Posts Tagged ‘Ikeda’

by James C. Stephens


November 2, 1974

Today I made a strong resolution to the Gohonzon. I have realized what Shibucho said not to chase your fortune. Well, I chanted to the Gohonzon about my relationship and the Gohonzon has really shown me deeply like a parent the route to my true happiness. It was a very valuable experience to my practice while it lasted. It nevertheless hurt me deeply to cut it off but considering what transpired it’s definitely the right direction. I want to build my fortune so that someday I can marry and have a happy relationship based on the Gohonzon.

The Gohonzon is my parent, without it I would have totally flipped out. But now I’m happier in a much deeper sense than ever before.

Thank you Gohonzon! It hurt deeply the way it happened but that the only way I could have learned what I needed to learn.

After the discussion meeting tonight, Shibucho and I had coffee at Corky’s. I expressed my frustration at several things in my life. He told me about following. We talked about school. I told him how I was frustrated about not going. He told me don’t worry–your future is in NSA. It’s stupid to go to school unless you feel the calling to.

I talked about setting my goals too high. He told me there is an art to this. Why chant for a specific # of YMD. Chant 1 million daimoku for a district. It will definitely put you through a lot of change to realize such a district.

On the whole I feel a great surge of hope in my future as a human being. If I can just encourage others to be happy and continue their practice then I will enjoy my life.

Shakubuku is my happiness.

I must establish a circle of friends in society to expand this.

After coffee with Shibucho I called Scott and drove to Northridge on a cold crisp night and had coffee with him. We had a mutually encouraging talk.

November 3, 1974

General Director Williams announced that President Ikeda said officially that we should raise three million dollars for a new headquarters.

Liturgy of Nichiren Shoshu Gongyo bookWilliams talked to us about the importance of Gongyo. Do it with rhythm of Chudo, the middle path, not too loud, not too soft, not too fast, not too slow.

Should not have sickness. Overcome with sincere Gongyo. Those who do weak Gongyo become sick. Don’t take a nap in front of Gohonzon. You may think you should go to bed early because you’re tired. But wrong idea. Better to do Gongyo sincerely, get in rhythm of the universe. 8 hours deep sound sleep from 2 hours. We try to excuse ourselves easily. Ask Gohonzon for medicine Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.. It is the best make-up. Best way to stay healthy. When really in trouble–chant 1 million daimoku and try your best.

Trouble make you chant. Why trouble visit me? All nite toso. I send daimoku to everyone of you. You should chant a lot. Not matter how strong the transmitter if receiver is weak. It doesn’t matter how strong the transmitter is. If you as a receiver are perfect you can feel strong. Meaningless if you do not put your thoughts into practice.

King Devil of the Sixth Heaven. The Devil within us such a nature. Try to make you sleep. “Why don’t you taitan?” But challenge yourself. You say, “children are noisy that’s why I don’t do Gongyo.” Devil trying to take fortune from you. If you chant strong daimoku, the Devil becomes your shotenzenjin (Buddhist god).

Sessen DojiSessen Doji never become enlightened. Tell me last work of enlightenment. Tell me I will give you anything. Devil said, I want human flesh and human blood. Okay, take my body and tell me the last half. Then he’s ready to jump to mouth of devil. He jumped and then he caught him. He was a Sho-tenzinjin. You are the real Buddha.

President Ikeda explained, no matter how much you suffer, you can definitely break through. Get it?  You reach for the unreachable star. Mountain=trouble. Good jet engine–don’t feel low level life–mountain boring. Get jet engine practice.

Hendoku Iyaku (changing poison into medicine) is possible with person chanting lots of daimoku. Hell waits for a person with no daimoku. Happy? Chant! Trouble? Chant! Chant until the last moment of your life! People postpone death with daimoku.

Nichiren Daishonin said he closed the gate to hell. Lotus sutra=Gohonzon. Shakyamuni said the Hokekyo is above all other sutras. Welcome to the ocean-oneness equal all over. Salt necessary everywhere.

U.S.A. has a sho-tenzinjin protecting her. Hachiman (open field) dai-Bosatsu.

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by James C. Stephens


June 20, 1974

Saturday was a turning point in my practice as a NSA member. Soshibucho gave me strict guidance just to go to meetings, show up at 7:00 and leave afterwards for one month. Don’t talk to members at all. After, Shibucho, my old one, Russ Dilando, told me this he called back and asked if I wouldn’t mind going to a meeting of Del Rey Chapter No. Valley Group.

July 29, 1974

20141117_085329_LLSI have found it extremely difficult to keep my diary in recent months. Early this month, I was transferred from one chapter to another. This has caused me great joy as far as the new challenge to my practice. It is also very difficult because my friends in practice in Northridge are now more distant. It’s difficult because I have had to start all over again in a totally different position of responsibility. But now I realize President Ikeda’s concept of the impermanence of life. Things change so rapidly.

My Shibucho, Dave Anderson really expects a lot from me. All the time I am challenging my life in new directions. I often wonder if I can meet his high expectations. I can only ask the Gohonzon, seriously for help in my Human Revolution.

This month I have received great benefits from the Gohonzon. I got a job in the Mayor’s Office in Los Angeles over many applicants and in spite of various deadlines which I had not met. In the first week I received a $74 raise in position which was totally unexpected.

But the major benefit is on the han level. I’m finding a totally different practice with woman’s division. Slowly things are happening. I have one YMD shakubuku who is standing up in the early stages, Mike Burnett. I have great hopes for him. Also I have one YMD who has been practicing a little over a year, Bob Ladd, he is coming around slowly, but he’s advancing. I gave him on of my YMD Shakubuku, Bill Reese to take care of. Things seem to be changing, but we’ll see.

As for myself, I’m a bit frustrated because I feel I’m not really fighting as hard as I could. Most of my energies seem to be spent on just trying to get the district han together.

In a sense I’m going through much turmoil inside my life, many changes, and learning I know so little and must learn so much.

Well, I must get ready for leaders meeting at 10:00, so long.

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


April 17, 1974

Tonight, I started a new campaign. 2 hours of daimoku a day for one year. I MUST CHANGE!

I know I have so much potential as a youth, but right now I’m using less than 1/100th of what I should be. I have 4 new members, but I should be able to handle 20. To be a leader of Kosenrufu I can’t practice so little as I have been. I made a promise to President Ikeda. It may have been shallow, but it was to fight for Kosenrufu. If he permitted me to have an Amamori Gohonzon then it is my duty to myself to put my life towards human revolution!

by James C. Stephens


Sunday, March 17, 1974

This morning I awoke at about 7:30 and put up the flag at the JHQ (Nichiren Shoshu Headquarters in Santa Monica, California) and did Gongyo with the Brass Band. Afterwards I promoted some World Tribune and did some cleanup at home. From about 6 pm I helped Scott Wilson with the TCD (Traffic Control Division) at the JHQ. At about 9:45 Scott and I frantically exchanged pants. He needed some whites since he was leading the meeting. Strangely when I left I got some whites about 2 minutes before the TCD meeting. After the meeting I rode back to the JHQ with Scott and stuck with him while he was finishing up some last minute adjustments on the bus lists. We then walked out front and what a fortunate rhythm. Honbucho Hall drove up. We talked to or should I should say he talked to us for about 20 minutes outside the Headquarters. He asked my name and if I was on the list. He also told us he was not going to South America and that Mr. Williams was going to be back this week.

Honbucho interspersed guidance on the TCD spirit when he talked to Scott and I (more tommorrow).

Tuesday, March 26, 1974

Recently, I have been thinking about my plans for the next five years…In the past few years I have though casually over the possibility of starting a business. I thought first of a restaurant business, but reviewing the state of our economy in so far as the food prices I have postponed such a goal until I have and also the economy has reached a more stable period. Inside my own life I have seen many problems which have been reflected to me by my environment and colleagues.

The major problem I don’t know, however I wouldn’t call them problems, just realizations. My cultural background was never too firm. Being raised in Montana is quite a contrast to being raised in L.A. But at the same time I realize I can’t compare myself to other people. Rather I have to go through a Cultural Revolution within my own life. Such a revolution I believe involves exposing myself to much literature and a much wider variety of experiences in my life.

11:15. I have been seriously thinking about starting a business or a small shop dealing with skiing. Mainly it would involve waxing, sharpening, and repairing skis. Also I would like to be a center for ordering skis of racing prototypes. Of course the idea is still in the idea stage. Mainly I have to start talking around and see what such a business involves.

Yesterday I applied for a job working for a campaign for Baxter Ward. Unfortunately it had already been filled, however I plan on working for his campaign for Governor after the convention. I talked to Shibucho and he said it wouldn’t hurt doing it 2 or 3 hours a week or so. I really feel it would be a valuable experience. I have been thinking about learning some languages.

Both of my new members have turned in their money for the convention. Their names are Gary Sheldon and Chris Collinge. They both are really groovy.

I think a plan for my cultural change would involve 20 minutes of study periods on several different fields of interest:

20 minutes on science, 20 minutes on history, 20 minutes on economics, etc. Definitely reading current magazines and many great literary works. Right now I’m starting on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.  20 minutes study of Buddhism is a definite necessity to my development. Well it’s late and I must get some rest so I can find a good job tomorrow.

One last thing. Sunday the TCD went to San Diego to look the area over for the convention. It was a definite success and I’m sure a valuable experience for the convention. I told Shibucho about our TCD activity. He gave me permission and guidance to be strict on our TCD. The four TCD are myself, Arnie Roff, David Valencia, and Chico Olivera. Tomorrow night, I’m in charge of 5 TCD to protect the Koteketai practice.

Saturday, March 30, 1974

Wednesday, I again looked for a job and planted some seeds for job possibilities.

Sunday, March 31, 1974

We had a TCD meeting and surveyed the parking lot in the rain.

by James C. Stephens


March 7, 1974

On Friday, March 1st a new era began in NSA. At the first Headquarters Mr. Williams enshrined a new Joju Gohonzon. The old Gohonzon was ten years old and had Soka Gakkai written on it. The new Gohonzon has Nichiren Shoshu Academy, November 26, 1973 written on it. Friday night I was TCD for this activity. Boy did I go through some heavy changes. Dave Anderson, my TCD chief gave it to me with both barrels. I was TCD of the cross walk on Lincoln Blvd. and what a responsibility it is to guard the crosswalk for pedestrians.

Saturday morning I got a call from my Shibucho to be TCD at the Joint Headquarters. So Saturday morning the first thing I had to do was get some gas. The lines at most stations were about 30 minutes long and I didn’t really have the time to wait that long. Strangely, a service station decided to open up exclusively for my member Paul Diamond and I. (Many years later he asked me to fill in for him as a chauffeur for Eli Broad, who would become the wealthiest entrepreneur in Los Angeles. I did so. Picked up the three newspapers he read daily,  Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and LA Times, drove to his house and drove him in his Jaguar to the UC Board of Regents meeting in Long Beach).

Afterwards I went to the Joint Headquarters and talked to Scott Wilson and at about 4:30 I went to the airport to pick up Mrs. De Chu of Panama. She’s really a groovy person. She speaks Spanish, English, and Japanese and was really an incredible person.  After I picked her up at the airport I took her out to buy some clothes. We sang Doshi-no-uta together.

At eight I had another mission. Instead of going to a meeting I had to drive Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Chuda. I drove them to Malibu in the super van. What a trip. It was pouring rain and all the way out we were learning Doshi-no-uta. I was teaching them the words and son, but in essence they were teaching me the spirit of the song. We sang the song all the way there in the rain, fixed up some beads for President Ikeda’s room and then sang Doshi-no-uta to Mr. Enaba and his wife before we left. It was such a groovy experience.

Sunday morning at 6:00 I started picking up Senior leaders at the Airport for the special Senior leaders meeting with Mr. Williams that afternoon. Once Brad Nixon from Seattle found out that I was originally from Montana he casually joked about the need for leaders in Montana. Later he got serious and he asked my name and who my Shibucho was.

To me it was definitely a benefit from the Gohonzon that such a thing would happen. It was not a mere circumstance. I’m sure of that. Cause and effect are too clear to me for that.

After morning transport, I was told no more help was needed that they had a fresh crew. Well I stayed anyway just downstairs and shaved and washed my face and then took a nap for an hour while we were waiting for the leader’s meeting to conclude.

Afterwards we cleaned up and I was fortunate to be able to give Mrs. O’Rayeh who was carrying Gohonzon’s for Las Vegas, a ride to the airport. On the way, I told her of my Montana benefit from Brad Nixon. He told me he would give me Montana and Idaho and even part of Canada if I decided to move. She was in the bus earlier when he talked to me.

Josei Toda Portrait

Second President Josei Toda.

On the way, she told me about her early practice and her husband Mr. O’Rayeh. She told me that they both received guidance from President Toda personally. She told me he was a very funny person, but very powerful when he had to be, but immediately afterward he would encourage the person he just scolded. Mr. Grant told me that once too. He said that Mr. Williams would scold someone and he really would forget right afterwards. He doesn’t harp on things. Mrs. O’Rayeh said also that President Toda usually wore a kimono. He was a very relaxed person and unusually tall for a Japanese. When he used to give guidance he always would look at you over his glasses with his head tilted down.

I swear I believe we or at least me, for example, take Japanese or people who have practiced a long time for granted. But I felt her beauty from the Gohonzon very deeply. She has had the Gohonzon for something like 20 years. She’s definitely a groovy example of the Gohonzon.

Later that night I got guidance from my Soshibucho Gary Curtis on my job. He told me to stick with it. It’s easy to cop out, he said, but stick it out. He said to quit before the convention is senseless. If you have the Ichinen there will be plenty to do two weeks before the Convention.

Last week Pres. Ikeda was in town for three days. My Chikubucho in fact our whole district was fortunate to have our Chikubucho be with President Ikeda.

For three days before President Ikeda got here, the Malibu Training Center now renamed the Malibu Community Center by President Ikeda, was moving fast. Friday night I helped in the pouring rain and I mean pouring.

Saturday, however I had tobon at the 1st Headquarters during the day. That day was really far out. The Koteketai was leading a whole lot of songs and then all of a sudden, I was called. “And now we’ll have a song from the Toban.” What a hell of a rush. I started off by singing NSA we’re going to Sho Hondo. Oops! Everybody cracked up. Then I sang a vigorous rendition of Shakubuku Song and quickly exited back to my seat to the thunderous applause of the Koteketai. What a rush!

During the week I made the resolution to be on time for work. Monday I did not work, but really got a lot accomplished. I took care of 3 warrants, my registration, address changes, payed off a bounced check and various other things. It was totally worthwhile. Now I have one warrant left which I’m now working on taking care of. I decided not to buy a new car, but to put money into my ’64 VW and get it painted. I think it’s a wise decision, because the price of cars has gone up accordingly with the price of everything else. Hell, you can’t even buy milk one day without the price going up the next minute you turn around. It’s a strange situation. Everywhere you turn there’s some type of problem. If it’s not inflation, it’s gas lines, it’s a line at the post office. The even sadder thing is that the Government is not moving fast enough to put a stop to this critical situation. The gas crisis they say, well it’s over, but is it? Maybe temporarily, but unfortunately the Arab oil barons, a handful of men, could do it easily again to us at an even more crucial time.

It’s four a.m. now at the Joint Headquarters and people are still moving around so at least one Toban should be up. Guess who?

It’s my first Toban at the Joint so I want to be the best Toban! I’m not trying to be a martyr by staying up all night, but Mr. Hall said the Joint Headquarters should be especially protected even if “it means staying up all night yourself.”

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, October 30, 1973

Saturday,  I went over to Soshibucho’s (Gary Curtis) and talked with him while he was working on refinishing his VW body. He is always busy while talking to members. It’s far out. He told me to either get with it in school or get the hell out. He told me to find a master in my field and related his experience in photography of his similar problems. He also told me what Mr. Fukushima said of getting guidance—1st receive. 2nd Forget. 3rd chant dmk to remember and practice.

 

Wednesday, October 31, 1973

Last night’s Western Territory with Vice President Williams was a fantastic new beginning for Sepulveda Chapter and for each one of us. Russ Dilando was appointed Sepulveda Chapter Chief. I really feel we will definitely advance and further I resolve to help make our Chapter #1 in Shakubuku in the world.

After Mr. Kikimura, Vice President Williams rose to the podium to the Fanfare of the people! Tonight he really more than ever before shined to me. Maybe it’s me changing, but he really hit home. First he talked about the 1974 Convention in San Diego in April. He said we had to have some new thing so we are going to have the Mexico-San Diego Convention on the Ice, so you better start figure skating! “Do you like the idea?” #! Hai!! The theme is NSA entering the Winter and then we’ll have a Brass Band, Koteketai, and Bagpipe parade, ON THE ICE!!!!!!!!! And also a parade down main street. The November General Meeting will be in San Diego.

File1247

Throughout the meeting Mr. Williams related President Ikeda’s guidance to establishing our lives in society. 1974 President Ikeda has named Year of Society. Our society has become the 3 No Society.

  1. No ideology for people to trust.
  2. No emotions. But people with Gohonzon really bring these feelings out of their lives.
  3. No interest. But with us every year you travel, horseback rides, skate or flying across the world.