Posts Tagged ‘Mr. Williams’

by James C. Stephens


February 7, 1979

[JCS: The following are rough notes from a meeting with Soka Gakkai Vice President Hojo.  It is worth including in its rough form because of some of the unique perspectives offered regarding the contextualization of the American practice of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism in relationship to its practice in Japan. The notes are as taken. At times I bracketed ideas with a <People who practice outside NSA> for example. If you have not been following the JYBR blog, then you will have missed earlier definitions of the many insider language terms utilized in this talk which have built upon one another. Sorry for the inconvenience. A number of the questions posed were never answered in their entirety.]

Mr. Williams-First floor World Culture Center for members.

Mr. Morita, Vice Headquarters Chief; Hosoi; Yahiro; Nagata.

What does it mean “everyone return to the time of Nichiren Daishonin?”

  1. Relationship between Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai.
  2. Basic principle in achieving Kosenrufu.

Nichiren Daishonin. 700 years teaching has been handed down correctly.

Will study in accordance with Japanese Dai Byaku Renge.

Some areas of the Soka Gakkai too far into. So they had meeting with Head Temple.

Two points.  1) Kechimyaku of Hotai--relationship between Nichiren Daishonin and Nittatsu Shonin. 2) Relationship between High Priest and Nichiren Daishonin.

General: 2 ways. (Carefully use).

The way of organization–not correct to say Ikeda–Williams Shitei–only master is Nichiren Daishonin. Person who has carried on this is none other than Nittatsu Shonin (the High Priest).

Relationship with President Ikeda is only through respect and everyday practice.

Matter of faith (Nov 7)–I will send earliest possible time. Study professor to help you better understand the teaching.

We have two wonderful priests to develop relatioship with. To clarify this relationship to maintain unity.

Talk of basics of practicing in Soka Gakkai. Faith, practice and study.

Q: Are we members of Soka Gakkai or Nichiren Shoshu?

Shoho Jisso Sho-Shin Gyo Gaku.

(Definition: Shoho jisso-the ultimate truth; Shin Gyo Gaku-faith, practice, study).

In the past–you had conventions and you put great effort into them. Showed tremendous result, but wasn’t Shin Gyo Gaku. Two and a half years ago new start in the organization.

Before said we had objective (in regard to conventions) and they were necessary. Now we have realized this was not necessarily so. We push towards Shin Gyo Gaku.

Q: What of World Culture Festival?

We have a goal. One by one to help each other in practice. We have Dai Gohonzon. As we polish one person, we polish ourselves. Slow progress, but we can bring forth humanism…

Third point: Principle of achieving Koserufu. Last year President Ikeda mentioned the following: No matter what ideology a nation may have, ours is the Universal teaching embracing the culture of each individual country.

As mentioned daimoku is never changing principal. it is still daimoku anywhere it is. Therefore in order to understand the principles, let’s study the Gosho.

Q: What Gosho?

This never changing principle that was mentioned. How is it to be understood in different countries? Leaders in each nation will value the Law based on the customs of each nation.

I’d like to say, you live in this wonderful country United States. Japan does it, its way. You do not have to import it. Today, you are sitting on the floor. Tradition in the U.S. is to sit in chairs. Next time I come, I hope all can sit in chairs.

In Japan, man-woman sit on opposite sides. In America I hope you can sit as man and wife.

Local  custom. Chanting and Gosho has nothing to do with custom. Nichiren Daishonin wrote Gosho in Japanese because he was born in Japan. Nichiren Daishonin said all people who believe in what he taught should propagate.

Two more points. One, World Peace Culture Festival slated to be held in August 1979. As mentioned before, looking at situation, like to cancel convention at this time, although it is unofficial.

Two, Translation of Gosho. Printing now. Will be got out as soon as possible.

New Spark.  1) Our activity is to study Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism; 2) Polish each individual’s faith; 3) People have dropped out. Teaching is for everyone. Mission to get people to begin again. No sacrifice. Said we did it, but correct way do Hendoku Iyaku.

Mission is kosenrufu. Together in unity. Hope all can grow. Q on silent prayers.

What Kosenrufu means?

700 years ago Nichiren Daishonin born in Japan. In the Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin said, “I Nichiren, said in chanting daimoku the objective is to save one person at a time and in doing this is kosenrufu itself.

As we help others we help ourselves.

Must understand because we don’t have convention still are doing kosenrufu. Practice today you are achieving kosenrufu. You must come to realize this. There are 220 million people in this country. We are very small still trying to achieve kosenrufu. We come to realize our mission towards humanity. Matter of silent prayer.

Practicing within organization or without. Is there a difference? What does organization mean? Our organization is not to intimidate anyone. You have your own freedom. NSA-Soka Gakkai–our objective is study and learn about Nichiren Daishonin–polish each other.

Here we polish our faith and point out what we need to realize. Through polishing we come to realize our potential and can take what we learn into society.

Silent prayers.

<People who practice outside NSA, relationship between Soka Gakkai and NSA.>

Role of women of NSA in the future.

Since coming to the U.S. I must look into this matter much more.

Change of system here–needs study.

Josei Toda Portrait

President Josei Toda, the Second President of the Soka Gakkai.

4 Division system in Japan–time of second President Toda. Toda put great effort into youth division. Chapter Chief sometimes in 40’s. Youth Division in their 20’s. Took 40 year old gave same position.

<Maybe good principal–installation wrong in United States.>

Put great emphasis in youth so they could grow into people who could be of great worth in the future in society. Toda took Chapter Chief in the their 40’s and younger 20’s at the same table in combination to discuss.

Eternal machine–so ideal would always be alive.

 

 

Meeting with Mr. Hojo after meeting.

4th prayer, 5th prayer.

Dai Gohonzon —>handed down copy Gohonzon so everyone can have Gohonzon. Only one person can have Gohonzon. To all of us we receive Gohonzon. And to receive Gohonzon—there we can attain enlightenment or absolute happiness. Kechimyaku from 2 points.

General--Sobetsu, Shin Gyo Gaku. We are connected to Gohonzon so we can achieve kechimyaku of faith.

If ichinen is incorrect I was worrying, I would hurt my members. No! No! –no error in chanting to Gohonzon. Even if ichinen is wobbly. Encourage to chant. You chant you will straighten out. Kechimyaku–don’t overuse it.

I am lost–mumyo. Satorio–enlightenment. Hosho in Buddhism–to be.

Example he used was like a mirror. Used a book.

A mirror is a mirror because it has a back. This is mumyo. The lost part of you. Because you can see your lost part you can see your enlightenment. Without mumyo you could never become enlightened. Same with Bonno soku Bodai. Without earthly desires we could never become enlightened. Mumyo varies–different kinds of being lost.

How do I battle Gumpon no mumyo? [the darkness inherent in human life-according to Nichiren the final and most difficult obstacle to overcome to reach enlightenment.] Each day get up and face the situation and chant daimoku to the Gohonzon. It is so simple.

…..

Right after the meeting with Mr. Hojo I rushed to the elevator. I was told to go by the Soka Group and I stood fast. As Mr. Hojo came to the elevator I asked him if I could ask him a couple of questions. After the translator told him, he said sure. So I and a girl named Reza met him on the third floor. Up there we were able to ask him for some answers. (those are contained on previous two pages). Afterwards he asked us to meet him again and asked our names. He gave us each a present. It was a scarf with President Ikeda’s calligraphy. It said Kaido, I believe which translates as health.

Afterwards I went downstairs and talked with Bonnie Barcy for awhile about the present state of the Open Forum. We discussed various subjects.

Next as I was leaving, Gary Curtis and I had a real frank discussion. I have not recorded earlier incident in my diary which would of tremendous import in regards to this meeting. It was nonetheless a breakthrough. He was really happy I talked to Hojo and wondered if the meeting earlier was really of much import. I said to a degree yes.

Well, I should leave now and pick up my wife from work. Will continue later.


Gohonzon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gohonzon

https://www.sgi-usa.org/study-resources/core-concepts/the-gohonzon/diagram-of-the-gohonzon/

 

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by James C. Stephens


June 1, 1978

“The prime point of the Gakkai is, and always will be, the people. Never forget that our prayers and exhaustive efforts to protect their happiness will give rise to true human justice.”  -Daisaku Ikeda

Hawk and Rabbit

Again I struggle with my dark nature. Feeling defeated in business I feel like crawling into a corner. However, I only realize there is no corner. I feel like a rabbit being stalked by a hawk on the prairie. The only place I have felt left to turn is inward to myself for the answer. I am chanting to the Gohonzon to overcome this.

Night before last I kicked a member out of my house or basically I asked him to leave. I am not a very poignant example of a leader I’m afraid. At 27 Pres. Ikeda was something else.

The worst part of it is, I don’t regret it. I sincerely feel he got what he deserved. If after all I have tried to do for the guy, he tells me that what I say is full of crap and he just wanted to give me a second chance. And whether or not I descended to his level or not, I’d kick anyone out of my house. I sincerely hope and have been chanting that he realizes something from it. I am already.

Possibly I handled the situation wrong as my Chapter Chief Mr. Dixon suggests. I didn’t see him with true mercy. I’m sorry I just can’t buy all this stuff yet. I’m not a Buddha A-1. I am not his parent, I am more closely a brother. I’m not perfect. I chanted for his happiness before he came over. I can’t help it if I acted or reacted in the way I did. I believe one has to be true to his feelings about certain things. All I can do is try to get something from what Bob Dixon said.

June 15, 1978

Notes from Young Men’s Division Soka Group meeting:

Soka group formed November 2, 1976.

To take care of everyone, Soka Group should study a lot, (Gosho).

To protect all members.

To become capable leaders in society.

To develop ourselves as individuals.

Mr. Saito in Japan.

To challenge difficulties in life. Trash group–behind the scenes. I must challenge egoism.

Role of Soka Gakkai in 1979.

Dave Martinez Soka Group Chief.

Daily campaign.

Develop younger Soka group members.

Mr. Williams.

To be a Soka Group is greatest honor and privilege.

You are President Ikeda’s group.

Vanguard of all campaigns.

Soka Group should read three books:

–Gosho

Human Revolution Vol. X

Ode to Youth.

These three books are the important key to develop your spirit.

Volume X=Spirit of the Soka Gakkai.

Soka Group Mottos:

  1. To protect all the members. Yamamouchi-TCD who saved women from death.
  2. To take care of members–courtesy, bright way.
  3. Behind the scenes- Itoko wa wareba–behind the scenes efforts, visible benefits you will enjoy someday.

Don’t be swayed by trivial You are crown prince, lion cub. Like Samarai you need a place to fight. When Samarai has no direct lord, they ask other lords if he can fight for them. Without district meetings, where can you fight for Kosenrufu? Or be idealistic?

You are in a district. You fight. You are the vanguard. Jet engine. Tremendous.

Leader without experience—miserable! Leader gains wisdom through experience. Don’t avoid problems. You are keyholder. Chant for kosenrufu. More problems–more progress.

It takes flint and a rock to make a spark. Youthful energy is only produced by putting our views on the line with the understanding they could be wrong, but realizing this is the course to laying our foundation of life philosophy.

June 21, 1978

“Throughout our campaign, let’s protect our fellow members and compensate for each other’s shortcomings. Let’s forge on in unity, radiant and light hearted.” —President Ikeda’s Daily Guidance.

Now that I have had some time to think about the situation with T.., I readily agree with Mr. Dixon’s analysis of the situation. I sincerely regret causing anymore ill feelings between us. Only my shallowness remains to be examined. I will apologize to him at the earliest opportunity. I am worried about his health, he has never been too well and I heard a report yesterday that he went to the Veteran’s hospital and had a conference with a psychologist. Evidently he broke down crying during the encounter. I must take action. I must overcome my shallowness in feeling, etc. toward my responsibility as a human being!

Sunday morning we had an RSG meeting with Tony Sugano. It was quite high spirited. I gave a RSG experience on my January 1971 near death experience and being saved by a fellow RSG Ron Thruelson.

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My Brother Ron and his first wife Pam, a helicopter pilot.

Sunday afternoon Liz and Dad and I celebrated Father’s Day with dinner. It was an enjoyable day. At 5:00 or so Pam, Ron’s wife, Mom and Carol stopped by. Though unexpected, the occurrence was interesting. Pam stayed for awhile and just when we were all getting into a good conversation, Mom and Carol returned from the bar and everyone left.

 

by James C. Stephens


December 5, 1977

Over the weekend I attended a Marina District Meeting. Only one Young Men’s Division is there now besides myself. I realize that I must raise more members, YMD. Tonight I talked with Honbucho Mr. Curtis and he said I need to talk more to Mr. Sugano. He said he learned when he was young that youth is time to tell your feelings to shut up, to cover up, ignore them. Unless they come from the world of enlightenment you can’t trust them. They will destroy you. We live in a human society you have to live with people. To get along with people is important. Your feelings are so strong they will ruin you. You don’t have to get rid of them, just control them. It can change very fast.

On the subject of daimoku. Ask yourself when is your favorite time of day to chant. Honbucho said nite bores him. That’s for beer and other things like being a father. I have to be a father til 10:30 after that I have so little time. I chant a lot when I’m happy, very little when I’m not. I get up early before everyone else and chant in the morning about 45 minutes. I chanted a lot when I was a new member. When you have a lot of problems Jim, I don’t think 40 minutes is enough, especially when you’re not in control of the situation.

20141117_085329_LLSTalked with Steven Parker. Wow, we sure had a nice talk compared to days when we were TCD (Traffic Control Division) together in New York. Told him I would send him book called Martin Eden. He’s a writer for Auto magazines. Showed Honbucho my diary. He said I hope there’s a significant change in Volume 9!..Talk to me when you have any problems.

During Gongyo tonight, I really thought about our wedding. With so many people invited it may be unwise. Possibly we should cut it down, since we are going to Israel. Financially it could put us into debt for a long while.

Thursday, December 8, 1977

Tuesday night I was home visited by Mr. Sugano who is our Territory I YMD Chief with Mr. Nagashima. From his visit, I really determined to begin anew! I must fight! Challenge myself! I can do 30 visits a month. Do it! Less theory more action. Encourage your parents in NSA and family by your strong action. You are future of NSA of the world. Human Revolution. Marriage–don’t become domesticated. Trust, President Ikeda and Mr. Williams that’s enough. We are all doing gongyo–human revolution. Have stronger life force–more compassion than others. Less controlled by outside. I took it be be more a true General based on the law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

December 6, 1977 is a date I shall make a new beginning from. It is a prime point. During Gongyo I felt rotten, like what are they doing here? But I challenged that attitude and resolved that this could signal a totally new beginning.

Already I’m experiencing new great benefits. Possible landscape job for President of A & M Records. $700 job for one of Rick Coleman’s projects. A new customer next door to Rick’s. A clean up job for Ira Pelofsky, a clean up job for Chuck James partner. All since I made that resolution. Even an unprocurable book in the U.S. book in the U.S.–Dialogue on Life #1–I got from a friend last night. Visited Tony Schmidt last night after library committee.  He got back from Tozan* a new man, what a light bulb. He’s really felt the Kechimyaku and reality of Kosenrufu. He’s brimming over with determination. We have a transfer member from Hong Kong we gave Tony since he got back from Tozan.

Tonight we had a Bucho meeting with Mr. Sugano. Same as my home visit except I could give my determination. He really confessed privately tonight that he felt Beverly Hills YMD really possess something different. Really sharp! We initiated Ode to Youth study three months ago. No one else has yet to do. But Mr. Hall will start beginning of 1978. Mr. Sugano said we all graduated from college. So sharp. However he feels we lack on thing. We lack backing in action. Sort of give up half-way. But so many clever ideas and you all take notes. No other headquarters did I see this! I’m sure you pass this on. But must use this potential develop–carry through 100%!

Tonight felt that Kechimyaku, a mission of Kosenrufu. Immediately afterwards Danny and I went next door to our Chapter YMD’s daimoku toso. We chanted and planned lecture tomorrow night. Goal: to apply Buddhist terms concretely to daily life. Everyone to participate.

Afterwards Hiroshi and I went out. I ate, he had coffee. We had a nice talk and afterwards I dropped him off.

After I got home, I talked to Liz-she seemed depressed, misses me, I of course miss her, but campaign will determine our happiness as mates. I love her deeply. I felt unhappy for her feelings. Chanted one hour to end campaign today. Must write in diary daily.

Goodnite!

 

by James C. Stephens


July 16, 1977

July 16, 1260 was the date Nichiren Daishonin remonstrated with the Kamakura regime through his treatise entitled, The Rissho Ankoku Ron. July 16, 1975 I was in Hawaii for the Pre-Bicentennial Convention. That morning we did Gongyo with Mr. Williams and heard a lecture on the Rissho Ankoku Ron.

In my last entry you remember I maintained that I would not seek a mate until I first struggled with the innate darkness in my life. In other words, I felt what Mr. Williams said, don’t chase happiness, let it chase you, made sense for the first time in my practice. Guess what happened after I sincerely made this commitment?

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Liz Lascar and her Uncle Mose.

 

Well, there is a girl who loaned me the first volume of the Human Revolution to xerox and I kept neglecting to return it. I was trying to follow guidance of Mr. Black had given me to read Vol. I of the Human Revolution. Finally, I decided I had better return it to this persistent joshibu (young women’s division) before I caused some problems. So on June 14, 1977 at 11:00 PM I decided to return it to Liz Lascar. I had never really noticed Liz except in passing. She invited me in for coffee.

Once while I was sick I remember having a really nice conversation with her about a variety of things. She later told me she had never opened up about these things to anyone else before. She invited me to a picnic on a Sunday, but I declined as I was still a bit sick. The long and short of it is I think I love her. I tell you its difficult for me to say that but it’s not an intellectual head trip like before, but damn I’m afraid I am in love. I tried to avoid these things, but I hope and feel I’ve found my partner. The chemistry, the time, and all those crazy things people said about your soul mate seem to be happening to me. Today she left for Japan to see the Dai Gohonzon. I even sort of miss her. I try not to, but I am feeling we are together-sort of Abutsu-bo and Sennichi*. I sent a letter to the Dai Gohonzon with Liz. I am going through major changes believe me. But I look on them as a tool to develop my faith. I really do, and to develop my understanding of my life.

We also made a decision beside waiting a year and see what happens between us, that we would try living together two months to see if we are compatible. I will be moving in shortly. We talked it over with her chapter chief Don Mentzer and he saw nothing wrong with the arrangement.

She should be at about 7:30 p.m. in Japan, Sunday. I hope she is safe and happy.

Good nite Liz.

 


 

Abutsu-bo and Sennichi*: “Also known as Abutsu-bō Nittoku. A lay follower of Nichiren who lived in the province of Sado, an island in the Sea of Japan. His secular name was Endō Tamemori. Tradition has it that Abutsu-bō was once a samurai who served the Retired Emperor Juntoku in Kyoto and accompanied him to Sado Island when Juntoku was banished there after an abortive attempt by the imperial court to overthrow the Kamakura shogunate in what is known as the Jōkyū Disturbance of 1221. According to recent studies, however, it seems more probable that he was actually a native of Sado. When Nichiren was exiled to Sado in late 1271, Abutsu-bō, an ardent Pure Land believer, visited him at Tsukahara to confront him in debate. Bested in debate by Nichiren, who refuted the Pure Land teachings, Abutsu-bō converted to Nichiren’s teachings together with his wife, the lay nun Sennichi. The couple sincerely assisted Nichiren during his exile, supplying him with food and other necessities for more than two years until he was pardoned and left the island in 1274. After Nichiren went to live at the foot of Mount Minobu, Abutsu-bō, despite his advanced age, made at least three journeys to visit him with offerings. Abutsu-bō is said to have died on the twenty-first day of the third month, 1279, at age ninety-one. In 1279 his son, Tōkurō Moritsuna, traveled to Minobu with Abutsu-bō’s ashes and there laid them to rest. Moritsuna continued to uphold Nichiren’s teachings, and his grandson, known by his priestly name Nyojaku Nichiman, went as a child to Fuji where he became a disciple of Nikkō, Nichiren’s immediate successor.”

 

by James C. Stephens


Monday, May 22, 1977

Two colored crayonsSunday morning my mind was wrought with confusion and burdened with anxiety. In my relationship with Isabel I am discovering much of myself. The romantic flash at the beginning is beginning to wane. I have talked to many people I regard with respect, concerning my new relationship. I admit to being a confused and naive young man. It is most difficult to fight the problems of the heart. However, it is these I desire most. Problems of the heart, yes these are definitely the most difficult. Knowing myself bit by bit I decided Sunday to confront the situation in a manner becoming of me. My stomach tightened by anxiety and my head was bulging with anticipation at my confrontation with Isabel. Not knowing where she was necessarily coming from I needed to know her innermost feelings. This was not just an important thing to me, but to us.

This is what happened in our dialogue:

I told her a story of a game we played at a World Tribune correspondent’s meeting. One, where two people unbeknownst to each other sat a opposite ends of a piece of paper and had a non verbal conversation with two different colored crayons. I explained how I made assumptions without any knowledge of knowing the other person and was applying this to our relationship. I told her directly that I was very attracted to her and was willing to make a commitment to knowing her better. We exchanged many feelings on subjects that concerned a relationship. She explained she had trouble expressing her true feelings in the past, but still hesitated. We exchanged our experiences. She lived with a guy who she almost married for two years. She told me she felt like a prisoner and could not feel her own person. She confessed to me that she didn’t feel ready at this particular time for such a relationship of devoting herself to one person. She said that she thought of me as a friend. She confided in me that sexually (this was not easy for her to open to me about, but she did open up) she never felt that sex was for her, but always for him to be pleased. She therefore confessed at being uptight about sex with men. Our discourse ran from this matter to freedom to live and pursue your dreams while you live with your mate. She didn’t feel she could make the commitment of living with one mate her entire life. Here I realize her frustration especially in a society in which marriage seems to be on its way out.

Philosophically I believe marriage is an important step in completing your character.

I’m now nearing my seventh year anniversary and am in my 26th year. I must now lay down my roots, chose a course to live and strive hard to become an expert in my field. There are so many things I want to do, but I am now making commitments in my life; I mean if Jefferson and Franklin could do so many things why can’t I? It is a matter of discipline. I am going to write a letter to Mr. Williams expressing my determination, but also asking him direction as far as my education as a human being.

Let me begin today! A new Jim Stephens is born. A new canvas is being unrolled. How fortunate I am to have the Gohonzon! Without such a teacher I could never even see beyond my present limitations.

Russ Dilando-I can not talk to him again until I have made some concrete changes in my life.

I want the kyo to become my life. Life is too beautiful to let slip by or become ensnared by its scheming webs. Don’t you become a victim Jim! Breathe deep! Run a race against yourself! Become the master of your destiny!

People say that Tchaikovsky is too schmaltzy. But his grandiose style moves me. Doesn’t this kyo have the possibility of becoming most actualized in our everyday life.

Vivaldi’s style-the heart cries out! The primordial instincts. Man is such a complicated machine. None can match him. How can we not be intrigued by this most phenomenal creature? What he makes, creates or destroys. This is a purpose to my life. I must find it! Search. Study, climb this mountain. Toda said ‘once you have scaled the highest mountain, you will be able to see all other philosophies clearly.’


Vivaldi~The Four Seasons, Op. #8-Numbers 1-4; Spring Concerto-Solstisi di Zagreb; Antonio Janigro conductor. Jim Tomasow-Solo Violin; Anton Heiller-Harpischord.

 

P. Tchaikovsky. Italian Capriccio

 

Moscow City Symphony “Russian Philharmonic” Conductor — Michail Jurowski Moscow International House of Music, Svetlanov Hall June 20, 2012 P. Tchaikovsky. Italian Capriccio.

by James C. Stephens


January 7, 1977

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I finally got a hold of Judy Gold (she had left a message about 2 weeks previous she was trying to get a hold of me) and she suggested I come by and see her that night. Well it worked out she wanted to meet me at the Saloon around 9:30. Right! 9:40, 9:50, she didn’t show. But proof of my human revolution I did not get bummed out needless to say. Rather I had a beer, sat down and no sooner had I sat down when a girl asked if I had a light. Hold it, I’ll get you one. So I sat down at her table and Virdette (as I later found out) had another friend sit down. Her name was Adrian. Well the long and short of it was Virdette knew some people from Outdoor Sports Inc that I did and me being penniless they bought me six beers and we all became a bit high. Adrian and I hit off quite well and I think we might be going out in the near future. She’s going to Northridge CSUN as a Sociology major I believe and her mother is a psychiatrist, father divorced and in Germany, stepfather is a psychologist. So the evening turned out okay!

Left a message at her folks answering service today. Haven’t talked to her as of yet though.

On December 31, New Year’s Eve Day. As you might be aware of I and my father have been searching for an apartment. And New Year’s Eve was no exception. No Luck! But wait! I called Judy and she said come on down in about forty minutes. So looking at Dad, I said, “You don’t mind do you?”

He responded, “No. It’s okay. I’ll look for an apartment.” He didn’t look so happy. So I said, “I’ll make a couple more calls.”

One apartment I looked at a week before the landlord said was $250 a month. We could not afford it. So I didn’t call him back until the 31st. He said, “I’ll be over there in 1/2 hour meet me there.”

So Dad and I scurried over there and found out that an apartment over the garage was also for rent. What we didn’t know was that we had a contender. So the landlord came over and we looked at the $250 one and it was okay, but we were sold on the $150 one. Then the girl came up to look at it. While she was looking at it, the landlord and my Dad and I made a deal on the grounds maintenance for $50 a month off the rent. The girl came out and she said, “Too small.”  We rented it. $100 a month, $50 off for gardening. Not only that but we got a small shed for storing our equipment and behind the garages there was some room for a small vegetable garden, a side of the garage for storing 5 gallon plant containers, a washer and dryer below. It was a perfect apartment for the two of us. More than I ever expected.

The events leading up to this were frustrating, maybe proof of my lack of faith in the Gohonzon. But I keep telling Dad when a place fell through. Obviously it wasn’t meant for us-don’t worry.

Let me tell you Dad was really excited when we got this place! SO WAS I!

Last few days have been raining no maintenance, but you better believe I’ve been busy inside doing painting, etc. Two tobans this week.

Gary Curtis

Gary Curtis

Wednesday night I had my first Toban at the World Culture Center. Mr. Curtis was Chief Toban. About 10:00 PM, Mr. Williams came down. I walked him to his car, opened the door, shut door in the rain and TCD’d him out onto the street. He rolled his window down and said, “Thank you. Goodnight.” I responded, “Take care.”

Words do not do justice to the feeling I got from that experience.

On Thursday, I did Toban at L.A. #1 Headquarters.

January 1st we had an incredible meeting with Rejicho (Mr. Williams) at the World Culture Center. I was a TCD. Russ (Dilando) was in charge. I came late since I found out we needed TCD about 11PM. Didn’t want to ask same guys as night before so I seized the benefit.

New Year’s Eve Gongyo we did at LA #1 with Mr. (Frank) Hotchkiss leading. Saw a film recap of the “Top that Tune” contest. Hilarious!

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From the top of the stairs at 1314 1/2 14th st in Santa Monica, California, Darlene Benson, Zadith Fresquez, Gayle Hammer, Kathy Schindler and Liz Lascar.

Afterwards I was just planning to go home not go out. But Kurt Triffet needed a ride to a party his chapter was throwing for Don Mentzer’s Birthday and New Year’s. So I got invited. What a trip! Met a girl named Gayle. Beautiful experience with the Gohonzon. We became good friends. She’s very nice. (I recall telling her that I had started a study group with Bruce Barnes and we were reading through Daisaku Ikeda’s Human Revolution, but that I was missing one volume. She mentioned that Liz Lascar had a total library and that she would see if she could get her to loan her copy to me).

Human Revolution by Daisaku Ikeda

Will have a phone installed on Thursday. AAO! Communication has been really poor this week. But things are definitely going better.

Adios!

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, August 10, 1976

Had breakfast with dad, planned when I would start to work with him. The next two weeks must work on portfolio for landscaping.

 

Wednesday, August 11, 1976

Drove in West L.A. to Hollywood area to check out landscape design and basically check out the area. One place I’ve wanted to see was the Pacific Design Center. Very nice. Met one of my old art teachers in there. She, Robin owns the Art Source.

http://www.pacificdesigncenter.com/

Later, I checked out a barrel yard. Talked to an interesting man who explained many things to me about barrels and containers…very, very interesting. Got some great ideas for landscaping. Coming back through Beverly Hills I just stumbled into what must be the grandest mansion in Los Angeles–The Greystone Mansion. Roman Gardens, a panorama to beat panoramas, and the home–wow! It was bought as a park by the City of Beverly Hills for $1,000,000.

https://www.greystonemansion.org/

Thursday, August 12, 1976

Slept late. Terrible feeling. Drove to Jeff’s, talked to him for awhile. We drove down and looked at the new Fox Hills Shopping Plaza. Not too impressive. Rather reeked of the indoor shopping plaza’s so commonplace today. Okay, but not on my menu.

Got home to pick up Tom for Band. Didn’t want to go. Told him let’s talk to Shibucho. Couldn’t get ahold of. Just as I was ready to leave, Chikabucho called and talked to Tom. I was going to give Tom a ride over to the chiku. Just then, Shibucho called. Yelled at Tom. Woke him up. Rejicho was coming to band tonight to watch the Band and Special Group called Energy Crisis. Wow! He freaked didn’t know. We drove down. He’d been titan for four days. We heard Mr. Williams talk. Afterwards I was volunteered as TCD for Koteketai practice at the beach. Many wierdo’s. I almost got punched out by a drunk guy from Santa Cruz. Weird night. Obnoxious Koteketai leader Shelly Blumberg. Women are strange.

(No offense Shelly. I later grew to like Shelly, but ended up marrying Liz Lascar, a Koteketai member-I was probably protecting her from that drunk that night and didn’t even know it! We just celebrated our fortieth anniversary and are very happily married).

20140807_160338

Friday, August 13, 1976

Today, Jeff Silver and I did a vigorous morning gongyo and visited many places. Downtown Arco Plaza, L.A. City Library, Biltmore Hotel, International Trade Center and Huntington Library. Very interesting and educational day. I’m in the process of writing a special article for the World Tribune. Maybe they might be interested, all I can do is try. Meeting tonight with Fujimbucho–0 Guests. Tom is chanting again. Had an interesting talk over diner with Fujimbucho after the meeting. Chanted two and a half hours.


Huntington Library and Gardens:

http://www.huntington.org/

Arco Plaza, renamed City National Plaza:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_National_Plaza

Los Angeles City Library

https://www.lapl.org/collections-resources

Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel

https://www.millenniumhotels.com/en/los-angeles/millennium-biltmore-hotel-los-angeles/

World Trade Center Los Angeles

https://www.wtcla.org/