Posts Tagged ‘Danny Nagashima’

by James C. Stephens


Friday, December 28, 1979

On Thursday I stopped by the World Culture Center and did Gongyo at about 9:15. During Gongyo–Mr. Williams stepped into the third floor room and there I made an appointment with him for Friday morning at 10:00.

Ikeda_Williams

Clipping from a World Tribune of Daisaku Ikeda and George Williams visiting the University of Chicago in January 1975. 

Friday morning I ran into Gary Curtis, Danny Nagashima, and Cheryl Bell, all of whom I had been attempting to contact. Afterwards Ann Hagihara ushered me into GMW’s office. At first he greeted me and bluntly asked me what items I wanted to talk about. I heard what he said, but inside refused to be led down such a path. I told him I had just ran into Danny Nagashima and he changed gears a bit and asked if I had gone to his wedding. No, I said, but I had sent congratulations via a tape recorded message. He asked if I had gone to school with him. No, I replied, but we practiced together in the same district for awhile. Then I proceeded to show him a book he had recommended to me from

Honoring Vietnam Veterans Nov 11 1979 stamp

In my journal’s I occasionally posted a stamp or two. Here’s one on this page honoring the Vietnam Veterans on November 11, 1979

Cheryl Bell in 1977 and I told him I enjoyed it tremendously and that on several occasions I had been moved to tears by the book. He glanced at the book’s pictures and seemed to relax a bit more and so did I.

Daddy Long Legs Book Cover Jean Webster

What I came here for was basically to communicate with you and let you know what is going on with me. It has been 10 years I have been in this organization and this is the first time we have communicated person to person. 

“I know,” he said, “and still I’ve seen you so much, TCD, brass band, youth division activities and i feel I know you in my heart.

And I said, I feel too I know you like this diary here I have 10 others, many filled with experiences with you at special meetings and brass band. I have many notes of all these activities and I feel close to you in this sense.

However, the reason I came here was to also communicate with you the feelings that I have developed in the past year. 1979 was definitely a rough year, painful, but I know I grew a lot and am not in the least regretful. The beginning of the year I constructively criticized the organization and I also grew resentful of you. In my diary I recounted you talking of being with President Ikeda so much, massaging his back, sharing time with him. I thought to myself, why don’t we get to do the same now with you, you have so much experience and yet you are getting older and we are young. Many of my friends including myself ask you to let us have access to your experience.

He replied that he was close to President Ikeda before he was President because he was a member in the same district as Mrs. Ikeda, and that they had meetings at Mrs. Ikeda’s house at times. Even before he was President or the Shin’ichi Yamamoto that people talked about, I felt that he was my master in life, Mr. Williams said. In Phase I we were really busy and there wasn’t much time to talk. He said he knew maybe Phase I was pretty militaristic, but it was what we experienced. 

 

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I talked of my experience with my father in parallel with my experience with the organization. The organization has been much like a father to many of us and I personally have learned a lot. In my relationship with my father I experienced a period of rebellion and outright criticism, both warranted and unwarranted; followed by a period of separation, during which I learned what I had learned from my father, what I had to learn and still benefit from, and I felt appreciation towards and a loss of negativity towards and a new awakening of the significance of our relationship, followed by a reunification of our relationship and this is what takes work and courage. It is here where not only does the child realize he can learn from his parent, but also the parent must realize he can learn from the child. If the parent does not also open himself up, it ends in conflict and incredible frustration for the child. Mainly because the parent does not allow the child to grow up. I think now we are in a very creative space in NSA which demands cooperation and communication. I grew up in part because of my father’s near death (which I explained to him GMW). But a lot of my friends, Russ Dilando and Jim Jay have still not confronted this situation and are very resentful towards you (GMW). I feel there is a definite lack of communication in NSA.

He talked about the politics between NSIC and NSA. I said I didn’t like the theory going around that President Ikeda would come over here and straighten out NSA. Earlier GMW and I had established in the conversation that NSA is in a very touchy state, many problems. He explained that NSIC tried to run our organization and he was out of the picture and the members asked NSIC more not him. I said much like the parent-son relationship in adolescence.

I mentioned Nagata who Liz and I met with and had told Liz to shut up, GMW said, he was sorry and I told him I understood in a way about Japanese culture, Zuiho-bini is harder than they think. He said yes, and he had many complaints and hard feelings were spawned by Nagata. Nagata had been practicing only 8 years and because he was able to be physically close to President Ikeda though he had much power. He was quite authoritarian. (GMW continued) I felt I was in winter from 1976. We needed a couple more years of Phase I. In fact we hadn’t even got there. We were more likely in the preface.

Fortunately the control has been returned to me and the leaders now in NSIC are much more experienced and closer to President Ikeda’s spirit. He talked of the new head of the NSIC and how he had been practicing 18 years and was so warm, genuine and sincere. They came to help us and learn, before they didn’t ask me anything, just toured on their own. Mr. Yutami (?), did much shakubuku through actual proof. GMW told me, Mr. Yutami’s experience of his wife’s cancer. No hope, doing activities, gongyo in the cancer ward, Mrs. becoming like a light to these people, chanting, sneaking in food, sneaking out to do Gongyo, guidance to operate, Doctor’s referral, her lips swelled when she doubted guidance, was she on the right track. Mrs. alone fought to do Gongyo 6 hours. He returned after after activities. She lived through the operation. Success, shakubuku excelled. Fought to do Gongyo 5-6 hours-will to live, battled cancer.

Mr. Williams said he was tired of criticism. NSA’s weak and her low energy, financial situation is actually better off. 

Talked of Peace Center-too small, would be laughed at. Too few people, not enough power. 1 person doing ten different activities, better to consolidate and do shakubuku. Disappointed re: letter to Youth Division. 

Youth movement conversation. Important to develop good healthy district discussion meetings. Shakubuku campaign.

We talked about Actualizations, EST briefly~value of their expressing a small part of Buddhism~good salesman, whereas we have whole philosophy or religion. Need to learn how to express in terms Americans can understand~very difficult task. 

Need of better communication in NSA. Talked about John Mitchell in Sacramento.

He (GMW) told me he sees the horizon, the bleak winter is over and to tell Jim and Russ this and hope they understand.

Will Rogers 1979 Stamp

The famous cowboy actor Will Rogers who said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” 

Gongyo and daimoku key. Problems were my karma, that’s why I was here early every day before anyone, chanting daimoku during the crisis.

He also talked of room for information center not being used. Territory meeting at LA#1 Headquarters.

Showed him my landscape drawings. Told me of UCLA garden~President Ikeda’s name on Founder’s wall.  

Encouraged me to keep up diary-good or bad times, like “rings of a tree.” 

I told him I would like to compile meetings we had with him.

 

~~~

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by James C. Stephens


March 22, 1978

Black Dial Phone

Raining steady. No work. Campaign at my desk. Up at 6:30. Several phone calls from members this morning making determinations for their individual daimoku campaigns. Chanted til late last night. Went to bed depressed and searching for where and what my problem was.

My guidance and attitude towards my members should change. Pres. Ikeda says, “if a leader is an autocrat and scolds his members for reasons like being late to the meetings, people are likely to slander the organization and will want to avoid it.” It is my feeling that I tend towards this attitude. I should be cheerful and greet each member as the priceless treasure they are. Then they will seek shelter and encouragement from the organization. I should become an attractive person as Pres. Ikeda says. This does not mean appearance alone, that I am sure of. Where I need to change is becoming more cheerful and less abrasive. Pres. Toda said we are not missionaries. This must be my realization. Patience, step by step advance.

Pres. Ikeda’s guidance is “For more than 2,000 years after the Buddha’s (Sakyamuni’s) demise, people had constantly cherished a fervent desire in the depths of their lives to seek out one thing. That which they sought, whether they were aware of it or not was Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.”  Realizing that each person has this desire, we are constantly seeking ways of explaining the significance of practicing to the Gohonzon.

April 3, 1978

Pulitzer Prize banner

For the past week or so I have found it extremely difficult to chant daimoku and extremely hard to motivate myself. Mr. Curtis and several of the bucho’s and myself drank sake after our planning meeting. He related a story of President Ikeda’s meeting with a famous journalist in Japan and how the journalist felt about the Soka Gakkai. He felt the following: He admired the programs of the Soka Gakkai. However he felt that if the Soka Gakkai were really great it would have produced a Pulitzer Prize winner or the equivalent. Well this story leaked through to some YMD. One of which was a hack journalist. At that moment he had not ever written anything of much significance. Well, he took this challenge to heart! He locked himself up in his room for three years. The novel he produced just recently received the the Kurobachi Award which is not awarded yearly, but only when a work is really merited. This award is the highest in Japan.

This YMD was the youngest person ever to be awarded this honor. Advertisements are all over Japan for his book.

Mr. Izumi said that Kosenrufu only is produced and rooted in the accomplishments of one person in his daily life. Just because one has a 1,000 members around him does not bring true satisfaction. Danny Nagashima was explaining to me the principal of a T person.  A T person has a grasp of many fields, but finds his specialty in one field–he is outstanding.

I am at present struggling deeply in re-evaluating my goals and strategy in attacking my goals. Liz and I are planning on getting a house within this year.

I have a determination to excel in my field this year. Each day I must accomplish a lot of things towards this end. Therefore 1. I must chant 2 hours per day without fail. 2. I must have a good healthy diet. 3. I must set up an exercise program. 4. I must strictly schedule myself so that my activities do not slip. This has happened to several NSA leaders.

I feel now I have to cut down on the tobans I do. I must prepare myself for the fight. Business must be based upon the Gohonzon.

5:30–rise.

5:45-Daimoku.

6:45- Gongyo

7:15-Breakfast.

7:45-Leave for work.


Random thought on the Pulitzer. I actually was shocked when I read about the origins of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Here’s a clip from Wikipedia:

 

“Joseph J. Pulitzer born April 10, 1847 – October 29, 1911 was a newspaper publisher of the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the New York World. Pulitzer introduced the techniques of yellow journalism (a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news) to the newspapers he acquired in the 1880s. He became a leading national figure in the Democratic Party and was elected congressman from New York. He crusaded against big business and corruption, and helped keep the Statue of Liberty in New York.

In the 1890s the fierce competition between his World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal caused both to use yellow journalism for wider appeal; it opened the way to mass-circulation newspapers that depended on advertising revenue and appealed to readers with multiple forms of news, entertainment and advertising.

Today, he is best known for the Pulitzer Prizes, which were established in 1917 as a result of his endowment of Columbia University. The prizes are given annually to recognize and reward excellence in American journalism, photography, literature, history, poetry, music and drama. Pulitzer founded the Columbia School of Journalism by his philanthropic bequest; it opened in 1912.”

Does the term Pulitzer Prize fit the bill of an oxymoron? Distinguished journalism? Nobel Prize for peace? From a man who developed bombs? Are these rewards just built on guilt?

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


December 5, 1977

Over the weekend I attended a Marina District Meeting. Only one Young Men’s Division is there now besides myself. I realize that I must raise more members, YMD. Tonight I talked with Honbucho Mr. Curtis and he said I need to talk more to Mr. Sugano. He said he learned when he was young that youth is time to tell your feelings to shut up, to cover up, ignore them. Unless they come from the world of enlightenment you can’t trust them. They will destroy you. We live in a human society you have to live with people. To get along with people is important. Your feelings are so strong they will ruin you. You don’t have to get rid of them, just control them. It can change very fast.

On the subject of daimoku. Ask yourself when is your favorite time of day to chant. Honbucho said nite bores him. That’s for beer and other things like being a father. I have to be a father til 10:30 after that I have so little time. I chant a lot when I’m happy, very little when I’m not. I get up early before everyone else and chant in the morning about 45 minutes. I chanted a lot when I was a new member. When you have a lot of problems Jim, I don’t think 40 minutes is enough, especially when you’re not in control of the situation.

20141117_085329_LLSTalked with Steven Parker. Wow, we sure had a nice talk compared to days when we were TCD (Traffic Control Division) together in New York. Told him I would send him book called Martin Eden. He’s a writer for Auto magazines. Showed Honbucho my diary. He said I hope there’s a significant change in Volume 9!..Talk to me when you have any problems.

During Gongyo tonight, I really thought about our wedding. With so many people invited it may be unwise. Possibly we should cut it down, since we are going to Israel. Financially it could put us into debt for a long while.

Thursday, December 8, 1977

Tuesday night I was home visited by Mr. Sugano who is our Territory I YMD Chief with Mr. Nagashima. From his visit, I really determined to begin anew! I must fight! Challenge myself! I can do 30 visits a month. Do it! Less theory more action. Encourage your parents in NSA and family by your strong action. You are future of NSA of the world. Human Revolution. Marriage–don’t become domesticated. Trust, President Ikeda and Mr. Williams that’s enough. We are all doing gongyo–human revolution. Have stronger life force–more compassion than others. Less controlled by outside. I took it be be more a true General based on the law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

December 6, 1977 is a date I shall make a new beginning from. It is a prime point. During Gongyo I felt rotten, like what are they doing here? But I challenged that attitude and resolved that this could signal a totally new beginning.

Already I’m experiencing new great benefits. Possible landscape job for President of A & M Records. $700 job for one of Rick Coleman’s projects. A new customer next door to Rick’s. A clean up job for Ira Pelofsky, a clean up job for Chuck James partner. All since I made that resolution. Even an unprocurable book in the U.S. book in the U.S.–Dialogue on Life #1–I got from a friend last night. Visited Tony Schmidt last night after library committee.  He got back from Tozan* a new man, what a light bulb. He’s really felt the Kechimyaku and reality of Kosenrufu. He’s brimming over with determination. We have a transfer member from Hong Kong we gave Tony since he got back from Tozan.

Tonight we had a Bucho meeting with Mr. Sugano. Same as my home visit except I could give my determination. He really confessed privately tonight that he felt Beverly Hills YMD really possess something different. Really sharp! We initiated Ode to Youth study three months ago. No one else has yet to do. But Mr. Hall will start beginning of 1978. Mr. Sugano said we all graduated from college. So sharp. However he feels we lack on thing. We lack backing in action. Sort of give up half-way. But so many clever ideas and you all take notes. No other headquarters did I see this! I’m sure you pass this on. But must use this potential develop–carry through 100%!

Tonight felt that Kechimyaku, a mission of Kosenrufu. Immediately afterwards Danny and I went next door to our Chapter YMD’s daimoku toso. We chanted and planned lecture tomorrow night. Goal: to apply Buddhist terms concretely to daily life. Everyone to participate.

Afterwards Hiroshi and I went out. I ate, he had coffee. We had a nice talk and afterwards I dropped him off.

After I got home, I talked to Liz-she seemed depressed, misses me, I of course miss her, but campaign will determine our happiness as mates. I love her deeply. I felt unhappy for her feelings. Chanted one hour to end campaign today. Must write in diary daily.

Goodnite!