Posts Tagged ‘Brass Band’

by James C. Stephens


Friday, December 28, 1979

On Thursday I stopped by the World Culture Center and did Gongyo at about 9:15. During Gongyo–Mr. Williams stepped into the third floor room and there I made an appointment with him for Friday morning at 10:00.

Ikeda_Williams

Clipping from a World Tribune of Daisaku Ikeda and George Williams visiting the University of Chicago in January 1975. 

Friday morning I ran into Gary Curtis, Danny Nagashima, and Cheryl Bell, all of whom I had been attempting to contact. Afterwards Ann Hagihara ushered me into GMW’s office. At first he greeted me and bluntly asked me what items I wanted to talk about. I heard what he said, but inside refused to be led down such a path. I told him I had just ran into Danny Nagashima and he changed gears a bit and asked if I had gone to his wedding. No, I said, but I had sent congratulations via a tape recorded message. He asked if I had gone to school with him. No, I replied, but we practiced together in the same district for awhile. Then I proceeded to show him a book he had recommended to me from

Honoring Vietnam Veterans Nov 11 1979 stamp

In my journal’s I occasionally posted a stamp or two. Here’s one on this page honoring the Vietnam Veterans on November 11, 1979

Cheryl Bell in 1977 and I told him I enjoyed it tremendously and that on several occasions I had been moved to tears by the book. He glanced at the book’s pictures and seemed to relax a bit more and so did I.

Daddy Long Legs Book Cover Jean Webster

What I came here for was basically to communicate with you and let you know what is going on with me. It has been 10 years I have been in this organization and this is the first time we have communicated person to person. 

“I know,” he said, “and still I’ve seen you so much, TCD, brass band, youth division activities and i feel I know you in my heart.

And I said, I feel too I know you like this diary here I have 10 others, many filled with experiences with you at special meetings and brass band. I have many notes of all these activities and I feel close to you in this sense.

However, the reason I came here was to also communicate with you the feelings that I have developed in the past year. 1979 was definitely a rough year, painful, but I know I grew a lot and am not in the least regretful. The beginning of the year I constructively criticized the organization and I also grew resentful of you. In my diary I recounted you talking of being with President Ikeda so much, massaging his back, sharing time with him. I thought to myself, why don’t we get to do the same now with you, you have so much experience and yet you are getting older and we are young. Many of my friends including myself ask you to let us have access to your experience.

He replied that he was close to President Ikeda before he was President because he was a member in the same district as Mrs. Ikeda, and that they had meetings at Mrs. Ikeda’s house at times. Even before he was President or the Shin’ichi Yamamoto that people talked about, I felt that he was my master in life, Mr. Williams said. In Phase I we were really busy and there wasn’t much time to talk. He said he knew maybe Phase I was pretty militaristic, but it was what we experienced. 

 

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I talked of my experience with my father in parallel with my experience with the organization. The organization has been much like a father to many of us and I personally have learned a lot. In my relationship with my father I experienced a period of rebellion and outright criticism, both warranted and unwarranted; followed by a period of separation, during which I learned what I had learned from my father, what I had to learn and still benefit from, and I felt appreciation towards and a loss of negativity towards and a new awakening of the significance of our relationship, followed by a reunification of our relationship and this is what takes work and courage. It is here where not only does the child realize he can learn from his parent, but also the parent must realize he can learn from the child. If the parent does not also open himself up, it ends in conflict and incredible frustration for the child. Mainly because the parent does not allow the child to grow up. I think now we are in a very creative space in NSA which demands cooperation and communication. I grew up in part because of my father’s near death (which I explained to him GMW). But a lot of my friends, Russ Dilando and Jim Jay have still not confronted this situation and are very resentful towards you (GMW). I feel there is a definite lack of communication in NSA.

He talked about the politics between NSIC and NSA. I said I didn’t like the theory going around that President Ikeda would come over here and straighten out NSA. Earlier GMW and I had established in the conversation that NSA is in a very touchy state, many problems. He explained that NSIC tried to run our organization and he was out of the picture and the members asked NSIC more not him. I said much like the parent-son relationship in adolescence.

I mentioned Nagata who Liz and I met with and had told Liz to shut up, GMW said, he was sorry and I told him I understood in a way about Japanese culture, Zuiho-bini is harder than they think. He said yes, and he had many complaints and hard feelings were spawned by Nagata. Nagata had been practicing only 8 years and because he was able to be physically close to President Ikeda though he had much power. He was quite authoritarian. (GMW continued) I felt I was in winter from 1976. We needed a couple more years of Phase I. In fact we hadn’t even got there. We were more likely in the preface.

Fortunately the control has been returned to me and the leaders now in NSIC are much more experienced and closer to President Ikeda’s spirit. He talked of the new head of the NSIC and how he had been practicing 18 years and was so warm, genuine and sincere. They came to help us and learn, before they didn’t ask me anything, just toured on their own. Mr. Yutami (?), did much shakubuku through actual proof. GMW told me, Mr. Yutami’s experience of his wife’s cancer. No hope, doing activities, gongyo in the cancer ward, Mrs. becoming like a light to these people, chanting, sneaking in food, sneaking out to do Gongyo, guidance to operate, Doctor’s referral, her lips swelled when she doubted guidance, was she on the right track. Mrs. alone fought to do Gongyo 6 hours. He returned after after activities. She lived through the operation. Success, shakubuku excelled. Fought to do Gongyo 5-6 hours-will to live, battled cancer.

Mr. Williams said he was tired of criticism. NSA’s weak and her low energy, financial situation is actually better off. 

Talked of Peace Center-too small, would be laughed at. Too few people, not enough power. 1 person doing ten different activities, better to consolidate and do shakubuku. Disappointed re: letter to Youth Division. 

Youth movement conversation. Important to develop good healthy district discussion meetings. Shakubuku campaign.

We talked about Actualizations, EST briefly~value of their expressing a small part of Buddhism~good salesman, whereas we have whole philosophy or religion. Need to learn how to express in terms Americans can understand~very difficult task. 

Need of better communication in NSA. Talked about John Mitchell in Sacramento.

He (GMW) told me he sees the horizon, the bleak winter is over and to tell Jim and Russ this and hope they understand.

Will Rogers 1979 Stamp

The famous cowboy actor Will Rogers who said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” 

Gongyo and daimoku key. Problems were my karma, that’s why I was here early every day before anyone, chanting daimoku during the crisis.

He also talked of room for information center not being used. Territory meeting at LA#1 Headquarters.

Showed him my landscape drawings. Told me of UCLA garden~President Ikeda’s name on Founder’s wall.  

Encouraged me to keep up diary-good or bad times, like “rings of a tree.” 

I told him I would like to compile meetings we had with him.

 

~~~

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by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, November 27, 1979

Frustration would have been yesterday’s caption on my diary if I had written it. No doubt about it. Yet this morning I again am in contact with that tremendous world of conviction, confidence and freshness. How silly I am at time, or how willy nilly life is. I’ve been swayed by at least a couple of the eight winds. Yet I feel like a young sapling able to learn a lesson from the wind.

It is not the beautiful curtains, yard, paintings on the wall that makes a person happy. Yesterday I felt closed in by my environment, desirous of escaping. This morning again I feel boundless, free as the wind, as fresh as the sun in the new day. As I look up the sun greeted me with memories of Nichiren. The sky is dark and overcast yet the sun manages to burn through. It is never defeated, but burns even more brightly against the gloomy skies. I too am determined to become a beacon for all.

A great man is not held back by his own preconceptions, but can change and alter his course when he recognizes a better path.

I love my parents. I love my father. Yet he does not know what he desires to do. I must be firm. To become wealthy is not to pursue wealth. Rather it is a spiritual state. On Sado Nichiren declared even in the midst of suffering that he was the happiest man or the richest man in Japan.

Starting the first of the year I will start my business. However it will not be a conventional start. First, I desire to earn money for the propagation of Buddhism. It has been my excuse in the past not to give gokuyo because I didn’t know where it went as far as NSA. This was understandable. What is regrettable is my failure to see that the temple is a direct link to Nichiren Daishonin and that I have failed to lend my support. I (we) will begin as soon as possible.

I feel no real negativity towards NSA as I did in the past, however at present I feel NST is more open and understandable to myself. The layman’s organization is in a period of flux.

I am convinced 1980 is going to be challenging beyond my expectations. I am also determined to see my effort bear fruit this year (1980).

Tuesday, December 4, 1979

Record High for this date of 91 degrees.

Jean Claude KillyRon called tonight from Bend. He and Pam are doing fine. Ron is pretty busy with coordinating his race program at Bachelor. He sounds quite happy. I’m so glad things are going better for him. He said he’s the best skier on the mountain. He’s already beat the new Frenchman in a series of races. (The Frenchman was on the French “B” team). Ron and I talked about his attitude towards his racers. He said many will never move on to competitive careers so it is a program helping kids build their character. He however does have some pretty hot material. A couple of his guys are at the National Camp at Gunnison, Colorado this week. Ron also said there is so much ski politics up there, but for the most part he stays out of them. He is now also the Rossignol On the Hill Rep.

(Liz) Sweets got her hair cut today. At first it was hard to get used to, but now I like it. Basically, all I have been up to the last several days are drafting projects. (When people ask why my printing is so neat, I tell them mechanical drafting and hours and hours of practice and the excellent teaching of Neil Weikel).

Liz has been having some stomach type problems. Hasn’t had her period recently. Pregnant? Who knows?

Sweets and I went to Bodhi Tree Bookstore Friday night. Picked up a few good finds. Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XXXV and XXVI: Questions of King Milinda; Korzebsky: Science and Sanity; Watts, Psychotherapy East and West, Wisdom of Insecurity and last but not least the Kama sutra.

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“X” called Monday night. Talked about movement. Idea of a support group~West Coast Movement with about 250-350 supporters. Network-Gadfly important. Let’s get started.

Talked to Scott Ferguson-receptive of the idea. Ken Tapola-definite yes. Out of Navy now working at Dunlop as a machinist.

Worried about “X.” I’m afraid he’s not tackling his own personal life and goals. This could be dangerous for him and his family. I sincerely hope he is not just avoiding his own reality. I’m just concerned as a friend.

Thought about Walter Moeck tonight. He used to be the Brass Band conductor. Mike Lisagor gave him a terrible time. I will never forgive him for that. Must write Walter a letter! (Walter Moeck was the summer conductor of the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra and was my clarinet teacher. He was strict, but kind. May he rest in peace).

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Monday, December 17, 1979

Hi Diary! How are you this fine day! I hope you’re well rested and happy.

Last week I took Liz to the Doctor. Gary said she wasn’t pregnant as of yet, but gave her a week and said to bring in an urine specimen and they’d run another test. Since the day of the test she hasn’t been feeling nauseated. I’m happy for that is a lousy feeling.

Saturday night we had a Christmas party and you know all the preparation that takes. Liz made over 100 invites and I framed pictures, helped clean the house, etc., etc., etc.

Liz bakes lots of cookies (They were excellent by the way and made a superb spaghetti. There was lot of food and a whole ton of people.

People starting arriving around 4:00. First, Adrianna, Liz’s sister. She’s such a big help! She helped out tremendously. Next around 5:30, X. He started out drunk and as the night wore grew intolerable for many of the guests. He is quite an unusual character. Harmless, but with a build of 6’5″ and with a laugh so loud you’d better put up shoring around your house before he comes over. In any case the party was an interesting and festive experience nonetheless. I’ll get this out now. We had been working on an idea together as far as what can be done to help support the organization. He has been pushing to form a support group of 200-350 people who can offer suggestions to the Executive planning board from an organized power group. I had my reservations. #1. I have and still question X’s true intent at this point. I do not get the true feeling he is committed to this serious goal. I feel, and this is my intuitive feeling, that he is using the organization as an escape from his own reality. His situation at home is not conducive to running a reform movement. His wife is not well, finances are in really bad shape, they have children, beautiful at that, and he has several misconceptions about the faith. His Gongyo is very poor, health poor and drinking a severe problem. Now this is not all. His business dealings with people has left several people in highly critical situations. His construction business left one family without a kitchen, etc. and near a divorce after spending $15,000. He is a man of talk, not action. It is the last party we can afford him to attend. It is not however the end of our friendship. He needs support and what I can offer, I will. Besides him; Liz and I feel very much love towards his wife who is a tremendous women of the highest caliber. She is under much stress at present and her health is poor. I wish her all the best.

Bob Rafkin stopped by before work and dropped off a pie which was really nice of him. We talked briefly. His career is doing better once again. His divorce proceedings will occur in February.

Others who made it: Darlene Benson, Steve and Ronalee Haggard, Chris Scott, sure was good to see him, he was hobbling on a cane, having trouble with the knee he hurt in Rugby. He wanted to know what was happening with the literary group. I told him everyone but me sort of petered out. He’s still interested, so we’ll start again soon. He said his house could also facilitate such a meeting.

Vincent Wong, Michael Roquemore (we had a good chat and he had a fine talk with Linda Valles, his former roommate for many years); Michael also expressed an interest in Judy. I forgot to mention Steve H remarked on my Alan Watts books and his own interest in Zen Buddhism. I found this to be exciting. Steve and Ronalee and Liz and I get along well together and have a good relationship. Steve and I played racquetball week before last. It was my first time and I did quite well. Last week I spent many hours drafting away. I worked through one night and didn’t get to sleep until 9:30 AM.

Who else came? Lets’s see, there was Jeff Silver, Linda Dekowski-very nice gal who is a friend of Jeff’s, Devorah Sorrell, Pat Kremer, Guy Boudoin, Katie Newman-we talked business-she’s a wonderful woman. Bruce Barnes and Maggie DeLux-they’re engaged to be married, Ric and Bethany Coleman, Les Steinberg and his mother Lillian, Kelly, Shawna, Judy Gold and Glen-we had a great talk and it was so nice to see her. Glen is really jealous, so we really had no time to talk. Beth Minton and her boyfriend Michael came by, Karen Okata and her friend, Kate and her brother Randy Schindler; Ford Watson brought over a whole lot of food, very generous of him, Dion Dow and Nancy, Steve Seigal, Allan, Ron Kolman, Bobbie and Joey Gluskin, Alice and Sully, Jane Murad, Brent Wilson, Jason and Mary Jane Kovatch, Ed Nakata, Michael Hayes, Linda and Victor Valles and friend Sal, Thomas and Zadith Fresquez, Russ Isobe, John DeGomez, and Donald Hodges.

I stayed up til 3:30 talking with Jeff, Linda, Katie, Pat, Allen and Steve Seigal. Then from 3:30 to 6:30 cleaned up the house to surprise Sweets who’d retired to bed. We slept most of the day and enjoyed every moment of it.

Sunday evening we went out to a Moroccan Restaurant called Dharma Greg. It was a gathering with Les and Jeanette and her friends, Ric and Bethany, Elaine Geeler and her lawyer friend. Food was nowhere as good as at the Moon of Tunise and the atmosphere was less than comfortable-I suppose it was also the company. We did not enjoy ourselves quite frankly.

I’ve been listening to some really funny W.C. Fields cuts and also to some famous bloopers, they’re great!

Anyway, Goodnight.

 

by James C. Stephens


June 20, 1975

 

nsa-pre-bicentinneal-convention-1975-button-snippet-from-have-a-gohonzon

1975 Pre-Bicentennial Convention in Hawaii featuring a floating stage in Waikiki Bay. A live performance for 50,000 spectators watching from the beach and from their hotel balconies.

Aloha!

Well, it’s getting closer. Only 36 more days. Tonight we’re going to be watching Mr. Murray and Mr. Rachey on a T.V. talk show. They’re being interviewed by a guy named Zooloo, like Johnny Carson Mainland style. I understand that it was a super successful interview and it lasted well into the allotted time. In fact Zooloo said this movement needs more publicity. It’s so interesting. This was not arranged PR, but rather this guy’s seeking mind about this Buddhism. Really groovy.

File1319

The floating stage was an amazing engineering challenge as fireworks were shot off from the volcano, there was a rear projection screen and hundreds of performers were shuttled by boat at night to perform on stage. It was quite an amazing production to say the least. To bring a floating stage in required the EPA’s and Hawaiian Government’s approval. 

 

Many people I understand have been shakubukued by our warehouse. One heavyweight was really impressed, so impressed that he’s given us free laundry service. Daily no less. Delivers in one day. Other people have donated 88 construction helmets that normally run $7 a piece. Then there’s the bamboo. The Ranger is really amazing. Calls Rejicho, George.

File1318

What you see is a Polynesian Village we constructed in the warehouse and moved in the middle of the night from the old Dole Pineapple warehouse to Fort DeRussy in downtown Waikiki. I was in charge of procuring the plants and was loaned over $500,000 worth of plants for the convention, which we returned of course. So kind of the locals. I helped Mike Strawbringer and other gifted carpenters, but was pulled off and assigned to do what I did best, raise money and ask for donations! Lol.

The Polynesian Village requires one hell of a lot of bamboo. I’m sure we’ve used well into 14,000 pieces of bamboo. Well, the Ranger let’s us cut in the bamboo forest reserve. They wouldn’t even let the Boy Scouts cut any during the big Jamboree. He’s the grooviest Ranger I ever met. Dresses in an aloha shirt. One morning he brought us 15 pineapples. Boy were they were delicious. After one bamboo run, he took us to they say one of the most beautiful places in Hawaii. It was definitely far out. Beautiful waterfalls and a refreshing dip in the pool of water at the bottom did me in. Of course no one else is allowed to trespass here. But the ranger really stuck his neck out and let us swim here. Unbelievable.

The construction of the convention is progressing on schedule, really beautiful. Everyday though we are getting more projects which is far out. The warehouse is really being used by Rejicho for Shakubuku. People can’t believe what is happening.

File1317

Our Hawaiian “Aunt” and our little sister who dove for the puka shells and made us a lovely necklace which I later gave to my wife Elizabeth. Such good people.

The neighbors bring their friends by to check it out all the time. Beautiful grass huts. Just wait. You’ll cry when you come here. The Hawaiian members and our crew are becoming really close, just like brothers and sisters. One women’s division Lizzy made me cry when she brought me some beautiful puka shells she collected and strung herself. Invaluable.

The Human Revolution is very intense over here. I personally have never gone through such a period. Definitely a Summer Training Course of the highest magnitude. It’s about 10 times more intense in a strange way than a Brass Band practice. 88 guys you can imagine. Did you know there were 88 guys in the US Continental Congress? Myoho!

Pupukea is really beautiful, wow. The Hawaiian members have really put their whole life into that project.

hawaii-outrigger-canoe

Oh the water is definitely far out over here. Really clear and blue and warm. I and Mike were fortunate to go with 15 guys to do Gongyo with Rejicho and then go outrigger canoeing and surfing with Rejicho. I learned a lot that day to say the least.

So much to say but so little time now.

Awaiting everyone’s arrival!

Imua,

Jim

by James C. Stephens


Monday, February 26, 1979

Jamesinfrontoftemple

Russ Isobe (Brass Band), Jim Jay (District Leader), James Stephens, and Bruce Barnes (my best man) doing some type of activity at Myohoji Temple around the time of the New York Convention in 1976..

Last night Russ Dilando, Jim Jay, and Paul Diamond called me to enlist my support for their Monday morning speech at the staff’s weekly meeting. (North American Headquarters Staff Meeting in Santa Monica on 525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica).

Immediately after Mr. Williams finished morning Gongyo,  Jim Jay went to the front and asked for people’s attention. He said he wanted to say a few words regarding Mr. Williams recent visit to Seattle. First he asked if any one minded him talking. They said nothing. I said, please speak. Everyone looked at me. No loyalty to Jim from anyone in the organization even though he worked there for three years. Mr. Williams asked if he could talk, no one said anything. I’m sure they fear for their jobs.

He (Jim Jay) talked of what happened when he asked Mr. Williams about his salary. He said he wasn’t going to tell him and would not and that it was none of his business. He (Jim Jay) said that he was on staff for three years.


Notes: The notes above are all I recorded at the time. Here’s what I remember about the event.  Jim Jay was my leader for a time in Sepulveda Chapter as was Russ Dilando. Paul Diamond was one of my members. Chico Olivera another member of Sepulveda Chapter was there as well.

File3382

Sue Bennett, Sue Nigh, Chico Olivera, Paul Diamond, Paul Wilkes, Purdy Tapola, Gary Shelton, Dave Creek, Larry,  (That’s all I remember–Sepulveda Chapter)

We were all Youth Division leaders and very zealous radical students who went after our practice with everything we had. Most of us attended California State University Northridge.  As for the event at the Headquarters, everyone there (probably 80 staff) knew us all very well. We were fixtures at the Headquarters, leaders in Brass Band, leaders in the Youth Division, all graduates of the NSA Study Academy,  pulled Toban duty at the North American Headquarters, Santa Monica Headquarters, Malibu Training Center,  Myohoji Temple, helped build the Malibu Center, the Santa Monica Headquarters, members of the Soka Group, Traffic Control Division, Stage Crew at various conventions. In other words, we were not just troublemakers, we were zealous for kosenrufu and concerned about the direction of the movement. We had invested our lives fully. Held meetings six to seven times a week, on Friday’s we had discussion meetings which started at 7:00 pm and if there were no guests, we’d go to the streets and do shakubuku til we found them, invite them to our meetings and had meetings sometimes until 1:00 am.

So, when everyone in the room started swearing (I won’t repeat the words), others were saying “let them speak.” Probably Gary Curtis who had been a part of the Berkeley Free Speech movement in the 60’s. Finally, Jim Jay got up and started asking where all of our money was going? We wanted accountability.  After Jim finished up his short message, we realized we had been stonewalled,  got the message, and left, and went our separate ways.

Brad Nixon

Brad Nixon, SGI Organization Department Chief (screen capture from his son’s film about his life- Bladfold).

About three hours later, I received a call from Brad Nixon, former Seattle Headquarters Chief, who  was now working at the North American Headquarters in Santa Monica as the head of the organization department, who was a friend and said to me, “Jim, you better lay low.”  I asked, “Why?” He responded, “When I was going out to lunch I heard two men behind me, ‘Let’s go get our 357 magnums and blow these guys away.'”  Needless to say, I laid low. I failed to mention that I lived just across the street about three doors down from the North American Headquarters in Santa Monica.  It didn’t lessen our zeal for reform, but only fueled it. I won’t mention their names here, but will say that years later, I did confront one of them and he said, “Yes, I did say that and was very angry. My wife always said that I needed to get my anger problem under control and at one point held that 357 magnum up to my head and said I’d better. I have ever sense.”

We all get angry over things that threaten us and I hold no malice toward either one of them. Glad they didn’t go through with their threats, but I was always a bit on edge whenever I’d go to the Headquarters or General meetings.

Just watched Brad Nixon’s son’s film about his father’s life. I am very troubled by his passing. Our path’s crossed when he came down to Los Angeles for that once last chance. His warning did save my life and the lives of my family. Tough film. Very well done.

Brad Nixon. Bladfold, A Film about Brad Nixon

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.

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


Sunday, March 17, 1974

This morning I awoke at about 7:30 and put up the flag at the JHQ (Nichiren Shoshu Headquarters in Santa Monica, California) and did Gongyo with the Brass Band. Afterwards I promoted some World Tribune and did some cleanup at home. From about 6 pm I helped Scott Wilson with the TCD (Traffic Control Division) at the JHQ. At about 9:45 Scott and I frantically exchanged pants. He needed some whites since he was leading the meeting. Strangely when I left I got some whites about 2 minutes before the TCD meeting. After the meeting I rode back to the JHQ with Scott and stuck with him while he was finishing up some last minute adjustments on the bus lists. We then walked out front and what a fortunate rhythm. Honbucho Hall drove up. We talked to or should I should say he talked to us for about 20 minutes outside the Headquarters. He asked my name and if I was on the list. He also told us he was not going to South America and that Mr. Williams was going to be back this week.

Honbucho interspersed guidance on the TCD spirit when he talked to Scott and I (more tommorrow).

Tuesday, March 26, 1974

Recently, I have been thinking about my plans for the next five years…In the past few years I have though casually over the possibility of starting a business. I thought first of a restaurant business, but reviewing the state of our economy in so far as the food prices I have postponed such a goal until I have and also the economy has reached a more stable period. Inside my own life I have seen many problems which have been reflected to me by my environment and colleagues.

The major problem I don’t know, however I wouldn’t call them problems, just realizations. My cultural background was never too firm. Being raised in Montana is quite a contrast to being raised in L.A. But at the same time I realize I can’t compare myself to other people. Rather I have to go through a Cultural Revolution within my own life. Such a revolution I believe involves exposing myself to much literature and a much wider variety of experiences in my life.

11:15. I have been seriously thinking about starting a business or a small shop dealing with skiing. Mainly it would involve waxing, sharpening, and repairing skis. Also I would like to be a center for ordering skis of racing prototypes. Of course the idea is still in the idea stage. Mainly I have to start talking around and see what such a business involves.

Yesterday I applied for a job working for a campaign for Baxter Ward. Unfortunately it had already been filled, however I plan on working for his campaign for Governor after the convention. I talked to Shibucho and he said it wouldn’t hurt doing it 2 or 3 hours a week or so. I really feel it would be a valuable experience. I have been thinking about learning some languages.

Both of my new members have turned in their money for the convention. Their names are Gary Sheldon and Chris Collinge. They both are really groovy.

I think a plan for my cultural change would involve 20 minutes of study periods on several different fields of interest:

20 minutes on science, 20 minutes on history, 20 minutes on economics, etc. Definitely reading current magazines and many great literary works. Right now I’m starting on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.  20 minutes study of Buddhism is a definite necessity to my development. Well it’s late and I must get some rest so I can find a good job tomorrow.

One last thing. Sunday the TCD went to San Diego to look the area over for the convention. It was a definite success and I’m sure a valuable experience for the convention. I told Shibucho about our TCD activity. He gave me permission and guidance to be strict on our TCD. The four TCD are myself, Arnie Roff, David Valencia, and Chico Olivera. Tomorrow night, I’m in charge of 5 TCD to protect the Koteketai practice.

Saturday, March 30, 1974

Wednesday, I again looked for a job and planted some seeds for job possibilities.

Sunday, March 31, 1974

We had a TCD meeting and surveyed the parking lot in the rain.