” literally the “ten thousand beings” and “all material creation”). All the forms of the beings there can be seen; there are auras dancing around each of their forms. There are eight bridges leading into the eight sides of the Bát Quái Đài. Strangely the bridges are not made by wood but by an eight arched rays of light. Underneath the bridge we see Bích-Hải the waves of an ocean moving with the tides. Along the eight sides you suddenly realise that there are beings coming and going, at the side we arrive at, we see that the largest number of these beings are humans.

 

Interestingly the bridges are so mysterious that only those who are standing there are able to realise they are indeed entering the Bát Quái Đài. When we step upon the bridge, it is moving. It makes you feel weak and you are unable to walk. Your first urge is to go back. Although from your first step upon the bridge you feel weaker, despite this, everyone does keep walking.

 

At the halfway point, if you do not have the correct spiritual credentials or because of bad karma generated from our time on earth you will fall through the bridge and into the Bích-Hải. As we fall our minds pass immediately to how we were imbued with grace as we walked upon the bridge. But when you fall your body becomes black, strange and ugly like the primordial forms of humanity. How pitiful! For we see many who fall, those who lived and practised the Dao (Tao)  with us, those who seemed to live in the arms of Đức Cao Đài / The Supreme Being on earth - they also fall! We are lucky that we have the affinity to sit in our lofty position though we must watch our friends falling into the Bích-Hải. No matter how strong you are you cannot help crying for them. This point is certain - it will never be incorrect - I say for sure that there is nothing that can escape this boundless law of dharma. Dignitaries! We look at each situation on this earth as our lesson, you must follow the Way to cultivate your hearts in order make yourselves more perfect and thus a proper part of the Holy Body (Sacerdotal Council) of the Supreme Being. Do not dream that any single deed of our life on earth could be hidden from the omniscient power of the Supreme Being. 

 

We need to be discerning and intelligent to be able to distinguish the good and bad merits that decide our divine destiny, tell me, what can be hidden from the Divine Law made by the Supreme Being?

 

Bần Đạo has an affinity to see this situation: we are unable to judge the deeds of one person as good or others bad; we cannot know if this person will achieve a position, or if some other will not. Many things we see in this world are totally at odds with the law of the invisible and so we are unable to predict what might happen. I see a friend who is blessed by the Supreme Being, a special blessing for that friend, he has a close relative holding the important position as a Divine Being in the invisible realm - the Seventh Female Buddha / Diêu Trì Cung Thất Nương; I say clearly that this is Vương Quang Kỳ,  uncle of this Buddha. He opened the Dao (Tao / Way) but did not really know what the Dao was. In following the right path of Đức Cao Đài, we should know that it is the duty of Đức Cao Đài (God) to decide his ideals. From all the deeds we have seen of Vương Quang Kỳ, we might say that he is following a perverted form of the religion.

 

Strangely, when Bần Đạo turned back I saw many friends crying out and falling into the Bích-Hải, but Vương Quang Kỳ, carrying the ceremonial dress of a bishop on his shoulder and trailing his bishop's hat in his hand and wearing shorts! He was strolling in a carefree way and laughing to himself, yet he was walking with ease over the bridge and into the Bát Quái Đài.

 

So you know friends although the deeds of some people, in terms of what we see, look contrary to the teachings of God, we should know that if they have placed their full belief in God we are unable to predict what will happen to them. Vương Quang Kỳ had a divine ceremonial dress but he didn't even wear it. He only held it in his hand, but when he entered the Bát Quái Đài no power could stop him. We need to keep this lesson in our hearts, and refrain from being censorious.

 

Now and then we have duty to teach and to lead the members of the holy body of God, and we have the solemn right to find a way to teach this in order to understand the body and soul (visible and invisible) of all the children of God. In conducting these matters, you have no right to be censorious. We are only members of the Holy Body of God. Do not be so full of vanity. Here at the door leading to the divine realm, we are substantial souls and with good affinity we can generate more soul. Thus we have enough spiritual power to lead the children of God to return to the Way that was opened by Him. That is our duty.

 

Obligation, whenever it is truly understood as duty, is the realisation that you never completely own your own actions. It is not our own power, there is no reason to have the right to be proud of the duty you do, it is truer to say that at most you are a divine machine of God the Father. God's direct control is sometimes strong, sometimes weak. We should hold no pride in the fact that we can attain the Way. We have the right to be teachers or fathers of the children of God; we have no right to assume the role of punisher, to ask the children of God to be your vassals. Although we may have made a great contribution and attained lofty positions we cannot disregard the souls who have been reincarnated back down on earth, if you, my friends, are unable to be impartial then there is no escape from your sins. This is how we must conquer disorder.

 

The most distressing situation is that there are many people who arrive (at the Bát Quái Đài), knowing that they are unable to cross the stream to enlightenment, crying they return; you can imagine why they need to reincarnate. They become human again to repay their bad karma. 

 

Bát Quái Đài - the Council of the Great Spirits which heads the Eight States of Soul, the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, the Eight Trigrams Palace.

 

Cung Thừa Thiên Hành Hóa Palace of Divine Beings who missionize the Way at the Command of Heaven.


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 4.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 14th October 1948
(Lunar Calendar 12th Day of the 9th Month, Year of the Mouse)

The Distance Between the Sea of Suffering
And the Bát Quái Đài and the Ô-Trì Pond

Bần Đạo will now continue to preach about the Path to Eternal Life. Last time we spoke about our arrival at the Bát Quái Đài. I think all of you still remember. At that time I only preached the lesson of how we cross the Sea of Suffering ( Khổ Hải ) to the Bát Quái Đài.

 

Today, Bần Đạo will continue to speak of how we can step into the Bát Quái Đài by a way that is different from that which others have used to arrive. Those people are separated by a bridge from the Sea of Suffering and the Bát Quái Đài. The bridge does not permit them to cross and they must return. Their distress is indescribable. Stepping back, we see this happening right in front of us. We cannot stop crying. Looking at this scene we suffer a great deal.

 

So, we must now search out and discover what is the Bát Quái Đài?

 

Is it the tribunal of the Three Religions (Toà Tam Giáo) of the Supreme Being as the divine messages have said? Well now we can observe the situation. If we would like to arrive at the Bát Quái Đài we must cross the "Ao Ô-Trì" / Ô-Trì Pond , we see the Bát Quái Đài emerge clearly in front of us, it looks like a column with eight doors. This column-palace of eight doors is guarded by a serpent with seven heads, these seven heads stand on duty by seven of the eight doors. They prevent any soul from entering the Bát Quái Đài. There is one door left unguarded, this is the Buddha door, the other seven doors are kept by the devil, nothing passes in or out. No power can pass. Look down! You see a vast ocean, the waters of which are blue. They are very choppy, every wave is marked by the term “khổ” (suffering). As we travel upon our nimbus we see halos appear. These are very tough, they are inscribed with the terms “sanh”(birth), “lão” (age), “bịnh” (sickness), “tử” (death) each wave has its own term of “khổ”. Just as we feel suffering in our life, after seeing these waves we feel a severe bodily pain. There is so much suffering; on every wave we see suffering. The great oceans - you know how vast they are – well, the suffering is as great as they are.  

 

If we ask the Supreme Being permission to enter this palace… - we know in advance that this is the tribunal of the Three Religions Ngọc Hư Cung - we understand first of all, if the Supreme Being lets us in, of course we do not have to walk over the bridge as the others must, the path by which we walk is different. We are thinking; the way Bần Đạo can lead you today, you just go, walking on the eternal path is different to any other, we are hastening along the holy path therefore as we desire to arrive and we do so automatically.

 

The Supreme Being possesses the Bát Quái Đài completely. Now, when we are outside, we remember that we saw a vast area illuminated by the aura of the Divine and a palace with eight doors. However when you enter, the palace disappears, there is only the universe swirling around us. The palace is spinning around and around but we know this is the Tribunal of The Three Religions. We do not see the contents and the form of the palace inside, when we arrive auras rise up like the smoke of an intense flame. 

  

This flame is not a real flame but the aura of the Divine, as we see it, it slowly starts to disappear. Then we see the Scale of Justice appear in front of our eyes, just as slowly, it disappears. We see ourselves. We see that we are not so different from the audience standing in front of that palace. We see the whole of our previous life appear before us. No detail is kept hidden. Is it not surprising then that this place is called Minh Cảnh Đài (The Palace of Perfect Vision, a mirrored bar of one’s conscience) in the Buddhist sutras. This is how this palace functions; it is not simply a mirror. In front of us, we see what we have done, all is shown to us. It is like watching a film.

 

Whatever we have done in our previous life on this day we see it in front of us; and that scale is adjusted depending on what we have and have not achieved. Our bad karma, our good karma all appears and then a decision is made impartially; a decision that cannot be wrong. Can you see that this is the sacred operation of the Divine Court? Because the evidence is there in front of you, the scale of the Three Religions can never be wrong. Whatever in our lifetime we have done for the temporal and the spiritual, the Divine Law will not leave out any detail. If you really want to understand how the sacred law works, then on entering this Palace you will see. These around us whatever way they go, we cannot see, but when they enter this Palace they have the same form as we do and we are unable to distinguish them. The sacred power of this Palace causes the situation to become overwhelmingly beautiful, the aura of the Divine radiates all about; when we stood on the bridge we saw everyone mixed up together, ten times ten thousand people passed over. It is a wonderful thing that we see male become female, female become male and then all become formless. And now in the Palace there appears two shooting flames; and now whoever lacked love and did not love themselves or did not love others, if they infringed the law of love even if they are male they must become female, the female who fulfilled a lifetime of cultivation and practising the way of love becomes male. And there is one thing we should notice; we don’t know when these other beings leave the Palace. When they go out we don’t know which door they have left by, we only know the door by which we ourselves leave, we are unable to know the way of the others. Whatever spiritual rank they attain, they only know themselves; becoming immortal or a Buddha is decided here. As they leave, the male becomes female, if they have accrued bad karma, they must be reincarnated.

 

Although according to the law they must reincarnate, they still have the right to remain. No power can obligate these souls to reincarnate immediately; they can remain in this Palace for 1200, 2400, up to 3000 years to enjoy for a time, the heavenly life. Whenever we know that we can reincarnate in order to teach and practise the Đạo, that is the time we will leave Nirvana and reincarnate. The day we decide to go, we do so for ourselves, the decision is not made by the Ngọc Hư Cung (Heavenly Council of Eternal Law , The Court of God, The Council of God). We have the right to make our own decisions only while we are in the spiritual realm, but after we gain a new physical form we have this right no longer. There are many spirits who go down for their whole life, but they are unable to achieve any progress towards the Dao and have to reincarnate again. Therefore we should say, according to the history of religions, that these faiths have focused on finding theories for human beings but these theories are not in line with the Divine truth at all. They make theories that distinguish the male and female, for example: 'we must follow the rule that male and female should not come too close together.' (a Confucian saying). Religions create unjust laws in which the female must always suffer, and be of a lower status than the male.

 

The way of husband and wife in the earthly realm requires great care. When the husband returns to the Bát Quái Đài he better not have cheated on his wife! If a wife fulfils her duty to her husband then she will transformed into a man and become our close friend. As we make mistakes with our friends, then one day our friends will challenge us with the complaint; “…when I went down to the earth to live with you in conditions of suffering, you never comforted me, you disregarded me.” You will be unable to answer. You must accept the blame.

 

In this way Buddhism gave women the same rights as men, I can be sure when I say that whenever we see on this earthly realm women who know how to remain in awe of and show respect for the law it is as if they are male. If you mistreated, destroyed or did not lead your lives and live together, when arriving at the Bát Quái Đài your partner will become male. Look at them, they who are your best friends, who endure suffering their whole lives, we might think that we would also suffer because we cannot help them. Yet contrary to this we have still undervalued this figure for we arrive and see there is no male or female. Heaven clearly points out that there are many beings once male who reincarnate as female on this earthly realm, they are many, innumerable. There are many high spirits arriving at this Ngươn Tứ Chuyển  (The Fourth Transition) in order to form true souls, they go down to transform the earthly realm. Whether one is male or female and descending from the heavenly realms, those who are female replace the races that will transform the Earthly world. The truth of this invisible realm does not distinguish male or female. The Supreme Being said that the male should not build his power upon that of the female. Male or female are all children of the Supreme Being. Saying this we know that there is nothing strange.

   

Bát Quái Đài - the Council of the Great Spirits which heads the Eight States of Soul, the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, the Eight Trigrams Palace.

 

Khổ Hải - the sea of suffering

 

Minh Cảnh Đài - The Palace of Perfect Vision, a mirror of one’s conscience.

 

Ngọc Hư Cung - Heavenly Council of Eternal Law , The Court of God, The Council of

God

 

Ngươn Tứ Chuyển  - The Fourth Transition , . . . .

 

Toà Tam Giáo - the Three Religions tribunal.


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 5.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 21st October 1948
(Lunar Calendar 19th Day of the 9th month, year of the Mouse)

The Paradise of Extreme Joy
And the Image of the Divine Mother

Tonight we should ask each other to make further progress on the Path to Eternal Life; previously Bần Đạo has accompanied you, my friends, to the Bát Quái Đài in the company of perverse souls (demons / quỉ vị) and originals souls alike. When we enter we meet many friends who are very close to us, who love us. Before we leave the Bát Quái Đài our bodies are no longer dirty as before, we leave the seven elements that form our corporeal self. Walking past the Bát Quái Đài, on that sacred path Bần Đạo described clearly for you that on that way there is no difference between male and female; our physical forms will also be destroyed by the mystery of this place, and we become a divine aura. We look back, Bần Đạo surely knows that we think that this body is just dust and wind, we have not even the remnants of clothing, we pass into the aura of the divine which covers us; when we exit the Bát Quái Đài we feel such joy that words cannot describe our state. Is that the place where we achieve our holy body? When we achieve our holy form we look, as the Buddhists say “like an immortal.” When we leave the Bát Quái Đài there is no one in that Palace who is not our friend. Soon those souls will be our relatives. In time brothers and sisters you will experience three special joys, a three-fold special happiness which we will are never able to enjoy in the earthly realm. We walk and as we hasten further on this holy path, we realise it is a path upon which we must proceed. When we travel this Path we have been walking, there is one thing we must realise; we have seen no one of evil intent in the Bát Quái Đài; whether we know them or not, when we are in this realm there are no beings who are unfamiliar to us, none of them are different to our kind. In the Bát Quái Đài we are surrounded by our kinsfolk.

 

One thing we are most surprised by is the way in which our progression along the holy path allows us to meet beings who may have been indifferent to each other on earth but who now warmly welcome everyone they meet. These beings are not as perfect as those who have walked through the Bát Quái Đài. When we think of the beings then we see that they will welcome us as though they were our kinsfolk, tears come to their eyes as they meet us. In that Palace of welcome, one's reception is so blissful and so gracious that it is beyond anything experienced on earth by even the greatest of monarchs.  

 

We understand that the spiritual realm of Eternal Life is not only a place to welcome the Divine Beings but also a sacred realm. If we know how to practise the way and liberate ourselves from the karmic cycle, then we can attain our true spiritual self. There is one thing that we should not imagine - that they are jealous of us, how much honour they carry we too will bear the same, sharing it with them. When we pass beyond that Holy door, there is no jealousy and no one bears us any grudge. This realm is the realm where we enjoy our happiness together. We see that even animals have great affection for us. It is a love and high regard that is impossible to describe; as the birds, the animals, plant life, they all share a special affinity with us. Of all the handsome men and beautiful women on this earth, Bần Đạo can surely say that none of them compare with the spirits in this great and sacred realm. In this realm there are none who are not beautiful. There is no need for make-up and fine clothing. What ever you want, whatever comes into your mind, there it is. For example, whatever things of beauty you want they are presented to you, especially you girls - whatever they want it is theirs; a lifetime in this earthly realm is nothing but illusion. One other great thing is that if the poor of this world are able to attain Buddhahood / Immortality then their happiness will be unbounded.

 

We proceed further and see blue sky opening around us and we find ourselves moving towards a Cloudy Cave (Vân Động), a great tunnel made of cloud rise up and tower over us. It is unlimited, indescribable and wondrous. This great tunnel moves as though it has great affection for us.

 

We can see far away a spiritual banner (cây phướng)  flapping in the wind radiating with the Divine Aura so that the colour of the banner brightens as it flies. You realise that this banner is very familiar, your affection for it is like that of seeing an old friend.

 

Bần Đạo ventures to make this comparison: those of you who once lived in Tây Ninh but may have left the country for a long time, but on the way home passing Trảng Bàng (a district outside Tây Ninh) and turning to see Núi Bà Đen (Black Lady Mountain) you see something very familiar and your heart becomes awash with memories. Bần Đạo states that our affection for this banner when we see it overwhelms us and we love for this sight. Therefore when we see it, we would like to run faster so that we can arrive as quickly as possible (as in Tây Ninh) in order to see the magnificent palace that is about to appear. The scene is changes in unlimited ways, for a professional architect to think on how it might change, it would leave them in ecstatically confused, no drawing that could capture it. As we move into this new scene we see that there is no dirt or sand at our feet, but we are stepping upon the Divine Aura. Entering the palace we see a different kind of soul, those who we have met already perhaps lifetimes ago.

 

I need not speak about this as all of us already know this; and these things will just show us this scene: we will meet our closest friends and here we find there is no shyness between males and females. Then, we mee again our close friend, and we will see that there is no longer any hesitation, our love will be reborn deep from love. Even the love between blood brothers and sisters cannot compare with such a scene.

 

I have said that the law of love, as it appears, is not an inhuman law. Great love in this world makes people who can really see it realise the happiness and the joy it contains, and they will develop this love in their environments. There is an unlimited power there that we do not have here. We shall never experience such feelings on earth. Let me give you one excellent example: we live in exile, when Bần Đạo returned to see this scene I was so warmly received and with such deep emotions, for they were all cheerful and welcoming. Bần Đạo says to you that in this realm - whatever we want we have it immediately. Therefore at this moment I will think of something, want to see an old friend, and there! We see that friend straight away. And remember, when you go back to the spiritual realm harbour no regrets as husband and wife, when you agree or disagree if it is only in terms of psychology (instead of making correct decisions) if we do, then when we go back to this realm we will have regrets.

 

One moment, please! Bần Đạo is unable to describe this scene because such love is still yet more wonderful and passionate. On earth happiness is fleeting, so easily we start crying from pain with tears rushing down our faces. On the planet earth a life-time may only stretch to one hundred years but in this realm life is eternal. When we arrive and enter the door, they will guide us further and we feel joy enter our bodies; we don’t know why this joy pervades our being, perhaps because we have passed the threshold into the Way.

 

This Paradise of Extreme Joy - Bần Đạo can not see any realm that is better than this. This is what the Buddha called Cực-Lạc Thế -Giới (Paradise of Extreme Joy).

 

As we pass inside we see a throne, and in coming before this honourable seat we look up and see a Venerable Being. We can describe this Venerable Being as the Old Lady; if we think of a female immortal, then we have before us a female immortal, if we want to see her as old, she is old, if we want to see her as young then so she is. It is very mysterious. When we are allowed to enter, we see our own mother!

 

A grandfather looks up he will see his mother, a grandchild will look up and he will see his mother. Our personal love will be directed towards this completeness of love. On this planet earth mothers often scold, when we return to this realm our heavenly Mother is so full of love, our Mother here is not as our mothers behaved on earth.

 

When we see Her all our past love returns. It is indescribable, even those who are hard hearted - when you see the noble love embodied in this great Mother it will make you so emotional that the tears will gush from your eyes. Bần Đạo assures you that there are many people who believe in the Way and understand the Way, but they do not know this. Even the Maitreya Buddha / Đức Phật Di-Lạc who holds such a high and honourable position as the head of many heavens is still a child of his mother. But the Buddha Mother at the Tạo Hóa Heaven (the Heaven of Creation under the Mother Goddess) is our true mother. This is a difficult thing to say. If you would like to know of the love of the mother for the child, look at the statue of the Buddha Mother, can you see how Maitreya Buddha kneels behind Her in deep respect. Even Bần Đạo need not describe the relationship of the Buddha Mother and Maitreya Buddha, but all of you understand how obvious the power of mother and child can be…

 

Even though Bần Đạo holds such a position in this religion, I must still place filial piety first. The excellence of motherhood will always endure.

  

Bát Quái Đài - the Council of the Great Spirits which heads the Eight States of Soul, the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, the Eight Trigrams Palace.

 

Bần Đạo -  His Holiness Hộ Pháp Phạm Công Tắc refers to himself throughout as 'Bần Đạo' or 'poor monk'.

 

Cây phướng – Spiritual banner .

 

Cực-Lạc Thế -Giới - Paradise of Extreme Joy , Kingdom of happiness.

 

Đức Phật Di-Lạc - Maitreya Buddha

 

Quỉ vị  - perverse souls , demons.

 

Tạo Hóa Heaven  - the Heaven of Creation under the Mother Goddess.

 

Vân Động - Cloudy Cave.

 

 


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 6.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 28th October 1948
(Lunar Calendar 26th Day of the 9th month, year of the Mouse)

The Power of the Divine Mother
Who looks to us like our own Mother

Tonight Bần Đạo will continue to speak about the Path to Eternal Life.

 

Before I continue, I would like to clarify my tone which, up until now I have kept at a simple level in order to encourage you to accompany me along this Path.

 

May I say to all of you friends, whether you are male or female, that there is one thing that makes me most worried: before we even opened the Dao (i.e. the Cao Đài Religion) this religion was destined to save the souls of the Holy Body of the Supreme Being, especially those elder brothers and sisters. Bần Đạo is concerned with many things, therefore I would like to talk again about your progress along this Path to Eternal Life. It is essential to illustrate the positions in front of the Holy Body of the Supreme Being, particularly for these elder brothers and sisters who should know the path of progress and understand it clearly and see in front of them this path that is familiar to us.

 

Last time we already made a stop at the Cung Tạo Hoá Thiên, this is the Heavenly Palace of the Buddha Mother/Mother Goddess (Phật Mẫu), which is Diêu Trì Cung. (that is, the Heaven of the Creation under the Mother Goddess). Bần Đạo has this gift for all of us to contemplate: the unlimited mystery of  Phật Mẫu.

 

I shall summarise the power of the Holy Mother.

 

When we enter (Her palace) to have an audience with Her, we look at her face and we see the face of our own mother, that is, the mother who gave birth to us in our last earthly life. Now as I speak I am seeing my own mother, and I am sure all of you are also seeing your mother. If we imagine it now we do not know whether the Divine Eye is reflecting the face of our mother, or perhaps it is the mysterious power of the Holy Mother that is allowing us see Her in this way. 

 

Our earthly mother is, of course, subordinate to the Buddha Mother. And you women must pay attention and listen to this point: as the direct personnel of the Buddha Mother, before you gave birth you carried a physical body in your womb, and there it rests, waiting for life. The Buddha Mother has placed the gift of creation in your hands.

 

There is no need to say how honoured a mother is when her son becomes a complete human being and knows how to progress on the Path to Eternal Life. So, we come back to the Cung Diêu Trì  (the Heaven of the Creation under the Mother Goddess) and look up to see this image. No other honour can compare to this, this is such an important thing, whether you are male or female, you must keep aware of this: maintain filial piety with your parents! That day we look and see the image of Đức Phật Mẫu (Buddha Mother , Mother Goddess , Dharma) and see this gentle Mother of benevolence, is a reward that will be one of great happiness. On the other hand, if we are unfilial to our parents we will see this image of Đức Phật Mẫu but with a very serious and indifferent face. Then our suffering will be unbearable.

 

Now we enter this realm and whatever we want, it is instantly ours. Thus when the Kim Cương Phật (Vajra-Buddha), attained the Way and entered this realm, he said, “thơ tượng hành khúc” that is he spoke of the perispirit. Because in this realm whatever we desire, whatever we want we can have it. Even if there was something we did not accomplish in our many thousands of previous lives, when you have the correct level of merit to return to Đức Phật Mẫu, it is at this time, whatever you need will appear and satisfy your spirit, just in the way that the happiness of this earthly world satisfies.

 

Human beings are always searching for happiness in their lifetime but they never really find it.  We have seen before, as history records it for us, that if we would like to know the (Đạo Minh-Châu) we now see it now in front of our eyes - only those who go can know. Those of you with a curious mien, you may have heard that in the Diêu Trì Cung there is the Ngạn Uyển garden. What is this Ngạn Uyển garden? The ancient sutras have said that, “…for each life that commences a flower blossoms in this garden,” when that flower fades, it marks the end of one life. In the earthly realm we call that death, but it is not death, human beings never die; death is a changing of our shirt, we enter the bathroom and after having a bath we put on another shirt. Death and life is as a changing of shirts. In front of us appears a very bright halo and it holds the image of a very beautiful garden composed of myriad colours, the garden in this particular spiritual realm is not like a garden on our earthly realm. It contains one heavenly flower which lives a million times through the mysterious power of its transformation - if it were in front of us we could watch it endlessly changing. And brightly it changes its colours, changing boundlessly. Whenever a life on our planet evolves spiritually, that is whenever a human progresses on their spiritual path, the Ngạn Uyển garden changes its form and increases in beauty.      

 

The sutras also say, 'this garden is Vạn-Linh or Ngọc Hư Cung or Cực-Lạc Thế Giới, (a paradise of extreme joy), to think of it is to make it appear in front of us. There is one answer that the curious would like to understand in order to know their direction.

 

When we look back at the earthly world it seems like a river, a great ocean, and you see on the other bank of this great river a mass of people standing, millions and millions in fact. So many that you cannot count them. Further along the bank people are crowded infinitely, our eyes cannot see the end of them, we can see far away on the other side where people are crying because of the sufferings they have to bear. Here is one thing to make the curious person surprised: why are there so many people? On one side of the river, there are men and also women, on the other women and also men, on the heavenly side they wait, they stare at each other. They are sad because of worry, they are waiting for the day they will reincarnate, they want to go further for the sake of living. The people on the other bank look over at this side and see that they are all crying, all of them are sad, it is impossible to say how sad they are. Whether you are male or female you have to pay attention to this secret and significant fact throughout your life: on our side of the bank, people have a special radiance and are so remarkably beautiful, but on the other side of the river their physical beings there are dried out, moreover, they are full of suffering, they pine for the ineffable, their bodies are emaciated, their faces sad.

 

So let us ask this question; why are those on this side of the river looking across and crying, while those on the other side look over and seem full of suffering? It is because of the law of nature and because of the law of love, that people on this side look over and those on the other side look back. Those who were once in love yet had such problems with that love and were so strongly they effected by the bad karma associated with their passionate problems that they committed suicide. Any man who killed himself, any woman who killed herself, any person who had such true love, whoever came down to Uổng Tử Thành in order to reincarnate, had to do so because they did not complete their life, at whatever age they were, it doesn’t matter, they still have to come back to life through reincarnation. They live until the age of courting then they die. Thus these two sides stand and face each other: they are unable to become man and wife. It is after this that those who have the heart of true love will be saved by the Mother Buddha who will ask Đức Cao Đài to take them into the divine realm; but those who do not know true love, or live by false love will have to reincarnate.

 

The lifetime of a person is visible yet the life of a person is invisible. Turning through five or ten lifetimes, a thousand lifetimes, we suffer so much. This is why we must know the Holy Path, we must enter it and stay there, the Path to Eternal Life is the path of the Đạo, the Path of Enlightenment.

 

We look at the other side, we see, we recognise their deep suffering. They hope that their wishes can be achieved, but this is hopeless. They must accept this fact. Night and day they dream, they wonder, how they can cross this great river, Bần Đạo thinks it is the Ngân Hà river [the galaxy of the Milky Way]. We look down this river, on this side and in the middle when we are passing, and looking back we can see the Bát Quái Đài in the middle of the Universe. On that river there are eight great auras radiating from eight doors (of this palace). We keep looking at these eight auras and we see the progression of all beings.

 

On the other side of the river there is a boat. This is the boat of Quan Yin Buddha who follows the order of Maitreya Buddha to go forth and offer salvation. Her boat moves back and forth unceasingly. One side looks at the other dreaming and waiting for the possibility of salvation. I think of this as a lesson and who knows its unlimited power? You must look back upon your life, and see the whole situation and realise that it is not the earthly realm that is the lesson. What is it to be a person who does know how to search for truth?

 

What a pity! They don’t know they are living, they don’t know the degree to which beings suffer even during just a single lifetime!

  

Bát Quái Đài - the Council of the Great Spirits which heads the Eight States of Soul, the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, the Eight Trigrams Palace.

 

Cung Diêu Trì  - The Heaven of the Creation under the Mother Goddess. It is a palace located beside The Precious Jewel Lake.

 

Cung Tạo Hoá Thiên -  Heavenly Palace of the Buddha Mother , the celestial sphere of the creation.

 

Cực-Lạc Thế Giới - a paradise of extreme joy.

 

Diêu Trì Cung - The Heaven of the Creation under the Mother Goddess. It is a palace located beside The Precious Jewel Lake.

 

Đức Cao Đài - God, the Supreme Being.

 

Đức Phật Mẫu -  Buddha Mother , Mother Goddess , Dharma.

 

Kim Cương Phật - Vajra-Buddha.

 

Ngân Hà river - the galaxy of the Milky Way.

 

Phật Mẫu  - Buddha Mother , Mother Goddess , Dharma.

 

Uổng Tử Thành - the dark realm, the realm of the iniquitous dead. It is where the souls of unjust dead are kept.


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 7.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 31st October 1948
(Lunar Calendar 29th Day of the 9th month, year of the Mouse)

The Ngân Hà River
And the Panna/Prajna Boat of Quan Yin

Tonight Bần Đạo will again continue our procession along The Path to Eternal Life.

 

Last time Bần Đạo asked all of you to go to the Cung Diêu-Trì. We asked each other move in front of the Cung Diêu Trì so we could look back and see the earthly world from which we had just passed. Bần Đạo only mentioned the remote area which we passed. When we examine the form of the Bát Quái Đài it is under the foundation of this palace that we notice the snake of seven heads (Thất-Đầu-Xà). Under the body of the Thất-Đầu-Xà is the Great Ocean of Suffering which is indeed our earthly realm. On the other side of this river one comes close to the river of the Milky Way. Bần Đạo will explain how from the Great Ocean of Suffering to the realm of eternal life we must pass along this river of the Milky Way. There is the "Panna/Prajna boat toward Nirvana" [Thuyền Bát Nhã] of the Bodhisattva Quan Yin (or Quan-Âm) and she is following the command of Maitreya Buddha. Her boat paddles up and down the Milky Way and across the Great Ocean of Suffering in order to save the souls of humanity.

 

There is one thing that takes our attention, we look back to see the eight doors of the Bát Quái Đài with the radiance of the eight auras beaming from the palace turning as they emanate with 80 000 beings. At each of these eight doors all eight types of soul are represented. These are the eight souls of the material world: the vegetable, animals, human beings, geniis, saints, immortals and buddhas. We see these souls spreading out everywhere in the universe. There is one special thing we desperately want to know – in what manner do these people appear to us? We see these beings, especially those which are not animals, who are quite calm as they move in their aura, they appear to us floating and unperturbed. Although we have proceeded one third of the way, we are still unable to predict the distance of these souls. For example we walk out of a door for three steps, those souls seem still in order, stepping out further however we see they are out of order. The Daoists call this area Kim-Bàn [The Golden Basin], this is where the souls first appear. We see on the top of these souls there is a radiating aura, especially when it appears as a spark that represents the true nature of each soul's life - that is, the eventual possibility in all of us to be a Buddha. We  observe and understand that which is within our selves; for there are three distinctive things that the Supreme Being puts into a human being: matter, essence and spirit. These three things can be understood as animal, human and Buddha. Now and then when we have the opportunity, Bần Đạo will explain this point further so you can understand the foundation of human beings, where they are from, why they have come here and where they go after they die.

 

Is this the realm where the Kim-Cang Buddha (Vajra-Buddha) attained Buddhahood? [Vô thọ thường thức Diêu-Trì] Well, when we arrive here we see our spirit and our thoughts appear, we can see them because we believe, Bần Đạo is sure that whosoever seeks the Dao with all their heart they will see this for sure at this place. If you follow the Dao, wherever the Supreme Being leads you, you may only know this much. This is believing, and this is why the invisible realm is the Way that has been opened for all human beings in the universe, even though we may not see it.

 

We now understand why the Supreme Being opened the Way for us to be able to distinguish the sacred teaching and thus allow us to follow Heaven, otherwise we can follow our animal nature; this is because our physical body is animal. We cannot avoid this fact.

 

If we observe the sacred and the mysterious parts of divine creation from the microcosm (inside us) through to the macrocosm (about us) and on to the level of geniis, saints, immortals, to Buddhas, we still cannot say how long this process takes. Indeed from the time of the Earth's creation, that is, the beginning of each planet, we can calculate that it is at least seven hundred million years. The microcosm develops to form inanimate materials, and also birds and animals which become humans from giác-hồn (the nascent state of the soul) to the development of the soul, here we should at least calculate one hundred million years. This animal which is our physical body is one to be ridden. It lives and dies on this planet. When it acquires a spirit then it develops in relation to the macrocosm which will enter each physical and astral body and then, fighting all the time for food and for clothing with others, it will try to protect its own life. It will also have to face other pressures of creation such as; fire, water, wind, rain, heat, wild animals…

 

Human beings are cruel. To preserve their own lives they have to fight countless battles. With the behaviour of an animal, they do not know how much time they have in their fight for survival. Human beings, in order to keep their dignity, try not to let this wild animal exercise its cruelty. In this way they would preserve it. That is, they would misuse us for their benefit. Think of our nature as being in the middle, above us is the Supreme Being, and below us is the animal. Ask yourself do you have enough spiritual essence to protect your good name without needing the guidance of the Supreme Being, or the wanton desires of the animal within you? To follow the animal - there is no reason. The animal is qi essence, this qi can be the brightness and intelligence of the spirit.

 

With our mind we can see all the mysteries of the Creator, and one day, as we progress, we will all receive extreme intelligence. It is then that we will attain to these mysteries. Yet because some people’s minds are so full of material intelligence, their minds push them towards becoming non-believers (vô đạo), this leads them to betray their spirit and their desires – so they come out against their Creator. Yet we are standing in the light of His power, this is when the power of intelligence is given by the Creator [not the material], - by the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being has given us our intelligence to enjoy – and much more than the animals - but human beings often use this against their Creator and bask in their own pride. Many previous Scriptures have said, 'The intelligence of humanity is a devil.' This is why our ancestors, particularly the Vietnamese, when they see someone who is a cheat, who is cunning they would have said '…he is a devil.' Our intelligence is a devil. If this devil leads us and we follow it, then we throw away our hopes of attaining those lofty positions of Geniism, Sainthood, Immortality and Buddahood that the Supreme Being has promised:   

 

"If you child can be better than your Master, then your Master will step lower in order for you, child, to attain your position." This is the way the Supreme Being aids the rise of all souls.

 

What a pity, so many do not want to listen, or do not want to know. Because they dare not know themselves, they remain afraid for they do not know. The devil pushes them to follow the way of the animal, this is why, in this earthly realm, the strange comedy of fighting and killing continues to play itself out. We are watching suffering play out right in front of us, and this is because human beings are willing to sacrifice their dignity in order to obey the animal within, to become a slave to the beast, fighting and killing each other with less cause than wild animals. Fighting and killing each other just to keep alive, this is a lesson we must know, and this Poor Monk will explain it further in the coming days. Today we only talked generally in order to open your mind, soon we will have more time to progress on our journey to Eternal Life. 

 

Bát Quái Đài - the Council of the Great Spirits which heads the Eight States of Soul, the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, the Eight Trigrams Palace.

 

Cung Diêu Trì  - The Heaven of the Creation under the Mother Goddess. It is a palace located beside The Precious Jewel Lake.

 

Giác-hồn  - the nascent state of the soul.

 

Kim-Bàn - The Golden Basin.

 

Quan-Âm  - Bodhisattva Quan Yin.

 

Thất-Đầu-Xà – the snake of seven heads.

 

Thuyền Bát Nhã  - Panna/Prajna boat toward Nirvana.


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 8.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 5th November 1948
(Lunar Calendar 5th Day of the 10th month, year of the Mouse)

The Secrets and Mysteries of the Bát Quái Đài
And the Motion of the Eight-levels of Souls

Tonight Bần Đạo will continue to discuss our progress on this Path to Eternal Life.

 

Last time I asked you to remain at the Bát Quái Đài in order to observe some of the secrets and mysteries of creation. This place is where all peri-spirits transform and in so doing continually refurbish the universe.

 

There is no need for me to describe this scene again, take these secrets and mysteries however as a lesson. On this day I would like to describe the form of this place clearly and find out if it is a Kim-Bàn [origin point of universe] as the Buddhists would say. Now, as we travel we look back to see the ugly world behind us, a sea of suffering, linking to the Ngân Hà (Milky Way) river; in this spiritual realm there is a Prajna Boat (Boat of Salvation), traversing this river. The figure sitting in this boat is the Buddhist Bodhisattva Quan Yin (Đức Phật Quan Âm), she follows the orders of Maitreya Buddha (Đức Phật Di-Lạc), taking those souls who have attained enlightenment from shore to shore. Bần Đạo would like to explain how mysterious and secret is this Bát Quái Đài. In the eight doors there appear eight levels of souls. They spin like a wheel. This not very different from a lighthouse on the coast. If it is turning then we see the eight beams of radiance illuminating the whole of the universe. The scene is so solemn, it is too difficult to describe, the great mystery of it all makes us fearful, because the radiant light entwines with the sanh quang (the living light). The form of the peri-spirit as we have seen on the planet earth, can be plants, animals or human beings. Their perispirits look beautiful - nothing like our animal-physical bodies. Whenever these eight lights show, the eight classes of souls appear. Some are leaving, some returning, some enter, some are released, thousands at a time. There are so many are there that it is hard to imagine.

 

Furthermore, in the universe there are 3000 worlds (Tam-Thiên Thế-Giới), and four great regions (Tứ-Đại Bộ -Châu), and 72 planet earths (Thất-Thập Nhị Địa); out of this realm, there are many worlds that have not been fully developed and at the moment there are no beings in these parts of the universe. Consider this most subjective comparison which I based on the 72 planet earths that have human beings; imagine that the diameter of our planet Earth is 10 000 kilometres, however, supposedly, when we put the universe on a large-scale plan, we may see that our planet Earth occupies only 10 centimetres, while the Universe occupies up to 280 kilometres.

 

Brothers and Sisters imagine that the universe is so great, in terms of the spiritual, we can feel fearful because we are unable to understand how souls transform into beings. We look back, and in front of the Diêu Trì Cung we see that it is so beautiful, so magnificent. It is here we see a world on the right, and a world on the left. They seem similar. At the middle there is a palace with rays of illumination shining blindingly in front of us.

 

I thought that all of you would like to know in advance what is the Diêu Trì Cung, what are these three palaces? Bần Đạo puts it clearly, the palace in front of the Diêu Trì Cung is the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa, on the right side is the Cực Lạc Thế Giới (Paradise of Extreme Happiness), on the left is the Ngọc Hư Cung (Divine Jade Palace, Heavenly Council of the Eternal Law).

 

Through the Divine Eye, Bần Đạo can see the long way that we have to travel in order to reach our attainment. It is far, far away, thousands of miles. We can see it however because at the Diêu Trì Cung whatever we want to know, we can have that knowledge.            

 

Wanting to enter the Bát Quái Đài, as we saw before, is not easy. At the Kim Bàn we can see that the Way is far, far off and we are unable to observe or imagine it. Now we enter the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa and after that we will explore the other two. The Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa which the Supreme Being placed on this planet for us to see and understand. The two terms Hiệp [alliance] and Thiên [heaven] that you can see at the door of this religion, carry the form to demonstrate and locate the Dao in this earthly realm. This is the place where the Three Lords of the Earth (Tam-Trấn Oai-Nghiêm) reign. It is where Divine Beings reside. It is not only on our planet, but also in The Three Thousand Worlds and the Seventy Two Earths. They all have a replica of this palace to act as an advocate for beings in each of these realms. 

 

Bần Đạo has said that there is no difference between this place and the planet earth. It acts like a heavenly Court. Only the Perfect Beings are entitled to go down and become a representative for other beings, they must have a special right to enter this Heavenly Palace.

 

Whether a Genii, Saint, Immortal or Buddha, they must have perfect qualifications to enter the Hiệp-Thiên Hành-Hóa. This palace has a special duty to act as an advocate for all beings. Bần Đạo thinks it is wonderful that the Supreme Being has formed a Hiệp-Thiên Đài on this earth. There is one thing though; when Bần Đạo entered this palace, the Divine Beings welcomed me with great hospitality. Bần Đạo is sure that they would like you to know this, they said; if possible, remember to tell humanity that they should understand the process of judgment of their lives at the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa! There are many sentences passed at this place. We shoulder the responsibility for many difficulties, so we hope that your friends understand the Divine Law of cause and effect and what is the Divine Right of punishment and reward. Understanding this Divine Right means that when you return, you must preach to all and tell them that in the invisible realm, there are close relatives who pray every day for their salvation. At the Ngọc Hư Cung the appeals can be dealt with very strictly. And at the Cực Lạc Thế Giới things can get very difficult. Friends, remember, you are protected and will be guided to cultivate the Way calmly. You will be guided in order to follow the Supreme Being completely and be faithful to his Holy Body [i.e. Sacerdotal Council].

 

All the brothers at the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa, have enough means and the right to protect the children of the Supreme Being, they are made complete by their sense of self-respect so that no power can suppress their action.

 

Bần Đạo once thought and I still think that there is no other religion with this sort of justice and kindness. It is a justice that is an eternal right granted by the Divine. So the promise of the Supreme Being regarding perpetual salvation is not a promise that cannot be met. Perhaps the difficulty is that the Supreme Being decides when this right is extended, whether in the visible or invisible realms.   

 

Friends, to cultivate and then to attain; when you practise the Way, no one has the right to criticise you nor do they have the right to abandon you. Everyday of your life, think about this, keep your heart eager in order to make these treasures, your secret gift, to follow the Supreme Being and fulfil the Way. 

  

Bát Quái Đài - the Council of the Great Spirits which heads the Eight States of Soul, the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, the Eight Trigrams Palace.

 

Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa Palace of Divine Beings who hold the power to control all human beings in a universe of many planets. The Palace (or department) of the Divine Alliance for preaching (the Way).

 

Cực-Lạc Thế Giới - a paradise of extreme joy.

 

Diêu-Trì Cung -  The Heaven of the Creation under the Mother Goddess. It is a palace located beside The Precious Jewel Lake.

 

Đức Phật Di-Lạc - Maitreya Buddha

 

Đức Phật Quan Âm - Buddhist Bodhisattva Quan Yin, Goddess of Mercy.

 

Ngọc Hư Cung - Heavenly Council of Eternal Law , The Court of God, The Council of

God , Divine Jade Palace.

 

Tam-Thiên Thế-Giới - 3000 Worlds .

 

Tam-Trấn Oai-Nghiêm -  the three lords of the earth .

 

Thất-Thập Nhị Địa - 72 Planet Earths

 

Tứ-Đại Bộ -Châu - Four Great Regions.


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 9.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 8th November 1948
(Lunar Calendar 8th Day of the 10th month, year of the Mouse)

The Dragon Flower Assembly
Where positions will be decided for the Souls

Today Bần Đạo wishes to discuss matters relating to the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa.

 

Last time we had stopped over at this place and we had conversations with the Perfect Beings - those who are the saviours of all humans in the universe.

 

There is here a crucial matter to consider; why is it that our times are chaotic times? Because it is we are living through Hạ Ngươn Tam Chuyển [The Third Period of the Third Transition]. The divine plan has already made preparations for the Dragon Flower Assembly (Đại hội Long Hoa). According to our Divine Teaching The Supreme Being said: 'You children must come together to established a Dragon Flower Assembly in order to create positions for those elevated souls of the Third Universal Transmission (Hạ Ngươn Tam Chuyển). This is so that you can open the Fourth Universal Transmission (Thượng-Ngươn Tứ Chuyển) for all those souls yet to come.' Heaven opened that Dragon Flower Assembly where the Divine Being will pass or fail these souls. Therefore we have seen the mysterious and the sacred at work on this planet, the Supreme Being is opening the Way at this very moment. We are also seeing the karmic enemies manifest amongst us, they are returning immediately, they must pay their debts to each other, let them not owe them anything, they must return debts until they end, pay them out. 

 

Bần Đạo has already mentioned that, whether we speak of an individual, a nation, or the entire human race itself, each are now seeing their own karmic account. This is why this drama of killing each other is so familiar to us, for example: the tragedy of the 12 feudal principlities (the Thập Nhị Sứ Quân) rebellion. The karmic account of Vietnam, this gaining and returning, this is all drawing to a conclusion. Therefore the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa holds the power to control all human beings in a universe of many planets. The Divine Beings at the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa are constantly worried by this 68th planet, the one that we call earth, because this planet has to bear the karmic enemies of the Third Universal Transmission. Therefore Bần Đạo has preached right from the start that we are responsible for leading each other on the Divine Path to Eternal Life.     

 

Now we address this question: what is the reason why humans at this time are as disordered and in chaos, killing each other? Because of this drama the political systems of nations are collapsing. What is the reason? First we have to search for, then to pay attention to, ways we can trace the karmic account of our planet, in doing this we can understand developments in the Divine Realm. Even in the animal kingdom, animals will keep together for safety. There are many kinds of animals which order their own groups, whether they are insects, animals or birds. Why is it impossible for human beings to live individually? Because of the love which ties them together as they live. Human beings only have their intelligence, this is their conscience for union.

 

Sagacity is the thing we have to protect our lives, but according to the basic law of living it seems we do not have enough. Often we are backward, certainly in the face of larger animals we have been both respectful and afraid. Have we not called them Mr Tiger, Mr Elephant, Mr Lion and so on…

 

Human beings have been scared of many animals like this, therefore they formed society in order to protect each other, and so they needed to make a law for this society, they gathered to live together for a stable existence. Human beings never accepted that in doing this, they must make a return contribution to society. On the contrary their sagacity is used to struggle against and cheat the very society that protects them. By cheating and being cunning humans can defraud the common good, but they will never be able to escape the Divine Justice and Karmic Law. This is because the karmic account is created by oneself in order to live and protect our life.  Every human borrows a life in order to make a means for living. You need to eat to survive, you must clothe yourself, if human beings go as naked as the animals they would be worse than animals, animals have no clothing, but they conceal themselves itself in order to live, because of these needs, searching for living means killing each other in order to survive. Human beings fighting for survival like animals must kill each other to protect their own lives. This is the drama we are seeing clearly in front of us today.

 

As you know, Bần Đạo's spiritual position is of the Hộ Pháp (Guardian of the Law), Bần Đạo thus asked the Divine Beings at the start if it is possible for human beings to reincarnate as an animals? The Divine Beings answered carefully; “I think there are many souls who are not worth their status as humans even though the Supreme Being continues to bless them. But how can we make everyone progress? In the drama of our times there are two possibilities; to keep being human or to progress. If we are unable to retain our status as a human being we have to go backward, when a human being goes backwards they return to the status of an animal.”

 

Perhaps human beings think that this truth is not worthy of keeping. The Third Universal Transition with the Dragon Flower Assembly is the culmination of so much suffering by the Supreme Being for the children of the earth. We do not know how much the divine father has suffered for these children. Can we imagine from the beginning of the creation up until now how much? There are no other beings who have been as blessed as the humans of this planet.

 

Because humans live together, they need to have a birthright to their land. Since the time of primitive life on this planet, humanity has wanted to protect itself, firstly by building huts in trees or making little houses in caves, and then building proper houses. At the time their houses are a refuge they are only scared of wild animals. They could stay in their caves watching until there were no wild animals about. Then they can could go out and go to their paddy fields and catch fish for eating. Also while they can watch that there are no animals to harm them, they can move to the fields to hoe the earth for the growing of crops. Sometimes their fear of wild animals prevents them from leaving their caves. And so cunning people are able to steal what they have. Because we are weaker than them we are unable to protect our lives and must surrender to their wishes. So you gather and become a group. Whatever food was stolen you try to steal it back. If one person is unable to fight then others gather with them. And so groups develop, one, two people, another group, four of five people, and together they fight and kill each other. These tribes are still not sure if they can protect their members. When they are afraid they fight first and keep fighting until they have no where else to go. Then they must surrender. When they surrender they have to follow other masters, become slaves. This is how one tribe comes to control others. Bringing more of these groups together makes societies and nations.

 

From ancient times until now in order to keep order and justice, to protect life with justice, is to implement sovereignty of the land. In the past, each region had its own leader full of the knowledge, talents, and power to be a head of the tribe. To establish a nation the people must respect and admire a king. We have seen this through history. Relying on knowledge we can build a country with rules, and we note a country such as Japan which had rules right from the very beginning to protect the lives of people with justice. Various men acting as kings of tribes or kings of the country, govern lives of all the people and make the destiny of the nation. Making this destiny for the nation, or the tribe, well, that drama we have clearly seen, the trace of it is clear. At that time to establish a tribe, a nation, it was not as difficult as now. Human knowledge at the time was modest, their virtue was not infected by cunning, it was not cruel, not like the 20th Century. Today people are influenced civilization and science. The mind and our knowledge of humanity have already gone far beyond the old ways of maintaining order. For this reason various authorities have often collapsed. Whatever they might say, the majority rise up to lead coups to form new political systems.

 

Today we see all human beings on the planet move towards democracy, but what is democracy? It is the majority of the people gathering to hold power. The influence of the majority of people hold in their hands the destiny of our planet. What a pity there are so many people who don’t have enough knowledge or enough virtue to hold that destiny competently. Therefore, we are seeing that he who is stronger is also naturally better. They become rulers by methods of cunning, they do not rule by ancient methods of virtue. Human beings have left behind this old kind of rebellion, but nevertheless the spirits of humanity on this planet earth are now revolting because so many of us have no rights in the system of control.

 

Therefore concerning the destiny of the country there is no special birthright to the land, there is no right of control, therefore there is revolt. After much agitation at last they understand it - to understand oneself there is that right which enables them to govern the country stably. But look! They have already destroyed it. Now they search for  ways of creating that right. This is the drama of today. We see humanity hoping to take command of that right in order to protect their destiny, that is to take and maintain the destiny of their country.

 

Humanity continues to search for the keys to correct sovereignty but whatever happens this sovereignty is still unable to last. This is why the Supreme Being has come. Remember Heaven said: “The method of making lasting rights for humanity is impossible. Heaven said: I have seen how you destroyed your sovereignty. That is why I have come to renew that sovereignty, to show the Way for you.”

 

The Path of the Supreme Being is the path of the true dharma. Whenever on this planet its nations and societies seek to find the justice within eternal sovereignty, then they must follow the true dharma of Caodaism. As they create the form of the national and holy physical body at that time they will see the sovereignty of the Caodaist Religion make absolute rights for both the nation and for all humanity. Bần Đạo has said that the true dharma has the ability to make rights for all humanity. Correcting it, adjusting it, at least if you want to get that treasure, humanity must first becalm itself and develop self-control, weather individually or not, the right to self-control only can be made by their virtue.

 

Therefore whenever humanity returns to the way of virtue, in order to untie themselves from desire and to establish a method of living, thus you can live gloriously, flexibly and happily. Whenever we need to destroy bad karma and return to the path of virtue at that time the country will be peaceful, and at the time humanity will enjoy the special blessings given by the Supreme Being.

  

Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa Palace of Divine Beings who hold the power to control all human beings in a universe of many planets. The Palace (or department) of the Divine Alliance for preaching (the Way).

 

Cung Thừa Thiên Hành Hóa Palace of Divine Beings who missionize the Way at the Command of Heaven.

 

Đại hội Long Hoa - the Dragon Flower Assembly .

 

Hạ Ngươn Tam Chuyển - The last circle of the Third Manvantara, Third Period of the Third Transition, Third Universal Transmission.

 

Thập Nhị Sứ Quân - In a protracted war which ended with the celebrated battle of Bạch Đằng, General Ngô Quyền vanquished the Chinese invaders and founded the first National dynasty of Vietnam. Ngô Quyền transfered the capital to Cổ Loa, the capital of Âu Lạc Kingdom, thus affirming the continuity of the traditions of the Lạc Việt people. Ngô Quyền spent 6 years of his reign fighting the continual revolts of the feudal lords. At his death in 967, the kingdom fell into chaos and became known as the land of "Thập Nhị Sứ Quân", or the 12 feudal principalities. They constantly fought each other.

 

 Thượng-Ngươn Tứ Chuyển - the Fourth Universal Transmission.


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 10.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 12th November 1948
(Lunar Calendar 12th Day of the 10th month, year of the Mouse)

The Essential, Secret Philosophy of the Religion
What is the Perispirit?

Bần Đạo will continue to preach about the Divine Path to Eternal Life because it contains the most sacred, and truest philosophy regarding our souls.

 

This time we shall meet with the Geniis, Saints, Immortals, Buddhas who compose the ranks of the Perfect Beings, these are our representatives who advocate on our behalf at the Ngọc Hư Cung and the Cực-Lạc Thế Giới.  

 

Today Bần Đạo is speaking about the influence of the philosophies of this Religion. This is in to open an intellectual way for all to follow, for all to understand the truth completely. As Bần Đạo has said, it is a philosophy we have been looking for since the time we have been alive. We have been looking for this noble Path even though it has been right in front of our eyes, yet we have no way to understand this philosophy in order to teach ourselves. For this reason, for a long time now, Bần Đạo has been trying to lead His children onto the True Path; if with all our hearts we listen and search, Bần Đạo says to you honestly, of the true, faultless philosophy Bần Đạo needs to show the most crucial points in order that you may discover for yourself, in order to enter the Cung Diêu-Trì (The Realm of Yin Generation) and in order to find the truth. You have seen the foundation of the true teaching of the Supreme Being at the Golden Basin [Kim Bàn] and at the Bát Quái Đài where the eight levels of souls have appeared. What are their main forms, how do their astral bodies appear? I have already explained this; our perispirit looks like our animal/physical bodies.

 

What is the perispirit? I will discuss this only briefly. It is the khối linh quang (great source of divine light [- because the khối linh quang creates the perispirit]. Its form is like a physical body, which receives our soul. The body we are carrying is a physical-animal body. Bần Đạo has already taken you to see the activities of the forms and constitution of the body. Bần Đạo also took you on the way of the newly born, the forms of a person is a visible animal, forming because of the Divine Consciousness which the Holy Mother created. The mystery of our soul contains two animals, they protect our lives - that is why humanity continues to survive on this planet - not because we are strong and win over all the beings on earth in order to preserve ourselves.

 

Adding up the history of this planet, you will see that this planet Earth from the very beginning has maintained the power to nourish our lives. It has passed through many centuries with many potencies. These protected life strongly. Which ways have they used to protect life? Let us imagine a life and we can see the law of creation as it works. Today things are very cruel. The animals and the birds are strong, they can protect their lives, but humans are becoming weaker. If we want to protect our lives, to survive, how can we do this? We have come to depend on this Khối Sanh Quang (the great source of  vital fluid) in order to create our perispirit, this is the spark of the Supreme Being, we depend on this spark so that human beings can protect themselves. Thankfully, we are unable to destroy this spark. 

 

As we have already seen the whole circle of the universe we must enter the Cung Hiệp-Thiên Hành Hóa in order to see how our guardian spiritual being can protect us in this universal aspect. Furthermore, in the universe you elder brothers and sisters and you younger sisters and brothers, you have seen so many human beings for here. It is not a fixed number but the whole of the universe. And this planet earth… well, if we compare it to the universe we can say that it is not even a village, so how can we say it is a city or a society? And these Perfect Beings who are our guardians, created the form of this planet Earth but it is not transformed yet; this planet earth is like the inside like the moon - it has seven elements, it changes its form, and these forms become the numerous souls amongst us.

 

During the first life of Earth, the Perfected Beings created many geniis, saints, immortals and buddhas. Yes, Bần Đạo has said that the name of this 68th planet earth was formed from very lofty heights, even though this is the lowest planet of the 72! Yet why does it stand at number 68?  It comes last but the name all of us carry is attained by the spiritual position we have at the door of the  Cung Hiệp-Thiên Hành Hóa . Surely, Bần Đạo says to you, our guardians have a special name, an ennobled appellation. Thus we should ask as we enter this realm and see the numerous spiritual beings, 'why are their ranks so lofty and glorious?' Bần Đạo can see that all of you are very surprised. We are curious to find out how our Earth could create these Perfect Beings with their glorious and lofty appellations. I am sure that all of you are curious, as I am and want to know as I do, who created these humans? Kim Cang Buddha had the right at the very begining, already there was the doctrine of the root of the four sufferings (birth, old age, sickness and death). This suffering of birth creates yet another three sufferings. But why are we afraid? Fear can be done wrongly or rightly. We pay attention, we follow-up when we are afraid of suffering so much. The manner of the Perfect Beings who are our guardians at Cung Hiệp-Thiên Hành Hóa  is to instil a little fear. If the fear they inspire can be avoided, then that fear is reasonable, it is scary, but only fear that we are unable to avoid is unreasonable. But the pattern to practise and fill ourselves with honest virtue continues although the soul and the astral body remain lowly which for everyone is the case. All of us observe it in this manner, why do we have to work, why do we have to live here? Why we have to carry the four sufferings? The proof is clearly; we unable to refuse it. The truth is that we must search for the truth of why we are afraid? Bần Đạo has already preached; whether an to an individual, to villagers, to society, or even to all the human beings on this planet all have a karmic account, this karmic account is created because of the law of creation therefore Bần Đạo is leading you, friends, along that path.    

 

We are born on this planet and although we are just out of the womb, we have already undertaken a journey of a thousand lives. The doctrine of Christianity called 'original sin' what can we do with this body we have? We come out of our mother's womb, we cry, and just then we already have all kind of debts, the debts of previous lives, the karmic debts, we don’t know how many kinds of debts. At the door of the spiritual realm the Perfect Beings, who are our guardians hate those karmic accounts, they are afraid that if they are unable to succeed (with their task on our planet) they have to spend million years in the circles of rebirth.

 

They remain constantly at their positions, unable to progress nor go backwards; is there not a debt we must pay in order to find a way to return? When we pay off the mortgage we are richer this is notable isn't it? The debt is crucially important, it is very expensive; whenever we can pay off the mortgage it will be very honourable for us. If we are afraid of paying of our debt from this life then we are like a soldier on the battlefield afraid of death. Such a one has no value at all. We must be victorious on the field if we want to be a general or a hero. For the soldier who is afraid of dying, who goes absent without leave, there is no honour.

 

This 68th planet has a special name among those in the Spiritual Realm, though they say they are wary of it, the Divine Beings come to stay, and those Divine Beings decide on their own victory, they create their position with difficulty, but they become very well honoured, that's the truth. We will never be able to see this clearly but there is one great thing and that is our heavy karmic account, accrued from the distant past until now. How can we pay off this account? Don’t ever let anyone tie up your spiritual conscience, it disables you own spark, it leaves you incapacitated - that would be like carrying a dead body - if we can lift off that rotten body then we can be free, although it is light we are unable to leave it.

 

The situation of being in anguish is to be a human being. Whosoever is a human being will know that one need not describe the activities of a certain animal. Bần Đạo sees that Buddhism calls this animal a Kỵ-Vật that is, an animal which we ride. The philosophy of Buddhism has examples of this - Từ-Hàng Boddhisattva riding the Kim Mao-Hẩu (the yellow holy lion) and the Kim Cang Buddha riding Đề-Thính they thus liberate their lives through honour. This animal makes us responsible for its life, and so it makes us ask it to return. What is the method of how it returns? Well, it must depend on this visible world for its life; this establishes how it makes karmic life - it depends on the society, depends on this planet earth for living and it depends on its own debt, in order that it pays off its debt. When it can attain a lofty philosophy, it will no longer depend on society for living. It decides to be a servant for society, a servant for this planet and so pays off its debt. Whenever it refuses to be a servant for this visible world then the debt remains. The highest philosophy is the life in which we do not live for ourselves but for society, that is; living together on this planet earth. When this becomes possible nobody will be unable to find salvation. We will have a society organised for our liberation from suffering.

  

Bát Quái Đài - the Council of the Great Spirits which heads the Eight States of Soul, the Eight-sided Palace of God's presence, the Eight Trigrams Palace.

 

Bần Đạo -  His Holiness Hộ Pháp Phạm Công Tắc refers to himself throughout as 'Bần Đạo' or 'poor monk'.

 

Cung Diêu Trì  - The Heaven of the Creation under the Mother Goddess. It is a palace located beside The Precious Jewel Lake.

 

Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa Palace of Divine Beings who hold the power to control all human beings in a universe of many planets. The Palace (or department) of the Divine Alliance for preaching (the Way).

 

Cực-Lạc Thế Giới - a paradise of extreme joy.

 

Khối linh quang - great source of divine light.

 

Khối Sanh Quang – great source of a vital fluid

 

Kim Cang Buddha - Vajra-Buddha

 

Kim Mao-Hẩu  - The yellow holy lion.

 

Ngọc Hư Cung - Heavenly Council of Eternal Law , The Court of God, The Council of

God , Divine Jade Palace.

 

Từ-Hàng – the boat of mercy, to cross the sea of sorrows.


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 11.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 4th December 1948
(Lunar Calendar 4th Day of the 11th month, year of the Mouse)

The True Happiness of Human Beings
How to Conquer Suffering.

Before I explain more about the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa we still have one complicated matter to address. That is, the just fight of those souls who have established the Dao. This is the most complicated problem - the problem of human beings and the four sufferings. Those souls coming down to the earth carry their physical body with them, their animal body, which depends upon on the law of progress of souls in order to make particular spiritual positions. But here there is the strongest contradiction - wanting to attain an honorary spiritual position, this means your soul must solve the problem of the four sufferings. Because [your souls] reincarnate in the circle of the four sufferings, we have no way to negate those sufferings. To carry this earthly physical body one must endure the sufferings of the earthly world in order to attain a spiritual position. As the Supreme Being has said  “According to the drama of the law of progress during a lifetime, in dealing with suffering everyone must suffer, except for those souls who can attain immortality, Buddhahood and who dare to have the courage and the power to look directly at these four sufferings, so they may triumph.

 

They have enough ability and determination, but what a pity that the Perfect Beings do not have a great enough power, they just do not have enough ability, even the Divine Beings are afraid. Because want to be perfect they must search for happiness, they search for happiness in the scene of suffering, let us look at these beings; the fish is kept in the fish tank, the bird in the cage, and human beings are kept inside the four sufferings. They are always seeking a method of escape, escaping the prison, escaping the gaol of this universe. Indeed, we are the cage, we are the gaol, that keeps our soul, we are that animal struggling to escape suffering. Even though it cannot escape, it still tries to find a way out.

 

Those souls who reincarnate and carry their physical bodies in this universe and have understood the four noble truths know that they must find a way to escape the suffering, the Divine Law is already established in its own way. We see it in order to understand particularly Bần Đạo who has already understood that drama.

 

The human being is reincarnated in the scene of suffering, or in the gaol, always trying to find what action will lead to the liberation from suffering. Unable to find a way of escaping this suffering, we also find a way to comfort the self, to find a little happiness and untie the sufferings within us. Unfortunately, wanting to find a way out of the gaol it is a shame the sea of suffering is so vast, sometimes we cannot find happiness so we try harder to liberate ourselves from suffering yet and this may only make us more bad karma.

 

Therefore a matter which is not balanced means that those lofty souls also dare not stand up to the four noble truths so that they may find a way of making a little happiness in their lifetime and decrease their suffering.

 

For a moment we should stop walking so we can observe the true happiness of human beings. Is there a way of triumphing over this scene of suffering? What is their happiness in this earthly realm? We should seek this and understand it for it is with finding and understanding we will be able to solve the problem and triumph over suffering. We see that people only have been dreaming. Bần Đạo remembers that in our religion there is a philosophy which is visible and very attractive, very sublime.

 

There was a soul who went to hell. When he paid off his bad karma the king of hell allowed him to ascend for reincarnation. The soul then argued with the king and demanded that he satisfy some requests before the soul accepted the reincarnation.

 

The King of Hell asked this soul what he wanted. The soul replied 'I would like to plead for four things.' He then read out a four-sentence poem.

 

Father Thượng Thơ (High government official). Make my son a Trạng-Nguyên (First rank doctorate of the National Examinations). Around the house one thousand sections of fertile land (worked by) young men and comely girls, a beautiful wife and pretty servants (each as lovely as the others)

 

The King of the Hell said “I’m not sure.” Even if I granted all these things this is still not enough happiness or honour for you. Your father as a Thượng Thơ and your son a Trạng-Nguyên that is your soul wants to be born and become Trạng-Nguyên and also develop the son of a Thượng Thơ. 

 

“I am not sure that the Trạng-Nguyên will become the son of a high government officer who is uncorrupted, virtuous, have a high abilityies, and happiness, as well as show benevolence to the people. If the Thượng Thơ is greedy and dishonest, should he then reincarnate into that house and become his son?”

 

The soul still tried to plead for his requests to be granted, could only be he stressed a mandarin.

 

[The King replied] “If you pass the Trạng-Nguyên exam that is no sign of happiness. A mandarin like Mr Tam-Phuong passed the Trạng-Nguyên exam three times when they were organised by Emperor Minh-Mang. At the age of 14 he had already passed the first of the Trạng-Nguyên exams, but because he was so young he had to wait until he was 20 before he was allowed to serve the Emperor. It is unfortunate then that he passed away at the age of 25. Can we say that Mr Tam-Phương achieved happiness? For sure he did not.

 

“The third sentence of the poem reads, ‘Around the house one thousand sections of fertile land, here the soul is asking for the most fertile land so that he could be rich. But is wealth happiness? At most it is greediness not happiness.

 

“The fourth sentence says: ‘Young men and comely girls, a beautiful wife and pretty servants…' are these the best things in the world? But is this happiness? I am not sure.

 

“And look at these last words '…a beautiful wife and pretty servants (each as lovely as the others)'. A beautiful wife is always a challenge to you, she relies on her charms, she knows she is more alluring than you and because you love her so excessively she confounds your life and maddens your mind. Only the final words 'each as lovely as the others' is something that might make happiness, but I am not sure.”

 

Therefore from the start of the world through until now, everyone has understood that even the king is not sure if he has attained happiness in his lifetime. The sages of Vietnam, and our Confucian philosophy left for us three essential sentences if we wish to establish a nation and want to make happiness for all the people: the people must have three conditions: “Thiên thời, địa lợi, nhơn hòa.” Therefore we try to discover, using these three conditions, for ourselves and for the people a way to liberate souls from suffering.  “Thiên thời, địa lợi, nhơn hòa.”  (Clement weather, favourable terrain, concord among the people)

 

1.       What is Thiên thời?  That is to follow the Divine plan. Heaven has established for us a plan and so we must obey heaven; that is to obey and follow the Dao.  Therefore  Thiên thời  is to obey the Dao which is irrefutable.

2.       What is  Địa Lợi?  That is all the geographical advantages of the country which all people can see. Would the land be sufficient for life? The high elites of our society must think of this sentence. For who has said this sentence? The king and the climate, are unable to enjoy the bounties of the geographical advantage, unless they transform that advantage with people of virtue and talent.

3.       What is  Nhơn Hòa  for? If everyone not in harmony then we move to discord. If discord prevails then war soon comes. Therefore there are three things that can make happiness for people in a nation. But do we have the means to make such happiness? We can, but let us think of how at the present humans are threatened by the Third World War. World war has happened twice, and these two wars have caused the deaths of uncountable numbers of people.

 

Human beings are about to be threatened by a third war, what are we living for if we have to face this possible disaster? Is it that the human being seeking and following their happiness?

 

This is clear proof that all Vietnamese people are seeking happiness, but only in their dreams. This is especially the case with the Hồ Chí Minh government which is seeking happiness in theory, but which has produced nothing. The whole world is starting war again in order to seek happiness for humanity.  Bần Đạo has come to say that I am sure there is no happiness. But there is only those who show off with basic theories in order to escalate the war and kill each other. Two times Great War has failed to address this although they wanted to make peace and happiness for humanity.

 

It is a great shame that the spirit of humanity must carry so much suffering, for sure even if they do not undertake suffering human being do not know how to listen to the voice of the spiritual beings. If they did they could enlighten and correct themselves as they searched for true happiness.

 

People depend upon false happiness. It is no wonder that the great sage Gandhi was assassinated. The sage Dalagadot (?) was also killed by an ill-wisher in order to increase our struggle for life. Of course humans are now undertaking so much suffering it makes us try to find a way to solve the problem of the governing organizations for the spirit and happiness of all humanity. The United Nations was formed but has this organization made peace yet? Again, regrettably, nothing. There are many reasons for this and Garry Davis who has symbolised the spirit of humanity and come to the United Nations to ask can we protect the peace and save humanity? Garry Davis is fighting for this, asking people to follow him but does humanity listen? Yet I, Bần Đạo also listen.

 

According to that oblique theory - the theory of communism - this theory and other theories try to find happiness for humanity, but the more you fight the deeper you enter a vicious circle of violence and there is more suffering for humanity. Just let the people think about it - how can they find true happiness? Next time Bần Đạo will explain further.

  

Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa Palace of Divine Beings who hold the power to control all human beings in a universe of many planets. The Palace (or department) of the Divine Alliance for preaching (the Way).

 

Dalagadot -

 

Địa Lợi – favourable terrain, or all the geographical advantages of the country.

Garry Davis – On 25 May, 1948, in Paris, France, Garry Davis (at the age of 26), a former Broadway actor and US. bomber pilot during World War II, renounced his citizenship of, and allegiance to, the United States of America. At the same time, he publicly declared himself a "citizen of the world."  From that moment on, Davis, was legally "outside" the nation-state system and represented instead the sovereignty of all human beings by becoming an operative for the world-government-in-microcosm. See (http://www.worldgovernment.org/gov.html)

Nhơn Hòa – concord among the people, people’s unity,  when everyone is in harmony.

 

Thiên thời – clear weather, that is to follow the Divine plan. Heaven has established for us a plan and so we must obey heaven; that is to obey and follow the Dao.  Therefore Thiên thời  is to obey the Dao which is irrefutable.

 

Thượng Thơ  - High government official.

 

Trạng-Nguyên - First rank doctorate of the National Examinations.


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 12.- Delivered in the Tây Ninh Holy See on the 5th December 1948
(Lunar Calendar 5th Day of the 11th month, year of the Mouse)

The Power of Protecting the Souls of Human Beings
In the Religion

Tonight Bần Đạo continues to speak of our progress upon the Divine Path to Eternal Life.

 

For the last few days we have stopped over at the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa. This palace is directly related to the souls of human beings. Its operations concern the spirit of the Dạo. We stopped over in order to observe the activities of this palace.

 

There we met the Perfect Beings, that is, those who undertake the crucial responsibility for representing those souls who are being judged ready for salvation.

 

We should ask about the ability of the various religions of the world to save souls. The beings we met at this palace are observing how this salvation takes place in order to construct their souls. So, do these religions have the ability to protect the future development of human souls? We see those perfect beings laugh and say: 'now and then at Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa we invite the founders of the religions of the world to come over to see the judgements passed on the heads of their disciples. That is, they see what and how their disciples have done on the planet earth. Of course, I ask you friends do not be surprised at this.

 

The founders of the various religions - those who established religions that have been based on their teachings and attitudes - have a spirit about them which is grounded in the root nature of humanity. They take the most elemental theories in order to construct a philosophy for their belief systems. For example, Christianity takes love as its fundamental doctrine, whereas Religious Dạoism focuses the body as the basic fundamental, and Islam takes belief as its highest fundamental. Every doctrine has the ability to make a central-point around which it can govern the spirit of humanity in relation to our bad points.

 

Let us consider a person who is genuinely practising Buddhism, but not following the virtue of the Buddha. This virtue is compassion and philanthropy; that is only knowing one thing - a whole life-time dedicated to serving humanity, and the other beings. To seek wealth and elegance, honour and fame, a Buddhist who does this would consider these things as fleeting as the morning dew. Wealth and elegance; the Buddha was born into the family of King Sakymuni but still he gave up everything. Why did he carry a begging bowl? He begged in order to feed the poor and the hungry. He refused to wear clothes that were better than the dispossessed. The virtue of the Buddha is begging. A kind of begging which embodies a spirit that takes it far beyond normal practise. If there is a disciple of Buddhism who takes the basics of begging in order to build a temple, but then just sits there and waits for others to carry over the offerings so he may eat and live, well he is deceiving the psychologies of Buddhist believers. Here is one who takes all of the mysterious and divine teachings of the Buddha and turns it into an instrument to threaten the faithful. These sorts of people only have one way to effect believers and that is to threaten them. They establish a hell of very horrible punishments in order to entice people towards Nirvana. The truth is they never serve beings like the Buddha. When they return to the Divine Realm people like this declare; I am following the objectives of Buddhism - the Buddha has attained Buddhahood therefore I also must attain Buddhahood as he has. By what theory and proof can the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa protect that person when he longs to enter The Paradise of Extreme Joy and The Divine Jade Palace?

 

Let us talk about the heart: when Jesus Christ propagated Christianity in this earthly world he took love as the basic of his faith. Because of his endless love for human beings he said, with his true heart, that he was like an animal who sacrificed himself for the Supreme Being. He asked if he could carry all the sins of humanity in the same way that the scapegoat was sacrificed after being loaded with all the sins of the race (Le Bouc Emissaire). Jesus carried all those sins and undertook to end his life on the cross. In order to save humanity he used his heart of unending love. Thus only he knows how to live with that endless love; only he knows how to live here, for his life was left in the hands of humanity and so he became a sacrificed animal for the Supreme Being and only because of the Supreme Being. That is his truth and so we say His Divine Heart is without end. When his disciples travel back to the Cung Hiệp-Thiên Hành Hóa if they say: I love beings as my Master loved them; I follow the true teaching of my Master who is Jesus Christ; if they say, I also want to offer my whole heart to the Supreme Being then they will be heard. But if their spirit does not love these beings at all; if, on the contrary, they hold the power to forgive humanity on behalf of the Supreme Being and yet turn that power so as to govern the spirit of humanity. If at the door of Hiệp-Thiên Hành-Hóa these disciples say I am following the footsteps of Jesus Christ and am a servant of the Lord preserving the policy of Jesus Christ. That is to offer the heart as a means of liberating humanity from suffering; but if in reality we keep in mind the sublime truth of Jesus Christ then we see these people's actions are nothing. If the  Ngọc Hư Cung and the Cực Lạc Thế Giới ask the Perfect Beings at the  Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa about the actions of these disciples, which are contrary to their master's teachings, what can the perfect beings answer to these two powers Trị Thế (Governing the Earthly World) and the Giác Thế (Awakening the Earthly World)?

 

Now let us mention the mind or intellectual pursuits. Confucianism [Ru Jia] takes the mind as the basis of its doctrine. The intellectual may appear in many guises, using sublime philosophy to make a society - not an easy task. Confucius had to use intelligence in order to cultivate the self. Only with our own self-cultivation are we enabled to posses enough of the power of love required to teach souls. That is to teach humanity how to achieve the fullness of what is good and do so up until the highest level which is perfection. On the opposite side the disciples of Confucius armed with their intellectuality studied much and understood a great deal. They spoke well, they spoke skilfully, using all their noble spirits to talk up a storm, but practising the truth, well no one is able to do this. These people when they returned to the Ngọc Hư Cung and entreated the spirits: 'I have followed the teaching of Confucius to cultivate the intellect. I respected moral behaviour and followed and preserved the rules, therefore I have the right to stand among the ranks of the sage, I should be treated exactly the same as the 36 Sages who followed the master. What is the reason for my return here - to be criticised and refused my entry through the door of Confucianism? What could the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa do? This disciple followed Confucianism, cultivated his intelligence, tried to respect and obey the Master's teachings. Yet in reality he did not practise the way at all. On the contrary he used his intelligence to stir trouble and make society suspicious of itself. In fact he used his intelligence, sitting licking a pen made of cat hairs, inciting people to sue each other. Using literature to make both wife and husband divorce, using mouth and tongue to deceive the uneducated, with the stroke of a borrowed pen he dared to sell the lives of people. Would people like this be recognised by Confucius as his disciples? Certainly, he will not recognise these disciples when carrying out this judgement.

 

Among these three examples I have just mentioned, Bần Đạo is certain of their conclusions. In these instances, the spirits of the founders of these religions are truly dedicated to serving humanity. What a pity it is that the organizations they established to create a real spirit for humanity, with all their thinking, they undertook the suffering of 10 000 hot and bitter regrets. Their lives were spent trying to make something for the world. At the end their teachings made people happy but, on the other hand their doctrines were used as instruments manipulated by those without hearts who took advantage and deceived the spirit of humanity. Instead of making good karma they made bad karma. What a pity! If the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa applied the law “Tội vi Trưởng” (a convention where the head of the family took responsibility for the actions of those in the family) then these founders could not sit peacefully on their lotus thrones. At the door of the Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa is the court of the Divine Beings, there in order to advocate for and to save souls. But if these Beings still have a little earthly mind then how can those founders of the world's religions can sit peacefully, for they have to appear before the court on a constant basis. The followers of these religions instead make more honour for their founders but they create more sins for the world.

 

Earthly explain the truth when they say: no harm done to you can be as bad as the harm caused by your relatives. There is one thing that Bần Đạo has judged and I am most afraid of it. I speak of the religion of the Supreme Being. Take the spirit as your basic element and ask: this spirit of humanity, presently oppressed by a sophisticated and material life, does it have enough strength to protect itself, is that spirit strong enough for it to win? If the spirit of humanity does not stand up and decide itself to be independent of a predestined lot as slave to this material life, what will be the future of the Caodai Religion? Not only must we protect ourselves for victory but we must also protect the true moral direction of humanity by the strong spirit of the Supreme Being. What then will be the future of the world? We should leave this question hanging.

 

There is one thing we must keep our eyes upon, we must see which form the Supreme Being created, and do so in order to preserve that moral spirit of the Dao. We must have a method to follow in order to build a community of beliefs, one which is stable and long-lasting.  

 

Bần Đạo -  His Holiness Hộ Pháp Phạm Công Tắc refers to himself throughout as 'Bần Đạo' or 'poor monk'.

 

Le Bouc Emissaire – a scapegoat

 

Cung Hiệp Thiên Hành Hóa Palace of Divine Beings who hold the power to control all human beings in a universe of many planets. The Palace (or department) of the Divine Alliance for preaching (the Way).

 

Cực-Lạc Thế Giới - a paradise of extreme joy.

 

Giác Thế  - Awakening the Earthly World?

 

Ngọc Hư Cung - Heavenly Council of Eternal Law , The Court of God, The Council of

God , Divine Jade Palace.

 

Tội vi Trưởng - a convention (under Ming Law Codes introduced into Vietnam in 1801) where the head of the family took responsibility for the actions of those in the family.

 

Trị Thế - Governing the Earthly World. 

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