Posts Tagged ‘Chico Olivera’

by James C. Stephens

Sunday, March 17, 1974

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

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

Tuesday, March 26, 1974

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 30, 1974

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

Sunday, March 31, 1974

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


by James C. Stephens

January 21, 1972

Record: Second American Revolution; II Volume

“President Ikeda has stated in his preface to Human Revolution;

“A great revolution of character in just a single man will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and further enable a change in the destiny of all mankind.” October 12, 1965-

I am very excited to start my diary for the year of Sho-Hondo 1972. 1971 in passing was a year with many significant events which had great impact on my life. Last May 12 we had a Min-on in the Hollywood Bow. which filled it; on July 23-25th we had our Seattle Convention, on September 12, 1971 the 700th Anniversary of the Tasonokuchi Persecution we opened our new Los Angeles No. 1 Community Center, and on January 1, 1972 we welcomed the New Year of Sho-Hondo. Most significant, however was not the events, but the struggle leading to each one of the events. 1971 was a year of turmoil in the world and at times in my own life. In June or May our family separated. My mother and brother left for Mammoth Lakes in Central California. I am sure there was and is a benefit in that episode. My father and I have realized many things about life because of such an experience. I realized that sooner or later castles built on sand do wash away.

In December, I took the Freshman Study Exam for the Nichiren Shoshu Study Academy.

New Year’s Gongyo at Myohoji Temple. It was really strange. It was unbelievably cold everywhere with snow capped mountains everywhere in Southern California and cold winds, whew. But, so strangely when Jim Jay, Rich Rode and I arrived at Myohoji Temple there was unmistakably a warm breeze blowing at the Temple. That was definitely President Ikeda’s Ichinen, the same thing happened in Eliott Bay in Seattle during President Ikeda’s fireworks during the Seattle Convention, such a warm breeze during chilly night air.”

“Tonight, we just ended our World Tribune campaign and we reached our goal of 85. Last Sunday we ended our campaign for the entrance examination to the Nichiren Shoshu Study Academy. Our district got twenty people out for the exam. One of my members, Bill Myers took the exam and achieved a score of 98.

Today, I visited my member Ron Uota in the hospital. Ron was paralyzed from an accident 3 years ago, but last Thursday night before the study exam he had a car accident which totaled out his car, and almost himself also. I tried to reach him for several days, but with no luck. I thought he had gone home and not left word. It was not until Tuesday that I discovered from his landlord and then parents that he was in very serious condition from an automobile accident. I was a little bit freaked out on how to handle the situation. So I called Shibucho Guy McCloskey and he said to chant diamoku, so that’s all I could do. In the next three days his condition went from poor to stable to fair in Intensive Care Unit to a regular hospital room today. I visited him today and what a strange situation. Everyone was very down, but Dan Castle and I were in good spirits and I am sure we encouraged Ron to get better. His parents are Nembutsu and were in very depressed condition. Such encouragement as that pity is not needed, it only hurts harms people trying to recover. Soshibucho Gary Curtis is going to come out and see him Sunday.

File2818Tuesday, Sogohonbucho gave a Seminar at Valley State College (now California State University at Northridge CSUN—I have a picture of me talking with then Masayasu Sadanaga-now George M. Williams, the General Director of SGI-USA). I introduced Mike Pimenthal one of Chico’s members to him. Then Lance Stromsei got guidance on his works since he could only come to meetings on Saturdays and Sundays. The guidance Sogohonbucho gave was to everyone right around him. He hit me with his Ichinen, so powerful. He related his experience when he worked as a janitor from 12 to 8 in the morning and was a student at UCLA and had meetings in starting Nichiren Shoshu of America. He said when you are studying you should preview and review your lessons. After class you should go directly to a study spot in the library which is marked with your name and study for an hour or so. Every day you should not fail to do that. He said that when you are stupid like me that’s the only way to really pass. You can’t study late at night because that usually falls through.’

File2819After the seminar we walked with Sogohonbucho to his car. The feeling I got was really indescribable, but it was fresh like after a rainfall, and the sun comes out and everything smells so fresh. It just seemed like everything was okay.”

Masayasu Sadanaga, aka George M. Williams talking with Lance Stromsoe, Carol Dell, Ken Dilando, and James Stephens after his lecture on Buddhism at Valley State College (CSUN).

by James C. Stephens

Monday, August 16, 1971

Last night I totally freaked out. I ripped off my shirt, tore it apart, ripped up my music book, and was totally upset. Sometimes, this practice gets pretty heavy for me. Last night I, or my bad nature wanted to destroy the Gohonzon. But when I opened the butsudon, I couldn’t do it and got a strange terrible pain in my chest. I was completely destroying my dad with my attitude it was really terrible now that I think back about it. I completely resolved not to chant anymore but to leave my Gohonzon enshrined. And there is some nature, no it is my condition that I won’t talk to Shibucho about it. He never makes me feel like I can open up to him, I just feel like a punk[1]. That’s another thing. I really hate myself for some reason. I just hate me. It’s the worst feeling. Whenever I maybe encouraging someone, I hear my voice and go, “that’s not me,” and freak out.

I’m so plastic[2], I really hate myself. I have no friends, that I can call friends really, I must really be a f… individual. I have no confidence, no family really, my face is f…, my health is poor, I sleep all day, I do nothing, I’m f…, I cut[3] my dad—you know I really don’t like me.

But I try to get members, I used to do and was doing a lot of Shakubuku, but nobody will follow me because I am a punk! But I tried hard, no luck or whatever. S..t on it!

I’m constantly thinking about everything, I can’t relax.

File3382We are having a Shakubuku campaign and tonight we had five guests. Our second meeting at 9:30 was good, I gave an explanation. After the experience and question and answer practice (joke) session we received gifs from President Ikeda and the High Priest. Post Cards and scarfs commemorating the completion of the Sho Hondo or commemorative to those who donated. But Pres. Ikeda gave us scarves even if we didn’t. Thank you very much.

This morning I didn’t do Gongyo until 1:30 in the afternoon. I was very serious about not chanting. But I did Gongyo and couple minutes of daimoku. I’m going crazy.

It’s hard to chant daimoku. My dad told me he chanted about 10 minutes yesterday.

Man I just don’t know what to think. S..t!


[1] “Punk,” slang for a disobedient and immature youth with no respect for authority.  It shows the power of a leader’s words on a new believer. I had been labeled a punk which I’d never been called before in my life. I didn’t realize that I was having an emotional breakdown over my parent’s divorce, but had no one who recognized the symptoms as we were building a movement.

[2] “Plastic,” slang for not being authentic or genuine as a person, putting on a face that is not representative of the real you.

[3] “Cut, cut off,” slang for don’t listen to, or stop someone in the middle of what they’re saying.

by James C. Stephens

Monday, May 31, 1971


Today were the memorial services at Myohoji and we had Temple Yosohan. Soshibucho said we did a very good job as everything went smoothly for Sogohonbucho. The services were attended by a large crowd. Chico got his Gohonzon today, my first anniversary was also today. One year since I received Gohonzon.

Tuesday, June 1, 1971


In Man’s Religion’s I took a test on the Bible and got it back. I thought I completely screwed it, but I ended up with a middle C.


Harvey Hall led a Guidance meeting tonight with other senior leaders. Emphasis was on Seattle and its significance. Larry Shaw emphasized the fact that this would be like Tozon, because in Seattle we could really capture Pres. Ikeda’s and Sogohonbucho’s Spirit. He also said that the YMD Brass Band had a tremendous mission shakukuing Seattle citizens in the Parade.