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Full Circle

Day 85: Saigon to Tay Ninh

Michael Palin - Full CircleWe are on our way north from Saigon, heading for the town of Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, in search of an international religion found only in Vietnam. It's called Caodaism and its secrets were revealed to a minor official in the French administration called Ngo Van Chieu at a seance in 1921. Through Ngo Van Chieu God made known his 'third alliance with mankind', which turned out to be a fusion of existing western and eastern religions - Roman Catholicism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. This eclectic ecumenical grouping was based on direct psychic communication with great figures of world history and at times Descartes, Pasteur, Joan of Arc, Lenin and even Shakespeare have been contacted (though Shakespeare has not been heard of since 1935). The most regular visitor has been Victor Hugo, who was honoured for his availability by being made spiritual chief of Foreign Missions (which have so far extended only as far as Cambodia, forty miles away).
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 85
  • Country/sea: Vietnam
  • Place: Tay Ninh
  • Book page no: 124

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