Vietnam is known as a predominantly Buddhist nation. Over 90% of the local Vietnamese people practice Buddhism, many as a part of their daily lives. However, close to Da Nang is a temple which is dedicated to a less than mainstream religion, the religion of Cao Dai.
Cao Dai originated in Vietnam some time during the early part of the 1920s. Cao Dai is a religion which takes aspects from many other religions, from both the east and west, and combines them into a unified belief system. Additionally, the patron saints of the Cao Dai faith are all based on various figures from a variety of cultures, such as Lenin, William Shakespeare and Joan of Arc. Cao Dai is a fairly small religion, with only around one and a half million followers throughout the world. The Cao Dai Temple in Da Nang is the second largest in Vietnam. The temple houses several important representations of key religious figures including those of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. The temple was constructed in 1956, to be an exact replica in all but size of the Tay Ninh Temple. There are three themes within the temple, and these follow the doctrine that; heaven and human are in harmony, all religions are the same and genuine meditation has no self. Visitors to the Cao Dai Temple may like to arrive just before one of the four daily prayer sessions. These take place at 6am, noon, 6pm and midnight. The Cao Dai is open to the public, but as with any religious site open to visitors throughout Vietnam, you are requested to treat the temple and the people within it with respect. The Cao Dai is one of the more unique experiences which Da Nang has to offer, and definitely worth visiting if you have any interest in the diverse cultures of Vietnam and South East Asia in general.