Posts Tagged ‘Russ Dilando’

by James C. Stephens


October 25, 1974

You need a job to keep your life together. I decided that I could not go to school and keep my life somewhat together. Consequently, I sought work. For the last three weeks I have been working at Litton Industries, which has been a very good learning experience. I have been learning a lot about cost analysis in my position as a data aide. At first I was frustrated not going to school, but as far as my life is I can’t afford to go to school, nor can my life condition take it. I’m not a good professional student. In the near future I would enjoy taking nite courses and eventually graduate.

This month my practice has not been as strong as in the past moth, but I have nonetheless been learning much from my experiences. I have started dating a girl I’m falling in love for. I know that sounds corny, dating and in love. For me it’s really a change. And I think it has been coming for a long time. One thing I do know is that my human revolution is being magnified greatly. But I welcome it!

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This month I got guidance to join the Bagpipes. What a groovy experience and human revolution on top of that!

We reached our Gojukai goal, AAO! AAO! (a Japanese “hip, hip hooray!”)

Last nite I was at the 1st Headquarters and Russ Dilando asked me to take toban because the other tobans were late, so I took toban (guarding the building and members).

Relationship

It’s difficult to make such a commitment 

                                    not knowing the uncertainty

of such a venture. 

    My human revolution has been magnified

             not in a bad way because Human Revolution is not bad,

but rather one can create value in his life

                                      through

the light of True Buddhism

no matter what the cause.

           I’m discovering the shallowness of my nature,

but also the joy of discovering the depth of Buddhism as it

 relates to my 

                 life.

At times, I’m so afraid of the fact that I have entered a romantic relationship

with another human being.

                               The joy is great,

                                         but at times the frustration 

almost tends to become unbearable. 

In such close relationship nothing is hidden,

your faults are definitely magnified.

             People warn me. People encourage me. I don’t feel it’s 

enslavement, but people warn me that it is. 

                      Only one way to go and that’s to week guidance from

Soshibucho.

But no matter what I Jim Stephens and she  must continue our practice to the Gohonzon.

Strongly!

Our goal, my goal is to create a happy district by April 1, 1975. 1 million daimoku by that date.

S H A K U B U K U   S P I R I T  !!

Only through the Gohonzon can I lead a happy life.

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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


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


August 21, 1973

I realize I haven’t written in my diary for awhile, but sometimes it’s difficult to write of your experiences. The Sho-Hondo convention is getting closer everyday. It seems like yesterday it was 200 days until the Convention, now it is just 53 or so days.

About three weeks ago, I was struggling to get my money in for Tozon, now I am really struggling to get the right spirit for reporting to the Dai-Gohonzon and President Ikeda. I have really been chanting for 3 goals I have in front of my Gohonzon. 1) 3 Gojukai by October 1; 2) To play for President Ikeda; 3) To develop a seeking mind and fighting Abutsubo spirit.

I have been getting really incredible benefits. At my one job Benson Jones I got alot of responsibility and developed alot at that job. Remember I was thrown into jail for traffic warrants? Well, I really chanted to do Hendoku-Iyaku on that problem. Just last week I was laid off my job because I wasn’t a fast enough typist. My feeling was fantastic because I was chanting for a way out of that job, because they wanted me to work for a year full time and I wanted to go back to school. Anyway, when my boss laid me off he told me to forget the $122 he’d loaned me to bail me out of jail and on top of that he paid me my regular wages for a weeks work just to look for a new job. Incredible!!!

While I was working at Benson-Jones I took on a second job, which I received guidance from my assistant Chapter Chief Russ Dilando to do. For two weeks I worked two jobs. Sometimes working for 24 hours in a row. It was an experience I will never forget. Those two weeks seem like they lasted for 2 months. It is really strange. On Thursday morning I would get up early, do Gongyo and go to work at 9:00, get off at 6:00, catch a bite to eat on the way to Santa Monica for Band practice, leave at 10:30 to be at work at 11:00. Then at Alphy’s Restaurant I would work my rear off washing dishes continuously for 8 hours. What Human Revolution! Come home between 7 and 8:00, do Morning Gongyo and go to work from 9 to 6:00. Get home from work and hit the sack. Get up at 9:30 or 10:00 do evening Gongyo and go to work at 11:00. After work on Saturday nite I would go to Band and after Band on Sunday go to work again and then the next morning back to work again at my regular job. Some Gongyos were really strange.

One morning I remember chanting and then falling over. I couldn’t help but laugh. Driving to work was a strange experience. One morning I literally had to pull off the road and take a 15 minute nap to be able to make it to work. Even then it was a terrible struggle. I would have definitely continued to work like this for my tozon money, if it hadn’t been for my district chief Mike Lisagor. As I was heading out the door to go to work on a Friday nite, he met me at the door of my car and told me to call in sick. So I didn’t go to work and was consequently fired. Mike told me to depend on the Gohonzon.

I definitely feel that the guidance I followed was the cause to get such a large settlement from the accident my dad and I had last December. I got $800 which paid off my tozon of $650 and also the $450 for my VW.

My health was definitely not too good as a result of all those hours.


 

Sho Hondo: The Grand Main Temple near Mt. Fuji housing the main object of worship of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

Dai-Gohonzon: The large wooden object of worship which Nichiren Daishonin carved and inscribed with his name that was enshrined in the Sho-Hondo.

Tozon: Making a pilgrimage to worship the Dai-Gohonzon at the Head Temple Daisekiji, near Fujinomiya, Japan.

Hendoku Iyaku: The practice of “turning poison into medicine,” or obstacles into benefits.

 

by James C. Stephens


July 6, 1973

Only 99 days left to the convention it said at the Headquarters. Each day I hope to make a stronger determination and really build it in my life. Lately, I have been on a communication campaign with my assistant chapter chief Russ Dilando. One of my big problems has been communication. I report on things like a bureaucrat rather than as a human being. When I feel lousy I try to paint a rosy picture to my district chief, like, “I feel lousy, but I determine to change it!” Instead of telling him, straight like a common person, and getting to the root of the problem. That’s a big problem in our society. We may admit we have faults, but often it is just useless talk, when we don’t really try to get down and change those problems through action.

Mike Lisagor my chikabucho (district chief) said that many of my Sr. leaders said that when I find somebody to communicate with (a Sr. Leader) then my practice will really change.

I need to really be able to take guidance no matter how harsh it is and translate it into action. That is one of my major obstacles in handling or being able to handle more responsibility.

Another problem I am trying to tackle more consistantly is the problem of on-shitsu. I am chanting to the Gohonzon to be able to really learn from other people and rather than compete with others to learn that the battle is really against myself.

Right now I only have $100.00 down on Tozon and not to say the least I am worried about it. However, the job I got as an administrative coordinator is not bad. I really chanted for a well paying job and for a job that I could put myself to a definite challenge. Well, I got it. I type invoices, I file, I answer phones, talk to clients, work with bank accounts and truthfully am under some pressure. I am really happy for the challenge. It pays $2.75 an hour which is 50 cents an hour more than I ever made before. We are a service company which ships commercials for radio and T.V. and has other clients which we handle their business of film distribution throughout the U.S. It is definitely a good experience.

My obstacle are showing for Sho-hondo Convention for sure. For the last week I have had a touch of the flu, and not too good of a diet to fight it. I have been trying to get things turned on at my new apartment for the last week and so things and money have been tight. I got the electricity turned on last week and the phone this week.

Red VWMy car–wow. It’s a sore subject. I rarely am not seen running alongside it and then hopping in and popping the clutch to start it.

Well, it’s time to get back to work. I just shakubukued the waitress Maria–she’s from Columbia. Bye.


I was working two jobs. Before I got the job at Benson-Jones I got a graveyard shift job busing tables and doing dishes at Alphy’s Coffee Shop. I was determined to save up money for the Sho-Hondo Convention in Japan. I would go to evening meetings from 7-8:30PM, volunteer at the warehouse until 10:00PM, drive home, take a short nap, go to work busing tables and doing dishes at a 24 hour coffee shop, go home, take a short nap, shower, do my morning Gongyo (prayers), drive to Toluca Lake to work at my Administrative job, take a nap during lunch, work. Repeat.

by James C. Stephens


June 14, 1973

Well, in the last two months I have been going through alot of changes. I really don’t know what is going on in my life, but today Russ (Dilando) chewed me out and asked me to leave NSA if my attitude doesn’t change.

I just got an apartment with Ken Dilando (Russ’s brother) on Napa in Northridge. It is really a benefit because I had been looking for a place to live and had only about 55 bucks. Just the night before last we stayed in a motel, the Sepulveda Motel to be exact. It was not too bad besides the bed being a taste lumpy.

Then I looked for an apartment and he the manager said it would be 137.oo, but I told him my situation and he lowered to 122.00 a month and let me move in for $85. Now the clencher was where to get 30.00 more dollars. Ken got 20.00 from his Boss in a draw and I was thinking he’d get 30.00. Well it mystically turned out that my cousin Carol Dow had called and she wanted me to clean her carpets for her for $10.00. So here I am now sitting on an old dilapidated coach writing in my diary.

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.