4:40 PMCAODAISM TAUGHT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF DHAKA, BANGLADESH
|Dr. Mohammad Jahangir Alam, Lecturer at the Department of World Religions, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, also a specialist in Caodaism, just informed that his department has approved the Cao Dai religion course to be included in the curriculum for third year students of the M.A program, starting with this academic year 2008-2009. The number of students registered for this course is 35, which is, according to Alam, a small number because the course is new, but hopefully this number will increase in the following academic years based on his estimate and discussion with the students. |
The University of Dhaka in Bangladesh is a public university with an approximate 30 thousands students, divided into 13 faculties, 66 departments and 18 research centers. The Department of World Religions was established in 1999 under the Faculty of Arts and is managed under the leadership of Chairman and Professor Kazi Nurul Islam. The courses at the Department of World Religions include Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Protestantism, Bahaism, Shintoism, and now Caodaism.
Back in July 2002, at the Religious World Conference in Budapest, Hungary, Mr. Canh Tran, President of the Caodai Overseas Missionary, had made a presentation on Caodaism and met Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam, who then invited Mr. Tran to come to his University to explain Caodaism to his students because he found that this new religion is fascinating with its philosophy and doctrine. In March 2003, a delegation of Caodaist followers from the US, Canada and Australia, under the guide of Mr. Canh Tran, came to the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and made a presentation to the professors and students there. This delegation then had the honor to get an audience with the President of the country and his wife, both having an interest to learn more about this new religion in Viet Nam. Since then, Dr. Islam wanted to introduce Caodaism as a new course in the curriculum for his graduate students alongside the other traditional religions. At last, his wish is fulfilled and the Caodaism course is approved to be taught at the third year of the M.A program starting with the academic year 2008-2009. Dr. Mohammad Jahangir Alam and Dr. Kazi Islam are responsible to teach this course. We would like to note here that Dr. Mohammad Alam got his Ph.D certificate with this thesis paper :”The Concept of the Unity in Bahaism and Caodaism: a comparative study”.
The Caodaism course is taught for the whole year with the following subjects :
1. Historical roots of Caodaism
2. The establishment of Caodaism
3. Philosophy of the new Faith
4. Beliefs and Practices of Caodaism
5. Concept of God in Caodaism
6. Unity of Mankind and Unity of Religion
7. Doctrine and Rituals of Caodaism
8. Different sects of Caodaism
The course is taught in English with documentation provided by the Cao Dai Overseas Missionary. Dr. Islam and Alam both are in close contact with Mr. Canh Tran who gives them advice in building the Caodai curriculum.
Prof. Alam also informed that the renowned research magazine “Philosophy and Progress” in Bangladesh has published an article entitled “Caodai Understanding of God” in its publication of September 2008.
To assist their students to understand more about this new religion, Dr. Islam and Dr. Alam both have a wish that they could visit with some students the Caodai Holy See in Tay Ninh, Viet Nam, meet with the dignitaries there and see Caodai with their own eyes. Mr. Canh Tran is working to fulfill this wish.
Bangladesh, November 2008
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