Posts Tagged ‘Nichiren Shoshu Academy’

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.

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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.

by James C. Stephens


April 1, 1974

Ikeda at UCLA 1974

Daisaku Ikeda, President of the Soka Gakkai greeting Nichiren Shoshu Academy members after his address “Toward the 21st Century”  at UCLA. 

How fortunate a youth I am to be able to attend such a lecture with our master President Ikeda. The auditorium was totally packed and 2 of my Shakubuku who have Gohonzon were there! Marsha Bingham and Gary Shelton. Strangely almost all of Sepulveda ended up on the floor in front of the front row of chairs to listen to President Ikeda talk with us. He looked at all of us. His humanism permeated the room. Some of the points which deeply impressed me were “If you have a motto, but don’t practice it, it is nothing but a joke. Arnold Toynbee (the English historian) and his wife get up every morning at 6:00. Our fight is to become human beings from animals. I’ll post the clipping of the speech in here, that will give the accurate speech.

Toward the 21st Century Drawing by JCS UCLA 1974 inverted


JCS. Research note 2016. In 1974, I didn’t find a copy of his speech, although it may have been printed, but did find a listing of his addresses  and was surprised to find UCLA at the top of the list as his first University lecture abroad.  Some of the transcripts are included.  http://www.daisakuikeda.org/sub/resources/records/lectlist.html

 

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


April 22, 1973

George M Williams NSA General DirectorGeneral Meeting with General Director Williams reporting on his Central American Tour to Santa Domingo, Caracus, Venezuela, & Panama.

‘Learn faith from everyone no matter who. President Ikeda sent this message to you: “NSA leads the Kosen-rufu of the world.” Become warm hearted. Study Nichiren Daishonin’s writings in more depth. You are pioneers of Myoho.

‘I am 42 years old’. Mr. Williams lived in Korea for the first 15 years of his life. 27 years ago, I was a student at Seoul high school. left school to build airport, as I touched down memories brought tears to my eyes.

‘Korea has two joint headquarters with 500,000 active members. Strange, without any help they develop themselves, no support.

‘Disciples of President Ikeda same throughout the world. We are equal human beings under Gohonzon.

‘Two days we prepare to meet with officials of Korean government and cabinet members. Start pushing Mr. Williams, “Why face east?” Wait a minute! We live in US, we face New York.”  Afterwards they completely understand! Next question: “Why do we read sutra in Japanese?” Mr. Williams explained, “That it is the same for everyone. Mr. Parks name doesn’t even change when you go to America. Same name.

‘Explained hippy to happy story. After two top CIA men, talk to Chuan Wa (sp?) -top government, then cabinet members, born in San Swe Gen (sp?). Born same place. Pres. invited them to dinner. The met with Public Relations Bureau Chief.

‘New country program of reconstruction. Whole country dirty: they are trying to build new country. Primeminister asked NSA to help country and together try our best.

‘6 days CIA agents became good friends with NSA.

‘Hancho meetings. Felt really like real brothers and sisters of President Ikeda. When I (GMW) was young baby, my mother was sick, and I almost died. Korean mothers nursed me so I cried with WD (Women’s Division) because they raised me.

‘CIA agents always smiled. All the Korean members are interested in NSA movement and President Ikeda. GMW told Korean members he will bring NSA members to visit Korean members. So I teach you Korean- “Amo Hasaminicka’ Hello, how are you?’

‘Five years ago I applied for American citizenship. Tommorrow, April 23, I will swear my Citizenship for America.”

‘President Ikeda spoke on the Kaimoku Sho. Nichiren Daishonin wrote in Sado island during exile, most important guidance. Memorize this Gosho. Live or die together with the Gohonzon. Don’t blame anybody but yourself, fight against yourself.

‘Every day, morning to night, many problems, but Nichiren Daishonin say, ‘keep strong faith, pure faith to Gohonzon and that way you will attain enlightenment.’