Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii’

       by James C. Stephens



Sunday, June 1, 1975

Cut Peelie Grass today in the countryside at a site which Hawaii, the film was made. Afterward we made a stop at a beautiful beach and went swimming in our pants. What a gas!

Monday, June 2, 1975

Everybody went out cutting bamboo except for our crew, “the minutemen” and some engineers. Then Mr. Kikumura stopped by and looked everything over.

The convention is going through some heavy obstacles. First the floating island has to pass the Environmental Protection Agency’s foray. Then if it doesn’t it goes to a public hearing and 300 interest groups have to pass some type of judgment on the project. Next, the Coast Guard requires a life jacket, not just any one, but a coast guard approved life jacket for every person on the vessel. Well we can’t just rent them, because they don’t. We can’t buy them-$60 a piece would be insane. We can’t borrow them from the Navy because they’re not Coast Guard approved. Then again we can’t borrow them from the Coast Guard because their life jackets are not Navy approved. Then of course there is the weather. The surf has to be absolutely perfect. If it’s too high during a certain time of day then it can’t be moved in all day, because the tide is high enough to get the island (the floating stage we called an island) through the channel only once a day.

Sancho Shima continues! But fortunately so does the daimoku!

Sunday June 3, 1975

Today I went through some heavy human revolution. I really saw very clearly through my crew chief where I was at as far as one aspect of my character. My crew chief Mike Strawbinger from San Diego is really far out. I like him and admire his sincerity and never die spirit. Just over two weeks past we have been getting close as friends. The I noticed myself getting really bossy and taking advantage of his trust. What a drag! But that’s one of my big problems. Then he said a couple of words to me and consequently I went through a heavy change, walked in and chanted daimoku.

I felt really bad about the way I was especially after chanting the length of time I have. As I was very upset and could not hold back the tears for treating such a nice person the way I did. I chanted and chanted. I walked out of the daimoku room drying my eyes. I then ran into Mike who introduced me to one of his friends from San Diego. I exchanged greetings with him and then left for the bathroom and ran into one of my Hawaiian friends and smiled and hurried fro the bathroom. I locked myself in one of the toilet stalls and just freaked. Then I walked to go back to work and my head cho Dick Robido asked me how I was. I told him not too hot. Then we walked outside and around the block. We had an extremely encouraging talk. Our natures are really kenzoku. I told him I have an extreme pride and its hard for me to admit I’m wrong at times. One trait has held me back from developing good friends. It became crystal clear what it was during such an experience. This convention will definitely break it, I’m confident of this!

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by James C. Stephens


bamboo-forest

Friday, May 23, 1975

Came home around 12:30 daytime after Toban and showered, slept for about 3 hours. Went back to the warehouse, ate and got back to work. One of my dreams definitely came true tonight. When I was a young boy we used to travel to the beach; and on our way I always saw this little thatched Hawaiian type grass hut and I used to hear this song, “Little Grass Shack.” Well tonight I was taught by the grooviest Hawaiian Women’s division Helen, Margaret and Lizzie how to weave palm leaves. What a gas!

They’re becoming my good friends.

Saturday, May 24, 1975

Today we worked our bodingas off. Our crew is really uniting. Last night my project chief Mik Strawbinger and Dan  Pardo came over and we talked over a couple of beers then some cafe ole. Got to bed around 3:00.

We had a daimoku campaign in our group today and really got a lot accomplished. We switched off chanting about 20 minutes a piece. I must have chanted around an hour and a half today. I needed it too. I took my temperature and it was about 100 degrees and of course it made things a taste uncomfortable, but the daimoku saw me through the day.

I talked to one guy named Joel, a black guy and really had an incredible talk about racism and political activity. Very interesting talk.

Sunday, May 25, 1975

Had a mother of a tug-o-war. First our crew lost, got the most rope and were set. Next time we got set evenly and what a fight. We pulled and growled and fought. Finally in a last ditch effort we united to Wa-shoi and pulled the other team over the line and we claimed victory!

Tuesday, May 27, 1975

Went through mucho human revolution today. Carpentry puts me through changes like Brass Band training.

I understand that in a memo on the ABC campaign that this convention determines the success or failure of NSA. To me that is a very heavy responsibility for all of us. In a way I’m really scared for Mr. Williams. That’s why I am determined to try my damnedest to support anyone I have to follow, happily!

This afternoon during the height of my frustration with our Tiki hut, Mr. Murie had bought three big 5 gallon containers of ice cream and fudge. Perfect time, it made everybody relax and made it easier to go back to work joyfully.

Wednesday, May 28, 1975

This morning did Gongyo and instead of chanting for just my own shoga, I thought more of taige. Our group, headed by Mike Strawbinger; Mike Tamani, Dana Weeks, and Jo Michaelburger and myself all got to go to the Bamboo forest to cut 1000 stocks of Bamboo for the Polynesian village. Like a dream come true. So beautiful being inside a bamboo forest. Incredible feeling of serenity, but at the same time adventure. And what a view from the trail of the ocean wow!

Only one bad incident. Not really bad, but it put a perspective on why we were in this forest cutting the bamboo. One collegiate type guy with a mustache, beer in hand came walking down the trail emitting the worst possible vibes. Telling us how screwed we were for cutting down the bamboo, his friends for world peace. Jesus never intended this. A totally arrogant attitude that my words can not express. He asked me if we had a permit and I asked him if was a park ranger. He said, “Yes.”  I said, “Yes, we do. Talk to the man up by the trucks. Well later I went up on top and told Andy Hirama, Mr. Hirama’s son the details he told me.

“See that man?” referring to a gentlemen sitting on the ground watching the proceedings taking place. “That’s the park ranger.” Well, I really had a laugh.

by James C. Stephens


October 30, 1972

File3383

Midnight October 6, everyone heard that Dai Gohonzon would be transferred October 7. Vice President and General Director were not there, but in Tokyo. But NSA was only ones there. YMD of NSA were selected to protect Dai Gohonzon transfer ceremony. GMW (General Director George M. Williams) told members at 7:00 in the morning. Raining day before, snow on Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji so beautifully appeared. Did morning Gongyo together. GMW explained, We together, all NSA promised to protect Dai Gohonzon. Hawaii members just arrived in time. They ran up to the fountain. Didn’t know what was going on. Just saw Geka and Sensei.

President Ikeda said all NSA there. GMW answered we are not just NSA of America, but NSA of the world. We have descendants of every nation of every country all over the world, Africa, Chinese Americans, Philipinos.

Convention1972_1I left from U.S. over a month ago. We (GMW & Sensei Ikeda) met with Ambassador Ingersol from US to Japan. So Sensei invited him to luncheon. 3 hour interview. President Ikeda said he had many fond memories of L.A. World Peace Convention.

October 1, Opening Ceremony. Transferring Rights to President Ikeda and from President Ikeda-Gokuyo to High Priest Geka.

Many guests, dignitaries to the ceremony. Representatives from the Vatican, Ambassadors, and official guests of President Ikeda.

Edward M. Kennedy sent U.S. flag to President Ikeda that flew over the Capitol in Washington for World Peace.

James C. Stephens


January 17, 1971

The month of December was unbelievably heavy but I made it and I’m happy for that. During the week before New Year’s I chanted to get closer to my leaders and also to create value and make causes for the New Year. I went to Brass Band one day, but the next day I left for Mammoth for two days, to have “someone” ride home with Mom. But really I had opportunities to stay home and go to Brass Band. Well, Dick Bond told me to chant and see what happened. The Two days at Mammoth were really a blast. I saw Karen and Shakubukued her. I really seem to like her, but I saw later what value such relationships create; and how girls really can break the bond between you and the Gohonzon, or at least take your Ichinen off practicing to change yourself during young days in faith. But those two days were a tremendously valuable experience.

The day I got back I went to a Yusohan meeting and volunteered and was chosen as a Yusohan for Shibucho. This was to be the start of my biggest benefit since I joined Nichiren Shoshu in May. From that moment I was Shibucho’s Yosohan. It was not just a valuable experience, but it showed me where my life was and where it is going to go hopefully into the future.

That night at 2:30 I went with Soshibucho to LA International to pick up baggage of Kansas City and saw the Kanki of “out of town” members. But they didn’t seem out of town at all. Then on the way back to the Honbu I got to talk to Soshibucho. But it’s hard to talk to him for me.

When I got back I was told to take a nap. So I went up to the second floor, boy was it humid, a million bodies were lying all around. So I didn’t lay down but five minutes and felt there was more to be done so I went downstairs and worked on the “Space Needle” in the Band room. While I was painting, Sogohonbucho walked in and wow. He was carrying his saxophone to find a place to practice, but he was checking on our progress I know. But I heard him in his office practicing his sax. Time passed by fast and at 4:30 I went upstairs only to find that Shibucho had gone to the airport.

Later that morning I went to sleep around 5:30 in the World Tribune room and really enjoyed my sleep. Then I was busy doing odds and ends in the morning and by afternoon Shibucho said, Well you can go see the parade and do New Year’s Gongyo at the Temple. So during that afternoon I knew there was more to do, I don’t know why I wanted to do more but I did. As I was changing I asked Gohonzon, first for something to do and something to eat. Well, instantly a member came up to me and said, “Jim, got time?” Yep! “Ok, let’s go deliver dinners to New York and Hawaii. Inga guji. So we delivered dinners to New York and Hawaii; and I had dinner with Hawaii. Good dinners too.

Honbucho from Hawaii asked me if they had the generator yet for their float, so I ran over to the warehouse and talked to Soshibucho. He told me they needed two generators and two floats were stranded at the warehouse. Well, it was about 5:30 and the parade started at six. By the time we got everything loaded and everyone fed it was almost 6:00, and no communication from the warehouse to anywhere. So we got everything loaded and hustled to the beginning of the parade route and I and two New York members chanted all the way for Gohonzon to help everything work out. Immediately everyone loaded the dishes and I called Shibucho. It was a blow mind because a guy just gave me the money (member from N.Y.) no hassle. Shibucho said get those floats down here and he told me where the Ryder truck and stake truck were. Everyone’s karma was really oozing out by this time. I found the stake truck but unfortunately the New York skyline was built on it. I found on of the three Ryder trucks, someone lost the keyes. The other Ryder truck was emptying dishes and the last was without a driver. By this time I was a little frantic. But I got one on its way and finally got the other on its way. Then I was assigned to a Sr. leader from Chicago and his float was the one of two missing. But through their faith the floats arrived two minutes before parade time. It was a fantastic parade. I was a self assigned runner for Shibucho Jim Cuda. Never ran so much and felt it so little, it was unbelievable. The Gohonzon brought out my true vitality.

You know after a Christian parade how long it takes to clean up? Well we had the entire parade route cleaned, the floats demolished, the warehouses cleaned in tow hours at 25 to 12:00, unbelievable. True unity. Afterwards I went back to the Honbu and we loaded food for the Min-on on New Year’s Day. Then I went to the Shibu washed my pants, did Gongyo and crashed until 5:30. Then I went straight to the Honbu and reported to Shibucho. He kiddingly said I looked terrible, as I had clean pants and a new sweatshirt. So we got them dirty working that day getting things ready for people leaving after the Min-on. I didn’t get to the Min-on but I felt it. That morning I got to say Gongyo with the NY members and Sogohonbucho. Later as I was loading trophies and gifts from Sogohonbucho, he came up and asked me to count the trophy’s. It’s hard to express how it is to look up and look Sogohonbucho in the eye. It’s much like looking at a sun but can see the face. It’s the feeling. He doesn’t say anything, but you can feel it more than words could express.

That afternoon, I talked with a member that was from England and shared Toban with him. We had two or three very strange experiences with people coming in. About 7:00 I decided to take a nap for an hr. in a guidance room. One person came and shut the door so I wasn’t disturbed. At 1:00 I was awakened and promptly taken out of the room by another person on Toban. By morning I would have been dead by gas. But almosts don’t count, you win or lose in Buddhism. Why I wasn’t phased I don’t know.  I then did evening Gongyo on the third floor alone at 2:00. Really fantastic. Russ did it at home at 2:00 also; really mystic. Then I went and slept on the second floor, but only after I went down to see and smell the guidance room. Whew!

The next morning Mr. Kato asked me to clean the 2nd floor Butsudon. I was happy to serve the Gohonzon, but why me? It seems I am way too unworthy to have been given the opportunity to have been so close to the headquarters. Maybe one day I might fathom; why.

I really saw that I have to battle my ego, my big head. I have to be more humble.

I saw Brass Band is really important, and I still don’t know how Sogohonbucho does it. Maybe Gohonzon? Most definitely.


Sogohonbucho: General Director George M. Williams of Nichiren Shoshu Academy, aka Soka Gakkai, North American Division. His name at the time I believe was still Masayasu Sadanaga.

Honbucho: Headquarters Chief.

Soshibucho: General Chapter Chief.

Shibucho: Chapter Chief.

Shibu: Chapter meeting house usually belonging to the Chapter Chief.

Yusohan: Young Men’s Division group assigned to protect the Gohonzon, the buildings, leaders, and members.

Dick Bond: Leader of Young Men’s Division Brass Band and also of the Tribune Band which was an exclusive band that was on call for all sorts of VIP events held at the North American Headquarters.

Kanki: Basically life energy of a person.

Mr. Kato: The quiet right hand man, an administrator of General Director Williams.