Posts Tagged ‘daimoku’

by James C. Stephens

December 11, 1974

Tonight I received, but asked for guidance on my relationship to ___ from Shibucho. I had been troubled about direction so I asked for guidance.

He told me that he sensed danger in my practice and he said trust me. Wait. He told ____and I together. No romantic relationship, no bed. Wait. I could tell you until the end of the year, maybe two weeks, maybe three weeks. But let’s talk periodically.

I told Shibucho we’re in love. He said if so, it can wait. It doesn’t mean you pretend you don’t know each other.

He told me alone. If you were a regular member I’d say do whatever you want. But you’re a future district chief and Senior leader. Homencho has said to Senior leaders lately–don’t go to bed with each other.

I will follow Shibucho’s guidance. Frank Hotchkiss said he learned how to follow because of Bagpipes. I think I shall rejoin Bagpipes and my primary goal and objective from Bagpipes is: To learn how to follow.

Right now I need to enter a strong personal campaign.

  1. Three house daimoku a day.
  2. Study 1/2 hour.
  3. 20 World Tribune this month.
  4. 90 Shakubuku a day until the 1st. 20 days=1800 Shakubuku.

by James C. Stephens

July 18, 1973

Two days before the Monthly Leader’s meeting with Mr. Williams (July 10), I was on my way to take Ken Dilando to his music lesson and me to work, when I was pulled over by our friends in blue, the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department). As I was sitting in the car and chanting under my breath, I was reflecting on how I was really chanting to take care of my old parking tickets, well then our friends came up and me me away to the Black and White sedan and shortly afterward took Ken and handcuffed him too. We were treated nicely until of course we got to the jail, where we were booked, fingerprinted, not told of our rights, and let into the tank. Strange, the guy that fingerprinted me, I had go to school with at James Monroe. Well as soon as we were in the tank we began chanting. We chanted from cell to cell to the bus, from Van Nuys to the County Jail.

At the County Jail it was pure bureaucratic bull we had to go through. I had notified my boss I was in jail (my dad was on vacation in Montana). We had to strip, shower, get sprayed, get our bodies inspected, x-rayed, blood tested, wait, wait, wait, eat, which wasn’t bad food, and wait for a cell. While we were waiting, I did alot of shakubuku. I shakubukued quite a few black dudes, one who chanted with me for about ten minutes, and another dude chanted with me who was strung out on heroine. I shakubukued my cell mate who was in for grand theft auto and burglary. It was a strange trip, and to make it through took a lot of daimoku. My cellmates thought I was crazy when I came in because I was so friendly and smiling, that’s what I was told by them after I told them I was a Buddhist and shakubukued them. They then understood and said, ‘I see, it’s your philosophy to be friendly, right?’

So, I taught them the chant, because my boss Ric Benson had bailed me out, which was really groovy of him. He also picked me up from jail at 12:30 at night. Pretty groovy.

Well, tommorrow 7/19, I go to court and see what happens.

Also I start my second job as a bus boy at Alphy’s for 2.40/hr. at 11:00-7:00.

I must go on Tozon. I made these determinations:

  1. To really have a strong, confidant, and seeking mind for President Ikeda.
  2. To play for President Ikeda in our Brass Band.
  3. To become a good son to my father.
  4. To have one YMD by Sho-hondo to stand up!!
  5. To chant a minimum of one and half hours/day to Sho-Hondo Convention.
  6. To play and march with true Yusohan Gakkai Spirit!!
  7. To recite Kaimoku Sho every day.
  8. To read Time and Newsweek weekly; to read a book on U.S. History; to study Buddhism daily.

by James C. Stephens

April 27, 1973

This month in fact, ever since Sepulveda became a chapter I have gone through some changes. My district chief Mike Lisagor has really helped me understand more of the spirit of this Buddhism and of President Ikeda. He has had many of the same problems that I have. We are definitely kenzoku.


For the last four or five Fridays I have been working on the Malibu Training Center. The Training Center is right next to the ocean. I can’t say but the feeling is so fresh and pure like the beautiful forests. Not like Mammoth Mountain, but a feeling of serenity and power and freshness. I believe it must be President Ikeda’s spirit.

Recently, I freaked out when I was really sick, I could hardly breathe and I can really understand shiki-shin funi from this. What was strange about this time that I got that titan feeling, was it so and ugly I thought what would I do if I wasn’t in Nichiren Shoshu; so instead of waiting around for someone to feel sorry for me and encourage me, I called my soshibucho Gary Curtis, and told him my problem. He told me I had no goals in my life. Even if its just to get across the street a person must have a goal he can reach. I told him I used to enjoy things so much and he said when you get older that fortune goes away, but by chanting you can get that excitement back. He said to call him back in a couple of days after I chant three hours of daimoku a day. Well I chanted and it felt like a new beginning. I didn’t stay home and chant those three hours, but I reached my World Tribune goal. I got one World Tribune on the street which was such a good feeling.

My brother flew in from Colorado earlier and we went out to Two Guys from Italy for dinner with my dad before the meeting. After the meeting I freaked out about being alone, but its so strange I am feeling stronger inside about just standing up.

My problem is just keeping going. I have a lot of things I want to do, but I am so lazy I never do anything, so I really chanted to overcome this and even more my on-shitsu nature. I really weep many tears during my daimoku and then Mr. Williams came and chanted many daimoku with us in Brass Band. I just don’t understand but I really felt alot for Mr. Williams. He has so much patience to put up with people like me. I was really choked up with tears while chanting to the Joju Gohonzon. Even with my bad nature Sogohonbucho really loves us. I’m really a fortunate person to be with him last night.

Russ explained at Band what he explained to me earlier when I called him that it is our Christian nature to be defeated and accept it. He said Sogohonbucho is always victorious. He never just stops, but always fights to win.



by James C. Stephens

April 20, 1973

It’s so hard to make the first mark on a canvas, but I feel it’s almost 100 times more difficult to start one’s own diary.

A few days ago I bought this book for a reason. I had started another diary, but it was sort of spotty. This one I resolve to keep up everyday.  On the back cover I will make a 1 million daimoku chart.

With this one million daimoku I resolve to overcome 1) my uptight nature and change it into Ichinen for President Ikeda and Kosenrufu; 2) To develop concrete goals in my life; 3) To develop a seeking spirit to put President Ikeda’s guidance into practice in the depth’s of my life; 4) To help develop 3 strong YMD leaders by Sho-Hondo Convention 1973; 5) To really direct my life through the Gohonzon to build a strong foundation in order to be strong enough to receive guidances from President Ikeda in the future; 6) Become physically strong; 7) Chant strong rhythmical daimoku; 8) To have super advancement on my bass clarinet and unity in the Brass Band by Sho-Hondo convention; 9) To really learn the spirit of Sta-funi; of following; 10) To be a happy human being able to enjoy things and encourage others.


Sta-funi: Oneness of Master and Disciple.

by James C. Stephens

Wednesday, August 11, 1971


Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve written in my record, but I will try my best to record the last days. The period before Seattle was absolutely amazing. Like Shibucho said, the convention is the preparation, the convention itself is the victory party. But still the Seattle Convention was great human revolution. I was really chanting to do something. I realized it is never too late to start so I resolved in my daimoku to do such. It I believe was a great benefit to me.


July, 19, Tuesday 20? After Brass Band (I was laid off work on Monday, so I decided not to look for work until after Seattle) I asked Gary Murie if he needed any help at all. I was in rhythm he did. So for the next three days all I got to look at was music. That night we started putting together the music for the 500 members of America Joint Headquarters Brass Band. We didn’t work too late. Wednesday morning.


I helped my dad move until about noon and hitched down to the Hdqt’s. I got one ride from Nordhoff to the front steps of the Honbu. I shakubukued an assistant of the Santa Monica District Attorney and he just drove me all the way, far out! He was interested, said he had attended meetings before, along time ago. That day we worked on the music quite long and I copied music until late afternoon. That is when I really cut a lot of karma. The copying machine broke down and so Orlando said shiki-shin-funi-esho funi[1]—so let’s go chant some daimoku so it gets fixed.

I really got yelled at by Tony Sugano and he said, “This could stop the whole convention.”  You should have seen the expression on my face. Whew. It’s really true, everything in the Headquarters runs on Ichinen[2]. It took a senior leader to fix the machine it definitely shows the power of Gohonzon. So we worked on music until about two and wrapped it up for that night.

So Bob Ludovise, Barry and I jetted home and spent some time scarfing[3] at Barry’s—we stayed there. Chanted an hour and slept from 5 until 10 that morning. So they couldn’t go to the Headquarters because of their jobs, so Barry drove me to get my suitcase packed and dropped me off at the Freeway on Roscoe. I immediately got a ride to Santa Monica and another ride down Santa Monica Blvd. and took the Bus to the Beach for two bits.[4]

Tom and I worked on the music and about four in the afternoon, Gary Murie, Tom and I went to Lunch at the Brown Bag. Good food, good music, good people. After lunch we found out that the deadline was 8:00 that morning. So Bob, Barry and I worked all night. What a heavy cause, never have I been so spaced[5] in my whole life. I can’t write the experience inside very easily on paper. But I think I cut a lot of ego problems. I really like doing things at the Honbu.

We completed the music 10 minutes before the deadline. It was definitely the power of the Gohonzon.

Thursday afterwards I took a good nap and went to a daimoku toso at the Chiku. Friday was busy as hell, getting ready for the flight.

Tonight I am really forcing myself to write about the Seattle Convention. At this moment I am going through the heaviest numbers I think I have encountered in my practice. What it is, I can’t just pin down.


[1] Shiki shin funi esho funi was his way of communicating two terms~oneness of body and mind and the second separate term esho funi was the oneness of you and your environment. He basically was saying that my laziness affected the copier

[2] Ichinen is basically the power of your life force.  “Literally, “one mind.” The life moment, or ultimate reality, that is manifested at each moment in common mortals…one can manifest his or her Buddhahood inherent in each life-moment.”

[3] “Scarfing,” slang for eating a lot of food quickly when you’re very hungry.

[4] “Two bits,” slang for 25 cents.

[5] “Spaced, spaced out,” slang for a physical, mental feeling of not being in touch with your body or emotions—managing to go through your daily routine without being in balance. Often a result of trauma, lack of sleep, improper eating.

James C. Stephens

Sunday, May 16, 1971

Last three days, I’ve been going through hell. I feel either I will titan or stand up.

Monday, May 17, 1971

But luckily when you are in hell you can see why you are there and chant to overcome it. Like Nichiren Daishonin said that you pick yourself up off the same ground you trip on.

Yesterday, I got a benefit. My neighbor wants me to keep his pool up on my spare time for $20 a month. Today I got an even bigger benefit. MyFile1109 - Copy brother gave me his clarinet for my birthday. He is doing well in ski racing. Yesterday he took a first place at the San Gorgonio G.S. (giant slalom).

Tonight we had a study meeting and it turned out well and afterwards we had a Jr. Hancho meeting. Russ related guidance from Gary Curtis and Honbucho to us. Some points to remember:

  1. Your duty as a Jr. Hancho is not to give guidance but to chant Gongyo & Daimoku alongside of them.
  2. Even if you have one member, do your best.
  3. It is our mission to do Shakubuku. And Shakubuku for others is not merely telling them of it and leaving them, but getting them to a discussion meeting and helping them practice.
  4. Most important is to take your Shakubuku to Shibucho and make sure they know of every meeting and where the headquarters is at and introduce them to their senior leaders.
  5. The Discussion meeting is where Kosen-rufu is and it’s your opportunity to grow with your members. When you have a friend it makes everything much more enjoyable.
  6. The Seattle campaign will be very difficult but it will be like trimming the branches of a tree to make it stronger. Let’s advance with Seattle as our goal.
  7. If you are involved in a campaign and are hating it, you are losing. If you think of it as making money for Nichiren Shoshu you are losing. It is rather for you to realize your human revolution. Through a campaign you develop sincere action and through sincere action a sincere mind.
  8. Even when you have a goal of 50 Shakubuku set for 2 weeks and attain it in one, it is your benefit not to stop there, but to continue winning until the end. That is the way Nichiren would have it, for your human revolution.

It seems I am studying a bit more now because I have to, but I must make the determination to study day by day.

Ariba u Adelante” to Seattle.

Up and Go to Seattle.

Note: What I’ve noticed is that there is inevitably a post campaign depression after such a frenetic pace of activity. At the time however, I was simply exhausted and depressed, but did not connect the two.

by James C. Stephens

Wednesday, April 28, 1971

April 28, 1253—Nichiren Daishonin first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo on the planet.

After the meeting I went over to Lance’s and did Gongyo. First Lance, Jason, his mom and I sat down and chanted fifteen minutes and then did Gongyo. After Gongyo I talked to Lance and Jason and then his mom started arguing with Lance. Then they gave me a ride home and I mildly scolded both of them, told them they had the Gohonzon; and related my family revolution to them. They agreed that ‘beating” each other in essence never got anything accomplished just frustration.


Nichiren Daishonin– (日蓮; February 16, 1222[1] – November 21, 1282) was a Buddhist monk who lived during the Kamakura period (1185–1333) in Japan. Nichiren taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra, which claims to contain Gautama Buddha’s teachings towards the end of his life, as the exclusive means to attain enlightenment. Nichiren believed that this sutra contained the essence of all of Gautama Buddha’s teachings related to the laws of causality, karma, and leading all people without distinction to enlightenment. At the same time he changed his name to Nichiren, nichi (日) meaning “sun” and ren (蓮) meaning “lotus”.[23] This choice, as Nichiren himself explained, was rooted in passages from the Lotus Sutra.”

Daimoku-According to Wikipedia, “On April 28, 1253, he expounded the daimoku teachings for the first time, marking his Sho Tempōrin (初転法輪: “first turning the wheel of the Law”). With this, he proclaimed that devotion and practice based on the Lotus Sutra was the correct form of Buddhism for the current time…This devotion to the sutra entails the chanting of Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō “homage to the Lotus Sutra”, a phrase referred to as the daimoku, as the essential practice of the teaching.

Gongyo- A ritual which is practiced each morning and evening by chanting a chapter and a half of the Lotus Sutra followed by silent prayers, begun by prayers to Shotenzenjin (Buddhist gods) to the east in the morning in the direction of the rising sun.

Gohonzon– At the age of 51, Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the object of worship, a scroll with the names of various Buddhist and Hindu deities, his name, and invocation.

There are over 42 different Nichiren denominations. Here’s something I didn’t know. According to Wikipedia, “In the 20th century, Nichirenism was a fascist movement led by Nichiren Buddhists who attempted a wave of assassinations in an attempt to further ultranationalist goals in 1932. The result is known as the League of Blood Incident. Two months after, in the May 15 Incident, Japanese naval officers, including some associated with the League of Blood, assassinated Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi.”