by James C. Stephens


Friday, January 16, 1976

Tonight we had a very meaningful and significant meeting with our Honbucho Mr. Hall. During the course of the evening a member asked him a question.

“I’m living in my care and was kicked out of my house. I’ve been living in my car 10 days. I was told that this Gohonzon worked. #1 That’s what I’m in for- benefits. I’ve been told by my leaders I’ve been receiving benefits. Now I’m not convinced, sometimes yes, sometimes no. I’m desperate. I’ll do anything to change this situation. What should I do?

Mr. Hall related the fact that he should not be looking at the Gohonzon like, “where’s my job-from the sky attitude. But first ask yourself. Why am I living in my car? No house. No rent paid. Why no rent paid. No job. Why no job-there’s jobs around. Looking for the perfect job? Take anything. Just like working for NSA.

Janitor silhouetteMember: I don’t want to be a janitor for NSA, maybe, but not a janitor.

Mr. Hall: Rejicho (Mr. Williams) was a janitor. You want effect, no cause.

It doesn’t matter what kind of job you have, but rather your attitude. Use this job as a steppingstone to something better. To get ahead in this society everyone must start and try hard. Difference in NSA with Gohonzon you have fortune and most important vital life force and wisdom. So many people in society with hardworking determination, but just rise to the top and then down. But with Gohonzon all those causes will definitely result in good, great effect.


by James C. Stephens


January 13, 1976


1975 was a year of much turmoil for me. But most importantly, I learned one heck of a lot about my life. Life is much more complex than I ever realized. I have regrets about 1975, but one can not live in the past if he wants to advance.  On December 31, 1975 I did Gongyo to my Gohonzon and declared 1976 to be my year of daimoku. I made a long list of New Year’s Resolutions, but today I would like to make a new one. Possibly it’s not a New Year’s Resolution, but a hope I have for this year.

I took one of my Gofu tonight that I received from President Ikeda. I read today in his 38th General Meeting speech that one of the causes of illness is karma or a distortion inherent in one’s life. I have had this one spiritual illness for almost 6 years in my practice. I took Gofu in hope that I can overcome this distortion inherent in my life. I pray to the Gohonzon that this will help change my destiny and help me overcome my poisonous onshitsu nature and trust people more easily in light of the Gohonzon. I realize I am not a child anymore and I am now very much responsible for my own life and the causes I make.

Gofu is taken from a piece of cloth which is used to clean the Dai Gohonzon, a wooden mandala which is the ultimate object of worship inscribed by the founder of Nichiren Shoshu. It is said to have magical healing properties.

The photo above is of the interior of the former Sho Hondo Grand Main Sanctuary. The altar which is not open for this photo houses the wooden mandala that was inscribed by the founder Nichiren Dai Shonin who they believe is the True Buddha of this age. You’ll also notice the Nichiren Shoshu priests dressed in white robes. I have been told that they are 500 strong and are divided philosophically about the Dai Gohonzon’s source of power. Some believe it comes from the mandala which Nichiren claims to have imbibed with his life force, while others believe it comes from some greater god behind the mandala. The Sho Hondo was built for the cost of $100 million through the donations of Soka Gakkai members all over the world. After a conflict between the leader of the Soka Gakkai, Daisaku Ikeda and the High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu a religious war broke out and the temple was dismantled at the cost of $30 million. The Dai Gohonzon was moved to another sanctuary on the grounds of  Taiseki-ji 

Onshitsu is a Buddhist term meaning slandering other believers the opposite of the Buddhist belief in compassion, pity, gentleness and forbearance.

Gumpon no mumyo.  “The forty-two levels of illusion into which T’ien-t’ai (538–597) divided the third of the three categories of illusion, “illusions about the true nature of existence.” They are kinds of ignorance concerning the true nature of life—illusions that prevent bodhisattvas from attaining enlightenment. The last and most deeply rooted of the forty-two is called fundamental darkness or fundamental ignorance. According to T’ien-t’ai, one attains enlightenment by eradicating these successive levels of ignorance or illusions and finally freeing oneself from fundamental darkness.”

Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhist Online Dictionary

In a sense Gunpon no mumyo could be compared in the Christian faith with original sin that every human being is born with. Original Sin

My Heart’s Longing

Posted: October 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

by James C. Stephens


Thursday, December 25, 1975


For some reason I feel a need inside to find my mate. You know this isn’t unnatural. I may be too quick to try to find one however. I’m still so young, but I have this inner passion which is hard to quell. I’m a romanticist at heart. Someday soon I know this dream will come true. But at this time my heart longs for a female companion.

by James C. Stephens


Friday, November 28, 1975

Santana winds and fire

Thanksgiving yesterday brought with it the beginning of winter. The days before were balmy with Santana winds and fires of great destruction. Fires in the local mountains left many people homeless and burned the foliage off the mountains so badly needed during the rainy season for flood control. The newspapers despite the Thanksgiving season ring of war in the middle east, fires and other tragedies. Little hope is inspired in reading these modern newspapers. One can’t help but become depressed if he reads the daily news.

Thanksgiving this year I spent with my Father. We had an excellent, I mean superb meal. My dad is an excellent cook, so’s his girlfriend. My aunt Retha was there also. For a change we got along very well. I think I have changed a great deal in the past six months.

She is tracing our family tree on my Dad’s side. To my surprise and happiness I’m approximately 1/16 Chickasaw Indian. I always felt I had something to do with our native America. Also during the Civil War my ancestors fought on the side of the south as far as we know, in South Carolina. I am anxious to find out where we were in 1776. It was a very happy family reunion.

Before I left for dinner I called my old friend Pat Flaherty in Great Falls. I shakubukued him over the phone. He remarked that he was very impressed and would like to try the philosophy. He also agreed up the idea that Human Revolution was the most logical way to World Peace. I must write him soon. I sent him the World Tribune for December.

Work was extremely hard for me today. I must build up more confidence. My dress must improve. I must become a better worker.

My car has given me some problems and has been parked in front of our neighbor’s parking area. He complained, so I told him that I would move it. Tonight after going to the LA #1 Headquarters, I went to move it and the front window was broken all over and the aerial was broken off. I was very angry. I knocked on the guys door. He said he didn’t do it. I question that, but I hope he didn’t resort to such tactics. It’s very disheartening.

I took the bus to the meeting tonight. On the way I started shakubukuing one black guy named Larry. He decided to attend the meeting. A fellow name Howard overheard our talk and decided when I asked him, to come. Larry did not join, but was interested. Howard joined and paid for his Gohonzon. He seems to be sincerely interested in the practice of this philosophy. He’s a pharmacist.

by James C. Stephens


November 26, 1975


Have the spirit of a true disciple. If you think you know everything, then you’re ready for Sun City (retirement home). Complacency.

During your discussion meetings saying Hai! puts you through changes. Even saying hai when you don’t want to say hai, but accepting the desire to learn. You represent NSA. Sometimes just accept and you will learn.

Definition of Mercy. Don’t protect your members from Buddhism. Contact your members regularly. Every day. Constant contact. Without this contact they will drop back into whatever they’re doing. Provide that communication on a steady basis.

Drag them out to meetings. Even real sick. Dragging new members shows them that they can carry on in any campaign. Spirit of training. Hai and charge ahead.

Don’t be on side of members. Don’t protect them from mercy.

Takes guts to go knock of that door again. Mercy!

Even if they throw something at you. It’s your benefit.

People were grateful that someone came and saw them.  Home visitation.

No special gloves for those who feel they are far too sophisticated to promote World Tribune. Explain to them how it will benefit them.

I recall how intimidating it was to hear a large group of young men’s division respond to a leader’s direction with a loud and resounding Hai! the first time I visited the North American headquarters as a new guest. One visiting German  likened it to the Hitler youth of Nazi Germany. Especially when it was followed by a Japanese AAO! AAO! AAO! an equivalent cheer to Hip, hip hooray!

by James C. Stephens


November 23, 1975

Ikeda at Malibu Training Center

Such disappointment, I experienced yesterday.

I tried so hard, but yet no result it seemed.

Obstacles always propose to me a test of my character.

I am but a child. I resent though being treated as such.

I feel on the verge of a breakthrough from adolescence to adulthood.

What do I see in the difference? Basically attitude. When one has problems do they control his existence or does one carry on with confidence in his heart and a smile in his eyes? I have as of yet failed to reached this point. I still at times let out a foul attitude towards certain people.

I must learn from people. I have too little time and too great a mission to play such small games. This arrogance I must Resist and Overcome.

Just because I don’t get something I desire must I throw a temper tantrum like a spoiled child?

Now I resolve to myself, it is time to breed into myself the true Gakkai spirit. To become a young man constructing a foundation not just my own foundation, but one for my country and for the world. I have put nearly six years of my trust into the Gohonzon, now is the time for a new breeze of freshness in my life. A change in my lifestyle.

Breathe deep

A new dawn

become a son of the Gakkai.

Search, because I am knowledgeable as yet what a true son is.

Keep struggling because without sweat on your brow

How can you know, the real joy of construction.

Cause and effect is the foundation of my life.

Sometimes things happen to me it seems, why?

A whole lot of bad things. Why?

To build my character? Maybe.

To reveal my true nature? Possibly.

To become in rhythm with the universe this is the fundamental law. To understand the nature of time; of cause and effect.

Jim, don’t be impatient. Strive to perfect your character.

Each day, clean and sharp. This is an important cause.

Each day Gongyo vibrant and straightforward.

A bus ride to Malibu Training Center. A talk, a warm talk with a nice young lady who moved from Massachusetts. Dropped off at Malibu. I walked in a warm breeze unseasonal. Breathe deep, fresh spirit.

Malibu shows me hope. Fresh, gleaming white fortress.

My battle is to gain new vitality fresh as a Malibu breeze. Deeep ast th great blue ocean, powerful as her waves; and meaningful as the sparkling universe.

Fight on! Day by day in the way I know.

The Malibu Training Center includes a meeting hall and the West Coast residence of the Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda. He held special leader’s meeting here when he visited the US. As a member of the Young Men’s Division Soka Group/TCD (Traffic Control Division) /Toban (guard) we were tasked with watching the property at least once a month. We would sleep in a the “Toban shack” which overlooked the beach. As volunteers, we helped build the entire estate over a number of years.  Mr. and Mrs. Inabe were permanent caretakers of the property. They were a very kind couple.

by James C. Stephens


October 6, 1975


Life. Live. Breathe. Feel. Destiny. Easygoing. Or. Struggling Decision? Expression. Depressed. Or. Depths of human life. To share. NOW! My Best of Friends is no longer around. A brother he was. Died a death I shall never forget. A person. A honorary Bodhisattva in my book. He did not begrudge his life for a moment. An old lady being beaten by who knows who. His action of Jihi. To help. A stabbing, not New York. MAPPO. Senseless waste of a gallant YMD. My brother I pledge to take care of your,  nay our family. Francis, Dick and Sister Karen.

Paul was a strong Christian that I grew up with in Polson, Montana. His mother Francis is Chinese American from San Francisco. She treated me like one of her sons. I spent many joyful hours as a young boy, playing with spud guns, learning how to play California Canasta, Monopoly, Life and other board games. We sledded down the driveway and played army in the ditches. We attended the local Presbyterian Church Sunday School across the street from Lincoln elementary school.

I recall one day, we shot a sparrow with a slingshot and tried to nurse it back to health. Paul’s father Dick was very angry and said, “Never shot anything unless you plan on eating it.”  We ended  up burying it in a shoebox. It was a sad, but important lesson.

The terrible crime took place at Gonzaga University.