Updated 2012-08-20 10:51:06

(Reported by Le Van Tua, Vienna April 3rd, 2012) – Translated by T. Em

Monday March 26th, 2012, thirteen delegates of Cao Dai Overseas Missionary, under the lead of Student-Priest Ngoc Canh Thanh (Tran Quang Canh), came to the University of Vienna in Austria to introduce the Cao Dai Religion to about 40 lecturers and students of the Department of Theology and Asian Religions. Professor Doctor Hans Gerald Hoedl, Dean of the Department of Religions and Professor Doctor Lukas Pokorny, Lecturer of Asian Religions at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland warmly welcomed the delegation and guided the delegates around the University campus and made a tour to the libraries of the Department of Religions. Professor Hoedl showed the delegates a dictionary of World Religions which is written in German and was published in 1990. Then, he introduced another book on different religions’ philosophies, which was published in 2007. In the two books above, Cao Dai religion is briefly mentioned.

The presentation session on Cao Dai  lasted from 6 p.m to 8 p.m even though it was supposed to last only for an hour and a half. The agenda was as follows:

·         Speaker introduction (Student-Priest Ngoc Canh Thanh) by Professor Lukas Pokorny.

·         Presentation on philosophy, history and organizational structure of Cao Dai Religion by Student-Priest Ngoc Canh Thanh.

·         A short video of Tay Ninh Holy See and some activities of the Sacerdotal Council

·         Questions and Answers

·         Souvenir presentation to Professor Hoedl and Professor Pokorny.

The introduction session was in English as all attendants can speak English very well even though their first language is German. There are currently more than 90 thousand students at the University of Vienna which is the oldest university in the European Community. The university has 180 departments and the department of Religions itself has more than 2.000 students.

After the introduction session came the questions and answers which focused on spiritism, current activities of Cao Dai religion in Vietnam and overseas, social activities of the Religion. Especially, there was one question about the Judgement Day.

The introduction session was very successful as some students afterwards expressed their interest in choosing the topic of Cao Dai Religion for their Master and Doctoral thesis.

This was the first time after almost half a century that the Cao Dai Sacerdotal Council had sent a delegation to introduce the Religion in foreign countries. His Eminence Cardinal Thuong Tam Thanh, Chairman of the Sacerdotal Council, received an invitation from Professor Doctor Hoedl to introduce the religion. However, he was too busy with religious work and decided to nominate Student-Priest Ngoc Canh Thanh, on behalf of the Sacerdotal Council to take the trip and make presentation on his behalf.

The Delegation of Cao Dai religion’s Overseas Missionary on their way to the University of Vienna.

Professor Doctor Pokorny was introducing the agenda and the speaker to the audience.

Attendants at the presentation session

Student-Priest Ngoc Canh Thanh was introducing the religion to the audience.

General view of the audience at the presentation

Professor Doctor Pokorny was questioning.

A student was raising a question.

Student-Priest Ngoc Canh Thanh was presenting a souvenir to Professor Hoedl.

Student-Priest Ngoc Canh Thanh was presenting a souvenir to Professor Pokorny

Student-Priest Ngoc Canh Thanh was interviewed by a reporter from the Austrian National Television

A warm dinner with Professor Pokorny