Posts Tagged ‘Buddhism’

by James C. Stephens


Thursday, December 20, 1979

Imagineer Press November clouds over Santa Monica Bay

November Rain Storm over Santa Monica Bay – Immaginare Press

A cold front moved in today. Snow clouds off the ocean. Cool winds blowing through tall eucalyptus, silhouetted against a dramatic sky. Oh! what an exhilarating feeling I get. That sunset, one agrees to one day capture deep within one’s soul.

Change~that’s life. Things don’t remain the same. Ill feelings, they pass. Sometimes they hang on, only if they become an issue within your own mind. Let go and I discover life’s drama opening new vistas to be explored.

Yesterday, a new determination in my life arose. Youth, the torchbearers of this age. I am a youth. The finger of destiny points at me. The age, the decade of the eighties is now upon us. The United States has lost much of its integrity and courage. I am part of this flow of history. What can I contribute? The prime of my youth, 28-40. I will become a standard bearer for Buddhism in this age. Action. As I previously determined starting January 1, 1980 I will consistently chant 2 hours a day for one year. I will use the General’s strategy-The Lotus Sutra. From daimoku will come everything. That is my only strategy. Step by step.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

As with my business I need not be anxious. One step at a time. Tonight, Neil Weikel called me up and said he needed my projects tonight. At that point which was 7 o’clock I had two projects to go. An orthographic projection-which I finished by 8:15. (I commend myself, it looked rather well for a rush job) and a profile on a contour and a french curve terrace and pool, which I finished by 9:45. Liz and I dropped it off at Neils over on Ashland and had a rather nice talk with Neil. He’s an extremely interesting and personable fellow. His apartment serves as his office and home. Piano, ~ Brahms, Copeland, Saint Saens, Mussorgsky. We talked music~he used to sing classical up in Seattle. Passed through Montana in 1953 with a bunch of friends. Must be in his 40’s. Doesn’t show it at all. I feel compassion for him as a friend. His house decor showed definitely dedicated to his field of Landscape Architecture. I was a bit judgmental, but not in a negative sense. He at first, I feel was uncomfortable about his environment, but he as an individual far outshines it in his tremendous sense of compassion, genuineness and warm sociability. I enjoyed our short conversation. He seemed to warm up as we talked and showed us some of his music he had collected, and told us of his Russian musical score. He and Liz and I talked about memory~he told us about a sub-durum blood clot he had on his brain as a result of a childhood injury at the age of 5. He had no memory previous to 5. But remembers everything since. I talked of my experience with being gassed at the old NSA building on the beach.

Of course we both admitted frankly that we couldn’t use those events as excuses. We got a slight laugh out of that.

Good practice at fast drafting. I feel proud of myself even though it was not “A” work. Anyway, I fell much relieved and proud of the fact that I COMPLETED two courses. Completion is the name of the game for me. After all the past fiascoes I have been through.

Well, I must get a little “shot eye” since I have to be up at 5:30 to drive Liz to meet her ride to Downey at 6:30. Earl White give her a ride for the next 5 days. She has a trunking school for her switching job at the phone company.

We go through our off and on’s in our relationship. Last night when I was being affectionate, she said well we’d better get to sleep. Right in an awkward way and moment. Sometimes we feel separate, sometimes not. Anyway, it is temporary. Right. Relationships do take work. There is something not quite right, however I can’t put my finger on it.

It may be my new determination has put some strain on our relationship. Possibly she resents me being too “faithy.” This will just have to work out. I do have the tendency to be that way and it is a definite problem in that one becomes too dogmatic, religious, missionary type. It’s a definite drag! Sometimes I feel separate from Liz. It’s not a good feeling, but of course at other times I feel extremely close and loving.

She has become a union steward. I’m glad of this. I am happy to see her develop other interests besides work. She does read quite a bit and is becoming much more attractive and interesting. I hate to sound like a judge here. But I am such a critical son of a bitch at times. This is a bad trait in a sense, but I am dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and feel I would be robbing my partner if I did not support the beauty she does indeed possess. She has been baking cookies~ and is very good at it. I’m proud, but not always in love with Liz and myself too. That’s the true battle.

Notes: Idea for changing name of Gadfly to “Phoenix.”

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by James C. Stephens


November 18, 1979 

 File1985
“Mom and Sully took Liz and I to our first Laker’s game today, and what a first time! Sully knows the owner of the Phoenix Suns Richard Block and Richard Block quite often gives Sully his tickets. Our four seats were right on the court. The Lakers played the Indiana Pacers. Today was evidently one of the Laker Girl’s (cheerleaders) first debutes. We watched Kareem Abdul Jabar and Magic Johnson, Nixon, Wilkes, etc., play some fancy ball. It was great entertainment, and I was so happy to watch Liz yelling and enjoying herself.

Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabaar

We all had a drink in the Forum Club also. Definitely a nice benefit of being invited. Afterwards Sully and Mom took Liz and I out to dinner at Petracelli’s restaurant on Sepulveda. Pretty good food. Did you know that Sully was raised in a family of 22 children? Unreal! When Sully said he had dozens of brothers he wasn’t kidding. His brother died last year at the age of 93. Sully will be 61 on Wednesday, November 21st.

Liz and I also were heir to two tickets to a Charity dinner and dance at General Lee’s in Chinatown given by the Young Chinese Women’s Association. Katie Newman couldn’t make it so she called and asked us if we would like to go. Sure. It was a very nice occasion, nine course meal (very, very tasty at that) and Liz and I got to do a little disco dancing. Afterwards we dropped by Bruce’s on Shoreline. He announced to us his engagement to Maggie DeLux, super nice gal.

Saturday, Liz, Vincent, Kirk (Cal Tech grad student) and I went to the Spa. Kirk showed us more about how to use the weight machines than any instructor ever had.

Friday night was Liz’s last night at Grandview GTE school for equipment repair, so I checked out Santa Monica Group meeting. Gave Pat Shaw a ride. The meeting was a complete farce. Also saw and met this Tim (Thomas) Payne from North Hollywood. His slide show on Buddhism was degrading and very sloppy. I was not impressed. The gent can not take criticism, even constructive at that. Liz and I went out afterwards to the Magic Pan. Food about a 3.

Saturday night we witnessed a crime. Mexicans in a beige Dodge van ahead of us got out and batted out all the windows of a Toyota and drove away. I, well we went through a big dilemma of whether to report it or not since we did not get the license number. At first we feared reprisal (we lived directly across the street where we would normally have turned into our driveway, but drove on past so they did not associate our green Westfalia VW quite recognizable with our address as witnesses), but realized that you couldn’t allow fear to run or ruin one’s life. Sort of like the Nazguls, the ringwraiths in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. It is not fair to the criminals to let them get a way with thinking life is so simple. Also cause and effect. Hopefully someday if we need protection we will be repaid by the universe. Not that we expect it. I now realize the fear of reprisal syndrome you hear New Yorker’s talk of. It is definitely a battle of justice and evil. One that takes courage to fight. However, even though we reported the crime I believe the victim’s probably did not. It seems it is an in-house thing between Mexicans. (In retrospect, I could be horribly wrong). It’s a shame their dealings tend to be so violent. I dare say it will be a cold day in hell before you find me hanging around places like East L.A. Unfortunately gang violence is now at our back door literally.

(Note: Well, that all changed when I became a Christian. I spent time in Watts with an ex Hell’s Angel arms dealer “Wolf” (Steve Johnson) at a deserted crack house restoring it for recovering addicts, and led Julian my neighbor, who used to be a hit man for the Mexican Mafia to the LORD. He had tried to drown his troubles in the bottle, and was miraculously saved, filled with the Holy Spirit and sober for the first time he could remember. His family history was traced back to Pancho Villa, the notorious bandito. When he passed away, it was requested I assist in his funeral service in East LA. I absolutely loved the guy. When our family suffered a retaliatory eviction, he said, “Do you want me to burn the place down? I will.’ I told him, no, as Christians we must forgive, but I appreciate your loyalty. He did a lot of excellent work on our home and furniture).

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The Iranian situation is a sad disgrace to the human race. A “religious” leader Ayatollah Khomeini  endorsing international blackmail and the takeover of a U.S. Embassy in Iran. It is unfortunate we have the Shah of Iran in our country, but the manner in which the Iranians have chosen to handle the situation is terrorist and unforgivable. It is the action of an irrational animal and may the universe see the safety of the American hostages. Iranians by the 100’s of thousands have been demonstrating against the U.S. Government and are now emphasizing that it is not against American citizens, but the American Government. Unfortunately their program doesn’t fit, since it is American citizens that are being held hostage. I can understand their hate of the Shah, but Jesus, what terrible tactics. We shall not back down and we shall not forget. The Iranians are acting like barbarians. What a terrible name they are making for good Iranians around the world.

Goodnight.

P.S. Couple of other items-Aunt Lil, Bel and Doris here from Israel. Liz, Adri, and I had dinner Friday in October with them. Very nice meeting them. They love Adri and LIz very much and we spent a great deal of time talking about past experiences. I was fascinated.

Liz and I made a tape the following day of some of her past experiences.

Had a Pot Luck Discussion meeting at our house. Bob Rafkin and Debra, Scott and Michele, Vincent, Lydia, Bruce and Maggie, Vic and Marta, Katie Newman, Mike Roquemore, Darlene Benson, Liz and I.

It was an interesting experience. However not much Buddhist dialogue transpired.

Vic and Marta and Eric spent the night. Vic, Marta and I had a meaningful conversation late into the night.

Had a dinner at our house for Sharon, Ruthie, Rebecca, Jane Murad, Liz, Adri and I. Okay. Sharon needs to loosen up definitely.

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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


Wednesday, June 05, 1979

Finished a terrific day off with life. I love my wife very deeply. Our relationship is growing tremendously each day and I would just like to express my appreciation here of my wife’s magnificence. I will stick by her no matter what, let me always remember this. Death will not sever our relationship. I think I experience fear of things worsening when things seem to be getting better at times. We must both look ahead. This is of utmost importance. Then our relationship is so terrific. After the toso tonight, on the way back home, Liz talked about many things she was feeling. I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am to hear her communicate so freely. It’s such a tremendous joy for me to experience her exuberance.

Judy called this evening and left a message on the tape. She got my letter and was moved to hear from me. I tried to reach her at 11:10, however no one was home. I’ll try tomorrow.

Had teeth cleaned today. Talked to Dr. Coombs. Seems to be having some problems. I like the guy; had a short conversation regarding his work and his having bad days.

Physical exam for General Telephone Employment application. Dr. Stevens’ letter upset me in its incompleteness. Worked it out. Still waiting for the word on acceptance.

Breakfast with Kathy this morning. Talked about our experience with workshop and our sexual relationship with people. Interesting.

Toso tonight. Chanted for about 45 minutes. I ended up leading it. Session of chanting was a real personal workshop. Benefited from the experience greatly. Feel tremendous. Sleep well! Love, me.

P.S. Saw Suzanne Tarlton tonight. Talked with Geoff Johnson, very interesting fellow, has a lot going, hope to see him more. Our conversation was meaningful. Instead of flitting around to several people, I really stayed with him and gave him my presence. I enjoyed sharing with him.

File1209Wife and I sailed on Sunday with brother Ron in Marina Del Rey. It was a fun experience. Of course it was cold and I broke out in usual hives and rash. Most of all I enjoyed seeing Liz take off in boat with Ron. Her first time sailing. Leaning over board, switching sides, it was exciting. What a trip!

Went through a quick number previous to going sailing with Mike going to Malibu and Liz possibly going. I wanted her with me. My possessive nature. It worked out, but the conflict remains inside me although no where as heavy as previously.  Goodnite., Oh one more thing.

Went to General Lecture tonight with Sudo. A real drag. Started on my personal campaign to become a class A lecturer on Buddhism. I can do it.

Thursday, June 14, 1979

File1338The Actualization’s workshops for June began today with seven NSA members attending. Donna Bond, Darlene Benson, Ford Watson, Greg Case, Ric Coleman, and Elaine Elders.

Yesterday Liz and I attended Holiday Spa for the fourth time. Chris DeLisle, Lydia and Linda came with us. On our way out we ran into Judy the Doctor of Psychology who took the May workshop. We spent over an hour in the Van talking. It was an interesting experience. One observation. Everyone goes through bummers, the important things is to keep moving, keep doing and you’ll work through it.

Afternoon drove Bob Rafkin to pick up wife’s car from UCLA hospital. They’re in the process of getting a divorce and Joanne is bringing a lot of sickness to herself by tension, etc. She has colitis and has been bleeding internally. She needs to practice, but evidentally is not facing the reality of the situation. Suzanne and Mrs. Harris evidently have been giving Bob one hell of a rough time. Liz and I met him at Pacific Sandwich and Savings tonight and spent some time together.

Big thing accomplished this week. Got hired at General Telephone as a customer service representative. Big step.

Problems with school-no motivation. Just dropped off.  Did learn some good stuff so I don’t feel I wasted money and time.

So much happening. Spa is definitely a plus experience. Redoing house, less clutter, more light, more spacious. Environment reflects my life condition.

Roquemore and my friendship meaningful. Great friend. Reading Kahlil Gibran. Bought several of his books.
Les Steinberg and my relationship-rocky. He seems unsure of who he is. Being a judge much of the time. Uncomfortable being around him. I assume part of the responsibility.

NSA reorganization plan from the Executive Planning Board–not impressed so far. However, I am open to possibilities. Belief that Workshop campaign is most valuable booster now for NSA.

Substance vs. Form is essence of any look at Organization.

Have been going through major ups and downs.

Feeling more stable. Action. Very important. Creative energy.

I am definitely feeling better about myself. I mean this is a major benefit.

Liz and I have our trying times, I need to give her more space to herself. For our relationship.

Cancelled music lessons-finances-must work on this one together. I must take more responsibility there.

Garden prospering. Yard is improving day by day.

by James C. Stephens


May 3, 1979

“We are always getting ready to live, but never living.” 

Emerson~Journals April 13, 1834

Until recently my life was at the “always getting ready to live” stage. Now I am living life, taking an active role. Before I thought a lot about why things were, why they couldn’t change. I was good at that, no denying.

I spent a lot of time finding reasons why Nichiren Shoshu Academy could not change. Of course I now realize, that was the easy way out. We humans are always good at finding ways for things not to work, simply because it takes less effort.

Then Liz and I realized, how much enjoyment could be wrought out of doing in life. So we made a garden. This was giving to life. Sweat, sweat, anger and joy. Living!

 

 

Stewart Emery Actualizations Workshop

Stewart Emery founder of the Actualizations Workshop, rated one of the top ten most influential  teachers in the Human Potential Movement in the 70’s.

Recently I took an Actualizations workshop. It was a workshop comprised of 74 people and a facilitator. Out of the workshop came a vision to me of Kosenrufu. I experienced how it was to let go of a lot of guilt, frustration; and how it was to experience love and Buddhist mercy. It revitalized my faith in the human race. No longer do I feel like waging a crusade against other religions, but rather leading a campaign showing the dignity of life. And life does have dignity. I feel much closer to Buddhism now than before. I now also have put my criticism of NSA in a proper perspective. Buddhism is life. Buddha is life! I learned, felt, experienced so much during the four day seminar in Actualizations. The unity I felt with those 74 people was so great, so real. Much like my experience with the 88 guys on the Hawaii Convention Stage crew. The experience itself can never be erased. Never, never again will I put down what I have experienced in life, in NSA. It is all gold, experience that is invaluable. Because it is just that~experience.

Maybe I should submit my experience to the World Tribune. Maybe even contribute. Do. I will. No longer am I going to be an observer exclusively. A doer is so much more enlivening. I will return treasures to NSA which I have discovered on my journey in life.

Some happenings lately I’d like to record:

Got my hair permed-feel happy with it. Have to move by June 1st-looking for a house to buy in Santa Monica. Moving seedling to Reiner’s garden, which I have constructed.

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Doing more consistant gongyo-self motivated. Taking Self Esteem Workshop. Took Support Workshop-working out Jealousy in life–low self esteem and insecurity. Workshop for wife in June.

More calm.

Diabetes-working on diet, feeling more energy. Must confirm-keto diastix. Dr. Stevens. Jogging. 1.8 miles (once). Got to get with it. Consistent. Bought one outfit of new clothes.

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Michael Roquemore, a good friend who ran Legal Aid in Santa Monica.

Friendship with Michael Roquemore-lots of growth-very close-great friend, really.

Liz-I- Jealousy both ways more substantial on my side. Overcoming. Will resolve it.

I must let love in my life. Still somewhat closed. Fear of Failure.

Consolidation of stuff of life.

Taking clarinet lessons-Liz trumpet lessons. Get piano.

Start research Travel tapes.

Reading Stewart Chandler-Omnibus.

Intro reading Quotations by Penguin Books. Crystallized wisdom and follies.

Working with Chris Delisle on Art Work

Working with Bob Rafkin on Music and Travel Tapes.

Must get Agent work organized.

Studying Accounting I–Test soon.

Studying Business Law.

Starting up Literary Group Again. Once and Future King.

Working on House on Wilshire idea-Professional offices and restaurant-live there.

National Historical Preservation Society.

Readmittance to CSUN.

Correspondence.

Study now! Bye.

Involvement with anti nuclear crusade and water planet.

Also President Ikeda resigned post April 24, 1979. Hojo now President of the Soka Gakkai. I received guidance from Mr. Hojo when he was here last. He told me next time he was here to see him. I definitely will.

Japanese. Russian.

Salt Talks. Gasoline lines long. Feeling of distrust in society of oil companies.

Williamsburg Nuclear Accident.

 

 

by James C. Stephens


February 11, 1979

Got back from dinner with Mom and Sully. They took Liz and I out for our anniversary. Had a tasty dinner.

Right now I’m reading an extremely interesting article on cults and a deprogrammer named Patrick. I really feel our present campaign in NSA towards openness and getting a firmer philosophical base is justifiable.

Jonestown massacre

Jonestown Mass Suicide of 918 individuals on Nov. 18, 1978 . If you ever wonder where the term “drinking the kool-aid” came from you’re looking at it. They drank cyanide laced kool-aid. This shook up Nichiren Shoshu which downshifted its activities and initiated “Phase Two.”

 

I would like and will ask some of the following questions in the coming days.

Josei Toda, “The organization is more important than my own life.”–This is a dangerous concept. It should be explained much more thoroughly.

If your house was burning should you save the Gohonzon or your kids? A girl once answered, “The Gohonzon.” I believe this is not Buddhism and extremely dangerous thinking and should be cleared up.

As RSG, we have often been told to protect the Gohonzon with our life. If the Headquarters and Gohonzon burned, we should burn with it. I think this is not Buddhist. I should like to question this and change this. It is a dangerous concept. Human life is more important than a piece of paper, no matter how you look at it.

Mrs. William’s children were in a serious car accident, but she helped President Ikeda in his movement first. It was called sancho shima* (four devils and four obstacles) that such a thing happened. And the kids turned out okay. I disagree. If my kids were in a serious crisis and the hospital needed my signature immediately I would go. I wonder what this experience is trying to prove?

Material benefits? Gosho?

Enlightenment in this lifetime? Gosho?

Kosenrufu in 2 years? Like world ending in seven in Christian religion?

Buddhist gods?

Chanting in faith alone? In Gosho without practice and study there can be no Buddhism. Every cult has signed letters from Presidents. This doesn’t make it legitimate. Question of our own signed books.

Organizations immunity from checks and balances. This is important for NSA to be totally open. And if anything is wrong, admit it and change it.

Word-leaders and leadership in sect.


Ted Patrick father of deprogramminghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Patrick

Retrospective: Nichiren Shoshu at the time was feeling societal pressure as a result of the Jonestown massacre and purposely slowed down the level of activity so as to maintain a lower profile in society and called it “Phase Two.”  At that time, a number of younger Buddhist radicals began to question the organization in an attempt to reform  and contexualize Nichiren Shoshu Academy (aka Soka Gakkai International) in what came to be known as “The Open Forum” movement.

Jonestown Massacre:

Wikipedia: “The Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, better known by its informal name “Jonestown“, was a remote settlement established by the Peoples Temple, an American cult under the leadership of reverend Jim Jones, in north Guyana. It became internationally notorious when, on November 18, 1978, a total of 918[1][2] people died in the settlement, at the nearby airstrip in Port Kaituma, and at a Temple-run building in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city. The name of the settlement became synonymous with the incidents at those locations.

909 individuals died in Jonestown,[1] all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event and in prior discussions. The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at Port Kaituma, including United States Congressman Leo Ryan, an act that Jones ordered. Four other Temple members committed murder-suicide in Georgetown at Jones’ command.”

Background Check on Pelosi, Feinstein and Jim Jones

Unburied Truth About Jim Jones

 

 

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, September 5, 1978

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Liz and I drove up to see Ron and Pam at Mammoth. They are moving to Montana the end of September and will be working at Whitefish’s Big Mountain Ski Resort. We had a really nice visit with Ron and Pam and had a relaxing vacation I’d say. Liz and I went jogging in the mountains and boy was that refreshing. We discussed jogging back in L.A. and decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea. I think the real benefit of the trip was being with my wife and seeing what a fantastic gal she is. We discussed many things and came to the conclusion that we needed to set a goal again. We had so many things going we had no direction. So we decided the most important of the goals was a house.

Monday, December 4, 1978

Boy it seems hard to write in my diary anymore. My obstacles seem so abstract and it seems hard to put them down in words. Well lots has happened in the past 9 months since Liz and I have been married, much of which I haven’t yet recorded. I have gone through a lot of human revolution and in the past couple of weeks we have made a couple of decisions which are of course major ones in my life. Liz, Dad and I helped Ron and Pam move to Montana in September and Liz really liked Montana. Of course I have always loved Montana, but it was equally important that my wife like the idea of moving there. Her happiness is most important to me. We are a team of course…

 

So while Dad was away in Montana I worked the business myself and had sometime to think about my future. Then while Dad was still away Liz and I moved into Dad’s place in order to save some money and pay some bills. After Dad got back Gary Curtis and Kay Yoshikawa came by one night and visited. Gary really encouraged me in my practice. Until then I was feeling really progressively worse as far as my whole attitude. I felt confused and extremely frustrated.

He must have perceived my condition and at the same time its remedy. He told me that I should apologize to the Gohonzon for trying to figure everything out or thinking I was smarter than the Gohonzon. He also told me I was acting like a 40 year old, contemplating more than acting. Don’t spend so much time thinking. Make action, so what if you make a mistake, that’s why you need to be around leaders more. You’d see they make action, they do Hendoku Iyaku if they’re wrong. As far as moving to Montana if you move up and decide it’s not for you, you can always come back. don’t be afraid of what others say. Be your own man.

I followed his guidance on apology and action to the letter. And though I have never been one to really apologize, I can not believe what a tremendous effect (above my intellect) that it has had. I feel most confident of my own identity and things are really different with me. I’ve made two big changes. 1. We made a decision to move in September 1979 to Montana, and 2. I terminated my partnership with my father on the best of terms. One week later I was assigned to a different chapter–West Hollywood to be exact, and mad a vice chapter chief in the YMD. This to me is a great challenge. My life is definitely changing. I feel a bit shaky, but confident of the new route. Well I’m off to Beverly Hills monthly leader’s meeting.

Thursday, December 28, 1978

Liz and I dropped by Les’s and gave him a copy of Dicken’s David Copperfield for his birthday. We also talked of an idea we had of how to improve our discussion meetings. Basically it entails dividing the district into smaller units of approximately 10-15 people and holding discussion meetings at people’s homes over coffee or tea. So let’s say one district had thirty people, for instance. You would have two meetings going on simultaneously. He felt the idea was worth a try. Evidently somewhere else it had or is being tried.

Tonight I read some of President Ikeda’s Youthful Diary and personally was greatly encouraged. Yet in a sense I am ashamed of my own actions as a human being. But I am determined to make this into fuel for my personal development as a human being. Since November I have not been working. In a sense I feel I’ve retreated, but don’t feel any remorse. The first two weeks of December I became ill with the flu, Russian I believe. For five days I had temperature. Two days of 102 degrees, one of 102.8. I did Gongyo in bed a couple of days because of the chill I felt.

JRR Tolkien Lord of the Rings

JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.

I became more ill. During my illness I chanted only a small quantity of daimoku I felt very weak. I did quite a great deal of reading to pass the time. I tackled and finally conquered JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.  It was a most enjoyable and informative book. I think I gained a new respect for life in several ways from this book. It is a book of the struggle of good against a dark evil. In a sense it triggered thoughts of a Bodhisattva’s struggle in our benighted world. A struggle by a common man, in this case a hobbit, against a powerful foe. A struggle against one’s own doubt and greed, a struggle which awakened the shoten zenjin in the environment.  Frodo holding onto the Evil Ring of Sauron and also the Phial of Galadriel. It reminds me of my own internal battle against the claws of greed and power taking us over. The phial of Galadriel like the Gohonzon inspiring a greater goodness inside. The power to complete the Quest, Gandalf the White against strong enemies protecting Frodo who grew from a meek Hobbit to a Hobbit of Great Integrity and Courage. Saurumon, or Sharky wicked society or wise man corrupted by the sweet sounds of power and greed.

All of this is good and wise. But I must indeed forge my own foundation through my own challenge. May, will be the month we will move to Montana. A great challenge lies ahead. Yet a great challenge must be to enjoy each moment and create value each day. Otherwise I’ll be living like a Christian seeking heaven after death. Past, present and future are contained in this moment.

I had a career realization which I deem a great challenge, but something I would really like to accomplish. To study international business, get a MBA and to learn fluently 4 languages.

  1. Russian
  2. Chinese
  3. Japanese
  4. French

I feel that the future will need linguists who can communicate among other people. It is a deep feeling for kosenrufu which spurs me in this direction. I want to study Buddhism as my hobby. Maybe even progress to the point where I could teach a class at the University of Montana.

  1. I need to develop a strict discipline of study.
  2. I determine to live a daily life worthy of a disciple of the Daishonin. Now I can only say I’m not, but I will do Hendoku Iyaku in this area!
  3. I need to develop a rhythmical daily life based on faith, based on creating value.
  4. I need to become constructive, active and devoid of slander.
  5. Joyful practice.

Too late. 1:47 am, must sleep and rise at 6:00 am with Liz.