Posts Tagged ‘Gary Curtis’

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


Monday, February 26, 1979

Jamesinfrontoftemple

Russ Isobe (Brass Band), Jim Jay (District Leader), James Stephens, and Bruce Barnes (my best man) doing some type of activity at Myohoji Temple around the time of the New York Convention in 1976..

Last night Russ Dilando, Jim Jay, and Paul Diamond called me to enlist my support for their Monday morning speech at the staff’s weekly meeting. (North American Headquarters Staff Meeting in Santa Monica on 525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica).

Immediately after Mr. Williams finished morning Gongyo,  Jim Jay went to the front and asked for people’s attention. He said he wanted to say a few words regarding Mr. Williams recent visit to Seattle. First he asked if any one minded him talking. They said nothing. I said, please speak. Everyone looked at me. No loyalty to Jim from anyone in the organization even though he worked there for three years. Mr. Williams asked if he could talk, no one said anything. I’m sure they fear for their jobs.

He (Jim Jay) talked of what happened when he asked Mr. Williams about his salary. He said he wasn’t going to tell him and would not and that it was none of his business. He (Jim Jay) said that he was on staff for three years.


Notes: The notes above are all I recorded at the time. Here’s what I remember about the event.  Jim Jay was my leader for a time in Sepulveda Chapter as was Russ Dilando. Paul Diamond was one of my members. Chico Olivera another member of Sepulveda Chapter was there as well.

File3382

Sue Bennett, Sue Nigh, Chico Olivera, Paul Diamond, Paul Wilkes, Purdy Tapola, Gary Shelton, Dave Creek, Larry,  (That’s all I remember–Sepulveda Chapter)

We were all Youth Division leaders and very zealous radical students who went after our practice with everything we had. Most of us attended California State University Northridge.  As for the event at the Headquarters, everyone there (probably 80 staff) knew us all very well. We were fixtures at the Headquarters, leaders in Brass Band, leaders in the Youth Division, all graduates of the NSA Study Academy,  pulled Toban duty at the North American Headquarters, Santa Monica Headquarters, Malibu Training Center,  Myohoji Temple, helped build the Malibu Center, the Santa Monica Headquarters, members of the Soka Group, Traffic Control Division, Stage Crew at various conventions. In other words, we were not just troublemakers, we were zealous for kosenrufu and concerned about the direction of the movement. We had invested our lives fully. Held meetings six to seven times a week, on Friday’s we had discussion meetings which started at 7:00 pm and if there were no guests, we’d go to the streets and do shakubuku til we found them, invite them to our meetings and had meetings sometimes until 1:00 am.

So, when everyone in the room started swearing (I won’t repeat the words), others were saying “let them speak.” Probably Gary Curtis who had been a part of the Berkeley Free Speech movement in the 60’s. Finally, Jim Jay got up and started asking where all of our money was going? We wanted accountability.  After Jim finished up his short message, we realized we had been stonewalled,  got the message, and left, and went our separate ways.

Brad Nixon

Brad Nixon, SGI Organization Department Chief (screen capture from his son’s film about his life- Bladfold).

About three hours later, I received a call from Brad Nixon, former Seattle Headquarters Chief, who  was now working at the North American Headquarters in Santa Monica as the head of the organization department, who was a friend and said to me, “Jim, you better lay low.”  I asked, “Why?” He responded, “When I was going out to lunch I heard two men behind me, ‘Let’s go get our 357 magnums and blow these guys away.'”  Needless to say, I laid low. I failed to mention that I lived just across the street about three doors down from the North American Headquarters in Santa Monica.  It didn’t lessen our zeal for reform, but only fueled it. I won’t mention their names here, but will say that years later, I did confront one of them and he said, “Yes, I did say that and was very angry. My wife always said that I needed to get my anger problem under control and at one point held that 357 magnum up to my head and said I’d better. I have ever sense.”

We all get angry over things that threaten us and I hold no malice toward either one of them. Glad they didn’t go through with their threats, but I was always a bit on edge whenever I’d go to the Headquarters or General meetings.

Just watched Brad Nixon’s son’s film about his father’s life. I am very troubled by his passing. Our path’s crossed when he came down to Los Angeles for that once last chance. His warning did save my life and the lives of my family. Tough film. Very well done.

Brad Nixon. Bladfold, A Film about Brad Nixon

by James C. Stephens


February 7, 1979

[JCS: The following are rough notes from a meeting with Soka Gakkai Vice President Hojo.  It is worth including in its rough form because of some of the unique perspectives offered regarding the contextualization of the American practice of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism in relationship to its practice in Japan. The notes are as taken. At times I bracketed ideas with a <People who practice outside NSA> for example. If you have not been following the JYBR blog, then you will have missed earlier definitions of the many insider language terms utilized in this talk which have built upon one another. Sorry for the inconvenience. A number of the questions posed were never answered in their entirety.]

Mr. Williams-First floor World Culture Center for members.

Mr. Morita, Vice Headquarters Chief; Hosoi; Yahiro; Nagata.

What does it mean “everyone return to the time of Nichiren Daishonin?”

  1. Relationship between Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai.
  2. Basic principle in achieving Kosenrufu.

Nichiren Daishonin. 700 years teaching has been handed down correctly.

Will study in accordance with Japanese Dai Byaku Renge.

Some areas of the Soka Gakkai too far into. So they had meeting with Head Temple.

Two points.  1) Kechimyaku of Hotai--relationship between Nichiren Daishonin and Nittatsu Shonin. 2) Relationship between High Priest and Nichiren Daishonin.

General: 2 ways. (Carefully use).

The way of organization–not correct to say Ikeda–Williams Shitei–only master is Nichiren Daishonin. Person who has carried on this is none other than Nittatsu Shonin (the High Priest).

Relationship with President Ikeda is only through respect and everyday practice.

Matter of faith (Nov 7)–I will send earliest possible time. Study professor to help you better understand the teaching.

We have two wonderful priests to develop relatioship with. To clarify this relationship to maintain unity.

Talk of basics of practicing in Soka Gakkai. Faith, practice and study.

Q: Are we members of Soka Gakkai or Nichiren Shoshu?

Shoho Jisso Sho-Shin Gyo Gaku.

(Definition: Shoho jisso-the ultimate truth; Shin Gyo Gaku-faith, practice, study).

In the past–you had conventions and you put great effort into them. Showed tremendous result, but wasn’t Shin Gyo Gaku. Two and a half years ago new start in the organization.

Before said we had objective (in regard to conventions) and they were necessary. Now we have realized this was not necessarily so. We push towards Shin Gyo Gaku.

Q: What of World Culture Festival?

We have a goal. One by one to help each other in practice. We have Dai Gohonzon. As we polish one person, we polish ourselves. Slow progress, but we can bring forth humanism…

Third point: Principle of achieving Koserufu. Last year President Ikeda mentioned the following: No matter what ideology a nation may have, ours is the Universal teaching embracing the culture of each individual country.

As mentioned daimoku is never changing principal. it is still daimoku anywhere it is. Therefore in order to understand the principles, let’s study the Gosho.

Q: What Gosho?

This never changing principle that was mentioned. How is it to be understood in different countries? Leaders in each nation will value the Law based on the customs of each nation.

I’d like to say, you live in this wonderful country United States. Japan does it, its way. You do not have to import it. Today, you are sitting on the floor. Tradition in the U.S. is to sit in chairs. Next time I come, I hope all can sit in chairs.

In Japan, man-woman sit on opposite sides. In America I hope you can sit as man and wife.

Local  custom. Chanting and Gosho has nothing to do with custom. Nichiren Daishonin wrote Gosho in Japanese because he was born in Japan. Nichiren Daishonin said all people who believe in what he taught should propagate.

Two more points. One, World Peace Culture Festival slated to be held in August 1979. As mentioned before, looking at situation, like to cancel convention at this time, although it is unofficial.

Two, Translation of Gosho. Printing now. Will be got out as soon as possible.

New Spark.  1) Our activity is to study Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism; 2) Polish each individual’s faith; 3) People have dropped out. Teaching is for everyone. Mission to get people to begin again. No sacrifice. Said we did it, but correct way do Hendoku Iyaku.

Mission is kosenrufu. Together in unity. Hope all can grow. Q on silent prayers.

What Kosenrufu means?

700 years ago Nichiren Daishonin born in Japan. In the Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin said, “I Nichiren, said in chanting daimoku the objective is to save one person at a time and in doing this is kosenrufu itself.

As we help others we help ourselves.

Must understand because we don’t have convention still are doing kosenrufu. Practice today you are achieving kosenrufu. You must come to realize this. There are 220 million people in this country. We are very small still trying to achieve kosenrufu. We come to realize our mission towards humanity. Matter of silent prayer.

Practicing within organization or without. Is there a difference? What does organization mean? Our organization is not to intimidate anyone. You have your own freedom. NSA-Soka Gakkai–our objective is study and learn about Nichiren Daishonin–polish each other.

Here we polish our faith and point out what we need to realize. Through polishing we come to realize our potential and can take what we learn into society.

Silent prayers.

<People who practice outside NSA, relationship between Soka Gakkai and NSA.>

Role of women of NSA in the future.

Since coming to the U.S. I must look into this matter much more.

Change of system here–needs study.

Josei Toda Portrait

President Josei Toda, the Second President of the Soka Gakkai.

4 Division system in Japan–time of second President Toda. Toda put great effort into youth division. Chapter Chief sometimes in 40’s. Youth Division in their 20’s. Took 40 year old gave same position.

<Maybe good principal–installation wrong in United States.>

Put great emphasis in youth so they could grow into people who could be of great worth in the future in society. Toda took Chapter Chief in the their 40’s and younger 20’s at the same table in combination to discuss.

Eternal machine–so ideal would always be alive.

 

 

Meeting with Mr. Hojo after meeting.

4th prayer, 5th prayer.

Dai Gohonzon —>handed down copy Gohonzon so everyone can have Gohonzon. Only one person can have Gohonzon. To all of us we receive Gohonzon. And to receive Gohonzon—there we can attain enlightenment or absolute happiness. Kechimyaku from 2 points.

General--Sobetsu, Shin Gyo Gaku. We are connected to Gohonzon so we can achieve kechimyaku of faith.

If ichinen is incorrect I was worrying, I would hurt my members. No! No! –no error in chanting to Gohonzon. Even if ichinen is wobbly. Encourage to chant. You chant you will straighten out. Kechimyaku–don’t overuse it.

I am lost–mumyo. Satorio–enlightenment. Hosho in Buddhism–to be.

Example he used was like a mirror. Used a book.

A mirror is a mirror because it has a back. This is mumyo. The lost part of you. Because you can see your lost part you can see your enlightenment. Without mumyo you could never become enlightened. Same with Bonno soku Bodai. Without earthly desires we could never become enlightened. Mumyo varies–different kinds of being lost.

How do I battle Gumpon no mumyo? [the darkness inherent in human life-according to Nichiren the final and most difficult obstacle to overcome to reach enlightenment.] Each day get up and face the situation and chant daimoku to the Gohonzon. It is so simple.

…..

Right after the meeting with Mr. Hojo I rushed to the elevator. I was told to go by the Soka Group and I stood fast. As Mr. Hojo came to the elevator I asked him if I could ask him a couple of questions. After the translator told him, he said sure. So I and a girl named Reza met him on the third floor. Up there we were able to ask him for some answers. (those are contained on previous two pages). Afterwards he asked us to meet him again and asked our names. He gave us each a present. It was a scarf with President Ikeda’s calligraphy. It said Kaido, I believe which translates as health.

Afterwards I went downstairs and talked with Bonnie Barcy for awhile about the present state of the Open Forum. We discussed various subjects.

Next as I was leaving, Gary Curtis and I had a real frank discussion. I have not recorded earlier incident in my diary which would of tremendous import in regards to this meeting. It was nonetheless a breakthrough. He was really happy I talked to Hojo and wondered if the meeting earlier was really of much import. I said to a degree yes.

Well, I should leave now and pick up my wife from work. Will continue later.


Gohonzon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gohonzon

https://www.sgi-usa.org/study-resources/core-concepts/the-gohonzon/diagram-of-the-gohonzon/

 

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.

by James C. Stephens


Sunday, August 6, 1978

Worked on compiling seminar book from one o’clock in the afternoon. Kenji, Ian, Liz, Tony, Chris Delisle, Russ Isobe and I worked steadily until 9 to complete all 100 books. It was a great exercise in faith. I’m sure it will be a great memory for all of us in the future.*

Zucky's Deli Front Entrance

Although it’s not Kenny’s Deli, Zucky’s Deli was among the host of watering holes in Santa Monica where we as members used to hang out after meetings to catch a bite and a cup of coffee.

Liz and I ate out at Kenny’s Deli at about 10:30. David Blue came strolling in and sat with us. He told us he had been taiten for about 6 months, and we asked why. He explained the guidance he received freaked him out, because his leaders told him he couldn’t achieve enlightenment since he was gay. I immediately expressed my feelings regarding the guidance and told Liz I disagreed and would check this with Gary Curtis.*

Monday, August 7, 1978

Morning guidance to Brent.

Talked with Gary Curtis, he said that Valley Headquarters having problems, very conservative and sometimes incorrect guidance. He said he couldn’t visit David now, but said he was welcome to practice in our headquarters. He relayed some guidance on gay question to me from Japan.

Got seminar books ready to be shipped to each headquarters. Neglected personal business, felt dilemma~must get material out or work. Wish I could have done both, must train capable leaders and be a better planner.

Called David back at Kenny’s at 10:30 and reported results. He called back and asked if he could come over for morning Gongyo. Sure!

Tuesday, August 8, 1978

Morning Gongyo with David and Joan his friend. Dropped Liz off at work and went out to breakfast with David and Joan.

Worked on Reiner’s indoor plants.

Gongyo practice and out with members to Figueroa Cafe. David Blue dropped by World Tribune at our home and told Liz he was in interested in practicing again. Great!

Wednesday, August 9, 1978

Ill today, flu and nausea.

Thursday, August 10, 1978

Liz sick today also~must be flu.

Friday, August 11, 1978

Marina Chapter seminar-YMD Senior leaders must help plan more in Chapter. We must take initiative!

Coffee with Nancy Donohue and Jerry Wilhelm at Pacific Sandwich and Savings.

Talked about persecution and family problems. Nancy’s mother strong Christian opposition to her.


*I just read my entry regarding putting together the seminar book and Elizabeth said, “I don’t remember that.”  We had a good laugh.

*Elizabeth was a member of West Hollywood Chapter.

 

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


January 7, 1977

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I finally got a hold of Judy Gold (she had left a message about 2 weeks previous she was trying to get a hold of me) and she suggested I come by and see her that night. Well it worked out she wanted to meet me at the Saloon around 9:30. Right! 9:40, 9:50, she didn’t show. But proof of my human revolution I did not get bummed out needless to say. Rather I had a beer, sat down and no sooner had I sat down when a girl asked if I had a light. Hold it, I’ll get you one. So I sat down at her table and Virdette (as I later found out) had another friend sit down. Her name was Adrian. Well the long and short of it was Virdette knew some people from Outdoor Sports Inc that I did and me being penniless they bought me six beers and we all became a bit high. Adrian and I hit off quite well and I think we might be going out in the near future. She’s going to Northridge CSUN as a Sociology major I believe and her mother is a psychiatrist, father divorced and in Germany, stepfather is a psychologist. So the evening turned out okay!

Left a message at her folks answering service today. Haven’t talked to her as of yet though.

On December 31, New Year’s Eve Day. As you might be aware of I and my father have been searching for an apartment. And New Year’s Eve was no exception. No Luck! But wait! I called Judy and she said come on down in about forty minutes. So looking at Dad, I said, “You don’t mind do you?”

He responded, “No. It’s okay. I’ll look for an apartment.” He didn’t look so happy. So I said, “I’ll make a couple more calls.”

One apartment I looked at a week before the landlord said was $250 a month. We could not afford it. So I didn’t call him back until the 31st. He said, “I’ll be over there in 1/2 hour meet me there.”

So Dad and I scurried over there and found out that an apartment over the garage was also for rent. What we didn’t know was that we had a contender. So the landlord came over and we looked at the $250 one and it was okay, but we were sold on the $150 one. Then the girl came up to look at it. While she was looking at it, the landlord and my Dad and I made a deal on the grounds maintenance for $50 a month off the rent. The girl came out and she said, “Too small.”  We rented it. $100 a month, $50 off for gardening. Not only that but we got a small shed for storing our equipment and behind the garages there was some room for a small vegetable garden, a side of the garage for storing 5 gallon plant containers, a washer and dryer below. It was a perfect apartment for the two of us. More than I ever expected.

The events leading up to this were frustrating, maybe proof of my lack of faith in the Gohonzon. But I keep telling Dad when a place fell through. Obviously it wasn’t meant for us-don’t worry.

Let me tell you Dad was really excited when we got this place! SO WAS I!

Last few days have been raining no maintenance, but you better believe I’ve been busy inside doing painting, etc. Two tobans this week.

Gary Curtis

Gary Curtis

Wednesday night I had my first Toban at the World Culture Center. Mr. Curtis was Chief Toban. About 10:00 PM, Mr. Williams came down. I walked him to his car, opened the door, shut door in the rain and TCD’d him out onto the street. He rolled his window down and said, “Thank you. Goodnight.” I responded, “Take care.”

Words do not do justice to the feeling I got from that experience.

On Thursday, I did Toban at L.A. #1 Headquarters.

January 1st we had an incredible meeting with Rejicho (Mr. Williams) at the World Culture Center. I was a TCD. Russ (Dilando) was in charge. I came late since I found out we needed TCD about 11PM. Didn’t want to ask same guys as night before so I seized the benefit.

New Year’s Eve Gongyo we did at LA #1 with Mr. (Frank) Hotchkiss leading. Saw a film recap of the “Top that Tune” contest. Hilarious!

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From the top of the stairs at 1314 1/2 14th st in Santa Monica, California, Darlene Benson, Zadith Fresquez, Gayle Hammer, Kathy Schindler and Liz Lascar.

Afterwards I was just planning to go home not go out. But Kurt Triffet needed a ride to a party his chapter was throwing for Don Mentzer’s Birthday and New Year’s. So I got invited. What a trip! Met a girl named Gayle. Beautiful experience with the Gohonzon. We became good friends. She’s very nice. (I recall telling her that I had started a study group with Bruce Barnes and we were reading through Daisaku Ikeda’s Human Revolution, but that I was missing one volume. She mentioned that Liz Lascar had a total library and that she would see if she could get her to loan her copy to me).

Human Revolution by Daisaku Ikeda

Will have a phone installed on Thursday. AAO! Communication has been really poor this week. But things are definitely going better.

Adios!