Posts Tagged ‘Nichiren Shoshu’

       by James C. Stephens



Sunday, June 1, 1975

Cut Peelie Grass today in the countryside at a site which Hawaii, the film was made. Afterward we made a stop at a beautiful beach and went swimming in our pants. What a gas!

Monday, June 2, 1975

Everybody went out cutting bamboo except for our crew, “the minutemen” and some engineers. Then Mr. Kikumura stopped by and looked everything over.

The convention is going through some heavy obstacles. First the floating island has to pass the Environmental Protection Agency’s foray. Then if it doesn’t it goes to a public hearing and 300 interest groups have to pass some type of judgment on the project. Next, the Coast Guard requires a life jacket, not just any one, but a coast guard approved life jacket for every person on the vessel. Well we can’t just rent them, because they don’t. We can’t buy them-$60 a piece would be insane. We can’t borrow them from the Navy because they’re not Coast Guard approved. Then again we can’t borrow them from the Coast Guard because their life jackets are not Navy approved. Then of course there is the weather. The surf has to be absolutely perfect. If it’s too high during a certain time of day then it can’t be moved in all day, because the tide is high enough to get the island (the floating stage we called an island) through the channel only once a day.

Sancho Shima continues! But fortunately so does the daimoku!

Sunday June 3, 1975

Today I went through some heavy human revolution. I really saw very clearly through my crew chief where I was at as far as one aspect of my character. My crew chief Mike Strawbinger from San Diego is really far out. I like him and admire his sincerity and never die spirit. Just over two weeks past we have been getting close as friends. The I noticed myself getting really bossy and taking advantage of his trust. What a drag! But that’s one of my big problems. Then he said a couple of words to me and consequently I went through a heavy change, walked in and chanted daimoku.

I felt really bad about the way I was especially after chanting the length of time I have. As I was very upset and could not hold back the tears for treating such a nice person the way I did. I chanted and chanted. I walked out of the daimoku room drying my eyes. I then ran into Mike who introduced me to one of his friends from San Diego. I exchanged greetings with him and then left for the bathroom and ran into one of my Hawaiian friends and smiled and hurried fro the bathroom. I locked myself in one of the toilet stalls and just freaked. Then I walked to go back to work and my head cho Dick Robido asked me how I was. I told him not too hot. Then we walked outside and around the block. We had an extremely encouraging talk. Our natures are really kenzoku. I told him I have an extreme pride and its hard for me to admit I’m wrong at times. One trait has held me back from developing good friends. It became crystal clear what it was during such an experience. This convention will definitely break it, I’m confident of this!

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, October 30, 1973

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

 

Wednesday, October 31, 1973

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

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

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

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

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.

by James C. Stephens


April 27, 1973

This month in fact, ever since Sepulveda became a chapter I have gone through some changes. My district chief Mike Lisagor has really helped me understand more of the spirit of this Buddhism and of President Ikeda. He has had many of the same problems that I have. We are definitely kenzoku.

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For the last four or five Fridays I have been working on the Malibu Training Center. The Training Center is right next to the ocean. I can’t say but the feeling is so fresh and pure like the beautiful forests. Not like Mammoth Mountain, but a feeling of serenity and power and freshness. I believe it must be President Ikeda’s spirit.

Recently, I freaked out when I was really sick, I could hardly breathe and I can really understand shiki-shin funi from this. What was strange about this time that I got that titan feeling, was it so and ugly I thought what would I do if I wasn’t in Nichiren Shoshu; so instead of waiting around for someone to feel sorry for me and encourage me, I called my soshibucho Gary Curtis, and told him my problem. He told me I had no goals in my life. Even if its just to get across the street a person must have a goal he can reach. I told him I used to enjoy things so much and he said when you get older that fortune goes away, but by chanting you can get that excitement back. He said to call him back in a couple of days after I chant three hours of daimoku a day. Well I chanted and it felt like a new beginning. I didn’t stay home and chant those three hours, but I reached my World Tribune goal. I got one World Tribune on the street which was such a good feeling.

My brother flew in from Colorado earlier and we went out to Two Guys from Italy for dinner with my dad before the meeting. After the meeting I freaked out about being alone, but its so strange I am feeling stronger inside about just standing up.

My problem is just keeping going. I have a lot of things I want to do, but I am so lazy I never do anything, so I really chanted to overcome this and even more my on-shitsu nature. I really weep many tears during my daimoku and then Mr. Williams came and chanted many daimoku with us in Brass Band. I just don’t understand but I really felt alot for Mr. Williams. He has so much patience to put up with people like me. I was really choked up with tears while chanting to the Joju Gohonzon. Even with my bad nature Sogohonbucho really loves us. I’m really a fortunate person to be with him last night.

Russ explained at Band what he explained to me earlier when I called him that it is our Christian nature to be defeated and accept it. He said Sogohonbucho is always victorious. He never just stops, but always fights to win.

 

 

by James C. Stephens


July 24, 1972

For the past weeks I had been working on a maintenance job. At first I thought the job would be alright, but the boss wanted us to start at 7:30 instead of 8:00 and instead of getting off at 5:oo we would get off at 6:30. Everyday I really learned alot about society and my life also. Nichiren Shoshu is really a castle, but outside I never realized how radically tense and hateful people were.

My father for the past weeks has really been having a rough time. He always looks so sad. Last night we went out and had a bite to eat and we both really missed family life. It’s hard for me to encourage him. After dinner and Gongyo I hit the sack.

Ron came in soon afterwards, which was strange. The next morning we just walked around Northridge Fashion Center after we went to try to pick up his check, and then came home. There dad was laying down and we all talked. Ron was very discouraged and dad just as well. The whole situation is really a very sad saga in American life.

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Brass Band. Although this was a photo of us preparing for the 1976 NY Convention. Many of us were in band earlier as well. John Krasno, Barry, Kurt Triffet, Dan Castle, etc.

Sunday after a short notice from Sogohonbucho about the San Diego parade we marched and every NSA parade unit won a trophy and we ended up with the Sweepstakes.

It was a very significant parade as it is the last parade we entered calling ourselves Min-on. From now on they are NSA parades. Our woodwind section is really getting together a step more. The people who participated in this parade were:

John Krasno, Rich Rode, Chip Chiparelli, Mark Tirade, Nobuhiro Nagahiro, Mike John, Mike Lisagor, Keith Ford, Dave Valencia, Dan Castle, Curtis Simmons, Kurt Triffet, Stan Gustavson.

The crowd on the sidelines really cheered us on, members and non-members alike were really impressed with our NSA marching groups. It was really fantastic.

by James C. Stephens


Monday, October 11, 1971

 

Saturday night we had 12 Shakubuku sign Gohonzon applications. At 11:15 we chanted at the #1 Headquarters the same time Sogohonbucho and American members saw Dai-Gohonzon. What can I say?

Sunday my Shakubuku Dave Whitman received Gohonzon at Myohoji. We also did Kosen-rufu Gongyo[1].

Saturday night we also achieved our goal of 1000 Shakubuku. I will never forget this campaign. It will be a great memory.

When Dave received his Gohonzon, it was a happy moment for me. When he was driving me home he said, “I overheard what Nancy said about a good friend taking her to a meeting and then quitting. My sister did the same thing. When other people Shakubukued me my bad nature really came out. They tried to get me to buy World Tribune. But when you Shakubukued me it was different. You gave me a Seikyo Times; you gave me stuff. That blew my mind.”

Now I know the sayings true: right time, right place, right circumstances.

Tonight we had our Sho-Hondo ceremony with Pres. Ikeda in Japan. After Gongyo during daimoku a film of last year’s ceremony was shown. I really felt like I was at the ceremony.

Soshibucho Gary Curtis said that the Sho-Hondo was the greatest importance in our practice. It’s completion is not symbolic, but it is as real as the Great Secret Laws of Daimoku and Dai-Gohonzon.

Up until October 12, 1972 you might say Dai-Gohonzon has been exclusive property of Nichiren Shoshu. But Nichiren said the Dai-Gohonzon was property of Ichinen Budai or the universe. So as of October 12, 1972 the Dai-Gohonzon is for all mankind. In fact Pres. Ikeda is going to invite all World Leaders to chant or see and chant to the Dai-Gohonzon for World Peace. Then Kosen-rufu…

One girl had a Shakubuku experience I must record. She was to be a hostess at the Biltmore for a McGovern rally or dinner. She wanted instead to do Shakubuku that day for the meeting. Well, she couldn’t, so chanted hard to show the power of the Gohonzon. Once she arrived there were 40 other hostesses she said who looked like they had been in the business 500 years. But for some reason the head lady pointed to her and said you are the leader.

So she had to organize 40 ladies who were on-shitsuing[2] her to death.  But she directed them and they did a good job for so little training. They really followed. The hall she said she decorated like a welcome she’d done for Japanese students. When McGovern walked in he exclaimed how beautiful it was. But she said you haven’t heard the benefit. ..They had an hour break in which they usually talk about Harriet’s marriage, her new boyfriend, etc. Well, she started chanting daimoku in another room. Later, all 40 hostesses chanted the rest of the hour with her. The next hour was to mingle with the guests. She shakubukued Paul Newman for 1 ½ hours. Also McGovern. Next McGovern was allotted an hour to speak. He spoke ten minutes and looked to Nancy and said, “Now a word from Nancy.” Nancy had no idea. She just remembered what Sogohonbucho had said to people.

She told them how great Pres. Ikeda was and how so Sogohonbucho. How great America was and will be. Seattle, etc. At the end everyone was in tears including McGovern.

“For once they had hope,” she said. It really changed from a situation of well here we go again for election time~ to one of hope.

Remember the boy who gave Ethel Kennedy the cross? Well, he’s really Christian right? Well he came up with tears and asked to come to a meeting.”

 


 

[1] Kosen-rufu Gongyo are prayers for World Peace that are chanted once a month by members around the world. The final silent prayer in Gongyo reads, “I SINCERELY PRAY FOR THE REALIZATION OF WORLD PEACE AND HAPPINESS, THROUGH THE GOHONZON’S BESTOWAL EQUAL BENEFITS UPON THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE AND THE WHOLE WORLD.”

[2] On shitsu basically means slandering.

Myohoji Temple: The first Nichiren Shoshu temple in America which was originally located in Etiwanda, California. Their duties included gojukai, a Buddhist type baptism which is required when receiving the Gohonzon in which the new devotee bows and is tapped on the head by a rolled up Gohonzon. The priest also conducts marriage ceremonies and funerals as well as New Year’s Gongyo and other lectures.

“In the Gojukai Ceremony, the recipient vows to sincerely believe Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings and to practice and uphold the Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws, thus abandoning incorrect religions and all that is against the true Law. Therefore, a person who receives Gojukai should have the pure determination to practice true Buddhism wholeheartedly and to discard objects of prior religious attachments.”

“The Lotus Sutra states:

It is difficult to keep this sutra. I shall be glad to see anyone who keeps it even for a while. So will all the other Buddhas. He will be praised by the Buddhas. He will be a man of valor, a man of endeavor. He should be considered to have already observed the precepts.

(Hokekyo, p. 419)”

A short video of the ceremony. Gojukai Ceremony https://youtu.be/AuMzH1KQzVY

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, September 7, 1971

 

Quite hot and humid because of the rain yesterday. Dad did Gongyo together with me. It took an hr and 10 minutes, but we did it. I got a hell of a lot accomplished today and my schedule helped I’m sure. I didn’t crash all day which is a change for me.

 

Last night I brought a guest, Nina, she’s a bicycler. I’m sure she’s a Bodhisattva. We had a good Shakubuku meeting with four guests.

 

After the meeting I split and did a lot of Shakubuku on the way home. I reshakubukued these two Jesus freaks that had titaned from Nichiren Shoshu. They dress good, but their lives are ugly and feel extremely wicked. They really slander Gohonzon, but do they cut my karma. They’re so ugly.

 

But ten minutes later I shakubukued a guy from Valley Jr. College that works at Valley State and he gave me his address.

 

I must continue fighting for Kosen-rufu, under all circumstances. I must not stop for anyone.

 

Dad bought me dinner and gave me $20 to pay off my bike. We were really scraping for money, but he collected $85 installment he had forgotten about. It will make things much easier and comfortable.

Today, I started keeping a household expense account.