K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

Important Announcement about Online Courses and LEARN NC.

Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

About this photograph

Margery H. Freeman
Date created
May 1997
Tay Ninh, Vietnam
This photograph copyright ©1997. Terms of use

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Carved animals on ceiling in Cao Dai temple at Tay Ninh

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Animal figures are carved around a light fixture on the ceiling of the Cao Dai temple at Tay Ninh. Visible here are a turtle, representing longevity, a phoenix-like bird, representing nobility, and a protective lion dog. The animal forms and the surrounding carved cloud forms are typical of Vietnam’s Chinese-influenced art.

This elaborate temple, located about 60 miles northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, was constructed between 1933 and 1955.

Cao Dai is a relatively new religion created in the 1920s by Vietnamese spiritualists who drew upon, and added to, ideas from the four most influential religious philosophies in Vietnam: Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and Christianity.

Most Vietnamese identify themselves as Mahayana Buddhists, but their religious life is replete with popular Chinese and indigenous animist elements. Almost ten percent of Vietnamese identify themselves as Roman Catholics, a legacy of French colonial missions. Cao Dai is now the third most popular religious affiliation in Vietnam with about seven million members. Tens of thousands of Cao Dai followers live in other nations, including the United States.

“Cao” literally means “high,” while “Dai” means “tower,” “palace,” or “abode.” The combined verbal image is used to represent both a heavenly place and a Supreme Being envisioned as creating all religions and beings on the earth. The visual symbol used by Cao Dai followers for this Supreme Being is an all-seeing eye.

Cao Dai’s founder, Ngo Van Chieu, had a vision that the union of East and West, religious and secular philosophies would lead to a more peaceful and tolerant world. The French writer Victor Hugo was among the Westerners particularly admired as saints by Cao Dai founders. His likeness appears in their temples along with images of Chinese nationalist leader Sun Yat Sen and honored Vietnamese poets. The temple also displays images of the Daoist poet Lao Tze, Confucius, Buddha, and Jesus.

Vietnam’s new inclusive faith rapidly attracted a national following, so it gradually became perceived as a threat by the French government, the Catholic Church, the Communists, and the South Vietnamese regime. After the North Vietnamese Communists won the Vietnam War in 1975, the Cao Dai religion was heavily persecuted, but it continued underground and spread with those who fled the country to other parts of the world. Since the Vietnamese government agreed to accept it in 1997, it is practiced openly again, with regular ceremonies at the main temple near Ho Chi Minh City.