Posts Tagged ‘Gojukai’

by James C. Stephens


Thursday, March 11, 1976


Well, a month has passed since I last wrote you. My, my. Many gallons of water have passed beneath the bridge. As usual I fall in love once a week with a different Joshibu. Luckily none of them know it or I’d have a lot of problems on my hands! Hah!

My campaign to get YMD practicing has taken a turn for the best. Our district is now a new chapter–Marina Chapter.  I got three YMD to receive Gohonzons the first Gojukai of March.

I also prepared them for the NSA Academy Entrance Exam. Richard Fong who I shakubukued from the Mayor’s office Summer Youth Program brought a guest.

Jordan Yee is a hard working medical student at UCLA. He’s from Hong Kong originally.

Tom Brittingham is doing really well. He’s living in his camper to save some money since he had a couple of accidents.

Howard Miramoto, the pharmicist finally got a car. Speaking of car that’s my benefit took, a 1969 VW bug. Still having problems financing it, but it will happen.

Red VW

Wednesday, March 17, 1975

Into a vigorous World Tribune campaign once again. My newest YMD are going through some obstacles partly because of my lack of training. I took 3 new YMD out to eat and it turned out to be a 3 on 1 (me) situation. Questions, questions, questions.

During my Shakubukuing of a new guest I brought, Richard invited Bob and also Howard to some Hindu meeting on Monday night in lieu of the discussion meeting. They all went. Howard sounded bad the next day.

March 23, 1975

Tonight no activities. Got off work early, washed car and clothes.

Went to a couple of movies with Sandy Shore.

I’m really confused and frustrated around girls.

Goodnight. I don’t feel good about this situation.

Tears cloud my eyes, love clouds my mind. Maybe I’m just seeking someone to share my love with. Is this such a bad desire?



by James C. Stephens

Tuesday, October 29, 1974

Last night we had a hancho meeting with Shibucho and he called for a return to the Gakkai spirit of 5 years ago. I specifically asked him after the meeting for guidance on my relationship. He told me he couldn’t give me specific guidance because his situation or experience was totally different. But the guidance he did give me was only to talk to Soshibucho about this, and to really practice like a YMD hancho should, which does not leave much time for anything. This is the spirit that is lacking today in NSA. Let’s get it back. Too busy to see a movie.


My resolution is to return to the original Gakkai Spirit. This month 30 World Tribune (our publication) and 5 Gojukai (new members who receive the Gohonzon). Two hours daimoku a day. Get that jet engine moving!

by James C. Stephens

October 25, 1974

You need a job to keep your life together. I decided that I could not go to school and keep my life somewhat together. Consequently, I sought work. For the last three weeks I have been working at Litton Industries, which has been a very good learning experience. I have been learning a lot about cost analysis in my position as a data aide. At first I was frustrated not going to school, but as far as my life is I can’t afford to go to school, nor can my life condition take it. I’m not a good professional student. In the near future I would enjoy taking nite courses and eventually graduate.

This month my practice has not been as strong as in the past moth, but I have nonetheless been learning much from my experiences. I have started dating a girl I’m falling in love for. I know that sounds corny, dating and in love. For me it’s really a change. And I think it has been coming for a long time. One thing I do know is that my human revolution is being magnified greatly. But I welcome it!


This month I got guidance to join the Bagpipes. What a groovy experience and human revolution on top of that!

We reached our Gojukai goal, AAO! AAO! (a Japanese “hip, hip hooray!”)

Last nite I was at the 1st Headquarters and Russ Dilando asked me to take toban because the other tobans were late, so I took toban (guarding the building and members).


It’s difficult to make such a commitment 

                                    not knowing the uncertainty

of such a venture. 

    My human revolution has been magnified

             not in a bad way because Human Revolution is not bad,

but rather one can create value in his life


the light of True Buddhism

no matter what the cause.

           I’m discovering the shallowness of my nature,

but also the joy of discovering the depth of Buddhism as it

 relates to my 


At times, I’m so afraid of the fact that I have entered a romantic relationship

with another human being.

                               The joy is great,

                                         but at times the frustration 

almost tends to become unbearable. 

In such close relationship nothing is hidden,

your faults are definitely magnified.

             People warn me. People encourage me. I don’t feel it’s 

enslavement, but people warn me that it is. 

                      Only one way to go and that’s to week guidance from


But no matter what I Jim Stephens and she  must continue our practice to the Gohonzon.


Our goal, my goal is to create a happy district by April 1, 1975. 1 million daimoku by that date.

S H A K U B U K U   S P I R I T  !!

Only through the Gohonzon can I lead a happy life.

by James C. Stephens

May 4, 1974

Gary CurtisTonight after the meeting, I went to Santa Monica to talk to Soshibucho Gary Curtis. I told of my problem of following and wanting to take the lead. He related his experience of his early practice, when he was a butaicho with no real tai, but expected to lead gongyo at a meeting which the Senior leaders didn’t show at, but instead a younger member jumped up and led gongyo. I did plenty of onshitsu he said. Now my competition with that same leader is totally reversed. It’s more like, you lead the new member’s meeting, no you, no you.

I told him of the people I had shakubukued and how I’m not taking care of them, but others are. He said, each person’s mission is different, be proud of what you can do. Do what you can do, you are you. I can’t wait to see you a fatter smiley Jim Stephens, then I believe your true nature will come out instead of the thin you.

For a member of four years, you give rotten experiences and are a lousy emcee. For chanting four years you should have some heavy spiritual revelations which you can relate to the guests.

“How can I give better experiences?”

Paul Newman Exodus“You aren’t blind, just look around and see what kind of experiences you enjoy! Nobody likes a predictable character like Steve McQueen. They like a person like Paul Newman that goes through all sorts of conditions. You’ve got to be a good actor. You’ve got to have a bigger vision of the future. In front of a lot of people you have got to be a good actor. No more you knows or likes. How can you relate to older people that way?

Example of Mr. Enaba, a happy person who raised capable leaders, not a grab ass person, but a man happy to see people grow above him. But he has incredible fortune. Wow, when I was appointed he was so happy, he didn’t think of himself, he knew his mission. He did not give us much guidance and when he led meetings he never spoke more than 7 minutes. But such simple people are the people President Ikeda loves. And he shows them too. He almost ignores the screamers, Sensei! Sensei! But he goes out of his way to meet the behind the scenes people. He knows them. You should try to become such a person.

Wow, we (our General Chapter) won Gojukai for 6 months and I never once rubbed it in on anyone. Right now we are going to drive deep foundations for our lives. But two months from now the other General Chapters will wonder what hit them when we totally wipe them out.

I want happy people, not fanatics. He told me I was not ready to raise people all the way.

I ask, “How can I get ready?”

Don’t worry, that’s all.

by James C. Stephens

Tuesday, November 14, 1973

Lately, I have been reflecting a lot on myself and my future. Sunday I got 3 people to receive their Gohonzon. It was definitely a good feeling. It seems like whenever I start such campaigns I definitely start to go through human revolution and this time is no exception.

Saturday, after work I went to our Chapter Kickoff meeting and boy was I on a strange trip. I wouldn’t smile especially after my Chikubucho (district chief) took away my members. I was definitely going through some H.R.! After the meeting and members had left for the Hdqtrs I went into Shibucho’s (Chapter chief) room. He was talking on the phone with Mr. Hall (the Headquarter’s Chief). Then my Chikubucho (Mike Lisagor) came into the room and shut the door. It was like I thought it would happen. I was really determined to get what I had on my chest out. So many times I had held, what I thought to be a stupid complaint, inside for months.

Then I told my Shibucho in from of my C what I thought my C was, a Jewish asshole. I told him I was human and that unity I felt could not be fabricated if I felt such an attitude towards him. He told me humanism is towards everyone.

Anyway, my Chikubucho left and my Shibucho (Guy McCloskey) and I sat down and talked for a long while. He really listens. I told him many complaints I had and the problems I have been going through. One problem was a personality conflict between hancho and Chikubucho. He said it is my responsibility on my end of the line to really learn to follow. He told me his district chief used to Jump up on the table and proclaimed his mission to destroy Christianity and it made his members titan. It was not until he realized he just should support him and his guests would join. For some reason they would take it some way different. The training I got was maybe the way, not to run a district, or the way not to treat my members. You should really chant for a seeking mind and then these petty things would pass you by and you would pick up on the things your Chikubucho or leaders are trying to tell you.

Another thing is your ability to make a good report. And don’t forget a good report is not just good news but bad news too. Your problem is giving a report and telling a person one thing and leaving out another so as to please their ear. Well, tell IT LIKE IT IS!!

I also asked him about marriage. He said I should really build up my fortune and maybe get married in five years, when I’m 27. He said don’t cash in your chips too early, because you may be really unhappy with what you get like some people I know.

I asked him about just having the company of a girl like going out to eat or to an art show. Sure if you can find the time.

I really feel far away from people in the district, is that because I am so far away from Chikubucho. Yes but don’t worry, others have been complaining of the same thing. It will change. It is good to complain really. I don’t know everything and you are my eyes into these areas. Please let me know at all times what it going on.

We have kicked your name around as a district chief, but I don’t know if you as yet can pick yourself up by your own bootstraps. You are an old member and you have got to learn to do this.

It’s time to go home, I’m tired.

Note: Please don’t despair about my comment about Mike. I love the Jews, my wife is Jewish and many of my former members were Jewish. My kids are Jewish. So, don’t take everything so seriously and you’ll live a lot longer, or at least when you’re alive you’ll be much happier. Oh and by the way, I don’t think the guy that jumped up and down on the table was related to Tom Cruise, and I never did meet the guy. I think his mission failed.


by James C. Stephens

Monday, October 11, 1971


Saturday night we had 12 Shakubuku sign Gohonzon applications. At 11:15 we chanted at the #1 Headquarters the same time Sogohonbucho and American members saw Dai-Gohonzon. What can I say?

Sunday my Shakubuku Dave Whitman received Gohonzon at Myohoji. We also did Kosen-rufu Gongyo[1].

Saturday night we also achieved our goal of 1000 Shakubuku. I will never forget this campaign. It will be a great memory.

When Dave received his Gohonzon, it was a happy moment for me. When he was driving me home he said, “I overheard what Nancy said about a good friend taking her to a meeting and then quitting. My sister did the same thing. When other people Shakubukued me my bad nature really came out. They tried to get me to buy World Tribune. But when you Shakubukued me it was different. You gave me a Seikyo Times; you gave me stuff. That blew my mind.”

Now I know the sayings true: right time, right place, right circumstances.

Tonight we had our Sho-Hondo ceremony with Pres. Ikeda in Japan. After Gongyo during daimoku a film of last year’s ceremony was shown. I really felt like I was at the ceremony.

Soshibucho Gary Curtis said that the Sho-Hondo was the greatest importance in our practice. It’s completion is not symbolic, but it is as real as the Great Secret Laws of Daimoku and Dai-Gohonzon.

Up until October 12, 1972 you might say Dai-Gohonzon has been exclusive property of Nichiren Shoshu. But Nichiren said the Dai-Gohonzon was property of Ichinen Budai or the universe. So as of October 12, 1972 the Dai-Gohonzon is for all mankind. In fact Pres. Ikeda is going to invite all World Leaders to chant or see and chant to the Dai-Gohonzon for World Peace. Then Kosen-rufu…

One girl had a Shakubuku experience I must record. She was to be a hostess at the Biltmore for a McGovern rally or dinner. She wanted instead to do Shakubuku that day for the meeting. Well, she couldn’t, so chanted hard to show the power of the Gohonzon. Once she arrived there were 40 other hostesses she said who looked like they had been in the business 500 years. But for some reason the head lady pointed to her and said you are the leader.

So she had to organize 40 ladies who were on-shitsuing[2] her to death.  But she directed them and they did a good job for so little training. They really followed. The hall she said she decorated like a welcome she’d done for Japanese students. When McGovern walked in he exclaimed how beautiful it was. But she said you haven’t heard the benefit. ..They had an hour break in which they usually talk about Harriet’s marriage, her new boyfriend, etc. Well, she started chanting daimoku in another room. Later, all 40 hostesses chanted the rest of the hour with her. The next hour was to mingle with the guests. She shakubukued Paul Newman for 1 ½ hours. Also McGovern. Next McGovern was allotted an hour to speak. He spoke ten minutes and looked to Nancy and said, “Now a word from Nancy.” Nancy had no idea. She just remembered what Sogohonbucho had said to people.

She told them how great Pres. Ikeda was and how so Sogohonbucho. How great America was and will be. Seattle, etc. At the end everyone was in tears including McGovern.

“For once they had hope,” she said. It really changed from a situation of well here we go again for election time~ to one of hope.

Remember the boy who gave Ethel Kennedy the cross? Well, he’s really Christian right? Well he came up with tears and asked to come to a meeting.”



[1] Kosen-rufu Gongyo are prayers for World Peace that are chanted once a month by members around the world. The final silent prayer in Gongyo reads, “I SINCERELY PRAY FOR THE REALIZATION OF WORLD PEACE AND HAPPINESS, THROUGH THE GOHONZON’S BESTOWAL EQUAL BENEFITS UPON THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE AND THE WHOLE WORLD.”

[2] On shitsu basically means slandering.

Myohoji Temple: The first Nichiren Shoshu temple in America which was originally located in Etiwanda, California. Their duties included gojukai, a Buddhist type baptism which is required when receiving the Gohonzon in which the new devotee bows and is tapped on the head by a rolled up Gohonzon. The priest also conducts marriage ceremonies and funerals as well as New Year’s Gongyo and other lectures.

“In the Gojukai Ceremony, the recipient vows to sincerely believe Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings and to practice and uphold the Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws, thus abandoning incorrect religions and all that is against the true Law. Therefore, a person who receives Gojukai should have the pure determination to practice true Buddhism wholeheartedly and to discard objects of prior religious attachments.”

“The Lotus Sutra states:

It is difficult to keep this sutra. I shall be glad to see anyone who keeps it even for a while. So will all the other Buddhas. He will be praised by the Buddhas. He will be a man of valor, a man of endeavor. He should be considered to have already observed the precepts.

(Hokekyo, p. 419)”

A short video of the ceremony. Gojukai Ceremony