Posts Tagged ‘Brent Wilson’

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.

 

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by James C. Stephens


August 1, 1978 1 a.m.

The date is now upon me.

No longer can I wait.

It is now an internal fight

against Gumpon no mumyo.*

Honnin’myo

Let me begin!

This is the beginning of the battle which I have contemplated for so long. It is a battle of using theory for practical application. A battle I have been poor at up til now. I am unhappy intuitively because I have until now not challenged this weakness in my life. Now, I promise to devote my life to the mystic law. To help all my fellow countrymen understand this philosophy through my practice and application. No longer can I sit back in the bleachers as a mere observer I, oh I must become a torchbearer and fight with every ounce I can muster! This is my eighth year of practice and the eighth month–Let me open the door of my true human revolution! Only with that concentrated Ichinen can this happen.

In this diary I will record current events, trials and tribulations and as in the beginning of my diary be as truthful as possible.

Each day evaluate my actions and take a step forward, each night evaluate my actions and plan a step forward.

August 2, 1978

up at 6:00 a.m.–1 hour daimoku–August 1

Yesterday morning I spent sometime giving guidance to Brent Wilson. It takes him time to absorb anything since he is so defensive in his manner. I told him this and also that it was a major problem in my practice several years ago also. We talked about jobs, goals and attitude.

Richard Dreyfuss the Big Fix 1978Set up some indoor-outdoor ferns and plants at an actor’s place in the Valley. His name is Richard Dreyfuss. I didn’t meet him, but worked with his mother for a few hours. They bought me lunch for helping them out. She’s a nice gal. Richard and Rob Reiner have been friends for along time. Since New York. They played stick ball and all those N.Y. street games there. Evidently Richard is under a lot of pressure at the moment since he is producing and acting in his own film. It must be extremely arduous. I really feel for him in his situation. Just seeing his movies I feel he is kenzoku.* The fact that he lives here confirms my feeling. They seem very down to earth as people.

[Of course an early film he was best remembered for was Jaws. Jaws Trailer ]

7:00–Jerry Wilhelm and I did Gongyo together and later discussed the YMD situation in Marina and planned out who would contact who and set up some visitations. Afterwards we had some nice Cabernet Savignon, hit me very fast. Out like a light last night. Must watch drinking on an empty stomach and also on weekdays!

August 2, 1978

Up at 9:30–ugh! Gotta watch that alcohol. Gongyo, very little daimoku and then on the road. Back–finally dug into tons of paperwork and got organized. Feel 100% better!

Dentist stitches out…

Called Pat Flaherty in Montana–new attorney office–own practice..now a Christian. Correspondence starts again. This time through an agreement-a dialogue on life.

Did estimate in Valley on some benches with an old fellow member Chico Olivera. He’s a great guy. I have some carma with him, I need to change, but I really like him.

Home visitation in Pasadena with Tony Schmidt on young guy named Mark Sanchez. Have problems with his father and also with Gongyo. Tried my best to encourage him. Read Advice to Young People before hand, it sure came in handy.

Got back 9:45. Mike left. We were supposed to have a toso to start our campaign towards Sho Hondo 1979, October 12. He called is having problems. Needs guidance, I will try to help him find a Men’s Division leader soon.

Worked on YMD Seminar Book til 12:00. Bed 1:00 a.m. Determination for tommorrow–Compilation of Seminar Book.


* Gumpon no mumyo– is the inherent darkness within which Nichiren said was the most difficult obstacle to overcome in the human being quest for enlightenment.

*Kenzoku-friends, a bit like birds of a feather flock together.

Note in retrospect: Even as newlyweds, Elizabeth and I were both senior leaders and kept quite busy with independent activities. She was one of the few members who actually had a steady job and worked for General Telephone for years. Looking back at my journals it struck me how little we were prepared as members to have functional marriages outside of our hectic schedules.

by James C. Stephens


Monday, December 19, 1977

Played ping pong for several hours with Danny, Brent (Wilson), Koichi and I. Attended Christmas party til late at Vicki Pierce’s. Liz ill, caught my flu.

Talked to Jeff Silver. He called. We talked for about an hour. I was really encouraged and so happy to hear his improvement in his faith. He really brought me out of a dark lonely spot that evening.

Tuesday, December 20, 1977

Danny (Nagashima) ill-caught same flu as I. Attended West L.A. planning meeting. I was so elated and surprised at the change in the spirit of their district in the past 3 months.

Talked to Terry Steinhardt about Jason and YMD in general.

Wednesday, December 21, 1977

Woke up at 10:50 to rain. Benefit. Library committee. Bruce and I met at Liz’s. Listened to tape. Left at 10:30PM picked up Bill Evans and visited Ira Zahler in the valley. I feel among the three of us, we left him in an encouraged state. One by one!

Thursday, December 22, 1977

YMD planned January schedule and new goals for 1978.

Friday, December 23, 1977

Rain. Liz and I visited Scott and had take out Chinese dinner with him. Very nice evening.

Saturday, December 24, 1977

File2929

My Mother Alice and her cousin Tony Dow at traditional Christmas Eve Party

Family Xmas eve. Tony, Carol, Dion, Juice, Muriel, Johnny Dow, Mom, Sully, Liz and I. Nice evening.

Sunday, December 25, 1977

Xmas Day.

Lazy holiday. ug. Liz, Mom, Adrianne and I saw movie Choirboys and had pleasant dinner at Benihana’s Japanese Restaurant. Had fun. Liz and I had a couple small differences, but were able to discuss them.

Monday, December 26, 1977

Merry Christmas Scrabble

Lazy holiday. Watched football, played Scrabble, enjoyed each other’s company. 6 pm met Tracy regarding invitations for wedding. 7-8 pm got names for invites from No. Hollywood and Valley.

Tuesday, December 27, 1977

Raining. Stayed at Liz’s, washed dishes, poor feeling inside, somewhat disconnected. Must renew my determination! Called Danny, Mrs. Bell. I called Russ Dilando tonight re: Wedding best man. I received a strange feeling from him. I sincerely am worried about his practice. I felt very lonely as if I carried a great responsibility.

It’s raining hard. I feel 1978 is bringing with it a winter of struggle, but with the promise of great growth and victory. Fresh start. Never forget. Honnin’myo!

Wednesday, December 28, 1977

My life is so hard to get going! But to start a train with many cars requires great effort. I must try harder, only victory, only suffering, only human revolution. I’m discovering weaknesses which until now I have avoided.

ATTACK!

Friday, December 30, 1977

Raining. Determined to chant six hours today. Only chanted four.

Saturday, December 31, 1977

Yesterday I figured I would have to chant four hours per day to reach a million daimoku by February 18, the date of my wedding. Only chanted one and a half today.

Wednesday after discussion meeting I had volunteered to help clean the World Culture Center on New Year’s Evening Day, today. I arrived a few minutes late. Mr. Williams had done a special ABC Gongyo with the cleaners. He gave us a special name. He called us the “Gold Mine Group.” He elaborated on the principles of helping clean the center and said we should carry the same spirit with us everywhere. After you clean here, let’s make our home shine, too. Honnin’myo. Consistent from beginning to end.

Our group was in charge of cleaning basement and outside. We are foundation group (we called ourself). After we did the outside windows, I worked for awhile cleaning up the garden indoors.

Liz and I had a small disagreement and both went through several changes after I had decided to clean my house in correspondence with Mr. Williams’ guidance.

She left me off at home. I felt regretful of my attitude. I determined to never again be so selfish, and to be considerate. I should be strong. This is my human revolution!

We did evening gongyo together and went to two parties for New Year’s, West Hollywood Chapter.

by James C. Stephens


Monday, April 11, 1977

1:10 a.m., Tuesday morning.

Last few days have enjoyed beautiful spring weather. It’s been cool and slightly overcast with that ocean air influence. Perfect working weather. Soon, I’m sure we’ll have some more scorchers, though.

Had an enjoyable Easter Sunday. My Aunt Retha came over, Ann Sandene and her son Tony, and Emery a bowling friend of my fathers and three friends and members of mine, Tom Brittingham, Tony Schmidt, and Brent Wilson.

My Aunt Retha is looking so much better and younger. It’s great! We had such an interesting conversation about her studies in genealogy, etc. She told me about our family tree on the Stephens side of the family. In the near future I would like to get the tree from both sides of my family. It fascinates me.

After the folks ate, they went out bowling and we, the YMD, had our one hour toso and did a precise Gongyo, ate, drank and watched the conclusion of a very interesting movie, Jesus of Nazareth. Very well done. I was particularly impressed with the master disciple relationship between Jesus and his disciples, very interesting. I have much to say on this, but would like to start a notebook on personal essays on such thoughts of philosophy, education, etc.

https://youtu.be/ruLjkt-5Kao

This evening was most enjoyable for me. Bob Rafkin, a former roommate and good friend of mine is getting married this coming Saturday the 16th and tonight his Bride, Joanne Harris’s mother gave a dinner for them. It was a family dinner and I am touched deeply that I was considered to be close to Bob to be invited. We get along like brothers. Anyway it was on Restaurant Row at the Mediterranean Restaurant and I enjoyed it immensely. I became associated with Mr. Harry and Mr. Sinclair and several others of the Harris Clan and met Bob’s parents who are very neat people. There were quite a few members there also, including Mik and Liz Shevchek, Terry and Guy Meek, and Andrea Hairston.

Terry Meek and I had a very heart to heart talk; she’s definite proof of the Gohonzon, a very beautiful women with very warm eyes and emits an incredibly down to earth countenance without losing that female grace and beauty. I had mentioned Mr. Williams talking to my father and we got to discussing the literary group I started, she was extremely interested and wants to attend a meeting and if possible get into our group.

Had to leave at 10:45, because I had another equally exciting thing I had to attend in Westwood. About 3 weeks ago I met a girl named Isabel at Howard Johnson’s during my coffee break. We had a conversation across the counter and I mentioned our Literary group when I heard she was trying her hand at writing short stories. She sounded interested so I invited her to be a guest one month, she accepted.

We talked about travel and she mentioned she spent a year in France, so I mentioned the fact that one of the members in our group was from France, Pat Kremer, and if she needed to practice her French I was sure that maybe the two of you could get together via me as the liason.

About a week later I called made arrangements for the two to meet tonight. I had not shakubukued her up to this point. I introduced her to Pat, did sancho daimoku and we talked for awhile. We shakubukued her and I left for dinner while they had a talk in French. This was at 4:20. Now 11:00 I arrive and take Isabel home. We had a warm channel of communication. She expressed exhaustion in her meeting with Pat and Charlotte and how she went through changes talking to them. “They wanted to talk so much I had to fight to talk. It was a struggle, but I am becoming more aware of myself. It was good.”

She mentioned she was interested in Buddhism. Before she had come to a meeting but was not particularly taken by Phase I. She expressed that Charlotte came on a little heavy on shakubukuing her and then questioning me. Isabel sided with me in the care saying she was happy I had made friends. You’re more experienced and confident so if it comes up later you would of told me more naturally. We discussed the fact that one who is new is less confident and feels compelled to tell it our faster. Interesting.

As we departed, she said I have your number, give me a call about the book for June. I think I’ll be too busy to read until them with school exams. But I’d love to do it this summer. Maybe give me a call and we could go out or something. “Sure,” I said.

She is very soft spoken and possesses a lot of wisdom for a girl of 21. Beautiful eyes, medium dark hair, medium build. Born in Quebec, moved to California at the age of 6. Mother runs nursery in her home. Her father is an electronic technician for ITT or some big company.

I’m attracted to her, who knows but the Gohonzon. I’ve given up trying to figure things out if you know what I mean.

Oh well, its late and have much work in morning, so better sign off.

My heart is fragile

So caution is my password

But hope is always in the air

A woman is so important in my life

that I no longer take

things nonchalantly.

I feel my mission

supreme.

Fortune is on my side

each day I ask Gohonzon

My wife, my business, my members

Tantamount is my faith in Gohonzon

It I trust as

Parent, teacher and sovereign.