Posts Tagged ‘Nichiren Shoshu Academy’

by James C. Stephens


September 18, 1979

Today makes 1 year and seven months Liz  and I have been married. She really is a tremendous woman.

Many times I have wanted to pick up a pen and write, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do so. For the past several weeks I have been caught in a terrible rut. I have felt a great deal of anxiety over my plans for now and the future and have been unnecessarily crucifying myself. Yesterday had to be one of the worst days. You know the kind of day when you are so uncaring, you don’t give a damn about anything. Nothing seems to penetrate that condition. Late last night I cried myself to sleep. I was extremely discouraged and my back was burning and hurt.

I think crying is at times a great release of pressure one carries around inside. I felt much better in the morning. If I was to analyze my situation I would look at several factors. I have made a strong determination which I typed up and it reads, “By 1985 January 1, I will be worth $5 million dollars. This I will accomplish by dedicating myself to the study of Landscape Architecture for the next three years at UCLA night school and getting to know as many professionals in the field as possible. By building myself a supportive environment based on my Buddhist practice to the Gohonzon. Being the master of money, using money as a tool to build my dreams into reality. Not to be ruthless, but extremely confident, persistent, and humane. To develop my worldly wisdom and mercy. For Liz and to be extremely and for our family to be also. Radiant, creative and infectious.

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Plan to make $2 million through Travel Tapes idea or any variation. Use this fortune to start Pioneer Design Landscaping. Put together a dream team of same mind and determination. Designers, Landscape Architects, maintenance division, landscape, interior and design nursery. To have a 5 acre Ranch home in Los Angeles County. No time for robbers and thieves. Greenhouse developments within and horses. A nursery complex in an ideal area manned by experts with development consciousness. Be Santa Monica’s landscape architecture firm. Make Santa Monica into a virtual paradise. This is the start. Redesign Santa Monica’s present mall by 1984. Firmly established company. Capital tied up in land, some cash for investment.

Development of Nichiren Shoshu of America. Become a cohesive agent between all elements in NSA. Founder of Los Angeles Philosophical newspaper called “Gadfly.” Ability to lecture on Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and bring it to life for myself and other people.

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My family’s enlightenment.

James Carlton Stephens

September 4, 1979

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#1. I have made a career determination which takes a lot of work.

#2. I have made a determination to build a supportive environment. This is causing me some pain. Many of my supposed friends are not calling or coming around even after I made all the calls and causes. I don’t feel bad now however. Yesterday I did, today I don’t. How exciting I can make more new friends.

#3. I determined to transform myself and build a supportive environment.

Liz and I are basically remodeling the interior of our house. We have cut down on a lot of stuff. This has resulted in a changed feeling of living in our home. A lot of old articles with past feeling we have now let go of. We do indeed feel better for it.

[JCS. Early minimalists].

#4. Some of my friends I do not desire to be around or rather not to pursue at this time. Basically because they are sedentary, thinkers only and this does not facilitate me getting active and changing.

#5. Liz and I made a determination while on our trip up the coast to learn how to have a good time.

I desire friends who also call me up and suggest let’s do something, such as Scott and Michele.

Liz and I were going to lecture, but individually decided that that particular environment was not conducive to our growth at this time.

Sunday through Thursday are to be treated as worknights and weeknights I must watch my activities, “Time is money.” I prefer to use time for value.

I feel again my determination is growing. Action is fuel for engines. Action breeds energy. I know very well that inaction breeds lethargy.

Forward.

I just finished reading Zorba the Greek by Kazantzakis. I was deeply moved by the transformation of one individual from an intellectual who doddled his life away writing, into a man living his life with gusto, pursuing life as an adventure to be lived.

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Our VW Westfalia camper bus.

We had an interesting vacation. Spent first night and day at Vic and Marta Adints in Oxnard. Had a tremendous conversation about Buddhism and life. Next night spent the night at our old stopping spot, the rest stop by Goleta. Next day, Sunday morning we had breakfast in Solvang. Don’t try the Danish sausage, its terrible. Bought some Danish Butter cookies, went through those on trip. Camped at Pismo, relaxed, read. Onward. Aunt Rose and Uncle Moses in San Mateo. Slept outside of their place on street as we didn’t want to wake them. Visited with Rose and Mose, talked of family. Liz’s father is from Turin, Italy. Later we traveled up the coast spent night in camp of many rules.  Next two days we camped in the Avenue of the Giants and Hidden Springs campground. As we started driving to Eureka, we had enough driving and headed home. Dinner at Mandarin Inn in San Francisco. Lousy food, both of us were tired and very irritable. Argument supreme. Slept again in San Mateo and then next day home, sweet home.

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[JCS: Our experience with San Francisco years ago was that it is a very confusing and spiritual dark city, although it is beautiful. Highly recommend you have a friend give you a tour, or at the very least take a tour. Read the Michelin Guide for restaurants, I had no clue at the time about how to dine in an unfamiliar city.]

People take vacations so they can appreciate their home.

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by James C. Stephens


May 3, 1979

“We are always getting ready to live, but never living.” 

Emerson~Journals April 13, 1834

Until recently my life was at the “always getting ready to live” stage. Now I am living life, taking an active role. Before I thought a lot about why things were, why they couldn’t change. I was good at that, no denying.

I spent a lot of time finding reasons why Nichiren Shoshu Academy could not change. Of course I now realize, that was the easy way out. We humans are always good at finding ways for things not to work, simply because it takes less effort.

Then Liz and I realized, how much enjoyment could be wrought out of doing in life. So we made a garden. This was giving to life. Sweat, sweat, anger and joy. Living!

 

 

Stewart Emery Actualizations Workshop

Stewart Emery founder of the Actualizations Workshop, rated one of the top ten most influential  teachers in the Human Potential Movement in the 70’s.

Recently I took an Actualizations workshop. It was a workshop comprised of 74 people and a facilitator. Out of the workshop came a vision to me of Kosenrufu. I experienced how it was to let go of a lot of guilt, frustration; and how it was to experience love and Buddhist mercy. It revitalized my faith in the human race. No longer do I feel like waging a crusade against other religions, but rather leading a campaign showing the dignity of life. And life does have dignity. I feel much closer to Buddhism now than before. I now also have put my criticism of NSA in a proper perspective. Buddhism is life. Buddha is life! I learned, felt, experienced so much during the four day seminar in Actualizations. The unity I felt with those 74 people was so great, so real. Much like my experience with the 88 guys on the Hawaii Convention Stage crew. The experience itself can never be erased. Never, never again will I put down what I have experienced in life, in NSA. It is all gold, experience that is invaluable. Because it is just that~experience.

Maybe I should submit my experience to the World Tribune. Maybe even contribute. Do. I will. No longer am I going to be an observer exclusively. A doer is so much more enlivening. I will return treasures to NSA which I have discovered on my journey in life.

Some happenings lately I’d like to record:

Got my hair permed-feel happy with it. Have to move by June 1st-looking for a house to buy in Santa Monica. Moving seedling to Reiner’s garden, which I have constructed.

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Doing more consistant gongyo-self motivated. Taking Self Esteem Workshop. Took Support Workshop-working out Jealousy in life–low self esteem and insecurity. Workshop for wife in June.

More calm.

Diabetes-working on diet, feeling more energy. Must confirm-keto diastix. Dr. Stevens. Jogging. 1.8 miles (once). Got to get with it. Consistent. Bought one outfit of new clothes.

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Michael Roquemore, a good friend who ran Legal Aid in Santa Monica.

Friendship with Michael Roquemore-lots of growth-very close-great friend, really.

Liz-I- Jealousy both ways more substantial on my side. Overcoming. Will resolve it.

I must let love in my life. Still somewhat closed. Fear of Failure.

Consolidation of stuff of life.

Taking clarinet lessons-Liz trumpet lessons. Get piano.

Start research Travel tapes.

Reading Stewart Chandler-Omnibus.

Intro reading Quotations by Penguin Books. Crystallized wisdom and follies.

Working with Chris Delisle on Art Work

Working with Bob Rafkin on Music and Travel Tapes.

Must get Agent work organized.

Studying Accounting I–Test soon.

Studying Business Law.

Starting up Literary Group Again. Once and Future King.

Working on House on Wilshire idea-Professional offices and restaurant-live there.

National Historical Preservation Society.

Readmittance to CSUN.

Correspondence.

Study now! Bye.

Involvement with anti nuclear crusade and water planet.

Also President Ikeda resigned post April 24, 1979. Hojo now President of the Soka Gakkai. I received guidance from Mr. Hojo when he was here last. He told me next time he was here to see him. I definitely will.

Japanese. Russian.

Salt Talks. Gasoline lines long. Feeling of distrust in society of oil companies.

Williamsburg Nuclear Accident.

 

 

by James C. Stephens


January 25, 1977

[I am just including a few notes culled from pages of random notes taken at a meeting in Santa Monica on the Second Anniversary of International Buddhist League Day.]

George M. Williams lecture.

 

‘On October 5, 1960,  President Ikeda stood at Coit Tower in San Francisco looking at the statue of Christopher Columbus and said, “Although today seems like no significant day, 20 years or another 50 years to come, this day will be more significant than when Columbus discovered the continent.”

‘You can already see this as NSA was the only organization recognized to celebrate America’s birthday ( referring to NSA’s New York’s Bi-Centennial Parade on July 4, 1976 down the Avenue of the America’s). The goal of President Ikeda has awakened.

You are to practice Nyo setsu shu gyo– exactly as master taught. The disciple carries on the master’s teaching. The teaching can not be carried on without disciple.

Shin’nichi Yamamoto (Daisaku Ikeda’s pseudonym in the Human Revolution) carried on master’s will. Soka Gakkai was just a handful of small groups. Everyone against Toda. Who remained? President Ikeda tried to carry on master’s confidence toward Kosenrufu. Year 1951.

Most  crucial time-he tried to back master, but carried on mission as disciple of master.

April 2, 1957-President Toda died amidst criticism-everyone said Soka Gakkai will collapse within a few years. But Ikeda  as General Administrator behind the scenes developed the Soka Gakkai. Then up to 750,000 households.

May 3, 1960 rapid growth under Ikeda. Whole Soka Gakkai sincere dedication. Sho Hondo housing the Dai Gohonzon, the true sanctuary, Nichiren Daishonin’s will was completed on October 12, 1972. Besides the Sho Hondo, President Ikeda also was behind the reconstruction of the General Lecture Hall, Sobo’s (lodging halls on the grounds of Taisekeji) and several 100 temples throughout Japan.

Slow growth after the Second World War, but after the death of Toda the organization grew from 750,000 households to 91 nations. People looked down on such miserable members, but only Soka Gakkai established such history.’

 

by James C. Stephens


Wednesday, June 4, 1975

Cut some more pealee grass today out in the country. Got Scott to come along by telling Dale he needed to get out of the warehouse. Had a good time, especially the dip in the ocean afterwards, pants and all. Worked til 1:00 AM.

Thursday, June 5, 1975

Went to bamboo forest at 9:00 this morning to get 3,000 more feet to finish off the rest of our projects. The ranger rode in our van. I guess re’s really a heavy guy being personally responsible for us to move the island to Waikiki. He told us all about plants and their history on our way to the bamboo forest. He us about the volcanoes and how they flow into the area and create deep holes on the big Island. He cautioned us not to wander into the grass. This once was a volcanic area and the lava burned out trees and their root system and this left big holes in the ground. People disappear every year into these death traps. Wow!

After we got back, right before dinner I was told I and about 7 other guys were going to zadankai meetings. All right!

Well, I ate and headed back to the hotel. My roommate (Scott Avery) and I proceeded to get into a yell out. Woo! Mr. Murie said a lot of tension was in the air. He said some thing that really hurt, but strangely I really picked something out from it which is really true about my nature. He said, “Can’t you be just one of the guys?” That is what I’ve been chanting about for several months. I believe this will change for the better.

I found myself giving guidance. Again my arrogant nature. This MUST CHANGE! And WILL!

At the discussion meeting tonight of Cam Chapter I really felt this was a new beginning of my practice. I had a very different attitude at this meeting. This time rather than criticizing the meeting inside, I really was digging what NSA was all about. People. Scott and I really dug the meeting and the people. Of course it was such a trip all these different people chanting.

Afterwards we had coffee with Mr. Tamara and his daughter and a YMD leader. It was such a refreshing experience for my practice. I got my first Hawaiian ley at this meeting.

by James C. Stephens


May 14, 1975 Wednesday

We, meaning the advance crew arrived at about four o’clock this afternoon in Hawaii. After arriving we received a briefing from Mr. Jackson and Mr. Hirama on the great importance, the significance, and responsibility of participating in this Pre-Bicentennial Convention. They both said it really looks impossible at this time, but they really feel that we can reply to President Ikeda and Mr. William’s dreams. We were also give strict Tozan Spirit guidance.

After dinner we worked at the (the old Dole Pineapple)warehouse and boy am I tired right now! Will continue tomorrow.

 Chanted 1 hour. 12:15 AM

May 15, 1975 Thursday

Got up early and chanted a vigorous Gongyo with my four roommates: Mike Hayes, Scott Avery, Philip Louis and Scott Ferguson.

Afterwards we went to the warehouse and cleaned the remaining sections. Last night we swept and hosed and broomed all the floors. What a big warehouse!

We built the lunch benches for the meals we will have at lunch and dinner each day. What a groovy meal room.

Human Revolution’s intensity is definitely on the rise. (chanted about 1 hour today.

Tired. Goodnight. 2:55 AM.

May 16, 1975-Friday

Chanted an hour today. Learned a lot of valuable lessons today. I went through a wringer of an obstacle following one guy. He is a carpenter and very impertinent with me. Well, I must learn how to cheerfully follow, no matter what.

Before we left for the hotel I was just trying to keep my mouth shut and grow up. I did a lot of self on-shitsu and pity. I hate when I go through that obstacle, it just makes me frustrated with myself.

I’m no better than anyone else in NSA. We’re equal. I must learn to enjoy being with all sorts of people and not feel uncomfortable or make them feel that way.

I must become happy builder of unity among people and find my nitch of personality. Some people have a lot of humor. What my trait is I don’t know too well. 1 hour daimoku.

May 17, 1975-Saturday

Built tables for saws today. Sent a postcard to Shibucho. Remember the guy I had trouble with yesterday? Well, I got what I chanted for-another chance to work with him. Now we’re becoming much closer friends. Funny how unity makes things more fun to do.

Went to a nightclub and had a beer with some Portland members.

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 29, 1974

Changes

My life is like the weather. Some mornings it is foggy, but later it becomes sunny, the fog being burnt off by the midday sun. Other times I feel like a smoggy day. Sometimes smoggy days are days that bring wisps of memories back to me while at other times they are trying days to my patience, frustration. But with the rise of a new sun the next day and a Santana breeze I am filled with new vitality and hope for the future.

 

 

Challenge

The challenge of this frontier is not in conquering others but in conquering ourselves. An old man being beaten in the street, from Clockwork Orange or New York, no sir it happens in the peaceful San Fernando Valley, Sepulveda. Brutish people living as animals where are the people who cry out for humanism, brotherhood and equality? They hide from the grave responsibility which besets us as inhabitants of planet earth. The only humans fighting the greatest enemy to man are NSA members who strive to perfect their daily life. I along with my fellow NSA members brave the streets in search of Bodhisattvas who will in the near future fight alongside us for World Peace. At times it becomes a depressing ordeal, pounding the streets for hours and only words of scorn from cold hearted people. Then you ask “Is World Peace possible?” and you might reply inside with hopelessness only the next person you Shakubuku responds with a gleam in his eye of hope. A girl who joined two days ago looks to us for hope. We can’t let her down, the Gohonzon is these people’s only hope, as it is ours.

Fight on you courageous Bodhisattvas! Work is our battleground and still reeking with sweat the discussion meeting is our oasis. The streets are filled with challenges. Only because of the Gohonzon’s power can I keep up with the pace of NSA. NSA has a strong rhythm which I must build into my life. It is one constructing a harmonious positive daily life. Soon it will be my fourth anniversary with the Gohonzon. From this moment on I hope to fight with a more passionate spirit everyday. This year is my year of construction of a firmer foundation of faith with the Gohonzon as my basis. I must become like the Rock of Gibralter. My experiences are definitely going to improve and when I emcee a meeting I want people to know the Gohonzon works because of the Ichinen I show through the power of the Gohonzon.

My main task and desire is to find someone I can form a close bound with who knows a lot about the spirit of President Ikeda and Mr. Williams.

My dream is to be able to get up at 5 each morning and chant 2 hours of daimoku for one year and to become a more eloquent and intelligent person that people can look at as an example of the Gohonzon.