Nambodia Post 5 – The Cao Dei Temple

I have had a couple thoughts swirling around since my last post but the past couple of days have not lent themselves to organize them.

Here’s a little bit:

On Saturday, we spent an incredible day in Long Xuyen. We visited another pagoda, this time a Cao Dai Temple. Cao Dai is a fairly new eastern religion that combines Buddhism, Confucianism, the teachings of Jesus, and meshes them together for what they call this new, third period of existence. You can read more here.

The first thing that stuck out at me is the structure in front of the pagoda that had numerous swastikas. I know they are everywhere in the East, from temples to farms and it is a symbol for Buddhism and “good fortune” but I haven’t been able to shake the connotation that I bring to it.

Inside the pagoda is extremely colorful. Of the ones we have seen, it was the most spacious, cleanest, most colorful and there was a picture of Jesus in it. His face sat third under Buddha and Confucius. Whether it be Islam or wherever, Jesus tends to pop up in various places and I have always found that interesting.

I wish I had more time to import and post pictures but I am a couple posts behind and time is not on my side (But I was able to read NT Wright’s Last Word on the 6 hour boat ride to Cambodia. It was pretty cool to see the countryside from that way).

As far as the practical things go, aside it from being extremely hot, I’ve been feeling fine. And for the most part, everyone else is too. We are eating a lot and often, walking quite a bit, and we haven’t had any real bad moments as a group (but the night is young … ;-)

I hope to post soon on our worship service at the Protestant church, the talent show at the school, more of the conversations that we had with the students and our first day in Cambodia.  Tomorrow we visit the Killing Fields Memorial amongst a number of other memorials.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, grace to you.


  1. I’m enjoying the updates on your trip. Interesting that the Cao Dei people have formalized western pluralism. Sounds like a unity church over here, but with extra-gaudy decor.

  2. I watched a piece on Cao Dei in that video we showed in class for our presentation. I thought it was pretty interesting. Keep the updates coming!

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