Posts Tagged ‘Ron Stephens’

The single New Testament account, in Matthew 2:14, merely says (of Joseph): "When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt" Painting by Gerard David, c. 1510, National Gallery of Art. Joseph is beating chestnuts from a tree.
The single New Testament account, in Matthew 2:14, merely says (of Joseph): “When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt” Painting by Gerard David, c. 1510, National Gallery of Art. Joseph is beating chestnuts from a tree.

by James C. Stephens


Wednesday, December 26, 1979

I would rather lose a person as a business partner, than lose them as a friend.

Katie Newman and I talked at the party about my idea on the landscape book. On Christmas Eve she invited Liz and I over to her house to visit and the conversation turned to “the book.” While talking about the book and “my idea” it took on shades and then hues of a different color. She considered us partners 50-50 and it would be a construction industry book of services. She said she would have nothing to do with a supplier’s book. She would not “hear” my idea. She presented her idea of the book and pointed at a market I had not yet considered, that of the developer. Personally, I picked out some ideas and said, oh yes that is a great way of looking at it. However, it is not my own intent of working on and publishing a book that is of no value to the pursuit of my own career goal which as you know is in the field of Landscape Architecture.

At the time, I was or allowed myself to be dominated and saw that at that moment it was not to either of our advantages to buck that trend. However, I have had some time to think and reflect on this area and would like to let you in on the process I went through.

Katie has a very strong character and dominant. This is neither good nor bad, but depends upon what side of this character you stand on, such as a tree casts a shadow. The shadow is not bad, however if a plant that is in need of sun is in the shadow, its growth will be thwarted, if it needs shade, it’s growth on the hand will be enhanced. Now the question is, the dilemma is, am I a plant that, in this situation needs sun or shade. At first when Liz and I left she though Katie would be great for me. She’s able to concentrate on one thing at a time, I diversify. She’s dominant and would help me see that I need to not jump so far ahead that I lose track of what I am doing. On the other hand, we can look at it in quite a different manner.

Last night after we left mom’s Christmas dinner, Liz, Vincent, Adri and I stopped by Michael’s. I notices some Tarot cards and books he had picked up and he said does anyone want to have a reading? Adri–no! Vincent–no! Fear, fear, fear. I said, sure. But before I did we talked about the meaning which people place on so many things. Cards are cards, but they are also a facility through which one may look at one’s own life. First one must realize this point before he goes on. It just triggers certain realities about yourself. They are generalities and you can take them in many ways depending on the depth of your karma, your character, your state of life. Some chose to be threatened by it. I chose that I could gain something by the experience. And, an interesting experience it was. In Tarot Card reading, the questioner, interpreter of the cards asks the cards a question, then the reader casts the cards–1 being a dominant card and then followed by the others (you cut first of course). Then the reader reads the cards meaning which can be reversed or reading depending on the cards position. The questioner interprets its meaning according to his own “ear,” much as one listens to music according to his own tastes which are a reflection of him or her own upbringing, etc. 

[JCS present reflection: I’ve a totally different opinion now on the occult practices such as Tarot cards, seances, palmistry, and mediums. I recall a story of a Russian woman who after World War II ended was very worried about her husband who had been fighting on the Western front and had not returned. She was distraught and so she sought out a medium. She asked him about her husband and the medium said, “Your husband was killed on the Western front.”  The young wife then left in despair with her two children and went out and committed suicide. A week later, the husband returned from the Western front–alive. There are many studies and written accounts on the deceitfulness and dangers of the occult. I have more to say, but know that my dabbling in the occult brought me into a darker realm where I began to have frightening dreams of blood running in sinks, and strange apparitions and experiences. I would now agree with Vincent and Adri and say, No! Life is difficult as it is and there are answers which can be trusted, but the occult practices which seem harmless are not. My post is purely historical and I now do not in any way endorse what at that time I dabbled with.]

I asked a question about sex off hand. However the cards played a different hand somewhat. What I saw was a deeper more pressing question at hand. It was a relationship with Katie as a business partner. My cards all, strange at it seems pointed at ‘a new venture.’ And it was with a domineering person and it talked of a situation that was far more general than I had imagined, too many directions, and a fear that would stop completion of the project. A fear of domination. Now realize, this was just a framework that appeared in the cards and I choose to look at it the way I did. If nothing is coincidence, then I and the cards were destined to meet.

As I thought about this later, I realized that although Katie’s idea is a good one, it is not the direction I wish to proceed. #2. I came up with this idea and already she counts herself as my partner, I have not. #3 Her idea does not jive with mine. #4. I had a dream where Mike, Vincent and I were discussing something about a landscape for Vincent who is the client in the dream. Vincent wants something, Mike argues no, and I who have the creativity am not able to get a word in edgewise and become exceedingly frustrated. I feel this is a reflection I can profit by. I have to work with people I intuitively  can prosper with and do not have a character battle going on with. I can not be dominated and grow, and create my idea, i.e., working with my father I value my father as my father, Katie as a friend. #5. I am not out to make money only. I am out to expand my career and vision. #6. This other matter could sidetrack my life. I do not need that. #7. I need to put together an organization of people. Must know what I really need and want.#8. Health-wise I can not afford to come from an area of conflict. I must be in charge or be working with someone like Tracy, who reads things on the same level as I, it seems. 

~~~

Monday. I stopped by Nori’s * Park design over by the Federal Building. Interesting and yet lacking in practicality in some respects. 

Talked to Dad~selfish over us coming to dinner at his place. Argued. He’s unhappy. X-mas day we stopped by for a couple of hours. Had a couple of drinks, happy we did~resolved situation. I love him very much, a little resentment towards Ruth’s attitudes, but I can understand why she is the way she is. Liz helped out tremendously. She was nauseous again. Pepto Bismo at Adri’s.

Picked up Adri and Vincent had dinner at Mom’s~sit down dinner great. Enjoyed Mom’s, Liz’s, Sully’s company. Carol rude. Chris “miss cool” ugh, Steve, okay, Kim-Kim, her husband-Scott, Adri on a trip at the time, Vincent okay. Eddy-Kim’s son helped him build a ship, Dennis, baseball guy, yes and, Candy, his Mom. 

Talked to Ron. Tired-working hard-Xmas ski season is rough. 

Sit down dinner-right after dinner everyone got up and sat everywhere else. To me I love everyone sitting around table talking, coffee, etc. Not really that much fun. Oh well–I want a sit down dinner soon, would definitely be really fun with the right people.

Get a nice table cloth, china, silverware.

–Letters to be written, schedule to be kept, new diary to start January 1st.

-Saw Vincent get exceedingly mad over at Mike’s last night. Talked a long time. Sort of helped him out. Realized my own shortcomings. Anger at injustices. Anger at ignorance. In this I must be more patient. Vincent is very sharp, but lacking in the realm of personal communications-philosophy to avoid problem areas-yet wishes to be a politician, but refuses to mix with all types. I know though he has much potential-will take time. I don’t mean to sound like this, but he seems so familiar in this area. By the way, he will be our roommate beginning in January.

Adri got upset, walked out of the room. Everyone almost ready to leave. I stay until issues are resolved or at least until a happy medium is reached. 

Time for Gongyo. 

(Two Christmas stamps-Mary and Jesus and the other one Santa Claus. I like putting stamps in my journals).

My brother Ron and his first wife Pam, now a helicopter pilot.
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by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, November 27, 1979

Frustration would have been yesterday’s caption on my diary if I had written it. No doubt about it. Yet this morning I again am in contact with that tremendous world of conviction, confidence and freshness. How silly I am at time, or how willy nilly life is. I’ve been swayed by at least a couple of the eight winds. Yet I feel like a young sapling able to learn a lesson from the wind.

It is not the beautiful curtains, yard, paintings on the wall that makes a person happy. Yesterday I felt closed in by my environment, desirous of escaping. This morning again I feel boundless, free as the wind, as fresh as the sun in the new day. As I look up the sun greeted me with memories of Nichiren. The sky is dark and overcast yet the sun manages to burn through. It is never defeated, but burns even more brightly against the gloomy skies. I too am determined to become a beacon for all.

A great man is not held back by his own preconceptions, but can change and alter his course when he recognizes a better path.

I love my parents. I love my father. Yet he does not know what he desires to do. I must be firm. To become wealthy is not to pursue wealth. Rather it is a spiritual state. On Sado Nichiren declared even in the midst of suffering that he was the happiest man or the richest man in Japan.

Starting the first of the year I will start my business. However it will not be a conventional start. First, I desire to earn money for the propagation of Buddhism. It has been my excuse in the past not to give gokuyo because I didn’t know where it went as far as NSA. This was understandable. What is regrettable is my failure to see that the temple is a direct link to Nichiren Daishonin and that I have failed to lend my support. I (we) will begin as soon as possible.

I feel no real negativity towards NSA as I did in the past, however at present I feel NST is more open and understandable to myself. The layman’s organization is in a period of flux.

I am convinced 1980 is going to be challenging beyond my expectations. I am also determined to see my effort bear fruit this year (1980).

Tuesday, December 4, 1979

Record High for this date of 91 degrees.

Jean Claude KillyRon called tonight from Bend. He and Pam are doing fine. Ron is pretty busy with coordinating his race program at Bachelor. He sounds quite happy. I’m so glad things are going better for him. He said he’s the best skier on the mountain. He’s already beat the new Frenchman in a series of races. (The Frenchman was on the French “B” team). Ron and I talked about his attitude towards his racers. He said many will never move on to competitive careers so it is a program helping kids build their character. He however does have some pretty hot material. A couple of his guys are at the National Camp at Gunnison, Colorado this week. Ron also said there is so much ski politics up there, but for the most part he stays out of them. He is now also the Rossignol On the Hill Rep.

(Liz) Sweets got her hair cut today. At first it was hard to get used to, but now I like it. Basically, all I have been up to the last several days are drafting projects. (When people ask why my printing is so neat, I tell them mechanical drafting and hours and hours of practice and the excellent teaching of Neil Weikel).

Liz has been having some stomach type problems. Hasn’t had her period recently. Pregnant? Who knows?

Sweets and I went to Bodhi Tree Bookstore Friday night. Picked up a few good finds. Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XXXV and XXVI: Questions of King Milinda; Korzebsky: Science and Sanity; Watts, Psychotherapy East and West, Wisdom of Insecurity and last but not least the Kama sutra.

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“X” called Monday night. Talked about movement. Idea of a support group~West Coast Movement with about 250-350 supporters. Network-Gadfly important. Let’s get started.

Talked to Scott Ferguson-receptive of the idea. Ken Tapola-definite yes. Out of Navy now working at Dunlop as a machinist.

Worried about “X.” I’m afraid he’s not tackling his own personal life and goals. This could be dangerous for him and his family. I sincerely hope he is not just avoiding his own reality. I’m just concerned as a friend.

Thought about Walter Moeck tonight. He used to be the Brass Band conductor. Mike Lisagor gave him a terrible time. I will never forgive him for that. Must write Walter a letter! (Walter Moeck was the summer conductor of the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra and was my clarinet teacher. He was strict, but kind. May he rest in peace).

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Monday, December 17, 1979

Hi Diary! How are you this fine day! I hope you’re well rested and happy.

Last week I took Liz to the Doctor. Gary said she wasn’t pregnant as of yet, but gave her a week and said to bring in an urine specimen and they’d run another test. Since the day of the test she hasn’t been feeling nauseated. I’m happy for that is a lousy feeling.

Saturday night we had a Christmas party and you know all the preparation that takes. Liz made over 100 invites and I framed pictures, helped clean the house, etc., etc., etc.

Liz bakes lots of cookies (They were excellent by the way and made a superb spaghetti. There was lot of food and a whole ton of people.

People starting arriving around 4:00. First, Adrianna, Liz’s sister. She’s such a big help! She helped out tremendously. Next around 5:30, X. He started out drunk and as the night wore grew intolerable for many of the guests. He is quite an unusual character. Harmless, but with a build of 6’5″ and with a laugh so loud you’d better put up shoring around your house before he comes over. In any case the party was an interesting and festive experience nonetheless. I’ll get this out now. We had been working on an idea together as far as what can be done to help support the organization. He has been pushing to form a support group of 200-350 people who can offer suggestions to the Executive planning board from an organized power group. I had my reservations. #1. I have and still question X’s true intent at this point. I do not get the true feeling he is committed to this serious goal. I feel, and this is my intuitive feeling, that he is using the organization as an escape from his own reality. His situation at home is not conducive to running a reform movement. His wife is not well, finances are in really bad shape, they have children, beautiful at that, and he has several misconceptions about the faith. His Gongyo is very poor, health poor and drinking a severe problem. Now this is not all. His business dealings with people has left several people in highly critical situations. His construction business left one family without a kitchen, etc. and near a divorce after spending $15,000. He is a man of talk, not action. It is the last party we can afford him to attend. It is not however the end of our friendship. He needs support and what I can offer, I will. Besides him; Liz and I feel very much love towards his wife who is a tremendous women of the highest caliber. She is under much stress at present and her health is poor. I wish her all the best.

Bob Rafkin stopped by before work and dropped off a pie which was really nice of him. We talked briefly. His career is doing better once again. His divorce proceedings will occur in February.

Others who made it: Darlene Benson, Steve and Ronalee Haggard, Chris Scott, sure was good to see him, he was hobbling on a cane, having trouble with the knee he hurt in Rugby. He wanted to know what was happening with the literary group. I told him everyone but me sort of petered out. He’s still interested, so we’ll start again soon. He said his house could also facilitate such a meeting.

Vincent Wong, Michael Roquemore (we had a good chat and he had a fine talk with Linda Valles, his former roommate for many years); Michael also expressed an interest in Judy. I forgot to mention Steve H remarked on my Alan Watts books and his own interest in Zen Buddhism. I found this to be exciting. Steve and Ronalee and Liz and I get along well together and have a good relationship. Steve and I played racquetball week before last. It was my first time and I did quite well. Last week I spent many hours drafting away. I worked through one night and didn’t get to sleep until 9:30 AM.

Who else came? Lets’s see, there was Jeff Silver, Linda Dekowski-very nice gal who is a friend of Jeff’s, Devorah Sorrell, Pat Kremer, Guy Boudoin, Katie Newman-we talked business-she’s a wonderful woman. Bruce Barnes and Maggie DeLux-they’re engaged to be married, Ric and Bethany Coleman, Les Steinberg and his mother Lillian, Kelly, Shawna, Judy Gold and Glen-we had a great talk and it was so nice to see her. Glen is really jealous, so we really had no time to talk. Beth Minton and her boyfriend Michael came by, Karen Okata and her friend, Kate and her brother Randy Schindler; Ford Watson brought over a whole lot of food, very generous of him, Dion Dow and Nancy, Steve Seigal, Allan, Ron Kolman, Bobbie and Joey Gluskin, Alice and Sully, Jane Murad, Brent Wilson, Jason and Mary Jane Kovatch, Ed Nakata, Michael Hayes, Linda and Victor Valles and friend Sal, Thomas and Zadith Fresquez, Russ Isobe, John DeGomez, and Donald Hodges.

I stayed up til 3:30 talking with Jeff, Linda, Katie, Pat, Allen and Steve Seigal. Then from 3:30 to 6:30 cleaned up the house to surprise Sweets who’d retired to bed. We slept most of the day and enjoyed every moment of it.

Sunday evening we went out to a Moroccan Restaurant called Dharma Greg. It was a gathering with Les and Jeanette and her friends, Ric and Bethany, Elaine Geeler and her lawyer friend. Food was nowhere as good as at the Moon of Tunise and the atmosphere was less than comfortable-I suppose it was also the company. We did not enjoy ourselves quite frankly.

I’ve been listening to some really funny W.C. Fields cuts and also to some famous bloopers, they’re great!

Anyway, Goodnight.

 

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, November 6, 1979

Well, well, well. Deep hole in the ground right?! Lots has transpired since I last wrote you. Right now I’m sitting in Room 339 of St. Charles Hospital in Bend, Oregon with Dad. Sunday he entered the hospital and was having tremendous difficulty breathing. At first they though it was a heart problem. Then after x-rays and Dad’s own body wisdom they discovered 4 clots in his lungs. He was in intensive care on Sunday and Monday. Sunday afternoon-Ron called me in Los Angeles at about 11:30. At 1:40 I was on a United 727 to Portland. I arrived in Portland at 4:20 to the tune of “Singing in the Rain.” Hah. I caught the Tri-Mountain Bus downtown for 45 cents and was very lucky to meet two sisters-Debbie and Missy, who showed me to the Trailways station and prior to that showed me around the City Center Parks. Anywhere downtown the bus is free and no cars are allowed in designated areas. The fountains are really beautiful.

Wednesday, November 7, 1979

Dad is doing a lot better. He’s out of intensive care and in a room with a real nice view of the surrounding area. Tuesday I spent most of the day with him. He had a bad pain in his side on Tuesday morning at 3 a.m., but has felt less pain since then. He said he hasn’t felt any pain today. His Dr. Hurlass said that his lungs sound better and that the x-rays show 3 masses of blood clot present, but that they look better. He increased the blood thinning agent more and today took him off oxygen. Dad was telling me that he has had this shortness of breath all summer and that during his hunting trip he sensed something was really wrong. He cut his trip short in Montana and by the time he was in Bend he was feeling pretty bad. Saturday night his breathing was really short and he was was gasping for breath and looked white as a sheet. After quite a little talking they got Dad to go into the Hospital. The next morning Ron had the lump under his chin operated on. He was nervous as a leaf. He’s a real rambunctious guy. The first day he was in some pain from the anesthesia and then the second he was up doing laps around the hospital building. The lump was not a tumor, but an infection from foreign matter determined to be plant material. Possibly wood. It formed such a lump around the foreign particle that antibiotics couldn’t fight the problem prior to the operation. It was difficult operation and surgery took over an hour. Since the Dr. had to move many nerves including auditory, and other sensory nerves. It was a successful operation still the doctor had to remove one salivary gland, but said he would not have a dry mouth and the other 3 glands could do the job.

Back to Portland. It was quite educational to see the fountains there. Debbie and Missy showed me all the neat parks.

One was a grass amphitheater which was pleasant looking.

The Bus stops were covered in plexiglass and provided protection from the rain.

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Can’t wait to get rid of the sore throat I’ve caught up here. I guess sleeping on the floor at Ron’s, the rainy weather, the cold and dry heat hasn’t helped matters at all.

Liz and I talk twice a day. She misses me a lot. I miss Liz that goes without saying. I can understand that since its lonely being home alone. I’m busy enough not be feeling too lonely. Dad and Ron keep me going, and also visiting with my Mom and calling people and meeting all the nurses and Doctors and other people. Soon, I’ll be home.

 

by James C. Stephens


Wednesday, June 05, 1979

Finished a terrific day off with life. I love my wife very deeply. Our relationship is growing tremendously each day and I would just like to express my appreciation here of my wife’s magnificence. I will stick by her no matter what, let me always remember this. Death will not sever our relationship. I think I experience fear of things worsening when things seem to be getting better at times. We must both look ahead. This is of utmost importance. Then our relationship is so terrific. After the toso tonight, on the way back home, Liz talked about many things she was feeling. I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am to hear her communicate so freely. It’s such a tremendous joy for me to experience her exuberance.

Judy called this evening and left a message on the tape. She got my letter and was moved to hear from me. I tried to reach her at 11:10, however no one was home. I’ll try tomorrow.

Had teeth cleaned today. Talked to Dr. Coombs. Seems to be having some problems. I like the guy; had a short conversation regarding his work and his having bad days.

Physical exam for General Telephone Employment application. Dr. Stevens’ letter upset me in its incompleteness. Worked it out. Still waiting for the word on acceptance.

Breakfast with Kathy this morning. Talked about our experience with workshop and our sexual relationship with people. Interesting.

Toso tonight. Chanted for about 45 minutes. I ended up leading it. Session of chanting was a real personal workshop. Benefited from the experience greatly. Feel tremendous. Sleep well! Love, me.

P.S. Saw Suzanne Tarlton tonight. Talked with Geoff Johnson, very interesting fellow, has a lot going, hope to see him more. Our conversation was meaningful. Instead of flitting around to several people, I really stayed with him and gave him my presence. I enjoyed sharing with him.

File1209Wife and I sailed on Sunday with brother Ron in Marina Del Rey. It was a fun experience. Of course it was cold and I broke out in usual hives and rash. Most of all I enjoyed seeing Liz take off in boat with Ron. Her first time sailing. Leaning over board, switching sides, it was exciting. What a trip!

Went through a quick number previous to going sailing with Mike going to Malibu and Liz possibly going. I wanted her with me. My possessive nature. It worked out, but the conflict remains inside me although no where as heavy as previously.  Goodnite., Oh one more thing.

Went to General Lecture tonight with Sudo. A real drag. Started on my personal campaign to become a class A lecturer on Buddhism. I can do it.

Thursday, June 14, 1979

File1338The Actualization’s workshops for June began today with seven NSA members attending. Donna Bond, Darlene Benson, Ford Watson, Greg Case, Ric Coleman, and Elaine Elders.

Yesterday Liz and I attended Holiday Spa for the fourth time. Chris DeLisle, Lydia and Linda came with us. On our way out we ran into Judy the Doctor of Psychology who took the May workshop. We spent over an hour in the Van talking. It was an interesting experience. One observation. Everyone goes through bummers, the important things is to keep moving, keep doing and you’ll work through it.

Afternoon drove Bob Rafkin to pick up wife’s car from UCLA hospital. They’re in the process of getting a divorce and Joanne is bringing a lot of sickness to herself by tension, etc. She has colitis and has been bleeding internally. She needs to practice, but evidentally is not facing the reality of the situation. Suzanne and Mrs. Harris evidently have been giving Bob one hell of a rough time. Liz and I met him at Pacific Sandwich and Savings tonight and spent some time together.

Big thing accomplished this week. Got hired at General Telephone as a customer service representative. Big step.

Problems with school-no motivation. Just dropped off.  Did learn some good stuff so I don’t feel I wasted money and time.

So much happening. Spa is definitely a plus experience. Redoing house, less clutter, more light, more spacious. Environment reflects my life condition.

Roquemore and my friendship meaningful. Great friend. Reading Kahlil Gibran. Bought several of his books.
Les Steinberg and my relationship-rocky. He seems unsure of who he is. Being a judge much of the time. Uncomfortable being around him. I assume part of the responsibility.

NSA reorganization plan from the Executive Planning Board–not impressed so far. However, I am open to possibilities. Belief that Workshop campaign is most valuable booster now for NSA.

Substance vs. Form is essence of any look at Organization.

Have been going through major ups and downs.

Feeling more stable. Action. Very important. Creative energy.

I am definitely feeling better about myself. I mean this is a major benefit.

Liz and I have our trying times, I need to give her more space to herself. For our relationship.

Cancelled music lessons-finances-must work on this one together. I must take more responsibility there.

Garden prospering. Yard is improving day by day.

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, September 5, 1978

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Liz and I drove up to see Ron and Pam at Mammoth. They are moving to Montana the end of September and will be working at Whitefish’s Big Mountain Ski Resort. We had a really nice visit with Ron and Pam and had a relaxing vacation I’d say. Liz and I went jogging in the mountains and boy was that refreshing. We discussed jogging back in L.A. and decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea. I think the real benefit of the trip was being with my wife and seeing what a fantastic gal she is. We discussed many things and came to the conclusion that we needed to set a goal again. We had so many things going we had no direction. So we decided the most important of the goals was a house.

Monday, December 4, 1978

Boy it seems hard to write in my diary anymore. My obstacles seem so abstract and it seems hard to put them down in words. Well lots has happened in the past 9 months since Liz and I have been married, much of which I haven’t yet recorded. I have gone through a lot of human revolution and in the past couple of weeks we have made a couple of decisions which are of course major ones in my life. Liz, Dad and I helped Ron and Pam move to Montana in September and Liz really liked Montana. Of course I have always loved Montana, but it was equally important that my wife like the idea of moving there. Her happiness is most important to me. We are a team of course…

 

So while Dad was away in Montana I worked the business myself and had sometime to think about my future. Then while Dad was still away Liz and I moved into Dad’s place in order to save some money and pay some bills. After Dad got back Gary Curtis and Kay Yoshikawa came by one night and visited. Gary really encouraged me in my practice. Until then I was feeling really progressively worse as far as my whole attitude. I felt confused and extremely frustrated.

He must have perceived my condition and at the same time its remedy. He told me that I should apologize to the Gohonzon for trying to figure everything out or thinking I was smarter than the Gohonzon. He also told me I was acting like a 40 year old, contemplating more than acting. Don’t spend so much time thinking. Make action, so what if you make a mistake, that’s why you need to be around leaders more. You’d see they make action, they do Hendoku Iyaku if they’re wrong. As far as moving to Montana if you move up and decide it’s not for you, you can always come back. don’t be afraid of what others say. Be your own man.

I followed his guidance on apology and action to the letter. And though I have never been one to really apologize, I can not believe what a tremendous effect (above my intellect) that it has had. I feel most confident of my own identity and things are really different with me. I’ve made two big changes. 1. We made a decision to move in September 1979 to Montana, and 2. I terminated my partnership with my father on the best of terms. One week later I was assigned to a different chapter–West Hollywood to be exact, and mad a vice chapter chief in the YMD. This to me is a great challenge. My life is definitely changing. I feel a bit shaky, but confident of the new route. Well I’m off to Beverly Hills monthly leader’s meeting.

Thursday, December 28, 1978

Liz and I dropped by Les’s and gave him a copy of Dicken’s David Copperfield for his birthday. We also talked of an idea we had of how to improve our discussion meetings. Basically it entails dividing the district into smaller units of approximately 10-15 people and holding discussion meetings at people’s homes over coffee or tea. So let’s say one district had thirty people, for instance. You would have two meetings going on simultaneously. He felt the idea was worth a try. Evidently somewhere else it had or is being tried.

Tonight I read some of President Ikeda’s Youthful Diary and personally was greatly encouraged. Yet in a sense I am ashamed of my own actions as a human being. But I am determined to make this into fuel for my personal development as a human being. Since November I have not been working. In a sense I feel I’ve retreated, but don’t feel any remorse. The first two weeks of December I became ill with the flu, Russian I believe. For five days I had temperature. Two days of 102 degrees, one of 102.8. I did Gongyo in bed a couple of days because of the chill I felt.

JRR Tolkien Lord of the Rings

JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.

I became more ill. During my illness I chanted only a small quantity of daimoku I felt very weak. I did quite a great deal of reading to pass the time. I tackled and finally conquered JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.  It was a most enjoyable and informative book. I think I gained a new respect for life in several ways from this book. It is a book of the struggle of good against a dark evil. In a sense it triggered thoughts of a Bodhisattva’s struggle in our benighted world. A struggle by a common man, in this case a hobbit, against a powerful foe. A struggle against one’s own doubt and greed, a struggle which awakened the shoten zenjin in the environment.  Frodo holding onto the Evil Ring of Sauron and also the Phial of Galadriel. It reminds me of my own internal battle against the claws of greed and power taking us over. The phial of Galadriel like the Gohonzon inspiring a greater goodness inside. The power to complete the Quest, Gandalf the White against strong enemies protecting Frodo who grew from a meek Hobbit to a Hobbit of Great Integrity and Courage. Saurumon, or Sharky wicked society or wise man corrupted by the sweet sounds of power and greed.

All of this is good and wise. But I must indeed forge my own foundation through my own challenge. May, will be the month we will move to Montana. A great challenge lies ahead. Yet a great challenge must be to enjoy each moment and create value each day. Otherwise I’ll be living like a Christian seeking heaven after death. Past, present and future are contained in this moment.

I had a career realization which I deem a great challenge, but something I would really like to accomplish. To study international business, get a MBA and to learn fluently 4 languages.

  1. Russian
  2. Chinese
  3. Japanese
  4. French

I feel that the future will need linguists who can communicate among other people. It is a deep feeling for kosenrufu which spurs me in this direction. I want to study Buddhism as my hobby. Maybe even progress to the point where I could teach a class at the University of Montana.

  1. I need to develop a strict discipline of study.
  2. I determine to live a daily life worthy of a disciple of the Daishonin. Now I can only say I’m not, but I will do Hendoku Iyaku in this area!
  3. I need to develop a rhythmical daily life based on faith, based on creating value.
  4. I need to become constructive, active and devoid of slander.
  5. Joyful practice.

Too late. 1:47 am, must sleep and rise at 6:00 am with Liz.

by James C. Stephens


June 1, 1978

“The prime point of the Gakkai is, and always will be, the people. Never forget that our prayers and exhaustive efforts to protect their happiness will give rise to true human justice.”  -Daisaku Ikeda

Hawk and Rabbit

Again I struggle with my dark nature. Feeling defeated in business I feel like crawling into a corner. However, I only realize there is no corner. I feel like a rabbit being stalked by a hawk on the prairie. The only place I have felt left to turn is inward to myself for the answer. I am chanting to the Gohonzon to overcome this.

Night before last I kicked a member out of my house or basically I asked him to leave. I am not a very poignant example of a leader I’m afraid. At 27 Pres. Ikeda was something else.

The worst part of it is, I don’t regret it. I sincerely feel he got what he deserved. If after all I have tried to do for the guy, he tells me that what I say is full of crap and he just wanted to give me a second chance. And whether or not I descended to his level or not, I’d kick anyone out of my house. I sincerely hope and have been chanting that he realizes something from it. I am already.

Possibly I handled the situation wrong as my Chapter Chief Mr. Dixon suggests. I didn’t see him with true mercy. I’m sorry I just can’t buy all this stuff yet. I’m not a Buddha A-1. I am not his parent, I am more closely a brother. I’m not perfect. I chanted for his happiness before he came over. I can’t help it if I acted or reacted in the way I did. I believe one has to be true to his feelings about certain things. All I can do is try to get something from what Bob Dixon said.

June 15, 1978

Notes from Young Men’s Division Soka Group meeting:

Soka group formed November 2, 1976.

To take care of everyone, Soka Group should study a lot, (Gosho).

To protect all members.

To become capable leaders in society.

To develop ourselves as individuals.

Mr. Saito in Japan.

To challenge difficulties in life. Trash group–behind the scenes. I must challenge egoism.

Role of Soka Gakkai in 1979.

Dave Martinez Soka Group Chief.

Daily campaign.

Develop younger Soka group members.

Mr. Williams.

To be a Soka Group is greatest honor and privilege.

You are President Ikeda’s group.

Vanguard of all campaigns.

Soka Group should read three books:

–Gosho

Human Revolution Vol. X

Ode to Youth.

These three books are the important key to develop your spirit.

Volume X=Spirit of the Soka Gakkai.

Soka Group Mottos:

  1. To protect all the members. Yamamouchi-TCD who saved women from death.
  2. To take care of members–courtesy, bright way.
  3. Behind the scenes- Itoko wa wareba–behind the scenes efforts, visible benefits you will enjoy someday.

Don’t be swayed by trivial You are crown prince, lion cub. Like Samarai you need a place to fight. When Samarai has no direct lord, they ask other lords if he can fight for them. Without district meetings, where can you fight for Kosenrufu? Or be idealistic?

You are in a district. You fight. You are the vanguard. Jet engine. Tremendous.

Leader without experience—miserable! Leader gains wisdom through experience. Don’t avoid problems. You are keyholder. Chant for kosenrufu. More problems–more progress.

It takes flint and a rock to make a spark. Youthful energy is only produced by putting our views on the line with the understanding they could be wrong, but realizing this is the course to laying our foundation of life philosophy.

June 21, 1978

“Throughout our campaign, let’s protect our fellow members and compensate for each other’s shortcomings. Let’s forge on in unity, radiant and light hearted.” —President Ikeda’s Daily Guidance.

Now that I have had some time to think about the situation with T.., I readily agree with Mr. Dixon’s analysis of the situation. I sincerely regret causing anymore ill feelings between us. Only my shallowness remains to be examined. I will apologize to him at the earliest opportunity. I am worried about his health, he has never been too well and I heard a report yesterday that he went to the Veteran’s hospital and had a conference with a psychologist. Evidently he broke down crying during the encounter. I must take action. I must overcome my shallowness in feeling, etc. toward my responsibility as a human being!

Sunday morning we had an RSG meeting with Tony Sugano. It was quite high spirited. I gave a RSG experience on my January 1971 near death experience and being saved by a fellow RSG Ron Thruelson.

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My Brother Ron and his first wife Pam, a helicopter pilot.

Sunday afternoon Liz and Dad and I celebrated Father’s Day with dinner. It was an enjoyable day. At 5:00 or so Pam, Ron’s wife, Mom and Carol stopped by. Though unexpected, the occurrence was interesting. Pam stayed for awhile and just when we were all getting into a good conversation, Mom and Carol returned from the bar and everyone left.

 

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.