North Vietnamese troops have begun concentrating forces near the South Vietnamese town of Tay Ninh, fifty miles (80 kms) north-west of Saigon and close to the border with the Khmer Republic.
GV & SV Troops on Highway 22 beside dead North Vietnamese soldier (2 shots)
GV PAN Camp on outskirts of city
CU, GV & SVs South Vietnamese troops inspect weapons and sandbagging (5 shots)
GV Barbed wire surrounding camp.
GV Street scenes in Tay Ninh showing barbed wire in street (4 shots)
LV & GV Caodai temple (2 shots)
SV INT Priest lights candles (2 shots)
SVs & GVs Service in progress with chanting (5 shots)
SVs Children look at Eye symbol (2 shots)
SV & GV Service in progress (5 shots)
MV Tanks and armoured vehicles through city street
GVs Tanks on outskirts of city (2 shots) and across fields
Initials BB/1524 PK/DW/BB/1546
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Background: North Vietnamese troops have begun concentrating forces near the South Vietnamese town of Tay Ninh, fifty miles (80 kms) north-west of Saigon and close to the border with the Khmer Republic.
But as the war nears them, members of an old religious sect, the Caodaists, are carrying on preaching their strange mixture of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity.
A Key point in the defences of the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon, Tay Ninh is the headquarters of the sect, whose adherents claim to control their own part of the country.
The sect at one time had its own army, but today it is part of the South Vietnamese forces.
Adherents of the sect have their own "pope" and a main cathedral known as "La Grande Pagode". Their saints include Joan of Arc and Winston Churchill.
The official Caodai service is held at noon, with an individual service at midnight. During the service, a band and chorus play and sing religious chants.
Symbol of the sect is an "Allseeing eye", which is mounted above the alter on a globe and also outside on the pagoda walls.
In the midst of the ravages of war, followers of the sect still vow to follow five interdictions....the first of which is not to kill living beings.
SYNOPSIS: Troops of the South Vietnamese Army patrolling Highway 22 find mute evidence of the activities of the North Vietnamese as skirmishes near the town of Tay Ninh increase. The town is a key point in the defence of Saigon, and is increasingly coming under North Vietnamese attention. Ambushes have been sprung and the highway mined as guerrilla activity grows in the surrounding ricefields and forests.
Tay Ninh, fifty miles northwest of Saigon, is close to the border with the Khmer Republic. As the North Vietnamese begin concentrating forces in the area, the town's defences are being strengthened.
But in the midst of all the signs of war which have sprung up in the streets of Tay Ninh, there is a haven for the followers of a strange religious sect, which once controlled this part of the country. They are known as Caodaists, and Tay Ninh is their headquarters. In a magnificent cathedral known as "La Grande Pagode", they hold daily services that are based on ways of life hundreds of years old. They preach a strange mixture of Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity.
The official Caodai service is held at noon, with a band and chorus playing and singing religious chants.
Symbol of the sect is an "allseeing eye" which is mounted above the altar on a globe and also outside on the pagoda walls.
In the midst of the ravages of war, followers of the sect still vow to follow five interdictions...the first of which is not to kill living begins. The adherents have their own "pope", and among their saints are Joan of Arc and Winston Churchill. By use of a magic pen, they claim to be continuing Churchill's writings after death. And as the rumble of tanks sounds throughout the city and across the fields, they continue their search for the serenity of mind that their religion offers them.