by James C. Stephens



May 7, 1975

Well, I don’t know exactly where to begin. Conventions seems, nay they always do bring about such incredible changes in one’s life. As much is happening in my life. First I had gone through such a difficult Sancho Goma problem.

Then I got a job and car and caught my rent up. My job is now threatened which is in essence effecting my care and my home. Here’s the situation: Our business is photocopying records and serving legal documents; and we do it well. We have several established clients and they respect our work. So what’s the problem? Okay, the finances of our business have been on my bosses’ back. One of the girls in the office is in good with the big boys. Now the business is doing alright, but 2 of the 3 crew or should I say 3 of the crew of five have been laid off. Two of the field men were making $700-$750 per month compared to my $400 per month. Also one girl Jane was laid off.

Now I’m left to shoot all of the orders which two of us could barely handle. I called in sick today before I knew of the situation. About 9:30 Mr. Mitchell came by and informed me of what was up.  About 10:00 I got a call from Jody, telling me how I got in on the deal. At 10:30 I got a call from Lowell the big boss asking me to a meeting tomorrow morning.

Now, my landlord is fixing up the place and I asked him what his intentions were. He told me he’s selling the house. So I have a chance to go to Hawaii for 3 months, paid trip, furnished food and lodging. Shibucho said he can get me on the list. The next two days will tell the story.

[My journal for 1975 ended here as Scott and I both decided to take the plunge and go to Hawaii to be part of an 88 man stage crew that would prepare for the Blue Hawaii Pre-Bi-centennial Convention on Oahu for approximately 50,000 members. What an exciting adventure! We couldn’t pass it by! And never looked back].

by James C. Stephens


February 20, 1975

Tuesday I got up early did a couple of things. I read for awhile and finally decided to take a shower. All of a sudden I heard some knocking on the window. It was ________.

We were both nervous, but happy to see each other.

I really feel something that I feel I can define now. I love her as a human being, we have something really deep in common. She sees me as a Bodhisattva and knows I’m true to her and concerned about her life. I vow to my Gohonzon to see her enlightened in this lifetime and with 3 happy boys.

One million daimoku for _______ to go to the Hawaii Convention and for a strong practice.

Today, no in fact last night I went by Mr. Mitchells and told him I’d be unable to take the job just part-time. This morning Mr. Mitchell woke me and told me I was hired and that I’d be using his Datsun station wagon.

So now I have it. I think I’m going to wash it. Bye.

April 10, 1975-Wednesday 2:30AM

President Ikeda’s guidance.

“A swan seems to swim calmly, but under the water and invisible to us, it paddles unceasingly. For this reason, it can glide smoothly. The leaders may be compared to the webbed feet. Through their strenuous efforts behind the scenes, the whole organization can advance with reassurance.

The new leaders of the future should not be here types who deal with matters merely through their own abilities. A good leader is one who harmonizes all the people in a group,be it a company or home, so that they can put into use their full individuality and potential and work smoothly.”

swan-photo

April 11, 1975 2:35 AM

In about one month I will of had the Gohonzon five years. I can not tell you how happy I am at this moment to realize my fortune of meeting this practice.

This evening we did Brass Band gongyo with Mr. Bond. Each day I’m realizing so much more about my life. I just read over my diary about my experience with ___________.

Now I see it with a much deeper perspective. It brings tears to my eyes and it affects my heart, but in  a much different way than two weeks ago. Of course its natural to be horny and feel you’re God’s Gift to women, that’s a male’s nature. But now I feel a bit more hesitation about the sex end. Sure it goes through my mind, but now I think much more about others happiness and constantly remind myself of my unfortunate experience. Sure its hard sometimes to women off your mind, but now I’m thinking much more about the serious campaign we are engaged in now. The Blue Hawaii Pre-Bicentennial Convention. I’m nervous. I have made a new resolution for the past month or more to develop the YMD in our district. For awhile some new YMD were coming around. Now they have titaned strongly. They don’t hate NSA, they love it, but are just too lazy to practice this philosophy. Now before I would have been depressed, but instead I have resolved not to give up. I know that the Gohonzon’s benefit is there but I have but to struggle and develop through the obstacle to obtain the great benefit.

Even though the Shakubuku result does not show at the moment, I am confident that we will very definitely shoot up very soon.  I feel that the YMD movement is taking on new power. I have seen Jeff Silver take on new interest, even make some suggestions about the Shakubuku campaign. This is my benefit, knowing this is from trying to capture some of Soshibucho’s YMD spirit. Shibucho is letting me help with the YMD report. Also I’m back in Brass Band. Last week I had to lead a major portion of a drum section practice. Definite steps to increased human revolution. I have also assumed the responsibility through Shibucho of being the Chapter representative of the University Club. I got a raise at my job of $25.

Three days ago Scott and I started a 2 hour toso every night until May 15 or later. This is a great benefit to me because I need this daimoku fortune to develop myself.

I’m finally starting to think of the person I want to become. Soshibucho is a great encouragement. Another benefit is the Shakubuku Shockwave I was able to go on to Santa Barbara recently. Shoshibucho was there. I shakubukued a girl and she joined. Sunday night I got a huge benefit. I had sort of blown Sunday, but nevertheless I felt like going to Santa Monica to get recharged. I dropped off some cards from the UC at the JHQ. No one seemed to be around. I talked to Jim Jay in the phone box for awhile and as I was about to leave he said Homencho was in the office talking to some people. Why don’t you try to get in. So I did and ended up listening to guidance for about 2 hours on various subjects from the Hawaii Convention to YMD spirit. Well time to chant some daimoku.

by James C. Stephens


February 3, 1975

The past several months have been extremely hard on me emotionally. In September I received a call from a girl named _______ who was seeking a meeting place in the Valley. Well, I told her we had meetings at my house one night a week in the Valley.

So that Friday night, we picked her up and took her to a Shakubuku meeting at the Shibu. From that night I was attracted to her greatly and she to me she told me later. At the time I didn’t realize she had three kids.

One day she came by and I was doing a drawing. I was so strongly attracted to her. I showed her the house and somehow we were then in an embrace. The long and short of it is that she was the first girl I ever had the pleasure of going to bed with. As it went we got involved and she would many times drive to my house to pick me up. We went out and ate together on many occasions. As things went on I got a job at Litton and I spend many days at her house. You might say we lived together.

One weekend she left and she changed quite dramatically. I wondered why. She told me the story of her loves and of a member who she lived with for sometime.

Well, one night my jealous suspicions turned out right. I, having her key to the apartment walked in on her and her old boyfriend in bed together, who at the time were quite sound asleep. I left quietly and then phoned and asked her if she still loved me. She said, “Yes, of course.”

I told her, “Then get your f..ing a.. out of bed with that guy!”

So we met at a local coffee shop at about 3:30 in the morning Halloween night and talked. So out went her old boyfriend and I then stuck with her. Well things started getting together really well and we were very happy together. Arguments were definitely cut down and we lived together harmoniously. We thought for awhile that we had V.D. but luckily it was just a slight infection of a mild normal variety, not V.D. It cleared up.

One night _____ bugged me that she wanted to go out. Well, I told her to go. She then met her lover, who I caught in bed one night the following week. I had enough. I was engaged to her, but of course when I caught her in bed with this dude she denied it and denied me and threw our engagement ring against the wall.  Now if I had been smart I would have dropped it there. But I still loved her. So I saw her again and she wanted to hold onto both of us or so I thought and we were engaged ring and all. Then I learned she was back with him and little ole me.

I got pretty sick of the whole situation, but thought I could ride it out. One day I stopped by her house and loaned her $10 to get her car fixed. She was extremely cold to me and I was very depressed about the situation. So I was about to tell her seriously that I had made up my mind to call off our entire relationship. But alas her lover called. She chummed up to him on the phone and told me “Quiet” before answering. Well, I was extremely sick of this and made some noises. She replied to his query of who that was by saying, “A neighbor.” I said, “No, I’m not.” I was sick of her lying. I told her lover that I laid her four times this week. She told me she hated me and began to attack me with her claws. What ensued was not something I’m proud of ever mentioning. My face was quite scarred up by the ordeal itself. I told her to look at her behavior and she ran to the Gohonzon enshrined in the Butsudon to destroy it and at that point I said, “No! I’m outta here. That’s it.”

[12.06. 2016 Recollection. I remember being in an altered state of consciousness, super aware as I left. I was bleeding all over my face from her sharp nails and blood was on my shirt. I asked one man if he could drive me home I’d give him fifty dollars which I had in my wallet. He didn’t know what to say, but declined the offer. As I walked down the street, I was shaking as nothing like this had ever happened to me  before in my life. I finally got to a bus bench and sat down next to an elderly lady who saw my face, patted a puddle of water from an earlier rain that day with her clean handkerchief on the bench and wiped my face off. She did not judge me, but acted like a mother to all. Then she directed me to another bus since the route I was waiting for didn’t run at that time of night. So, I boarded a bus on Sepulveda Blvd. and so I headed south to my house. I sat with the helpful woman who explained to me how hard it was to make ends meet on her meager retirement income and how at times she had to eat canned cat food. I was grieved. Just as she was telling me that,  two young children boarded the bus with a cardboard box with newborn puppies and the young boy asked with a lisp due to his cleft pallet, “Do you want a puppy?” I about lost it. The reality of life was imploding upon my soul. When my stop came up, I exited and walked for blocks to my house and emotionally collapsed when I entered the door. The surreal experience will never leave my mind as long as I live.]

The ordeal has left me quite upset because I was really in love with her, but more upset because I have caused her to titan.

The past four days I have slept a lot because I have just not been able to handle the fact of what transpired last night.  On top of it all I have no transportation which I am in desperate need of especially for the new job I have. I have no where to turn to really. The only thing I can try doing is to face the Gohonzon and trust the Gohonzon for help. All else has failed. I need help because I am very low in spirit. Even though I would never marry her, Gohonzon I love her and am concerned for her. Please take good care of her Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Gohonzon,

    Tonight I pray for

        “___________”  practice to the Gohonzon.

I also pray for my practice.

I need some benefits

What can I say.

I’m so low in spirits I can barely stay awake. The only thing

I have left is faith that things will change for the better!

I pray to overcome my sickness of the heart. It must be the worst

because it infects my whole body worse than the meanest flu germ.

Stand up!

Don’t forget the noble mission which I was born to achieve!

Shakubuku, the only way to achieve a change in my evil destiny.

If I stop now how can I show so many people the route to

true freedom, true happiness.

If I love my parents and if I love others, I must fight the devil within and

come out the victor.

The devil of Goma infects my entire body. How can I fight this most powerful foe?

Only with the sword of the Hokekyo.

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Tuesday, February 4, 1975

A wasted day in my life. It would be better if I walked all over the city than sleep all day. I lost the battle against myself so far today. I slept all day except for a quick Gongyo.

All my leaders were all so right, but why I don’t listen to people’s experiences beats me.

Thursday, February 6th

Toban at Malibu.

Friday. February 7th

Dear Gohonzon,

    I don’t know why. But I love ________ so deeply. I don’t know what to do beside chant daimoku and follow. I’m really worried. I always am feeling depressed about the situation and just when I start to forget I see something that reminds me of our relationship. Gohonzon, help me to do what’s right. I need help.

Gohonzon, what causes me to feel this way about another human being?

“_________________ “

My body aches with pain over losing you.

I sleep to forget, only to dream and wake to you.

Why do I feel this way?

I chant to the Gohonzon for your happiness and for my strength to overcome the loss.

Why do I love you so. Why?

by James C. Stephens


December 11, 1974

Tonight I received, but asked for guidance on my relationship to ___ from Shibucho. I had been troubled about direction so I asked for guidance.

He told me that he sensed danger in my practice and he said trust me. Wait. He told ____and I together. No romantic relationship, no bed. Wait. I could tell you until the end of the year, maybe two weeks, maybe three weeks. But let’s talk periodically.

I told Shibucho we’re in love. He said if so, it can wait. It doesn’t mean you pretend you don’t know each other.

He told me alone. If you were a regular member I’d say do whatever you want. But you’re a future district chief and Senior leader. Homencho has said to Senior leaders lately–don’t go to bed with each other.

I will follow Shibucho’s guidance. Frank Hotchkiss said he learned how to follow because of Bagpipes. I think I shall rejoin Bagpipes and my primary goal and objective from Bagpipes is: To learn how to follow.

Right now I need to enter a strong personal campaign.

  1. Three house daimoku a day.
  2. Study 1/2 hour.
  3. 20 World Tribune this month.
  4. 90 Shakubuku a day until the 1st. 20 days=1800 Shakubuku.

by James C. Stephens


December 5, 1974

It’s a rainy day in L.A. Quite a beautiful morning. My fever broke and my sore throat has gotten better. I’m starting to get back on my feet. I have a long way to go for my million daimoku. Scott Ferguson is moving in my house in my old room around January 1. It should be good for his practice. We get along really well.

I have Toban at L.A. #1 Headquarters on December 7. Pearl Harbor Day–Big Deal–Why? Honbu Kombu Kai (Monthly General Meeting at the Santa Monica Convention Center). Shoot! But really its a great challenge and benefit to have such a serious responsibility. Well I must sign off for now. Bye.

December 7, 1974

Right now I’m at the Toban desk at the 1st Headquarters. Tonight I have the fortune of protecting the 1st Headquarters Joju Gohonzon while the Monthly General Meeting is happening with General Director Williams.

I just finished chanting an hour along with evening Gongyo in front of the Joju Gohonzon. A benefit for sure.

Tonight I made some new determinations and reconfirmed some old ones.

By April 1, 1975 I want my own district in the Valley. I definitely want a job which I can stick with for awhile meaning about 2 years. I’m going to investigate a karate class. I’m starting a physical training program for myself and want to start language training.

The other night I growled at the Gohonzon about not getting enough benefits. It’s my own fault because I haven’t been practicing hard enough. So back, no forward with Shakubuku Spirit and a new spirit to develop the Valley.No one else is fighting hard there, so why not create the wave myself. It starts with oneself they say. So let me get moving.

Oh I am still yes, in love with that stubborn girl, but this time its on a different base–nothing mushy, in fact we had a great day today together. She’s important to me because I am in love with her. However, I must change my Ichinen in my practice. It is changing so I’m not worried. The past is past! Right? Right!!!

Learning the Hard Way

Posted: December 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

by James C. Stephens


December 4, 1974

If there’s anything I think I have learned tat I have got to learn and practice it is following. I’m a person that has to learn the hard way. About a month ago Soshibucho (General Chapter Chief) gave me guidance about my relationship about a Joshibu (Young Women’s Division member). For about a week, I followed then I blew it. Almost immediately afterward I got an infection (not venereal disease) in my organ. At the time I thought it was. But this I didn’t hold against her.

You know the time she had even given me her key and I walked in late with two malted shakes and hamburgers late one night only to find her in bed with another guy naked. The Gohonzon couldn’t be more clear to me. But I have such a thick skull. Later she always wanted me around to do her favors around the house and to stay overnight. It got be, me give my all, but when anything went wrong it was all my fault. Man, I don’t need this. She had me almost believing it was my uptightness. It was to a certain extent, but boy she is stubborn as a mule. She had me believing (not really) that everything was my fault.

Last night she came over, took me out to dinner, and then to her kitchen which I volunteered to do because I had cleaned my house and was sick of being in the house. She was very cold to me. Why, I didn’t know. I don’t need that from a woman, I need a loving woman who cares for her man.

But I know I’ll never have a relationship for a long time to come. I’m not ready to. I won’t even go out with a girl–this I can do I know as I already did for four and a half years. I don’ need this. I have to build a future. Now there is no looking back ever. From no on the experience lives on in my life valuably, but then the books now closed.

by James C. Stephens


November 2, 1974

Today I made a strong resolution to the Gohonzon. I have realized what Shibucho said not to chase your fortune. Well, I chanted to the Gohonzon about my relationship and the Gohonzon has really shown me deeply like a parent the route to my true happiness. It was a very valuable experience to my practice while it lasted. It nevertheless hurt me deeply to cut it off but considering what transpired it’s definitely the right direction. I want to build my fortune so that someday I can marry and have a happy relationship based on the Gohonzon.

The Gohonzon is my parent, without it I would have totally flipped out. But now I’m happier in a much deeper sense than ever before.

Thank you Gohonzon! It hurt deeply the way it happened but that the only way I could have learned what I needed to learn.

After the discussion meeting tonight, Shibucho and I had coffee at Corky’s. I expressed my frustration at several things in my life. He told me about following. We talked about school. I told him how I was frustrated about not going. He told me don’t worry–your future is in NSA. It’s stupid to go to school unless you feel the calling to.

I talked about setting my goals too high. He told me there is an art to this. Why chant for a specific # of YMD. Chant 1 million daimoku for a district. It will definitely put you through a lot of change to realize such a district.

On the whole I feel a great surge of hope in my future as a human being. If I can just encourage others to be happy and continue their practice then I will enjoy my life.

Shakubuku is my happiness.

I must establish a circle of friends in society to expand this.

After coffee with Shibucho I called Scott and drove to Northridge on a cold crisp night and had coffee with him. We had a mutually encouraging talk.

November 3, 1974

General Director Williams announced that President Ikeda said officially that we should raise three million dollars for a new headquarters.

Liturgy of Nichiren Shoshu Gongyo bookWilliams talked to us about the importance of Gongyo. Do it with rhythm of Chudo, the middle path, not too loud, not too soft, not too fast, not too slow.

Should not have sickness. Overcome with sincere Gongyo. Those who do weak Gongyo become sick. Don’t take a nap in front of Gohonzon. You may think you should go to bed early because you’re tired. But wrong idea. Better to do Gongyo sincerely, get in rhythm of the universe. 8 hours deep sound sleep from 2 hours. We try to excuse ourselves easily. Ask Gohonzon for medicine Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.. It is the best make-up. Best way to stay healthy. When really in trouble–chant 1 million daimoku and try your best.

Trouble make you chant. Why trouble visit me? All nite toso. I send daimoku to everyone of you. You should chant a lot. Not matter how strong the transmitter if receiver is weak. It doesn’t matter how strong the transmitter is. If you as a receiver are perfect you can feel strong. Meaningless if you do not put your thoughts into practice.

King Devil of the Sixth Heaven. The Devil within us such a nature. Try to make you sleep. “Why don’t you taitan?” But challenge yourself. You say, “children are noisy that’s why I don’t do Gongyo.” Devil trying to take fortune from you. If you chant strong daimoku, the Devil becomes your shotenzenjin (Buddhist god).

Sessen DojiSessen Doji never become enlightened. Tell me last work of enlightenment. Tell me I will give you anything. Devil said, I want human flesh and human blood. Okay, take my body and tell me the last half. Then he’s ready to jump to mouth of devil. He jumped and then he caught him. He was a Sho-tenzinjin. You are the real Buddha.

President Ikeda explained, no matter how much you suffer, you can definitely break through. Get it?  You reach for the unreachable star. Mountain=trouble. Good jet engine–don’t feel low level life–mountain boring. Get jet engine practice.

Hendoku Iyaku (changing poison into medicine) is possible with person chanting lots of daimoku. Hell waits for a person with no daimoku. Happy? Chant! Trouble? Chant! Chant until the last moment of your life! People postpone death with daimoku.

Nichiren Daishonin said he closed the gate to hell. Lotus sutra=Gohonzon. Shakyamuni said the Hokekyo is above all other sutras. Welcome to the ocean-oneness equal all over. Salt necessary everywhere.

U.S.A. has a sho-tenzinjin protecting her. Hachiman (open field) dai-Bosatsu.