When one thinks of the phrase "Cao Dai," they will associate it with a political group involved in protest of French rule in Vietnam, if they have ever heard of it at all. In actuality, while Cao Daiists did play a part in these protests, Cao Dai is a primarily indigenous Vietnamese religion that encompasses many other world religions but is also extraordinarily unique in its belief system and practices. Cao Dai was officially founded through a medium session in 1926 by Ngo Van Chieu (a.k.a. Ngo Minh Chieu), an official of the French colonial administration that was widely read in both Eastern and Western religion with a particular interest in spiritism (Ellwood). One of the main points of Cao Daiism is that it was founded by God (Dai Dao) himself, unlike other religions, who Cao Daiists believe were founded by men. In the past, God has sent His message via prophets and messengers.
He sent His word to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. Before that he gave the world his son Jesus Christ who had a direct communication with God. And after attaining "supreme enlightenment" Sidhartha Sakyamuni (today known as "the" Buddha) gave man the Dharma he could not conceive before (Do 15). However, as Cao Daiists believe, God saw the violence and hatred throughout the world that not only was not solved by religions founded by people he had sent a message to, but actually because of these religions. This did not sit well with God. So, while practicing a medium session on April 24, 1926, Chieu received the following divine message: Formerly, people lacked transportation and therefore did not know each other. I then founded at different epochs and in different areas, five branches of the Great Way: Religion of Humanity, Geniism, Christianity, Taoism and Buddhism,