by James C. Stephens


May 4, 1974

Gary CurtisTonight after the meeting, I went to Santa Monica to talk to Soshibucho Gary Curtis. I told of my problem of following and wanting to take the lead. He related his experience of his early practice, when he was a butaicho with no real tai, but expected to lead gongyo at a meeting which the Senior leaders didn’t show at, but instead a younger member jumped up and led gongyo. I did plenty of onshitsu he said. Now my competition with that same leader is totally reversed. It’s more like, you lead the new member’s meeting, no you, no you.

I told him of the people I had shakubukued and how I’m not taking care of them, but others are. He said, each person’s mission is different, be proud of what you can do. Do what you can do, you are you. I can’t wait to see you a fatter smiley Jim Stephens, then I believe your true nature will come out instead of the thin you.

For a member of four years, you give rotten experiences and are a lousy emcee. For chanting four years you should have some heavy spiritual revelations which you can relate to the guests.

“How can I give better experiences?”

Paul Newman Exodus“You aren’t blind, just look around and see what kind of experiences you enjoy! Nobody likes a predictable character like Steve McQueen. They like a person like Paul Newman that goes through all sorts of conditions. You’ve got to be a good actor. You’ve got to have a bigger vision of the future. In front of a lot of people you have got to be a good actor. No more you knows or likes. How can you relate to older people that way?

Example of Mr. Enaba, a happy person who raised capable leaders, not a grab ass person, but a man happy to see people grow above him. But he has incredible fortune. Wow, when I was appointed he was so happy, he didn’t think of himself, he knew his mission. He did not give us much guidance and when he led meetings he never spoke more than 7 minutes. But such simple people are the people President Ikeda loves. And he shows them too. He almost ignores the screamers, Sensei! Sensei! But he goes out of his way to meet the behind the scenes people. He knows them. You should try to become such a person.

Wow, we (our General Chapter) won Gojukai for 6 months and I never once rubbed it in on anyone. Right now we are going to drive deep foundations for our lives. But two months from now the other General Chapters will wonder what hit them when we totally wipe them out.

I want happy people, not fanatics. He told me I was not ready to raise people all the way.

I ask, “How can I get ready?”

Don’t worry, that’s all.

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