Posts Tagged ‘Gongyo’

by James C. Stephens


November 23, 1975

Ikeda at Malibu Training Center

Such disappointment, I experienced yesterday.

I tried so hard, but yet no result it seemed.

Obstacles always propose to me a test of my character.

I am but a child. I resent though being treated as such.

I feel on the verge of a breakthrough from adolescence to adulthood.

What do I see in the difference? Basically attitude. When one has problems do they control his existence or does one carry on with confidence in his heart and a smile in his eyes? I have as of yet failed to reached this point. I still at times let out a foul attitude towards certain people.

I must learn from people. I have too little time and too great a mission to play such small games. This arrogance I must Resist and Overcome.

Just because I don’t get something I desire must I throw a temper tantrum like a spoiled child?

Now I resolve to myself, it is time to breed into myself the true Gakkai spirit. To become a young man constructing a foundation not just my own foundation, but one for my country and for the world. I have put nearly six years of my trust into the Gohonzon, now is the time for a new breeze of freshness in my life. A change in my lifestyle.

Breathe deep

A new dawn

become a son of the Gakkai.

Search, because I am knowledgeable as yet what a true son is.

Keep struggling because without sweat on your brow

How can you know, the real joy of construction.

Cause and effect is the foundation of my life.

Sometimes things happen to me it seems, why?

A whole lot of bad things. Why?

To build my character? Maybe.

To reveal my true nature? Possibly.

To become in rhythm with the universe this is the fundamental law. To understand the nature of time; of cause and effect.

Jim, don’t be impatient. Strive to perfect your character.

Each day, clean and sharp. This is an important cause.

Each day Gongyo vibrant and straightforward.

A bus ride to Malibu Training Center. A talk, a warm talk with a nice young lady who moved from Massachusetts. Dropped off at Malibu. I walked in a warm breeze unseasonal. Breathe deep, fresh spirit.

Malibu shows me hope. Fresh, gleaming white fortress.

My battle is to gain new vitality fresh as a Malibu breeze. Deeep ast th great blue ocean, powerful as her waves; and meaningful as the sparkling universe.

Fight on! Day by day in the way I know.

The Malibu Training Center includes a meeting hall and the West Coast residence of the Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda. He held special leader’s meeting here when he visited the US. As a member of the Young Men’s Division Soka Group/TCD (Traffic Control Division) /Toban (guard) we were tasked with watching the property at least once a month. We would sleep in a the “Toban shack” which overlooked the beach. As volunteers, we helped build the entire estate over a number of years.  Mr. and Mrs. Inabe were permanent caretakers of the property. They were a very kind couple.


by James C. Stephens

Friday, May 30, 1975

Well today is my fifth anniversary since I received my Gohonzon. What a day! The Human Revolution was definitely hot and heavy!

I made some resolutions pertaining to my practice in next five years. The next five years have to be my fortune building years with a consistent hard practice. I must study hard. I must graduate college and also become a professor in Buddhism. Definitely must somehow get close to all of my leaders and to General Director Mr. Williams. In my 6 year of practice my goal from August is 60 shakubuku. 5 a month for one year. I must really develop my life to show the power of the Gohonzon to Young Men’s Division and potential YMD in Los Angeles. In 1975-1976 I must become an outstanding member of the Liaison Division. I know inside that if I don’t fight really hard I don’t feel the courageous and victorious feeling I really desire. My Bodhisattva nature doesn’t come out as predominately is what I mean to say.

Saturday, May 31, 1975

Today GMW came to the warehouse. What a great benefit. First we cheered and and rushed around him and his guest then proceeded to do a vigorous! Gongyo! After Gongyo he talked about his tour to Panama. After that we went back to work. Then Mr. Williams came by each project and showed a special guest, the author, the warehouse. He was very impressed. The first stop was our hut then the movie hut. They breezed through- afterwards Rejicho dawned an apron and worked on several projects.


At one particular project he worked at with Herbie Hancock and my member Scott Ferguson showed Rejicho what was happening since Herbie didn’t know. That made my evening complete. Then to top it off he came by our hut again and came up to me shook my hand and asked me what I was making. I explained what the bamboo panel was for. He then saw that I forgot one nail hole. He nailed it all down and when he tried to pick it up he discovered it was nailed to the floor. We all laughed together and as soon as he finished we clapped for him. What a far out man!

by James C. Stephens

August 21, 1973

I realize I haven’t written in my diary for awhile, but sometimes it’s difficult to write of your experiences. The Sho-Hondo convention is getting closer everyday. It seems like yesterday it was 200 days until the Convention, now it is just 53 or so days.

About three weeks ago, I was struggling to get my money in for Tozon, now I am really struggling to get the right spirit for reporting to the Dai-Gohonzon and President Ikeda. I have really been chanting for 3 goals I have in front of my Gohonzon. 1) 3 Gojukai by October 1; 2) To play for President Ikeda; 3) To develop a seeking mind and fighting Abutsubo spirit.

I have been getting really incredible benefits. At my one job Benson Jones I got alot of responsibility and developed alot at that job. Remember I was thrown into jail for traffic warrants? Well, I really chanted to do Hendoku-Iyaku on that problem. Just last week I was laid off my job because I wasn’t a fast enough typist. My feeling was fantastic because I was chanting for a way out of that job, because they wanted me to work for a year full time and I wanted to go back to school. Anyway, when my boss laid me off he told me to forget the $122 he’d loaned me to bail me out of jail and on top of that he paid me my regular wages for a weeks work just to look for a new job. Incredible!!!

While I was working at Benson-Jones I took on a second job, which I received guidance from my assistant Chapter Chief Russ Dilando to do. For two weeks I worked two jobs. Sometimes working for 24 hours in a row. It was an experience I will never forget. Those two weeks seem like they lasted for 2 months. It is really strange. On Thursday morning I would get up early, do Gongyo and go to work at 9:00, get off at 6:00, catch a bite to eat on the way to Santa Monica for Band practice, leave at 10:30 to be at work at 11:00. Then at Alphy’s Restaurant I would work my rear off washing dishes continuously for 8 hours. What Human Revolution! Come home between 7 and 8:00, do Morning Gongyo and go to work from 9 to 6:00. Get home from work and hit the sack. Get up at 9:30 or 10:00 do evening Gongyo and go to work at 11:00. After work on Saturday nite I would go to Band and after Band on Sunday go to work again and then the next morning back to work again at my regular job. Some Gongyos were really strange.

One morning I remember chanting and then falling over. I couldn’t help but laugh. Driving to work was a strange experience. One morning I literally had to pull off the road and take a 15 minute nap to be able to make it to work. Even then it was a terrible struggle. I would have definitely continued to work like this for my tozon money, if it hadn’t been for my district chief Mike Lisagor. As I was heading out the door to go to work on a Friday nite, he met me at the door of my car and told me to call in sick. So I didn’t go to work and was consequently fired. Mike told me to depend on the Gohonzon.

I definitely feel that the guidance I followed was the cause to get such a large settlement from the accident my dad and I had last December. I got $800 which paid off my tozon of $650 and also the $450 for my VW.

My health was definitely not too good as a result of all those hours.


Sho Hondo: The Grand Main Temple near Mt. Fuji housing the main object of worship of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

Dai-Gohonzon: The large wooden object of worship which Nichiren Daishonin carved and inscribed with his name that was enshrined in the Sho-Hondo.

Tozon: Making a pilgrimage to worship the Dai-Gohonzon at the Head Temple Daisekiji, near Fujinomiya, Japan.

Hendoku Iyaku: The practice of “turning poison into medicine,” or obstacles into benefits.


by James C. Stephens

June 2, 1972

Well today was the first day of my campaign and I reached my goal of 14,300 daimoku and it sure ain’t easy. I looked for a job today, made a lot of causes, but still fighting for the result. After I applied at Levitt’s furniture warehouse for a job I went out to start my car and it caught on fire. Great. I went home chanted daimoku.

We had a discussion meeting with Shibucho tonight, it was successful in that two guests out of two guests joined. After the meeting we had a section leader’s meeting at the Joint Hdqtr’s and figured out what the band is going to do for the June Monthly Leader’s meeting and Recital. Did not practice my instrument or study ½ hour yet. (Studied Kyo-dono Gosho).


June 5, 1972

McGovern run for President next to young political operative Bill Clinton HairdoTomorrow is the primary. I have an uneasy feeling that McGovern might not win over Humphrey, but I really hope so. There are also some local elections tomorrow. I’ve met or heard most of the candidates, and I must confess I’ve never seen such as sad lot with the exception of a couple. It is really a discouraging state of affairs in politics. I’m really tired of such politicians and their promises.

‘When the time for the meeting came no guests, just Sal and I and Jim were there. He turned around and said ‘What’s wrong with you guys, a Hancho and Jr. Hancho. Never with guests. Don’t you guys have any life force?”

I didn’t say anything (outloud, but inside I said), “S… I’m trying.” Inside I was really mad at the Gohonzon. 2 ½ years no members, I practice like a s..-of-a-b…. Gohonzon, I do Shakubuku, Gongyo, chant diamoku, why no guests or members? I f I don’t have a guest in twenty minutes I’m quitting or at least walking home, S…!.” I said to myself.

Well I had a guest, an Indian, Krishna Mennon, a research scientist at UCLA from India. He wants to chant. After the meeting I got into a little argument with Nancy Goyer.”

by James C. Stephens

Thursday, October 7, 1971



I’ve found

If you avoid doing it, or

Put it off, it’s like not doing



A million excuses

Too much time thinking, all was Theory

Not enough time practicing.

Shakubuku is never easy,

So every moment I must strive

To Discover, or strive to accomplish my

Daily mission.

Tonight, I resolved to do Gongyo to

Be “futuristic” as Pres. Ikeda mentioned

In his “Reflections on Youth: a Time of Construction.”


Youth passes too fast

Just Shakubuku

Without a second thought;

Of course its easier to say than

Do, but work hard and drive those

Piles deep

For construction

Of happiness.





by James C. Stephens

Tuesday, September 7, 1971


Quite hot and humid because of the rain yesterday. Dad did Gongyo together with me. It took an hr and 10 minutes, but we did it. I got a hell of a lot accomplished today and my schedule helped I’m sure. I didn’t crash all day which is a change for me.


Last night I brought a guest, Nina, she’s a bicycler. I’m sure she’s a Bodhisattva. We had a good Shakubuku meeting with four guests.


After the meeting I split and did a lot of Shakubuku on the way home. I reshakubukued these two Jesus freaks that had titaned from Nichiren Shoshu. They dress good, but their lives are ugly and feel extremely wicked. They really slander Gohonzon, but do they cut my karma. They’re so ugly.


But ten minutes later I shakubukued a guy from Valley Jr. College that works at Valley State and he gave me his address.


I must continue fighting for Kosen-rufu, under all circumstances. I must not stop for anyone.


Dad bought me dinner and gave me $20 to pay off my bike. We were really scraping for money, but he collected $85 installment he had forgotten about. It will make things much easier and comfortable.

Today, I started keeping a household expense account.

by James C. Stephens

Sunday, July 11, 1971

Today was really amazing from beginning to end. After YMD Gongyo, we did Kosen-rufu Gongyo[1] with Sogohonbucho. Afterwards he gave a Gosho lecture which really encouraged my faith greatly (May Seikyo Times[2]).

After the Gosho lecture we had a successful Brand Band Practice at Hollywood Park until 4:00. It was smoggy, but cooler than the Valley. After Band we hurried home to prepare for the arrival of Mr. Fukushima from Japan. This time Beverly Hills and Malibu met at the airport. I was a Yusohan and had the great privilege of shaking Mr. Fukishima’s hand and carrying his luggage to the World Tribune Bus.

Afterwards, I promoted World Tribune to Tony. That situation is changing. I got a ride with Nancy Whitman chanted all the way, slept on the way home. At the Shibu, Schumow & Whitman goofed up the W.T., but it got straightened out. I asked Russ about my brother’s W.T. and he called me a punk for talking back at him. I am still mad at him for that.

I talked harshly at Nancy Schumow and got scolded for it Tuesday night.


Monday, July 12, 1971

Work was a super drag today. But this evening was really amazing. We had a YMD meeting with Mr. Fukushima, the Youth Division Chief. Everything he talked about was so beautiful. I wrote everything I could catch in my lecture book pg. 15-23. My feeling was one of great excitement, but still that isn’t the word. I learned a great deal about Gohonzon and Pres. Ikeda that night.


Tuesday, July 13, 1971

Today was another heavy day at work. They all seem so hard. Today Dad got laid off. The Sansho Shima before Seattle is unbelievable. Last night I got scolded really severely by Russ and today, all day I felt like beating his face in. My worst nature is coming out.


Wednesday, July 14, 1971

Today my life hit a super low ebb. I worked, but when I got home, I completely crashed. I still haven’t enshrined Jason’s Gohonzon. That is such a bad feeling…I got up at 8:30 did Gongyo and daimoku and crashed. What a waste of a day. Shit!


[1] Kosen-rufu  (World Peace through the establishment of Buddhism as the true faith) Gongyo (chant a chapter and half of the Lotus Sutra and the Daimoku) was held once a month on Sunday when we did a special set of prayers for world peace.

[2] Seikyo Times was the monthly study magazine of the Nichiren Shoshu Study Academy.

Genjiro Fukushima was at that time the head of the Youth Division in Japan and later became the VP of the Soka Gakkai before splitting with Daisaku Ikeda.

Life note: Looking back on those days, I realize now that in the movement it was all about forward movement and for the most part no one knew what was going on in your life, e.g., parents getting divorced, financial problems, world crashing in around you. Maybe I should call these comments “looking back-life in the rear view mirror.”