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.

Green Coconuts and Two Six Packs

Posted: February 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

by James C. Stephens


Sunday, May 18, 1975

old-dole-pineapple-and-surfer-posterToday I experienced swimming in the Hawaiian Pacific Ocean. What a beautiful warm experience. The water is remarkably clear and has so many shades of blue. We picked some coconuts. The greens are no good, but we didn’t know that. Boy did I get sunburned, the Hawaiian Sun is really intense. After Gongyo tonight Scott and I walked down the parade route and bought a couple of six packs, came home, drank a beer and crashed.

Monday, May 19, 1975

Roof day for me today. Luckily there was a good breeze blowing. But my sunburn got worse, even without taking my shirt off. Well enough of the Hawaii stuff. My Human Revolution today was again following and also digging it so much. In one way it is so much or so gratifying to encourage members from anywhere. It makes working and living together so much easier. Though a lot about my future today. I really hope the Gohonzon gives me the training I need to run an outstanding district and also to excel in my field.

Tuesday, May 20, 1975

Worked hard on Hawaiian TCD hut all day.

Wednesday, May 21, 1975

Today we hear that Rejicho went to the Art Warehouse in L.A. and was so impressed by the work that he is going to have put up a big neon sign saying NSA Productions and an IBL Flag. (International Buddhist League). How groovy!

We now have project chiefs which are like hanchos and project foreman which are like chikubuchos.

Tonight I talked to Mike Hayes for a long time. I don’t know if it was my place or time to do it but I talked to him about an incident with the broom and dirt today. I pray that it encourages him. Goodnight. >1 hr. dmk.

Thursday, May 22, 1975

Greg put me first on the Tobon list for the NSA Warehouse. Great benefit. Dan Pardo was my assistant. We stayed up all night together protecting the warehouse. We talked about many things, many things. He told me the next day that he was so glad that we had talked because it had encouraged him since he had been on a big bummer jut before we talked. He told me also that Russ Dilando the guy who shakubukued me was bummed out because many of his old members were onshitsuing him. He, RD, said that my call to him was in perfect timing and it made him feel better. Anything I could ever do for Russ makes me feel good. I really respect and love him deeply as a friend and leader.



Gongyo: Chapter and a half of the Lotus Sutra chanted five times each morning and thre times in the evening.

Gohonzon: Object of worship inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin.

TCD: Traffic Control Division.

Rejicho: General Director of Nichiren Shoshu Academy, aka Soka Gakkai,  Mr. George M. Williams.

IBL: International Buddhist League.

Hanchos: Small Group Leader

Chikubucho: District Leader

Tobon: Guard Duty carried out by Young Men’s Division (YMD).

Shakubuku: Sharing the Buddhist faith with another, literally means “Tearing and crushing.”

On’shitsu: Thinking or uttering slanderous thoughts about another believer.

by James C. Stephens


May 14, 1975 Wednesday

We, meaning the advance crew arrived at about four o’clock this afternoon in Hawaii. After arriving we received a briefing from Mr. Jackson and Mr. Hirama on the great importance, the significance, and responsibility of participating in this Pre-Bicentennial Convention. They both said it really looks impossible at this time, but they really feel that we can reply to President Ikeda and Mr. William’s dreams. We were also give strict Tozan Spirit guidance.

After dinner we worked at the (the old Dole Pineapple)warehouse and boy am I tired right now! Will continue tomorrow.

 Chanted 1 hour. 12:15 AM

May 15, 1975 Thursday

Got up early and chanted a vigorous Gongyo with my four roommates: Mike Hayes, Scott Avery, Philip Louis and Scott Ferguson.

Afterwards we went to the warehouse and cleaned the remaining sections. Last night we swept and hosed and broomed all the floors. What a big warehouse!

We built the lunch benches for the meals we will have at lunch and dinner each day. What a groovy meal room.

Human Revolution’s intensity is definitely on the rise. (chanted about 1 hour today.

Tired. Goodnight. 2:55 AM.

May 16, 1975-Friday

Chanted an hour today. Learned a lot of valuable lessons today. I went through a wringer of an obstacle following one guy. He is a carpenter and very impertinent with me. Well, I must learn how to cheerfully follow, no matter what.

Before we left for the hotel I was just trying to keep my mouth shut and grow up. I did a lot of self on-shitsu and pity. I hate when I go through that obstacle, it just makes me frustrated with myself.

I’m no better than anyone else in NSA. We’re equal. I must learn to enjoy being with all sorts of people and not feel uncomfortable or make them feel that way.

I must become happy builder of unity among people and find my nitch of personality. Some people have a lot of humor. What my trait is I don’t know too well. 1 hour daimoku.

May 17, 1975-Saturday

Built tables for saws today. Sent a postcard to Shibucho. Remember the guy I had trouble with yesterday? Well, I got what I chanted for-another chance to work with him. Now we’re becoming much closer friends. Funny how unity makes things more fun to do.

Went to a nightclub and had a beer with some Portland members.