Posts Tagged ‘Nichiren Daishonin’

by James C. Stephens


 

May 3, 1976

The following rough notes correspond to General Director George M. Williams’ 16th anniversary recollection of the Inauguration process of Daisaku Ikeda as the third President of the Soka Gakkai.Inauguration of President Ikeda Third President of Soka Gakkai photo

GMW heard of Pres. Ikeda’s inauguration by phone in Washington, D.C. when he was doing his graduate work.

In 1960, 50 or 60 membership. Somu-Administrator general-title of President Ikeda. Two years there was no President of the Soka Gakkai. 1958-May 3. No President. April 2, 1958 President Today passed away.

7th Bell President Ikeda on March 3 gave members vision for Kosenrufu.

2 Bell President Today.

April 14th-Third President accepted. Board of Directors asked President Ikeda many times to accept.

March 30. Kai Izumi-asked President Ikeda personally to accept position of President of the Soka Gakkai. Wouldn’t accept.

First official second approach. April 9th Board of Directors unanimous.

April 9th- Saturday, beautiful day 97 degrees after 5PM President Toda’s ceremony.

Stopped at , went to Honbu late hours Board of Director’s meeting. They informed me. Support President Ikeda to be President of the Soka Gakkai.

Cordially I refuse. Carma came through my whole body. Huge mission. Must be the great karma. Strong and strict and severely.

I’m age 32 still young. That age Nikko Shonin accepted Nichiren Daishonin. Anybody take over President I’m so tired. Anybody–nobody able to talk. My human thinking. My wife watch over me. April 10, April 11, April 11-Monday. Sunny sky, 3:30 in the afternoon.  Special Conference emerged of Board of Directors to nominate third President of the Soka Gakkai. Maybe I’m carrying great mission. Who knows. I refused many times in the past. I have to make up my mind. Dai Gohonzon will make me suffer. Dai Gohonzon is as great as universe and eternal forever existence. Have to ask Dai Gohonzon and maybe take leadership of campaign.

I’m a youth and a man, vigorous and abundantly I have to forge on. Our huge wave, mountains, and desert. Physical conditions are bad. April 11. Number one goal. From May put all my effort into the study of the Soka Gakkai; number two, Zadankai (discussion meetings come first; third, Gongyo will be the prime point of all campaigns.

April 12. Tuesday. Cloudy. Third time keep asking President Ikeda. Director Harashima asked this time and I refused again. In my mind I know the mission. But I can’t answer in two minds. It should be the seventh anniversary of President Toda. He never attended any of the Board of Director’s meetings. He could feel everyone’s suffering. He understood, but he was sorry.  Felt lonely.

April 14. Thursday. Rain after clear. morning. Rainfall stay clear. Broadcast saying it will rain all day. 8:30 left home. Heavy step. Again Director conference. General Director and three Directors asked strongly. Everyone asks strongly. 10:10AM. He was nodding, seemed accepting, but how is my fate going to be. Everyone is jumping in Honbu. Rejicho and President Toda’s family waiting his answer. April 14. This day may a great turning point of my life. Can not help it, can not help, only remembering President Toda. Made a strong determination alone. Next day President Ikeda.

April 15. Thinking to make next campaign strategy toward 7 year anniversary of my master. Now depart. of ______victorious four years continued.

1964. April 2, May 3. I’d like to make a great victory campaign (America send 10 charter jets) completion of Dai Kyakudan. Strong word is follow is this. I am the direct disciple of President Toda. Being trained and trained, not afraid. Now is the time to repay master. Now is time to create history of Japan and history of the world.

Just like sutra. Bodhisattva asked three times and refused. Explained the request four times. Such a campaign as a man, no greater honor than that. Toda Sensei, Disciple Ikeda Daisaku.

May 3. Decided on date. Son of a fisherman Ikeda Daisaku. Father in seaweed manufacturing. Finally stand at head of campaign for Kosenrufu.

Shotenzenjin-Buddha’s of the three world’s and ten directions come to protect such a job. Buddha function movement never think this time, so important this practice is to the world. Am I afraid?

April 16. No matter, my mission protect Dai Gohonzon. Strong faith is key in everything. Such tremendous strength of Buddhism.

May 3. New Constitution of Japan. First Amendment-pursuit of happiness.

Tuesday, May 3, 1960. Fair, sunny day. I’m inagurated the Third President of the Soka Gakkai at Nihon University at 12:00 noon.

Nichiren Daishonin at 32 years 1253, April 12:00 noon. Lecture on True Buddhism.

Diary. General Meeting began. Still tired from last nigh. I can feel my master’s joy and can imagine in closing my eyes. My lifelong one in a lifetime campaign of Myoho going to begin. Beyond life and death. I’m glad my fellow members deeply rejoice with me. Act like leader, but like human being. Act like youth, no matter what must take the lead. Today on my Hosshaku Kempon (Nichiren Daishonin Tatsunokuchi). At moment heavy carma change into true appearance. Show as human being, but act as True Buddhia. Changed provisional life, make true appearance of advent to this world.  I’m 32 years old. May 3-16 years. May 3-25 years ago-President Toda Inaugurated.

On Inauguration speech. Like President Toda in 1951. Several thousand members and within seven years like to reach 750,000 families. 1960-nine years later there were one million families before President Toda passed away.

On April 2, 1958 President Toda passed his target. My goal is to reach three million families within four years. Number two-Build the Dai Kyakuden according to President Toda’s will. President Ikeda went to Redwoods October 5 and also procurred Canadian cedars and other raw materials from Norway, Budapest, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. Third goal is the reformation of religion of Japan. The press said that after President Toda passed away the Soka Gakkai would be corrupt.

Now the Soka Gakkai is fifteen million strong in 80 nations. Many old religious mountains are now just tourist items.

President Toda said after Dai Kyakuden build the Sho Hondo and remodel all kaikans.

His first letter to America. On May 20, George Williams went back to Japan for the third memorial of his father’s death. May 19, LA Times.

President Ikeda received Kaimoku Sho.

Although the Shotenzenjin did not protect.

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by James C. Stephens


August 5, 1973

Kosenrufu Gongyo with Mr. Kikumura

Gosho-A Reply to Myoshinama-Gozen.

‘Everytime when we have Gosho study, I’m sure new members wonder what in the hell is this all about? Whoever the letter is written to from Nichiren, think of this as yourself.

Try to imagine, 700 years ago, it was quite different. Because philosophy came from Asiatic country, you feel like twitching a little bit. U.S. does not have true religion of its own. If you want to study depth of Christian religion you have to study Latin, etc. If you want to understand Nichiren Daishonin’s philosophy you have to study and try to understand Japan or Oriental way to understand Nichiren Daishonin.

The reason why I explain this is that for new members I don’t want the Gosho to become a joke!

Because of confusion of different terms, let’s think of it like letter for me. That way it is more easy to understand key point of Gosho. In GMW letter it explains prime point. If you embrace the Gohonzon without doubt and strong faith then the Sho-ten zenjin will protect you at all times. Seven years ago people used to say, “Buddhist gods tap me on my back.” I don’t doubt maybe some it has happened to. To individual maybe a fact, but for everybody maybe it doesn’t happen.

What is Buddhist god? When you chant daimoku, do your Gongyo, then everything within your environment gives you a constructive support or destructive support to your daily life. According to you everything does job of Buddhist god. Everything is dependent on you. If you are onshitsuing, maybe piture fall on someone. When you chant daimoku, maybe red, but on time for work. But if you onshitsu, maybe green light and someone run through red and get you.

Many of you experience long green lights. Cup of water can do anything–death-life–divorce.

If you chant many daimoku everything will turn out constructive for daily life. If you think somebody is going to hold hand then that that’s your Christian nature. If you see man walking around Buddhist god okay, but let’s not condemn other people for what they can’t see.

I see many people not in Brass Band or Koteketai. But its’ okay. I know many people young members may go home with a doubt. Many of you that has physical, financial problems.

If everyone stood up and told problems, everyone would cry. But why we join NSA is because we can change problems.

Some of you practice for a year may not think it works. Many of you think because you get fired from job you want to quit. Just because you are behind 3 months on car payment, you doubt Gohonzon. That’s why I ask who still doubt Gohonzon for a year. Ask what your practice is like. If you have problem of that you can come down and talk to me. If you get fired, look, wouldn’t you fire a person for calling in sick every other day?

File1344Many Brass Band and Koteketai wonder, what is my future? You realize many things have changed. Many younger people if you look at your future 30 r 40 years-you look at it in titan Christian nature. If you can’t do anything. If you can’t pay for shoes why do you want a Cadillac. A religion who gives a man a Cadillac who has no job, gives him the problem of stealing for gas. What a rotten god!

People you associate with different they don’t talk about kosenrufu on just a Sunday. What will happen in 4 years you probably can’t imagine. Because your karma we face may ugly obstacles. Instead of talking against your leaders, this is the time to chant more daimoku. We must have faith to realize protection of Buddhist gods.

Mr. Williams 17 years ago was one man. He’s our example. When we can’t see tommorrow, President Ikeda sent him letters of encouragement. Because of your problems you onshitsu, but in General Director William’s case, no members, why didn’t he become a hood? Because he had absolute faith in the Gohonzon to look ahead 1-2-3 or 4 years. If you try with the feeling that Mr. Williams and others have proved the Gohonzon you will really have a great future. If you have a big obstacle, like people getting a doctor’s diploma, who worked hard for it. People are proud of you and you are proud. No work-no value.

File1246

My wife Elizabeth marching in the Koteketai drill team.

Isn’t it great when mother or father see you overcome sancho shima? Instead of leaving with doubt, it’s hard, but to overcome doubt NSA designed so you can go to various activities for young people Brass Band and Koteketai to overcome problems and doubt. General Director Williams prime point. If you embrace Gohonzon with strong faith, Buddhist gods will be protective. Mr. Williams is really concerned about how all of you are. Chant daimoku and become a member he doesn’t have to worry about and become a member that can make Sho-Hondo a success!

 


 

Mike Kikimura was a very interesting leader who was quite the unpolished rough guy who was one of the founding leaders of Nichiren Shoshu/Soka Gakkai in the US. He was quite interesting to listen to. His rhetoric was definitely fascinating. Whether or not you liked him or not, he was unique. I just read a bit about his background which provides a bit more understanding about who he was. He was interred in one of the Japanese Internment camps during WWII and also fought in the Korea war.

Here’s a link to his interesting background. http://www.hosshakukempon.com/from-a-stormy-beginning-to-a-golden-life-with-no-regrets.html

 

by James C. Stephens


July 8, 1973

Kosen-rufu Gongyo with General Director George M. Williams.

‘We are pioneers–pioneers mean you have no money. You are pioneers like 100 years ago. Same frontier spirit. Must develop same spirit. No air-conditioning for them. Really a hard task to travel West. Some pioneers cry and some never see their family again.

‘First time I came 16 years ago, no community center. First Headquarters an old post office. President Ikeda told me to move to the West Coast. Then Western White House. Now Watergate.

‘President Ikeda stayed at the Watergate overlooking the Potomac River. But he stayed only one night. Asked about Washington, D.C.. No one knew much. He said, please you are young. Please study much. Learn about your country. You will be proud. Please study. Ok?

‘Study Democracy. You must study so you don’t have mob-o-cracy. Ignorance like the Salem Witch Trials.

‘What is the season? What type of world we live in? Through faith in Gohonzon we overcame. Many of us narrow-minded. We are the intellectual division of NSA. Read Time or Newsweek. Study alot.

‘Cousin smarter than me. But as soon as he graduate he went to hospital. Still there. I’m dumber maybe, but happy. Don’t worry about comparing university. You are members of NSA and disciples of President Ikeda. If you can’t study books, study NSA Quarterly.

‘The human body strange, hardships, problems, study all come back to you. Much knowledge comes from experience. Really become proud of America. If you’re Canadian, be proud of Canada. Just become a better human being. Better asset for nation, world and all mankind.

‘2001 just around the corner. Many of you will be on the moon. I hope all of you will become great leaders. I always spend each Kosenrufu Gongyo with you. I hope nobody hates you. Maybe no one follow you now, but 5, 10, 20 years from now, thousands, millions of people will follow you.

‘Chanting daimoku is important because the campaign (in Japan) is not over, the result is not in yet, so we have extended daimoku campaign tonight.

12:45 AM. Tokyo Time-9:00 on Monday. Komeito election.

Ikeda_Williams‘Good friends. My first butaicho (Young Men’s Division Chapter Chief) Mr. Y (sp?), now an assemblyman. Mr. Matsuo used to be one of my chikubucho’s (District Chief’s) when I was a YMD Taicho. I too care of 8 districts. Next Kakura, second from left end under President Toda, a General Director, #1 elected to Congres in Japan in 1956.

‘A Yusohan chief-Mr. Hachima, chief of all TCD (Young Men’s Traffic Control Division)-I under him. TCD lost spirit in Japan. They say George M. Williams take spirit away to America.

‘Behind the scenes spirit–TCD–happy, not Nazi feeling, but protect the members, and give the guests a good impression and feeling. Quick Action. Clear and Accurate Information. Watch for elderly people and children. Don Quixote spirit. Love everyone. Uniforms important. So they don’t get arrested directing traffic. Only TCD get special uniform, badge. Like Angel Corps (Young Women’s Division). Good Judgment. Smooth going. Thank you’s make things go better. Hard work.

‘Hard work–much difficulty, but remember you are pioneers. But as long as you have Gohonzon and President Ikeda. I your big brother with President Ikeda our daddy.

‘Keep study–not just recent news, but history of Los Angeles and the United States, of religious persecution. If you are just proud of Los Angeles you are a like a frog-in-the-well. Develop a systematic way of study.

‘Maybe not too handsome or pretty yet. Today’s handsome, I don’t trust.

‘Nichiren Daishonin always receiving persecution from all walks, types of people. In 1261 he was exiled to Izu Peninsula.

He (George M. Williams) then pointed at Gohonzon, ‘This is God. Open your eyes right in front of you. Jewish, Catholic, Chinese Gohonzon. Gohonzon same everywhere.

‘President Ikeda’s student should be A+ person at job or school. Let Gohonzon come in. Stand up this time, march towards the future. You can enjoy good health. Chant daimoku for good health. Someday become a great prince. Pay now, fly later-old Buddhism. Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism–fly now.

‘Kosenrufu and Shakubuku in past untouchable, now touchable. Kosenrufu one by one. Everyday Kosenrufu!

by James C. Stephens


July 3, 1973

For me it is hard to express what is deep in my heart. Deep inside I really feel deep love for all my friends. My problem is how to keep a wide perspective and see that my change of character is not just for me. We, the youth of NSA, of the world carry a great responsibility and that is to show how the practice of Nichiren Daishonin’s life philosophy can bring an unbelievably deep happiness. I really cried in front of Gohonzon tonight because I really saw the suffering of the people and felt how much I have to learn. We are so lucky. I really feel that. So many people live without ever hearing about the Gohonzon and will never be able to really lead a happy life. I just finished reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull the other day and I really feel that out there in this world there are so many people who are waiting for me to change so I can tell them about nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Mr. Williams once told us and he cried, “The world is waiting for you. You are the messiahs.”

I realize that to practice in Los Angeles is really difficult. Many places in the world members are persecuted from the outside, militarily. For us we may seem to have it easy, no forces bearing down on us, no, but actually because we seem to have it easy, but in reality you have to fight twice as hard inside against the biggest devil–yourself.


 

Highlighting emphasis on “really feel, really saw, really lead. really difficult” is mine. Being transparent is really embarrassing. Notice how I loved to emphasize really. I wonder why? Did I just lack the confidence in stating what I felt? Could I have simply stated, “Deep inside I feel deep love for all my friends.” ? Struggling with reality, with genuine feelings was difficult for me in light of my parent’s divorce. Here I am almost 65 and processing for a 22 year young man.

James C. Stephens


Sunday, May 16, 1971

Last three days, I’ve been going through hell. I feel either I will titan or stand up.

Monday, May 17, 1971

But luckily when you are in hell you can see why you are there and chant to overcome it. Like Nichiren Daishonin said that you pick yourself up off the same ground you trip on.

Yesterday, I got a benefit. My neighbor wants me to keep his pool up on my spare time for $20 a month. Today I got an even bigger benefit. MyFile1109 - Copy brother gave me his clarinet for my birthday. He is doing well in ski racing. Yesterday he took a first place at the San Gorgonio G.S. (giant slalom).

Tonight we had a study meeting and it turned out well and afterwards we had a Jr. Hancho meeting. Russ related guidance from Gary Curtis and Honbucho to us. Some points to remember:

  1. Your duty as a Jr. Hancho is not to give guidance but to chant Gongyo & Daimoku alongside of them.
  2. Even if you have one member, do your best.
  3. It is our mission to do Shakubuku. And Shakubuku for others is not merely telling them of it and leaving them, but getting them to a discussion meeting and helping them practice.
  4. Most important is to take your Shakubuku to Shibucho and make sure they know of every meeting and where the headquarters is at and introduce them to their senior leaders.
  5. The Discussion meeting is where Kosen-rufu is and it’s your opportunity to grow with your members. When you have a friend it makes everything much more enjoyable.
  6. The Seattle campaign will be very difficult but it will be like trimming the branches of a tree to make it stronger. Let’s advance with Seattle as our goal.
  7. If you are involved in a campaign and are hating it, you are losing. If you think of it as making money for Nichiren Shoshu you are losing. It is rather for you to realize your human revolution. Through a campaign you develop sincere action and through sincere action a sincere mind.
  8. Even when you have a goal of 50 Shakubuku set for 2 weeks and attain it in one, it is your benefit not to stop there, but to continue winning until the end. That is the way Nichiren would have it, for your human revolution.

It seems I am studying a bit more now because I have to, but I must make the determination to study day by day.

Ariba u Adelante” to Seattle.

Up and Go to Seattle.


Note: What I’ve noticed is that there is inevitably a post campaign depression after such a frenetic pace of activity. At the time however, I was simply exhausted and depressed, but did not connect the two.


by James C. Stephens


Wednesday, April 28, 1971

April 28, 1253—Nichiren Daishonin first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo on the planet.

After the meeting I went over to Lance’s and did Gongyo. First Lance, Jason, his mom and I sat down and chanted fifteen minutes and then did Gongyo. After Gongyo I talked to Lance and Jason and then his mom started arguing with Lance. Then they gave me a ride home and I mildly scolded both of them, told them they had the Gohonzon; and related my family revolution to them. They agreed that ‘beating” each other in essence never got anything accomplished just frustration.


 

Nichiren Daishonin– (日蓮; February 16, 1222[1] – November 21, 1282) was a Buddhist monk who lived during the Kamakura period (1185–1333) in Japan. Nichiren taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra, which claims to contain Gautama Buddha’s teachings towards the end of his life, as the exclusive means to attain enlightenment. Nichiren believed that this sutra contained the essence of all of Gautama Buddha’s teachings related to the laws of causality, karma, and leading all people without distinction to enlightenment. At the same time he changed his name to Nichiren, nichi (日) meaning “sun” and ren (蓮) meaning “lotus”.[23] This choice, as Nichiren himself explained, was rooted in passages from the Lotus Sutra.”

Daimoku-According to Wikipedia, “On April 28, 1253, he expounded the daimoku teachings for the first time, marking his Sho Tempōrin (初転法輪: “first turning the wheel of the Law”). With this, he proclaimed that devotion and practice based on the Lotus Sutra was the correct form of Buddhism for the current time…This devotion to the sutra entails the chanting of Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō “homage to the Lotus Sutra”, a phrase referred to as the daimoku, as the essential practice of the teaching.

Gongyo- A ritual which is practiced each morning and evening by chanting a chapter and a half of the Lotus Sutra followed by silent prayers, begun by prayers to Shotenzenjin (Buddhist gods) to the east in the morning in the direction of the rising sun.

Gohonzon– At the age of 51, Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the object of worship, a scroll with the names of various Buddhist and Hindu deities, his name, and invocation.

There are over 42 different Nichiren denominations. Here’s something I didn’t know. According to Wikipedia, “In the 20th century, Nichirenism was a fascist movement led by Nichiren Buddhists who attempted a wave of assassinations in an attempt to further ultranationalist goals in 1932. The result is known as the League of Blood Incident. Two months after, in the May 15 Incident, Japanese naval officers, including some associated with the League of Blood, assassinated Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi.”

                                                      by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, April 13, 1971

Tonight, I thought I would start my record of Kosenrufu and my individual human revolution.

Today and everyday I will be truthful to reveal what I go through by practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s[1] life philosophy.

I’ve felt very mixed up the last few days. I think it is because I was on vacation for 5 days and got out of rhythm. [2] But my mind doesn’t take that for an answer, it’s just mixed up. I didn’t do anything really worthwhile today. Sometimes I just get all tied up inside. One thing that really bothers me and that’s: I’m almost 20 years old and I still don’t know where I am going. I have been very insolent lately. I’m not getting along with my parents at all. Last night I just got mad at my brother at the dinner table and threw milk in his face. My problem is that I don’t always care, while at other times I do care. Maybe, or really I need to be in Itai Doshin.

I feel I have lost my individuality, but it’s not the philosophy, it’s me. I want to change, but I want to enjoy my human revolution.


[1] Nichiren Daishonin (122-1282): “The founder of what is now known as Nichiren Shoshu, which regards him as the original Buddha who appears in the Latter Day of the Law to open the way to Buddhahood for all people.” At the age of twelve Zennichi-maro (his childhood name), entered into a Tendai temple where he prayed before a statue and asked “to become the wisest man in Japan.” Pg. 296.

[2] Rhythm: The idea that by practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism you would be in harmony or rhythm with the universal law. You’d be at the right place at the right time.

Itai Doshin-Many in body, one in mind.