Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Barnes’

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.

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by James C. Stephens


Wednesday, May 04, 1977

Wildflower

Obstacles or sancho shima will arise when we are making headway in our practice. For our district we can say we are making strong headway. As of late we have confronted the demon of death and the demon of insanity. I’m sorry to say that my friend and colleague John DeGomez had a great tragedy befall him this past week. His sister whom I knew committed suicide by hanging herself. I deeply regret that she did and am grieved by this unfortunate circumstance, I send my daimoku to her. Her face is very clear to me. Damn!

The second demon was the X* incident. A girl that, nay a woman in her 30’s, who used to practice in the old Wilshire, caused a scene at the World Culture Center and threatened to slit a member’s throat. She had to be physically restrained. Saturday night she ended up at our discussion meeting. I welcomed her, naive of the fact she had this incident behind her, but nonetheless I sensed a strange feeling.

Tonight we had a district daimoku toso in which Steve Bell, Bruce Barnes and I arrived early in order to meet X* and uninvite her to our meetings. She did come and Mr. Bell put it in very humanistic and rational manner to X*, ‘Hi, sorry we have to uninvite you. Please understand why. We have to go on your recent performance at the headquarters and until you improve your track record I’ll have to ask you not to come to any meetings.’

The way he said it was a bit different and very merciful, but strict. He spoke to her in a mild rational way. I could not have done it. I of course had mixed feelings, but I definitely was against her coming to any meeting if there was any chance that a member might be hurt in the least.  Incidentally, she did leave and it seemed she understood and didn’t leave uptight.

My Young Men’s Division have recently gone through many changes. You know that Jeff Silver finally rolled up his Gohonzon. Now he will be only able to blame himself instead of the Gohonzon for his problems. I sincerely believe this is an important step in his human revolution. He will eventually come back, as soon as he grows up, realizes his shortcomings and realizes the value of the Gohonzon. He needs to learn by facing society along. I feel confident in this.

Two of my other Young Men’s Division are in need of finding meetings closer to their homes. Darrel Schreiner and Walter Johnson. I am in the process of trying to make this happen. Darrel’s practice is so-so, but Walter is doing well and wants a place where he can bus to and fro and become more involved. I’m excited for him. But I’ve got to get my rear in gear and find him a meeting place.

Tom Brittingham had a fling for about a week with some girl from India until some Arab Prince whisked her off to the middle East in his jet. The Gohonzon has an incredible way of protecting members. Amazing! Anyway he’s back struggling with school and practice. I’m not worried. He’s young and has a lot of guts. He’s a good kid, just a bit unsettled and confused. But it will work out.

Last night and afternoon I got my filing system in order. A major accomplishment. I feel 100% better with things in their proper place. Now I can begin many projects I have neglected because the lack of my organization.

Called Pat Flaherty this morning at work in Helena. He has now gotten into Christ, he says. Sent me a letter, but I never received it. Well, he has to practice Christianity to see for himself. He is wanting to know Buddhism’s relationship to Christianity. I can’t relate to him falling into this Christ trip, but then he said it was a good looking girl who gave her Christ experience. And again life is so mysterious the mind so marvelous. I am not in the least discouraged at my shakubukuing him. When he joins, watch out! The guy has so damn much potential.

Friday night Isabel and I are going to a play called Vanities. It’s a comedy. Should be a lot of fun.

 

Each day I will try to advance if only a step.

Yesterday I sent my Japanese friend a letter.

In this way without fanfare we will develop bonds that can never be broken by war, or evil demons or selfish politicians.

I’m trying to correspond more. I feel I am the link to the Gohonzon for a great many people, many friends.

Mission. A growing sense of this is blossoming in my life.

I’m trusting the Gohonzon more. Isabel is not a member, but of course I would like her to practice. I will take my relationship seriously but not filled with anxiety.

The desire grows within me to find my mate.

It’s becoming more exciting as my trust in the Gohonzon, grows. What every happens for my human revolution and growth.

Soon,

Seven years

Each day

seems, no brings

with it

the realization of what

Jiyu no Bosatsu

means to me.

A blade of grass

weak?

No, I don’t think so.

Look at it

she pushes up through

the seemingly impervious concrete.

What does she desire?

I believe to live, to breathe,

to search for its purpose.

Life.

I feel like the seedling

now sprouting its head through

the crust of earth

Seeing, breathing, seeking

Sun,

Seeking a master

for the first time

seriously.


“The days of man are like grass. He grows like a flower of the field.  When the wind blows over it, it is gone. Its place will remember it no more.” Psalm 103:15

by James C. Stephens


December 27, 1976  1:20 AM

This afternoon I saw an art exhibit on “The World of Franklin and Jefferson.”  It moved me.

Historigram of Franklin and JeffersonLately, I have felt a strong desire to develop my life. It has been difficult to write on this since I have been quite unable to put my finger on it. I realize I am none to brilliant a human being. My members are more well read to a degree. I am struggling to develop my own potential as a leader and foremost as a human being. I was not raised in the arts when I was young. Literature was not foremost, nor was music. I was raised in a small town of 2,500 people on a lake. Very sports-minded, I always seemed to be. A desire to be a professional baseball player. I devoted so much energy to this endeavor. Physically I had much going against me. I was short and fat, yes I was fat at one time. Consequently, I was not at all a fast runner. But I persistently applied myself to the game and became a good ball player. I played golf too. Skied during the winter. I’m sure when others were reading on their time off I was most likely playing socceer, basketball, sledding or football. Now my thirst to develop is coming to the fore. Why? It is not in my ability to answer this question totally. But possibly out of a desire to discover my mission, maybe to help other human beings. So often I have discovered myself short in encouraging people. When I first started practicing the only people I could relate to were on a skiing level. But as I continued to practice, my scope of experience broadened. I scraped in so many ways to survive. I jumped around in school I had no idea what education even meant. But through living in so many different situations my thirst for knowledge is coming from me as natural as an artesian well.

One area I lack is in the Ichinen for study to sink into my life. But I feel that I now see this gap and will be able to change it through faith in the Gohonzon.  Our study group is coming together. Our first meeting is in January 1977. Our group is composed of Scott Ferguson, Bruce Barnes, Tom Brittingham, Cheryl Bell, tow of Scott’s acquaintances, and myself. It should be an interesting experiment.

Our business is not fairing the way it should. I must devote more energy to it.

Now is the time for a foundation! I must compose a plan of attacking my present problems and deficits. Step by step I must advance.

Spending habits are very poor-must change this.

World of Franklin and Jefferson

Got or should say giving Dad a gift of book I picked up at Art Museum on Jefferson and Franklin. Hope he enjoys it.

Must find study material for next YMD meeting with Rejicho! Jan., 77!

Washington interesting me greatly. Is there a relationship between us? He is my 9th cousin as far as my family tree goes. Is he a window to my past? To my future?

Get notebooks for your study campaign. Record book for study book group. I think it is necessary to separate my diary on this subject or is it?


by James C. Stephens


Sunday, December 13, 1976 12:40 a.m.

Many obstacles trying to stop my advance. I must somehow develop the spirit of a lion. Day by day towards the 21st Century.

Saturday night, I had a guest. Her name is Carma. She was greatly encouraged by meeting. Gave her a ride home. Had coffee. Controlled my Sancho Goma. Very difficult.

Oh, I don’t believe I told you. Scott and I started a Book society. Once a month we will read a book and discuss it. Each member of the society will in turn select a book for his month. Our group consists of Bruce Barnes, Scott Ferguson, two non-members which I have not yet met, and myself. First Book is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Yoni Netanayahu killed in Raid on Entebbe

Saw a movie on the July 4th incident in Uganda of a terrorist hijacking of a plane with 200 people, 100 which were Jews. What a ghastly problem! It sickens me greatly. Fortunately the Israelis held a surprise attack which was successful in only 3 hostages were lost and 1 soldier. The terrorists were all gunned down. We were not so lucky at Munich. All the hostages lost their lives. Unfortunately terrorism is gaining a foothold in many movements, e.g., IRA.

 

by James C. Stephens


July 14, 1972

Jamesinfrontoftemple

Russ Isobe, Jim Jay my old district leader, me, and Bruce Barnes who was my best man. Photo taken in front of Myohoji Temple sometime in 1976. We were wearing NY Convention uniform.

Much definitely has changed in the last two weeks. On July 1, I really yelled at Jim Jay about our relationship. I didn’t really yell at all, but it was a serious discussion. I said I just could not take on-shitsuing him. It is like a feeling of slugging him some moment. He said he had the same feeling. Well, then I said we must change it. He said we must talk more about our problems as a district and I said that if we don’t open up how can we understand. He said well, once I open up you take it personally. I said that the way you open up, you have to change that too. It was definitely the first time we ever talked so frankly. It was a definite obstacle to our growth and our district’s growth.

The next morning I left for Mammoth to visit my mom and brother. It was really a fantastic vacation. I did so much, played pool, hiked, fished, paddled around in a canoe, got drunk, danced, met people and in general had a hell of a good time. My brother gave me a pair of Scott Competition poles, the best you can get. Of course I brought Ron a backpacking fry mess kit and Mom some See’s Candy. She really loved them.

Before I left to see them Dad got served the divorce papers. And after I got back dad seemed noticeably different. His fiance picked me up. She is really a wicked person. That night July 4, we had our Shimakura Chiyoko Show. It really had a deep impact on Ginger. I was deeply moved by Shimakura and by our Min-on movement! Ginger and her son Shawn and my dad were very impressed. Afterward we went out and had dinner.

I really chanted for the best to come out of my dad’s engagement to her, and it did. He broke it off. He really saw her true aspect. I’m definitely happy for him.

My new job is putting me through some human revolution. I’m working with some Italian Sicilians and boy I can really see how people are. Freddy, was a member or leader of a gang in New Jersey during his young days, but now he’s old and gray at 35 and very unhappy. Because I am young and have the Gohonzon he, I am sure, is really seeking something he is missing in his life. When we are alone he really opens up, but because he is still in animality when alot of other workers are with him, he reverts to a rough working class attitude. It is really ashame, because he has so much potential as a great human being and very warm at that.

I don’t especially enjoy washing toilets and carpets, and painting, and cleaning kitchens, but I am deeply realizing something about life specifically. I definitely must go back to school and pour my whole being into become the best political science student. I am sure I can do it. I dream of being a teacher.

Sogohonbucho gave us guidance and said, “When you call money by money it will not come. But the name of money is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It will definitely come. Just as Nichiren said, if you chant the daimoku, fortune will travel millions of miles to you.”

I believe in Sogohonbucho. His guidance is definitely what keeps me chanting. He is the best example with Pres. Ikeda. Now I have many personal obstacles, but am sure with a determined spirit and more daimoku I can reverse the situation.

A new obstacle happended, while my car was in the shop for the last two weeks. Someone stole my license plates and with a stolen credit card ran up a bill with Union Oil of $1200. This is not a small matter. I must chant much more to change my lack of fortune.