Posts Tagged ‘Gongyo’

by James C. Stephens


Monday, April 11, 1977

1:10 a.m., Tuesday morning.

Last few days have enjoyed beautiful spring weather. It’s been cool and slightly overcast with that ocean air influence. Perfect working weather. Soon, I’m sure we’ll have some more scorchers, though.

Had an enjoyable Easter Sunday. My Aunt Retha came over, Ann Sandene and her son Tony, and Emery a bowling friend of my fathers and three friends and members of mine, Tom Brittingham, Tony Schmidt, and Brent Wilson.

My Aunt Retha is looking so much better and younger. It’s great! We had such an interesting conversation about her studies in genealogy, etc. She told me about our family tree on the Stephens side of the family. In the near future I would like to get the tree from both sides of my family. It fascinates me.

After the folks ate, they went out bowling and we, the YMD, had our one hour toso and did a precise Gongyo, ate, drank and watched the conclusion of a very interesting movie, Jesus of Nazareth. Very well done. I was particularly impressed with the master disciple relationship between Jesus and his disciples, very interesting. I have much to say on this, but would like to start a notebook on personal essays on such thoughts of philosophy, education, etc.

https://youtu.be/ruLjkt-5Kao

This evening was most enjoyable for me. Bob Rafkin, a former roommate and good friend of mine is getting married this coming Saturday the 16th and tonight his Bride, Joanne Harris’s mother gave a dinner for them. It was a family dinner and I am touched deeply that I was considered to be close to Bob to be invited. We get along like brothers. Anyway it was on Restaurant Row at the Mediterranean Restaurant and I enjoyed it immensely. I became associated with Mr. Harry and Mr. Sinclair and several others of the Harris Clan and met Bob’s parents who are very neat people. There were quite a few members there also, including Mik and Liz Shevchek, Terry and Guy Meek, and Andrea Hairston.

Terry Meek and I had a very heart to heart talk; she’s definite proof of the Gohonzon, a very beautiful women with very warm eyes and emits an incredibly down to earth countenance without losing that female grace and beauty. I had mentioned Mr. Williams talking to my father and we got to discussing the literary group I started, she was extremely interested and wants to attend a meeting and if possible get into our group.

Had to leave at 10:45, because I had another equally exciting thing I had to attend in Westwood. About 3 weeks ago I met a girl named Isabel at Howard Johnson’s during my coffee break. We had a conversation across the counter and I mentioned our Literary group when I heard she was trying her hand at writing short stories. She sounded interested so I invited her to be a guest one month, she accepted.

We talked about travel and she mentioned she spent a year in France, so I mentioned the fact that one of the members in our group was from France, Pat Kremer, and if she needed to practice her French I was sure that maybe the two of you could get together via me as the liason.

About a week later I called made arrangements for the two to meet tonight. I had not shakubukued her up to this point. I introduced her to Pat, did sancho daimoku and we talked for awhile. We shakubukued her and I left for dinner while they had a talk in French. This was at 4:20. Now 11:00 I arrive and take Isabel home. We had a warm channel of communication. She expressed exhaustion in her meeting with Pat and Charlotte and how she went through changes talking to them. “They wanted to talk so much I had to fight to talk. It was a struggle, but I am becoming more aware of myself. It was good.”

She mentioned she was interested in Buddhism. Before she had come to a meeting but was not particularly taken by Phase I. She expressed that Charlotte came on a little heavy on shakubukuing her and then questioning me. Isabel sided with me in the care saying she was happy I had made friends. You’re more experienced and confident so if it comes up later you would of told me more naturally. We discussed the fact that one who is new is less confident and feels compelled to tell it our faster. Interesting.

As we departed, she said I have your number, give me a call about the book for June. I think I’ll be too busy to read until them with school exams. But I’d love to do it this summer. Maybe give me a call and we could go out or something. “Sure,” I said.

She is very soft spoken and possesses a lot of wisdom for a girl of 21. Beautiful eyes, medium dark hair, medium build. Born in Quebec, moved to California at the age of 6. Mother runs nursery in her home. Her father is an electronic technician for ITT or some big company.

I’m attracted to her, who knows but the Gohonzon. I’ve given up trying to figure things out if you know what I mean.

Oh well, its late and have much work in morning, so better sign off.

My heart is fragile

So caution is my password

But hope is always in the air

A woman is so important in my life

that I no longer take

things nonchalantly.

I feel my mission

supreme.

Fortune is on my side

each day I ask Gohonzon

My wife, my business, my members

Tantamount is my faith in Gohonzon

It I trust as

Parent, teacher and sovereign.

Advertisements

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.

herbie-hancock

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

 

Shakubuku

I’ve found

If you avoid doing it, or

Put it off, it’s like not doing

Gongyo,

Today,

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.