Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Barnes’

James C. Stephens


Friday, June 1, 1979

Deep inner turmoil, yet a great shaft of light pierces the gloom and a tremendous and magnificent spirit emerges with power, unyielding and determined.

Relationships blooming everywhere. The literary group again lives! T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.

Les Steinberg got recharged by the workshop. Bruce is registered for June. (Bruce was my district leader and also best man at my wedding). Must help him get the money, he must experience his magnificence, so must I. I had a brief glimpse of his tonight during our conversation. Damn it is so beautiful. I am so beautiful. [JCS post note. We were taught to do affirmations, even when we didn’t feel so good about ourselves].

Nichiren Shoshu needs a tremendous amount of love and energy. We must help her feel her magnificence. Because we are her. Michael Crenshaw asked to be taught how to practice. Michael Roquemore is going through tribulations about that fact.

Liz and I are growing closer. I am feeling more whole. Forward~

Forward

Towards the Magnificence

Of Life.

Worked on the West Hollywood Newsletter with Lydia, Betty Dunn and Ric Coleman.

Wrote an article on nuclear solution and put in some awareness games.

Yesterday met Rocky’s (Mike Roquemore’s new nickname after Actualizations) friend Wendall for the first time.

Called Shawna Lianne today.

Thought about Scott Ferguson.

Thought about Judy Gold.

In fact, I will write her a note after this entry.

Talked to Manny at work today.

Last night Liz met with Cheryl Pistono. Worked on each other’s relationship. Change–for the best–Liz was holding on to dislike of Cheryl. We discussed this and she told me she has always had a hard time expressing her feelings to people. I told her to do it. She did. She told me afterwards that she now knows a different Cheryl. They hugged on departure. Of course I joined in on the festivities. I love hugging. I support my essence of course.

Good night.

12:15 am

 

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by James C. Stephens


Monday, May 14, 1979

Well its back to the drawing board and studying. Los Angeles was really hot this weekend. Not only were the temperatures high, but so were tempers as gas lines grew to frustratingly long lines. Things are looking worse in Los Angeles all the time. Prices are so ridiculously high as far as real estate, one as young as our family could not possibly hope to own property or even a condominium in a reasonable area. Rents are continuing to soar over Los Angeles and in Santa Monica, the renters finally got rent control passed over all the landowner propaganda.

My birthday #28 was on Saturday and was quite enjoyable. We had a party and invited several of our friends over. Who showed up? Well there was Francis and her daughter Annie and her boyfriend Phil, Bruce Barnes, Michael Roquemore, Marshel, Kathy Schindler, Kurt, Jeff Silver, Devorah Sorrell, Pat Kremer, Steve Seigal, Chris Delisle and a friend, Barry Simon, Adrianna Lascar, Liz and I (Togo and Lyla-Katie Newman’s cats).

There were debates, games, food, booze and great conversation.

File1437

My Dad, Carlton W. Stephens visited the memorial commemorating the loss of the crew of the USS Arizona which included one of his childhood friends who lost their lives defending the fleet during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The date was December 7, 1941. “Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime.” (note date was May 1979).

Dad arrived home from Hawaii Sunday night and evidently had a really nice time. He went to a luau and took several tours and had a party on a catamaran cruise. Also went a visited his high school buddies’ watery grave at Pearl Harbor. His friend was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona.

Sunday afternoon Liz and I went to Ocean Park beach with Jeff Silver, Danny, Linda Dekowski, and had a lot of fun cooling off in the ocean. Really enjoyed myself with my wife immensely. We are getting much closer. I pray we have a long life together. She is a great woman and very liberated from a lot of bull. I’m learning a great deal from her.

This morning Dad and I went out to breakfast. Prior to breakfast I told him that I thought it  not befitting of him to sink to the levels of bickering our landlady and neighbor have fallen to. I told him I thought it unbecoming to his beautiful nature. We had a nice talk. We also talked about Oregon.

I can’t seem to keep a move out of my blood. In a sense I’m sick of L.A. and in another I’m L.A. That’s why Liz and I are planning our August vacation up the coast. I can’t wait. I must get some literature about the various areas and write some letters to some friends about arrangements when we arrive.

Wednesday night Liz, Adrianna and I went out for Liz’s birthday at a family Yugoslavian restaurant on Fairfax Blvd. We had a delightful meal and i had brought a fresh fruit type cake and brought it in the back door after we arrived. Liz was surprised as the family brought out the cake and sang happy birthday to Liz. It was a lot of fun.

Presently, I will set up a program of consolidation of what we have put into cash and also to get our bills paid and finances straightened out on paper.

Also I am studying business and am gaining an interest in the study of Buddhism. I have always enjoyed this. Why not make it your hobby, your job. A lecturer on Buddhism might not be a bad career and very rewarding I’m sure. Definitely not a preaching way as I have at times seen. But presented in a clear, concise, humorous 21st century mode that inspires people to examine life, see the essence and live in a creative mode.

Bob Rafkin called and is doing well in his new job with W.L. Cult, a new country band. They play at the Landmark in Glendale which evidently is in competition with the Palomino Club in North Hollywood. I sure like Bob, he’s a funny and inspiring guy.

We’ll I’d better get busy!

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


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


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.