Posts Tagged ‘Nichiren Shoshu’

by James C. Stephens


Friday, May 06, 1977 (1:45 a.m. Saturday Morning)

This week has not gone well as far as business goes, my determination has just not been there. I am chanting daimoku for my business to get together. I’m confident this will start to come about soon.

Tonight I had my first “date” with Isabel Nagy. I’m so excited tonight, it is hard to fall asleep. So I decided to tell you what happened tonight, impressions etc. You never know, what if this was my first date with my future wife. It would be neat to read such a thing in the future and look back on first impressions.

Of course I am not trusting my ability to reason, trying to take relationships rationally, but actually I’ll just shoot out what I feel.

Isabel I am so comfortable with. Many women in fact almost all I have never felt so relaxed with. From the time I picked her up, Isabel brought up philosophy. She discussed Jung and his view on Western people turning from Western thought, i.e., Christianity and turning to Eastern thought. He thought this would also pass since it meant putting down Western traditions. We discussed Nichiren Shoshu and Zuiho Bini. NSA being very assimulative with American culture. She brought up “Equis” a play, very interesting, I must read it.

We went out to General Lee’s restaurant in Chinatown. Had a great meal, really filling and a bottle of wine. We both were pretty spaced, but feeling good. During dinner we discussed Women’s Lib, the China Wall, travel, Hotel Street Hawaii, expensive restaurants in France, etc. Basically, a super relaxed dinner.

Coronet Theater Los AngelesThen we jetted off to the play and arrived just in time for the play to start at 8:35. We saw “Vanities” at the Coronet Theater on La Cienega Blvd. Oh at Dinner I found out some of Isabel’s family history. Her mother was born in France, her father in Hungary. Father escaped from Hungary after the Russian Revolution when the Russians wanted to draft him. Her mother lived in Northern France and fled during WWII occupation. They met somewhere in France. Father wanted to go to America, but the quotas didn’t permit him. So he ended up in Canada and earned enough money through a T.V. repair business to want to send for his love, Isabel’s mom. She told him I don’t think I can come or leave my country. So he spent all his money and bought a car, clothes, etc. Then he received a letter. ‘Changed my mind. I want to come.’ She said, ‘you are the only man I love and I don’t think I could ever meet another so I decided to come to Canada.’  Consequently  no money, they lived on little and spent their honeymoon in a hotel in town.

Isabel was born July 2, 1955 on a camping trip. She was delivered in a small town hospital at _______Sound.

The play was a comedy. Very strong impact!  Isabel was going through some heavy reflection. We had a very interesting dialogue. I must say she is very aware. Basic points: 3 cheerleaders are taken through life-H.S.-College-Post College 6 years. All three are popular riding on this dream. One reflects on herself. Kathy-One is an escapist, Mary and one Joanne just floats with programmed nitch-wife, kids, hubby.

Scene II. College graduation. Kathy same role, but in college, finally what is life all about? Tears to my eyes. She is developing a seeking spirit about life-Isabel really related to this.

Mary-I don’t know what to do, but I’ll just escape to Europe. Escapism is her bag.

Joanne-getting married by graduation. Ted is everything to her-doesn’t want to think about life and just floats on dreams.

Scene III.

Girls meet together six years later at (Damn Police Helicopters flying over at 2:30 in the morning. Wonder what crime is happening now?)

Vanities

Kathy’s apartment which she lives with somebody-you don’t see of course. Enter Joanne-looks like old woman has had 3 kids and 4th is on the way. Enter Mary-sexually liberated woman (so she thinks) runs a porn art studio, sells erotic art.

Scene goes from an explosion of myths-shows Mary still escapist. Joanne into alcohol and avoiding questioning reality and then Kathy saying, “you know all those books they assigned for us to read in college, well I’ve been reading and they’re much better than all those monarch notes (crib notes). The books aren’t that bad. She also brings up the popularity fame issue which she explodes beautifully. Joanne leaves not being able to cope with Mary’s morals. Joanne’s reality being shattered and drink the only weapon to cope. Afterwards dialogue between Mary and Kathy-they toast to forget the past. Honni’myo Spirit of Kathy.

Excellent play. Started out slow until you caught what was happening.

Isabel was depressed, we talked and went out for coffee.

She was tired, went home early-12:30 a.m. She is a most attractive young lady to me. We seem to be on a very good footing with each other. I hope we can develop something. I chanted daimoku when I got home. I find I thanked the Gohonzon for a most enjoyable evening and for meeting Isabel.

A strong reflection. We hugged and I felt I didn’t want to leave her. Not just the sexual urge, but more of a feeling that I was home with her. My knees knocked, I was nervous, I told her. She laughed. Her feminine essence was very strong to me, but in a most warm way. She has much capability I know. You see I can’t stop writing about her. It’s my feeling to want to be with her.

I asked her, her first impression of me. She said, “I like to be around you and you were very open and exuberant.

Anyway, I’m going to try to sleep.

Sweet dreams.

 

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by James C. Stephens


February 6, 1977

Lots of things have been happening in my daily life recently. I’ve been concentrating on studying more and have been trying to keep up on current affairs.

Apple Computer 1977 Steve Jobs and Wozniak

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in 1977 working on the Apple II Computer.

Last Friday night I called my long term friend Pat Flaherty. It was the first time we talked to each other for about 8 years. Much changes in 8 years that’s for sure. He and I talked about the whereabouts of old friends, state of religion in society and what had been happening in each of our lives. I did shakubuku on him and he asked many questions. He admitted being very inspired by the World Tribune or should I say he said enlightened. The close of our conversation to me was most emotional. He said, “Jim, I really feel that it is not coincidence that we have kept this relation for so long. I believe there is going to be a great war. A spiritual war. I sympathize very much with the Nichiren Shoshu movement. Also there is going to be a financial war (he joked) between you and the telephone company, so we’d better cut the phone conversation short. I’ll send you a letter soon.”

I am going to send him some NSA Quarterly’s this week.

My correspondence is shaping up. Wrote many letters this week.

Scott Ferguson opening up. Tom, Scott and I had dinner last night. At first the conversation was very stiff, then everything lightened up. We are all becoming closer.

Tonight, I went over to Pat and Charlotte’s. We watched the McCarthy trials movie, did Gongyo. They made me dinner. Pat is only 19, but she is mature in many ways. Still she is young. I like her, but I’m being careful. Love is so deceiving to me. It can also so easily destroy good relationships.

Meeting with Mr. Izumi this week. He served under all three Presidents (Makiguchi, Toda, and Ikeda). Such confidence he has.

Business is picking up. This week is going to be really busy, so I must get some rest.

       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.

File1343

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.