James C. Stephens


 

Thursday, April 15, 1971

About 3:30 this morning we had a 3.5 earthquake. Really strange…I got back my gov’t test-got a D, as in Despicable, and then had a talk with Professor Machado. I shakubukued[1] him. Now I must really shakubuku him through better grades and class participation…I studied for my Man’s religions exam but fell asleep, in the library. That seems to be a real problem with me, I use it as an escape…Today I have a new determination to advance on my clarinet and in my studies day by day. But we’ll just have to see how long that lasts.

 

We had a very good Brass Band practice tonight. I helped another member with his music and it really felt good. After Band, Honbucho, Mr. Kikamura spoke to us about Sundays activities at Myohoji.[2] He quoted President Ikeda, saying that we should all develop our talent.” Because we can do something no one else can do for Kosen rufu. However he said that we should never think that Nichiren Shoshu needs us, but we really need Gohonzon for our individual happiness. He says Sogohonbucho[3] is working very hard and maybe we could help him a little more by chanting some diamoku for our unity and his success in his travels…I really chanted tonight to feel unity maybe it will come with hard work.

 

Ask Gohonzon in Evening Gongyo[4] to be in high spirits the next day and have a constructive meaningful day.

 

Plan your activities a day in advance during evening Gongyo is a good time. And then rethink it during morning Gongyo.


 

[1] Shakubuku: Tearing and crushing of another’s faith. “A method of propagating Buddhism by refuting another’s attachment to heretical views and thus leading him to the correct Buddhist teaching. The term is used in contrast to shoju, or leading another to the true teaching gradually without refuting his misconceptions.”

[2] Myohoji Temple was built in Etiwanda, California and was about an hour drive east of Santa Monica.  We used to take members there to receive their Gohonzon (Buddhist object of worship) and also for marriages, funerals, and New Years’ activities.  I became acquainted with one of the later priests who is now at Taisekiji near Mt. Fuji in Japan.

[3] Nichiren Shoshu’s organization was a hierarchy that was based upon the master-disciple relationship and used Japanese terminology to denote rank.  Sogohonbucho was George M. Williams, the General Director of  Nichiren Shoshu Academy (NSA, now known as SGI, International—or Soka Gakkai International).  Honbucho was Headquarter’s Chief, who was over the Soshibucho’s (General Chapter Chiefs) who were over Shibucho’s (Chapter Chiefs), who were over Chikabucho’s (District Chiefs) who were over Hancho’s (who were han or small group leaders) who were over junior hancho’s (who were cell leaders).  Each of the male roles had a female role that complemented it.  There were four divisions within the organization: Men’s division, Women’s division, Young Men’s Division (YMD), and Young Women’s Division (YWD).

[4] Gongyo is the prayer liturgy of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists based upon a chapter and a half of the Lotus Sutra which is recited five times with accompanying silent prayers in the morning and three times in the evening.

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