Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

by James C. Stephens


Friday, May 06, 1977 (1:45 a.m. Saturday Morning)

This week has not gone well as far as business goes, my determination has just not been there. I am chanting daimoku for my business to get together. I’m confident this will start to come about soon.

Tonight I had my first “date” with Isabel Nagy. I’m so excited tonight, it is hard to fall asleep. So I decided to tell you what happened tonight, impressions etc. You never know, what if this was my first date with my future wife. It would be neat to read such a thing in the future and look back on first impressions.

Of course I am not trusting my ability to reason, trying to take relationships rationally, but actually I’ll just shoot out what I feel.

Isabel I am so comfortable with. Many women in fact almost all I have never felt so relaxed with. From the time I picked her up, Isabel brought up philosophy. She discussed Jung and his view on Western people turning from Western thought, i.e., Christianity and turning to Eastern thought. He thought this would also pass since it meant putting down Western traditions. We discussed Nichiren Shoshu and Zuiho Bini. NSA being very assimulative with American culture. She brought up “Equis” a play, very interesting, I must read it.

We went out to General Lee’s restaurant in Chinatown. Had a great meal, really filling and a bottle of wine. We both were pretty spaced, but feeling good. During dinner we discussed Women’s Lib, the China Wall, travel, Hotel Street Hawaii, expensive restaurants in France, etc. Basically, a super relaxed dinner.

Coronet Theater Los AngelesThen we jetted off to the play and arrived just in time for the play to start at 8:35. We saw “Vanities” at the Coronet Theater on La Cienega Blvd. Oh at Dinner I found out some of Isabel’s family history. Her mother was born in France, her father in Hungary. Father escaped from Hungary after the Russian Revolution when the Russians wanted to draft him. Her mother lived in Northern France and fled during WWII occupation. They met somewhere in France. Father wanted to go to America, but the quotas didn’t permit him. So he ended up in Canada and earned enough money through a T.V. repair business to want to send for his love, Isabel’s mom. She told him I don’t think I can come or leave my country. So he spent all his money and bought a car, clothes, etc. Then he received a letter. ‘Changed my mind. I want to come.’ She said, ‘you are the only man I love and I don’t think I could ever meet another so I decided to come to Canada.’  Consequently  no money, they lived on little and spent their honeymoon in a hotel in town.

Isabel was born July 2, 1955 on a camping trip. She was delivered in a small town hospital at _______Sound.

The play was a comedy. Very strong impact!  Isabel was going through some heavy reflection. We had a very interesting dialogue. I must say she is very aware. Basic points: 3 cheerleaders are taken through life-H.S.-College-Post College 6 years. All three are popular riding on this dream. One reflects on herself. Kathy-One is an escapist, Mary and one Joanne just floats with programmed nitch-wife, kids, hubby.

Scene II. College graduation. Kathy same role, but in college, finally what is life all about? Tears to my eyes. She is developing a seeking spirit about life-Isabel really related to this.

Mary-I don’t know what to do, but I’ll just escape to Europe. Escapism is her bag.

Joanne-getting married by graduation. Ted is everything to her-doesn’t want to think about life and just floats on dreams.

Scene III.

Girls meet together six years later at (Damn Police Helicopters flying over at 2:30 in the morning. Wonder what crime is happening now?)

Vanities

Kathy’s apartment which she lives with somebody-you don’t see of course. Enter Joanne-looks like old woman has had 3 kids and 4th is on the way. Enter Mary-sexually liberated woman (so she thinks) runs a porn art studio, sells erotic art.

Scene goes from an explosion of myths-shows Mary still escapist. Joanne into alcohol and avoiding questioning reality and then Kathy saying, “you know all those books they assigned for us to read in college, well I’ve been reading and they’re much better than all those monarch notes (crib notes). The books aren’t that bad. She also brings up the popularity fame issue which she explodes beautifully. Joanne leaves not being able to cope with Mary’s morals. Joanne’s reality being shattered and drink the only weapon to cope. Afterwards dialogue between Mary and Kathy-they toast to forget the past. Honni’myo Spirit of Kathy.

Excellent play. Started out slow until you caught what was happening.

Isabel was depressed, we talked and went out for coffee.

She was tired, went home early-12:30 a.m. She is a most attractive young lady to me. We seem to be on a very good footing with each other. I hope we can develop something. I chanted daimoku when I got home. I find I thanked the Gohonzon for a most enjoyable evening and for meeting Isabel.

A strong reflection. We hugged and I felt I didn’t want to leave her. Not just the sexual urge, but more of a feeling that I was home with her. My knees knocked, I was nervous, I told her. She laughed. Her feminine essence was very strong to me, but in a most warm way. She has much capability I know. You see I can’t stop writing about her. It’s my feeling to want to be with her.

I asked her, her first impression of me. She said, “I like to be around you and you were very open and exuberant.

Anyway, I’m going to try to sleep.

Sweet dreams.

 

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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


Wednesday, October 20, 1971

 

This morning Russ enshrined Dave’s Gohonzon and afterwards Dave and I did Gongyo together. The day I had was really vigorous. Class in Urban Administration was interesting.

 

This evening, a Shakubuku of mine actually called me and wants to come to a meeting. After Dinner, I wrote a couple of letters to friends in Japan and then I studied at the library for a 1 ½. After the library closed I did some Shakubuku. I won a religious debate over two Christians. One agreed with me about the pure lineage lacking in Christianity. In fact, when I left they argued about their philosophy. Christianity is a dangerous illusion definitely!

 

Gosho Whether or not your prayers are realized depends on your faith

When I got home I read longer, and when I started to doze I started reading Pres. Ikeda’s Complete Works on the Komeito Party[1], etc. His Ichinen is extremely powerful, because I ceased dozing and became extremely alert. Very strange to me.

 

Sunday, October 24, 1971

 

Today, we had an Oeshiki Ceremony celebrating Nichiren Daishonin’s Death. However, the celebration is not like celebrating a past event, but celebrating now. It was the first time I saw Sogohonbucho for any length of time since he returned from Tozon.

 

Dave, my Shakubuku met Gary Curtis…It rained early so we left the Temple early.


 

[1] Komeito Party, literally “Clean Government Party”  is Japan’s third largest political party which was founded by the Soka Gakkai.

Tozon: A pilgrimage to the Head Temple to worship the Dai Gohonzon, Nichiren Shoshu’s object of worship which serves as the pattern for everyone’s Gohonzon. Gohonzon’s are not owned by the member, but loaned to them.

 

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, August 17, 1971

 

Jr. Hancho Meeting

 

Goals of Sogohonbucho.

 

  1. You are the meeting. Relate how Gohonzon changed you.
  2. Bring guests.
  3. Should call and see if they (district leader) need anything.
  4. Condition of Chiku.[1]
  5. Forget about what you are. Concentrate on what are you’re doing. What you’re doing shapes the future.

 

Monday, August 23, 1971

 

Summer is going by so fast, it really is a mind boggler[2]. Friday night I got guidance from Guy McCloskey my Shibucho and it straightened out a lot of thing in my practice. It was really a benefit to be able to talk to him. One day last week I went taitan[3] in my head and refused to do Gongyo, but ended up doing it at 1:30. I really felt good after I did it. Gongyo is far out.

 

One day I encountered a “Jesus freak.” He knew Nichiren Shoshu because he had been a member for 2 ½ years and burned his Gohonzon. I will never forget the terrible condition of his life. I could tell he was in hell, before he even said a word. His head was like they say split into 7 pieces. Very strange, I really see the terrible condition and effects of Christianity today.

 

I did a lot of Shakubuku this week, but am determined to do much more! I’ve really been encountering a lot of Christian heavies, but man am I cutting that karma.

 

My brother came down last week and it brought a big argument and he split. I really felt bad about it because my Dad’s nature comes out on Ron in a bad way. I hadn’t done morning Gongyo yet, but did after he left. I really chanted hard for Hendoku Iyaku “changing poison into medicine.”

 

Immediately after Gongyo I could not stay awake, so my Dad and I went to sleep and woke at 1:30, saying we’ve got to get out of this rut. So I said I want to look at some butsudon’s, so I ended up putting $10 down on a nice cabinet I’m going to make into a butsudon. It is definitely a benefit. So after we went out and ate and for some reason stopped at the Builder’s Emporium. We had already passed it but turned back and went in.

 

After looking around for about 10 minutes we ran into Rick Richards and I introduced him to my Dad. My Dad was hit very strongly by Rick’s Shakubuku.  My Dad attended his first meeting on Saturday Aug. 21, 1971, a day I will not forget.

 

I had one experience last week which I must write down because it is a very important benefit to my practice. One night, Rudy, my member stayed over. Because of that a girl he met, Linda, came over here, after being kicked out, to get Rudy’s #.  I let her stay here. It was a bad slander to Buddhism to let someone us my home as a crash pad, but I though it would be a good Shakubuku. It was the worst! You are a Bodhisattva not a Christian, practice like me. More mercy, better Shakubuku to not let them take advantage of you.

The girl ate our food without asking and never really thanked us. Never again!


 

[1] Chiku is a district meeting place. A men’s district leader is called a chikubucho.

[2] “Mind boggler,” slang for a situation or series of events that happen so fast that your mind can’t   correctly evaluate the situation because there are so many elements involved.  Liken it to attempting to rake up a pile of autumn leaves and a gust of wind comes along and blows them in circles.

[3] Taitan is the term for quitting one’s practice of Buddhism.

by James C. Stephens


Friday, April 30, 1971

Slept in today until 9:30, felt really fine (just now my brother was talking in his sleep—what a crack up). “I want another one.” Then I said, you’re awake aren’t you? And he said, “Ya, but I want another one.” What? He said nothing and went back to sleep.

Class today was interesting. In religious studies I got into a discussion about the pure lineage of a philosophy. I questioned the pureness of the Christian lineage, but he said the same thing happened in Mahayana. But I refuted that by talking of Nichiren Shoshu. I still was not clear enough. Christianity, I have found is really shot full of holes.

In my English class my teacher rapped about the planned May Day demonstration. She said we should make decisions about our feelings on the demonstration before it happens and not be led like sheep.

Tonight I freaked out about everything. Then I went out and did Shakubuku after the meeting and I think I changed a little. Russ said that spirit is not just there but is developed. Min-on is for us. Once we have a campaign we must attack it immediately or sansho-shima[1] will attack through our procrastination. He said at the end of your first year, you start to see and really change. He always scolds me, he says he can’t trust me, but he said he trusts me and that feels good. It means a lot to me.


 

[1] Sansho shima-“Three obstacles, four devils.”  “They are listed in the Nirvana Sutra and the DaichidoRon. The three obstacles are: (1) The obstacle of earthly desires (Jap bonno-sho), or obstacles arising from the three poisons of greed, anger, and stupidity. (2) The obstacle of karma (go-sho), or obstacles due to bad karma created by committing any of the five cardinal sins or ten evils acts. This category is also interpreted as opposition from one’s wife or children. (3) The obstacle of tretribution (ho-sho), or obstacles due to painful retribution for actions in the three evil paths. This category also indicates obstacles caused by one’s sovereign, parents or other persons who carry some sort of secular authority.”

 

“The four devils are: (1) The hindrance of the five components (on-ma), that is, those obstructions caused one’s physical and mental functions. (2) The hindrance of earthly desires (bonno-ma), or obstructions arising from the three poisons. (3) The hindrance of death (shi-ma), because the fear and suffering death entails obstruct one’s practice of Buddhism. (4) The hindrance of the Devil of the Sixth Heaven (tenji-ma) The obstruction is usually said to take the form of oppression by men of power.” Pg. 461-462 NSIC Dictionary.