by James C. Stephens


August 11, 1975

Last night I went out with Terri Seward an old friend. Just before I left ________called and we talked for awhile. I got along well with Terri. We had coffee and dessert crepes at Magic Pan in Beverly Hills and a very good conversation. We headed home about 12:00. I had a very good time.

August 20, 1975

_____________ came by the day after I went out with Terri. I went through some strange changes. _________ came up to me, so beautiful, so fresh to me. I can’t believe how happy I was to see her. We walked to the park, we talked. She told me a lot had changed in 3 months. I really love you Jim. _________’s nothing. You did so much more. So our conversation went from light to the heavy. We headed for the apartment. I couldn’t make love to her. Terri was in my mind and the past I was willingly leaving behind.

Strangely, she became very jealous when I mentioned Terri. I don’t know what possessed me to bring her up. Possibly my feeling of vengeance or sincerity. Anyway it was very destructive. She left very depressed, what I said to console her made no difference. Well I though a lot after that. I became very depressed. I called her back a day later and she finally made a decision to move to Northern California with her sister. I apologized, she explained that she was in love with me and she cried on the way home. She promised to come over before she left. I called her up and no answer, her mom said she was leaving at 10:00 that evening. 9:30 no ________. I took a walk out front. Then I called Terri. She doesn’t mean that much to me. Intellectual head trips. So what she’s smarter about geography. What’s that mean to me? ____________didn’t come by. I cried myself to sleep as I was exceedingly depressed. I’m in love with her. She called in the morning. What a beautiful call. ‘I’m leaving at 1:00. Hurry over ________. Okay.

“Stay on the phone while I do my packing.”

“Hurry.”

She came. She gave me a picture of her boys.  She hugged me as only she can. She left plants for me to take care of. I gave her my lei made by little Laurie in Hawaii. We talked, we made love, so comfortable together, we wrestled. I miss her warmth.



This is an embarrassing section as I have been happily married now for nearly forty years, have three children, and two grandchildren. But again, to stay true to my title, raw “Journal of a Young Buddhist Radical.”

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by James C. Stephens


June 29, 1975

Well, its been awhile since I’ve written to you. A lot has been happening. Maybe I should tell you what happened last night. One of my members got sick. Mike Hayes about 3:00AM. I slept like a log though in the other room and found our from one of my other roommates that he was taken to the hospital. He’s okay.

 

Wednesday, July 3, 1975

Almost impossible for me to write in my diary. I can’t explain the changes I’ve been going through. Around June 30, I was switched from construction crew to “Buyers”.  Mr. Williams walked in while I was TCD at the front door. Health. Fortune.

 

Thursday, July 4, 1975

Lecture by General Director Williams on Diamond Unity based upon the Rissho Ankoku Ron* written 499 years ago. Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, 50 years after he signed the Declaration of Independence.  Only Kosenrufu will be obtained with greatest passion. Rissho means the establishment of justice and Ankoku means pacification of the land through establishment of the true faith.

700 years ago we entered the era of Shoho. So many years have passed, disasters, many people dying, shortage of food, earthquakes, typhoons, wars. Today even such miseries in Northern Ireland and Vietnam.

Met Gilmore Ching, Alfie Pagala, Wilfred Tsuda, Minoru Tamura, Richard Akisada, and Craig Tachibana.

No additions to diary–working 20 hour days towards success of the Hawaii Convention. Little or no time to self. Left Hawaii in August.

by James C. Stephens


Friday, June 6, 1975

About 2:00 AM last night Mike Hayes and I got a call from Mr. Murie. In the morning we were to meet at 8:00 o’clock to do gongyo with Rejicho. So about 15 of the stage crew met with Mr. Williams to do gongyo at the Control Center. After an incredibly strong gongyo he talked to us about our health and how important it was to get energy from nature by exercise. He then gave us a Spanish lesson and read President Ikeda’s guidance for June 6, 1975. He said, no matter what criticism we may endure or no matter what flattery we may receive, let’s keep going ahead with the Gakkai spirit.

President Ikeda’s Daily Guidance: “No matter how we’re criticized let’s carry on. We know glory and victory await us in the course of our persistent struggle.”

Afterwards whawaii-outrigger-canoee had some rolls and coffee, then headed for the beach. We rode in outrigger canoes. What a gas! Then Rejicho came out and we gathered round him. He seemed very serious today. But I picked up on his incredible Ichinen for the success for this convention. He was looking all round this Bay with binoculars. I wonder what goes on in his great mind?

We rode in a catamaran also. What a gas. While riding his man who sailed this boat told us that July is known for big surf. And we had better really pray for something.

We’ll be taking performers to the Island in these catamarans.

A great experience with Mr. Williams.

Got a bad sunburn–used some Hawaiian herb on it and it. Works wonders.

Saturday, June 7, 1975

Helped finish the backdrop for tonight’s General Meeting! However, I got a tremendous benefit. I’m toban to protect the warehouse tonight.

Last night while treating my sunburn with that special succulent herb I talked to the warehouse nurse Bill. A very  encouraging talk about his district’s growth from nothing to a real dynamite district.

Finally caught up with my diary a bit!

My resolution is to work much harder than ever to create more fortune for my future, family and district. I must struggle each moment. I’m going for broke.

Imua!

Friday June 20, 1975

Wow. I could not begin to believe that 13 days have passed since I last wrote in my journa. Time passes so quickly.

I have been realizing a whole helluva a lot about myself. The groovy thing is it feels like I am changing many things on the spot.

My strong pride has come out many times, you know-the I’m right feeling. Uptightness.

Tuesday, June 24, 1975

Lately I have been experiencing some of the greatest feelings I have experienced in my life.



Ichinen: Life force.

Rejicho: General Director

Toban: Guard

by James C. Stephens


Wednesday, June 4, 1975

Cut some more pealee grass today out in the country. Got Scott to come along by telling Dale he needed to get out of the warehouse. Had a good time, especially the dip in the ocean afterwards, pants and all. Worked til 1:00 AM.

Thursday, June 5, 1975

Went to bamboo forest at 9:00 this morning to get 3,000 more feet to finish off the rest of our projects. The ranger rode in our van. I guess re’s really a heavy guy being personally responsible for us to move the island to Waikiki. He told us all about plants and their history on our way to the bamboo forest. He us about the volcanoes and how they flow into the area and create deep holes on the big Island. He cautioned us not to wander into the grass. This once was a volcanic area and the lava burned out trees and their root system and this left big holes in the ground. People disappear every year into these death traps. Wow!

After we got back, right before dinner I was told I and about 7 other guys were going to zadankai meetings. All right!

Well, I ate and headed back to the hotel. My roommate (Scott Avery) and I proceeded to get into a yell out. Woo! Mr. Murie said a lot of tension was in the air. He said some thing that really hurt, but strangely I really picked something out from it which is really true about my nature. He said, “Can’t you be just one of the guys?” That is what I’ve been chanting about for several months. I believe this will change for the better.

I found myself giving guidance. Again my arrogant nature. This MUST CHANGE! And WILL!

At the discussion meeting tonight of Cam Chapter I really felt this was a new beginning of my practice. I had a very different attitude at this meeting. This time rather than criticizing the meeting inside, I really was digging what NSA was all about. People. Scott and I really dug the meeting and the people. Of course it was such a trip all these different people chanting.

Afterwards we had coffee with Mr. Tamara and his daughter and a YMD leader. It was such a refreshing experience for my practice. I got my first Hawaiian ley at this meeting.

       by James C. Stephens



Sunday, June 1, 1975

Cut Peelie Grass today in the countryside at a site which Hawaii, the film was made. Afterward we made a stop at a beautiful beach and went swimming in our pants. What a gas!

Monday, June 2, 1975

Everybody went out cutting bamboo except for our crew, “the minutemen” and some engineers. Then Mr. Kikumura stopped by and looked everything over.

The convention is going through some heavy obstacles. First the floating island has to pass the Environmental Protection Agency’s foray. Then if it doesn’t it goes to a public hearing and 300 interest groups have to pass some type of judgment on the project. Next, the Coast Guard requires a life jacket, not just any one, but a coast guard approved life jacket for every person on the vessel. Well we can’t just rent them, because they don’t. We can’t buy them-$60 a piece would be insane. We can’t borrow them from the Navy because they’re not Coast Guard approved. Then again we can’t borrow them from the Coast Guard because their life jackets are not Navy approved. Then of course there is the weather. The surf has to be absolutely perfect. If it’s too high during a certain time of day then it can’t be moved in all day, because the tide is high enough to get the island (the floating stage we called an island) through the channel only once a day.

Sancho Shima continues! But fortunately so does the daimoku!

Sunday June 3, 1975

Today I went through some heavy human revolution. I really saw very clearly through my crew chief where I was at as far as one aspect of my character. My crew chief Mike Strawbinger from San Diego is really far out. I like him and admire his sincerity and never die spirit. Just over two weeks past we have been getting close as friends. The I noticed myself getting really bossy and taking advantage of his trust. What a drag! But that’s one of my big problems. Then he said a couple of words to me and consequently I went through a heavy change, walked in and chanted daimoku.

I felt really bad about the way I was especially after chanting the length of time I have. As I was very upset and could not hold back the tears for treating such a nice person the way I did. I chanted and chanted. I walked out of the daimoku room drying my eyes. I then ran into Mike who introduced me to one of his friends from San Diego. I exchanged greetings with him and then left for the bathroom and ran into one of my Hawaiian friends and smiled and hurried fro the bathroom. I locked myself in one of the toilet stalls and just freaked. Then I walked to go back to work and my head cho Dick Robido asked me how I was. I told him not too hot. Then we walked outside and around the block. We had an extremely encouraging talk. Our natures are really kenzoku. I told him I have an extreme pride and its hard for me to admit I’m wrong at times. One trait has held me back from developing good friends. It became crystal clear what it was during such an experience. This convention will definitely break it, I’m confident of this!

by James C. Stephens


Friday, May 30, 1975

Well today is my fifth anniversary since I received my Gohonzon. What a day! The Human Revolution was definitely hot and heavy!

I made some resolutions pertaining to my practice in next five years. The next five years have to be my fortune building years with a consistent hard practice. I must study hard. I must graduate college and also become a professor in Buddhism. Definitely must somehow get close to all of my leaders and to General Director Mr. Williams. In my 6 year of practice my goal from August is 60 shakubuku. 5 a month for one year. I must really develop my life to show the power of the Gohonzon to Young Men’s Division and potential YMD in Los Angeles. In 1975-1976 I must become an outstanding member of the Liaison Division. I know inside that if I don’t fight really hard I don’t feel the courageous and victorious feeling I really desire. My Bodhisattva nature doesn’t come out as predominately is what I mean to say.

Saturday, May 31, 1975

Today GMW came to the warehouse. What a great benefit. First we cheered and and rushed around him and his guest then proceeded to do a vigorous! Gongyo! After Gongyo he talked about his tour to Panama. After that we went back to work. Then Mr. Williams came by each project and showed a special guest, the author, the warehouse. He was very impressed. The first stop was our hut then the movie hut. They breezed through- afterwards Rejicho dawned an apron and worked on several projects.

herbie-hancock

At one particular project he worked at with Herbie Hancock and my member Scott Ferguson showed Rejicho what was happening since Herbie didn’t know. That made my evening complete. Then to top it off he came by our hut again and came up to me shook my hand and asked me what I was making. I explained what the bamboo panel was for. He then saw that I forgot one nail hole. He nailed it all down and when he tried to pick it up he discovered it was nailed to the floor. We all laughed together and as soon as he finished we clapped for him. What a far out man!

by James C. Stephens


bamboo-forest

Friday, May 23, 1975

Came home around 12:30 daytime after Toban and showered, slept for about 3 hours. Went back to the warehouse, ate and got back to work. One of my dreams definitely came true tonight. When I was a young boy we used to travel to the beach; and on our way I always saw this little thatched Hawaiian type grass hut and I used to hear this song, “Little Grass Shack.” Well tonight I was taught by the grooviest Hawaiian Women’s division Helen, Margaret and Lizzie how to weave palm leaves. What a gas!

They’re becoming my good friends.

Saturday, May 24, 1975

Today we worked our bodingas off. Our crew is really uniting. Last night my project chief Mik Strawbinger and Dan  Pardo came over and we talked over a couple of beers then some cafe ole. Got to bed around 3:00.

We had a daimoku campaign in our group today and really got a lot accomplished. We switched off chanting about 20 minutes a piece. I must have chanted around an hour and a half today. I needed it too. I took my temperature and it was about 100 degrees and of course it made things a taste uncomfortable, but the daimoku saw me through the day.

I talked to one guy named Joel, a black guy and really had an incredible talk about racism and political activity. Very interesting talk.

Sunday, May 25, 1975

Had a mother of a tug-o-war. First our crew lost, got the most rope and were set. Next time we got set evenly and what a fight. We pulled and growled and fought. Finally in a last ditch effort we united to Wa-shoi and pulled the other team over the line and we claimed victory!

Tuesday, May 27, 1975

Went through mucho human revolution today. Carpentry puts me through changes like Brass Band training.

I understand that in a memo on the ABC campaign that this convention determines the success or failure of NSA. To me that is a very heavy responsibility for all of us. In a way I’m really scared for Mr. Williams. That’s why I am determined to try my damnedest to support anyone I have to follow, happily!

This afternoon during the height of my frustration with our Tiki hut, Mr. Murie had bought three big 5 gallon containers of ice cream and fudge. Perfect time, it made everybody relax and made it easier to go back to work joyfully.

Wednesday, May 28, 1975

This morning did Gongyo and instead of chanting for just my own shoga, I thought more of taige. Our group, headed by Mike Strawbinger; Mike Tamani, Dana Weeks, and Jo Michaelburger and myself all got to go to the Bamboo forest to cut 1000 stocks of Bamboo for the Polynesian village. Like a dream come true. So beautiful being inside a bamboo forest. Incredible feeling of serenity, but at the same time adventure. And what a view from the trail of the ocean wow!

Only one bad incident. Not really bad, but it put a perspective on why we were in this forest cutting the bamboo. One collegiate type guy with a mustache, beer in hand came walking down the trail emitting the worst possible vibes. Telling us how screwed we were for cutting down the bamboo, his friends for world peace. Jesus never intended this. A totally arrogant attitude that my words can not express. He asked me if we had a permit and I asked him if was a park ranger. He said, “Yes.”  I said, “Yes, we do. Talk to the man up by the trucks. Well later I went up on top and told Andy Hirama, Mr. Hirama’s son the details he told me.

“See that man?” referring to a gentlemen sitting on the ground watching the proceedings taking place. “That’s the park ranger.” Well, I really had a laugh.