Posts Tagged ‘Shibucho’

by James C. Stephens

Saturday, October 16, 1976

Matisse line drawing

At this time I look to the past. I look to the present. But as a youth I must look towards the future. I am in a time of struggle presently. In search of a companion. In search of a way I can create.

Oh stranger! Where are you? Where do you hide? I seek the way to happiness. Gohonzon what is in store for me? I continually find myself at a loss in the world of companionship. What is it you wish to show me? I have seen the women my life has attracted only make me unhappy. I find happiness in helping my members. I find happiness in being alone. Am I destined only to a life at present of a celibate, devoting my life to business and to helping my YMD develop? Please make this clear to me. I’m getting colder as time advances. You know if I had a women who loved me maybe I could rest more at ease. Or do you wish that I struggle by myself, not seeking happiness outside myself, but rather engaging in a solemn solitary campaign? If only I had a sign for the future. I feel much emptiness inside. Gohonzon I am confused and at times frustrated. Am I one of those freaks of society who don’t match with one? Honestly, I’m beginning to lose confidence in myself and in the Gohonzon.

I look at my father. So many women, but he’s not happy. Have I slandered the Gohonzon so badly? Something has to come about in the near future. Tonight I didn’t go to the discussion meeting. I don’t expect you to zap me with a benefit. I know it’s something inside of me. I’m no different than anyone else.

I don’t really know where I fit in the scheme of things. I don’t feel I have done anything special so I don’t deserve anything.

All I am at the moment is seven people’s link to the Gohonzon. Possibly many more. People I know in society. How do I develop so I can get people to join? No. How do I develop so I will chant daimoku more?

Flow of thought. I live but to create. Why do I practice? To be happy but not 🙂 happy, but to create value to sing out. Last night I went out with an old “girl” friend of mine. Once a year I see her. This disturbed me as I always have a bad time or a distorted feeling after I leave her, it is so strange why I see her is of interest to me. I feel bad inside sick last night I ached. asked for a good true companion one I can share with. Please this is something I want Gohonzon. Tears. I’m sick of looking around. People tell me don’t look around it will happen when you’re not looking. Why is this so much on my mind? From a weak Ichinen*. I’m in the lower worlds no doubt, lack of a rhythmical life, but why do I descend into this condition? Is it from not communicating with my leaders? What then causes this? Is it in the end a battle against oneself? I believe it is.

Without fighting oneself. How do I fight myself? I’m finding it very hard at present. Sleeping many hours not being on time not terribly bothering me, but terribly bothering me. Tonight, today I slept a lot stayed out late last night. Somehow have to change my rhythm. Maybe into a day rhythm.  Early to bed makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Ben Franklin maybe I should adopt his maxim. Its hard sometimes to relate to President Ikeda’s guidance, but many more times easy. My arms tired from writing so fast. Rest. Sports, playing clarinet, doing what I need to do to stretch my life. I feel unhealthy. I need new clothes. I need newness in my life. Now I feel like an old man. Shit I hate it. Boy do I hat it. Someday this has to change. Why can’t I get it into me to change soon. Last night I saw Paul, he married Choey. She’s from Mexico, he’s from Cuba. Tonight I met a girl from Argentina. Beautiful. Where do I want to go? I don’t know. Is this a stupid exercise just letting your pen flow with your brain, my arms falling asleep. My Gongyo’s during this phase have been pretty terrible, irregular. Low daimoku. no study hardly. I’m bored with practicing. I bored with listening to music but that is slowing losing its enjoyment. Maybe I’m dying. No hope. No future. Up and down no consistency. No one to talk to. Russ just onshitsu’s some of my leaders, I’ve even lost confidence in him. Jim Jay’s a nice guy. Shibucho call back in 10 minutes. Call back. Call back in 3 minutes. Call back later. Forget it. I don’t want it. I’m just about ready to titan. Just work. A room closed in on me. No phone. Haven’t paid rent. Had a good job Quit. Why? To enter a business with my Dad. Struggle. I can’t back out. If Gohonzon doesn’t work really let it END HERE. My dad is getting old must change fortune. Me lose hope easily. NSA club just like rest of society. Not Mr. Williams though. Too bad I don’t have the guts to get close to him. Probably never will. Lonely winter I’m entering. I hope dad is happy. I can’t die it would make him unhappy. Although I feel death many times.

Time is strange. We receive training in stranger ways. Tonight I went to a ski show. Saw some old acquaintances. Did not interest me in the slightest.  Saw people chasing illusions of happiness. Skiing many people’s identity. Sickens me. Maybe because I was so close to this. People like Jim Evans Business only. Not like a human being as far as I am concerned a sickening example of a dehumanized individual. Dorothy with her “escort” started talking to me. I interrupted and introduced myself to her escort. No courtesy, no human courtesy in society today. I hope I’m going in the right direction. Don’t people realize what’s going on in the Big World of ours? Revolution in the world! Red China now Mao is dead widespread chaos over who’s the new leader. Thailand’s bazooka’s, grenades, machine gunned armed soldiers gunning down students in university. Mappo. And yet here I am. What am I doing to change this? Raising YMD. No patience. Ski Show what a joke. Commercialism has taken a beautiful thing and truly ruined it. Why it was like a three ring circus.

I’m glad I’m getting involved in landscaping. Here is a field which can really make people feel refreshed…Environment is very important. That why I am so often depressed living in this place. If it wasn’t for Mr. Justus’ encouragement I think I would go bananas. Struggling pioneer. Hope from him.


by James C. Stephens

December 11, 1974

Tonight I received, but asked for guidance on my relationship to ___ from Shibucho. I had been troubled about direction so I asked for guidance.

He told me that he sensed danger in my practice and he said trust me. Wait. He told ____and I together. No romantic relationship, no bed. Wait. I could tell you until the end of the year, maybe two weeks, maybe three weeks. But let’s talk periodically.

I told Shibucho we’re in love. He said if so, it can wait. It doesn’t mean you pretend you don’t know each other.

He told me alone. If you were a regular member I’d say do whatever you want. But you’re a future district chief and Senior leader. Homencho has said to Senior leaders lately–don’t go to bed with each other.

I will follow Shibucho’s guidance. Frank Hotchkiss said he learned how to follow because of Bagpipes. I think I shall rejoin Bagpipes and my primary goal and objective from Bagpipes is: To learn how to follow.

Right now I need to enter a strong personal campaign.

  1. Three house daimoku a day.
  2. Study 1/2 hour.
  3. 20 World Tribune this month.
  4. 90 Shakubuku a day until the 1st. 20 days=1800 Shakubuku.

by James C. Stephens

Tuesday, October 29, 1974

Last night we had a hancho meeting with Shibucho and he called for a return to the Gakkai spirit of 5 years ago. I specifically asked him after the meeting for guidance on my relationship. He told me he couldn’t give me specific guidance because his situation or experience was totally different. But the guidance he did give me was only to talk to Soshibucho about this, and to really practice like a YMD hancho should, which does not leave much time for anything. This is the spirit that is lacking today in NSA. Let’s get it back. Too busy to see a movie.


My resolution is to return to the original Gakkai Spirit. This month 30 World Tribune (our publication) and 5 Gojukai (new members who receive the Gohonzon). Two hours daimoku a day. Get that jet engine moving!

by James C. Stephens

Tuesday, November 14, 1973

Lately, I have been reflecting a lot on myself and my future. Sunday I got 3 people to receive their Gohonzon. It was definitely a good feeling. It seems like whenever I start such campaigns I definitely start to go through human revolution and this time is no exception.

Saturday, after work I went to our Chapter Kickoff meeting and boy was I on a strange trip. I wouldn’t smile especially after my Chikubucho (district chief) took away my members. I was definitely going through some H.R.! After the meeting and members had left for the Hdqtrs I went into Shibucho’s (Chapter chief) room. He was talking on the phone with Mr. Hall (the Headquarter’s Chief). Then my Chikubucho (Mike Lisagor) came into the room and shut the door. It was like I thought it would happen. I was really determined to get what I had on my chest out. So many times I had held, what I thought to be a stupid complaint, inside for months.

Then I told my Shibucho in from of my C what I thought my C was, a Jewish asshole. I told him I was human and that unity I felt could not be fabricated if I felt such an attitude towards him. He told me humanism is towards everyone.

Anyway, my Chikubucho left and my Shibucho (Guy McCloskey) and I sat down and talked for a long while. He really listens. I told him many complaints I had and the problems I have been going through. One problem was a personality conflict between hancho and Chikubucho. He said it is my responsibility on my end of the line to really learn to follow. He told me his district chief used to Jump up on the table and proclaimed his mission to destroy Christianity and it made his members titan. It was not until he realized he just should support him and his guests would join. For some reason they would take it some way different. The training I got was maybe the way, not to run a district, or the way not to treat my members. You should really chant for a seeking mind and then these petty things would pass you by and you would pick up on the things your Chikubucho or leaders are trying to tell you.

Another thing is your ability to make a good report. And don’t forget a good report is not just good news but bad news too. Your problem is giving a report and telling a person one thing and leaving out another so as to please their ear. Well, tell IT LIKE IT IS!!

I also asked him about marriage. He said I should really build up my fortune and maybe get married in five years, when I’m 27. He said don’t cash in your chips too early, because you may be really unhappy with what you get like some people I know.

I asked him about just having the company of a girl like going out to eat or to an art show. Sure if you can find the time.

I really feel far away from people in the district, is that because I am so far away from Chikubucho. Yes but don’t worry, others have been complaining of the same thing. It will change. It is good to complain really. I don’t know everything and you are my eyes into these areas. Please let me know at all times what it going on.

We have kicked your name around as a district chief, but I don’t know if you as yet can pick yourself up by your own bootstraps. You are an old member and you have got to learn to do this.

It’s time to go home, I’m tired.

Note: Please don’t despair about my comment about Mike. I love the Jews, my wife is Jewish and many of my former members were Jewish. My kids are Jewish. So, don’t take everything so seriously and you’ll live a lot longer, or at least when you’re alive you’ll be much happier. Oh and by the way, I don’t think the guy that jumped up and down on the table was related to Tom Cruise, and I never did meet the guy. I think his mission failed.


by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, September 14, 1971


Tonight we did World Tribune promotion. I rode my bike, but met with little success, but seeds were planted. I learn much each time however, I guess it must be successful.


Wednesday, September 15, 1971


My days had been going poorly, but that will change. Tom Cole my new boss called to tell me I have been hired for the job at the Ski Shop. Tonight I had a guest Dave. He came with me to the Headquarters meeting. He loved it. I really hope he practices. I am chanting hard for the first time to have a member of my own. I must make it! But must not stop.

He chanted with me also at the New Headquarters. Russ told me yesterday morning—No guidance. Lead your members to Shibucho!!

The meeting started off with a Gakkai song and was followed by determinations or experiences of people who promoted 25 or more World Tribune. Then it got to 10 and Shibucho asked if anyone had anything else to say.

So I got up and gave my experience to this moment. I said I wasn’t doing well, but have learned why, because my other World Tribune were just neighbors and one time shots. Now I’ve realized that I have no members so I must do more Shakubuku.

Soshibucho said that he used to shrink when they had to give WT reports. He also did the worst. But he said, it our fortune, it is good to feel shame, guilt, etc., because it is for our Human Revolution. Otherwise we will not know the value of World Tribune.

…He also said read Human Revolution; strangely it is different every time you read it. Definitely guidance to you from Pres. Ikeda. You can get closer to Sogohonbucho, Honbucho, and other Sr. leaders this way.

Resolutions should be strong willed, like Mr. Fukushima leads a song.

He also read a letter from a NY member and a Look editor showing the power of the Gohonzon.

by James C. Stephens

Monday, August 16, 1971

Last night I totally freaked out. I ripped off my shirt, tore it apart, ripped up my music book, and was totally upset. Sometimes, this practice gets pretty heavy for me. Last night I, or my bad nature wanted to destroy the Gohonzon. But when I opened the butsudon, I couldn’t do it and got a strange terrible pain in my chest. I was completely destroying my dad with my attitude it was really terrible now that I think back about it. I completely resolved not to chant anymore but to leave my Gohonzon enshrined. And there is some nature, no it is my condition that I won’t talk to Shibucho about it. He never makes me feel like I can open up to him, I just feel like a punk[1]. That’s another thing. I really hate myself for some reason. I just hate me. It’s the worst feeling. Whenever I maybe encouraging someone, I hear my voice and go, “that’s not me,” and freak out.

I’m so plastic[2], I really hate myself. I have no friends, that I can call friends really, I must really be a f… individual. I have no confidence, no family really, my face is f…, my health is poor, I sleep all day, I do nothing, I’m f…, I cut[3] my dad—you know I really don’t like me.

But I try to get members, I used to do and was doing a lot of Shakubuku, but nobody will follow me because I am a punk! But I tried hard, no luck or whatever. S..t on it!

I’m constantly thinking about everything, I can’t relax.

File3382We are having a Shakubuku campaign and tonight we had five guests. Our second meeting at 9:30 was good, I gave an explanation. After the experience and question and answer practice (joke) session we received gifs from President Ikeda and the High Priest. Post Cards and scarfs commemorating the completion of the Sho Hondo or commemorative to those who donated. But Pres. Ikeda gave us scarves even if we didn’t. Thank you very much.

This morning I didn’t do Gongyo until 1:30 in the afternoon. I was very serious about not chanting. But I did Gongyo and couple minutes of daimoku. I’m going crazy.

It’s hard to chant daimoku. My dad told me he chanted about 10 minutes yesterday.

Man I just don’t know what to think. S..t!


[1] “Punk,” slang for a disobedient and immature youth with no respect for authority.  It shows the power of a leader’s words on a new believer. I had been labeled a punk which I’d never been called before in my life. I didn’t realize that I was having an emotional breakdown over my parent’s divorce, but had no one who recognized the symptoms as we were building a movement.

[2] “Plastic,” slang for not being authentic or genuine as a person, putting on a face that is not representative of the real you.

[3] “Cut, cut off,” slang for don’t listen to, or stop someone in the middle of what they’re saying.

by James C. Stephens

March 28, 1971 Sunday


Today, in fact the last few days have been extremely weird. I feel very stagnated. My head feels like it just exploded to pieces, but with no out, it just keeps rebounding inside.

I feel great anxiety, especially while around members. It’s almost like a dream world.

When I was chanting daimoku Friday and Saturday, I was really on-shitsuing very badly. But it was like I knew it and felt very frustrated that I was doing it. I feel like I have no mission right now, no direction whatsoever in school. Outside of members, I just condemn L.A. in my mind and people too. I just don’t like people right now, truly. Not the bulls…. of, “I like people now because I really don’t. I feel I’m becoming a Nichiren Shoshu member and not an individual, but I know its my fault, but really like to blame it on others. There’s no escape for my anxieties.

I haven’t skied for a while or played a good game of soccer. I don’t have any friends, really, outside of Nichiren Shoshu that I can say they are good friends. Really, I feel alone in Nichiren Shoshu also, I can’t open up to people, and even worse, I don’t really care.

I haven’t practiced my clarinet for a week and I don’t care.

I don’t like to study, but where am I going?

Why can’t I care sincerely about people? Something has to break.

My practice has become too routine. I think about everything too much.

I talked to Jim J to ask if he knew where Shibucho was and he made me feel worse. He goes, “You got a problem?” Sarcasm plus, I’m sick of it.


Note: Looking at my experience in retrospect, it becomes clear that when one moves from a rural environment to a large city as I did from Montana to Los Angeles, one feels like a fish out of water.  Separated from past social structures,  one suffers from anaclitic depression as one emotionally attempts to navigate through youthful changes ranging from family separation and divorce, moves severing one from social ties to friends, relational break-ups, going away to college, military,  joining a religious sect, etc. It is a form of culture shock. No you’re not going crazy. Welcome to Los Angeles, or any major city for that matter. Change is not always fun, nor productive especially when one’s family and social structures are undermined or replaced. Originally anaclitic depression refered to an infant bonding with their caregiver, parent or otherwise. It is an attachment disorder. Others don’t really know what’s going on in your personal life, they’re most often more interested in their own goals, etc.

On-shitsu: Slandering, expressing hatred and calumny to another which arises out of the fundamental darkness in the human being, gampon no mumyo, that obstacle that Nichiren said was the greatest barrier preventing enlightenment, which Christianity refers to as original sin that is inherent in all human life.

Calumny: The ​act of making a ​statement about someone that is not ​true and is ​intended to ​damage the ​reputation of that ​person.

Nichiren says in the Gosho Reply to Sairenbo:

“Although I, Nichiren, am not a man of wisdom, the Devil of the Sixth Heaven has attempted to take possession of my body. But I have for some time been taking such great care that he now no longer comes near me. Therefore, because the power of the heavenly devil is ineffectual against me, he instead possesses the ruler and his high officials, or stupid priests such as Ryokan, and causes them to hate me.”


The Lotus Sutra also states,

“[If anyone shall see a person who embraces this sutra and try to expose the faults or evils of that person, he will in the present age be afflicted with white leprosy,] whether what he speaks is the truth or not.” Take these teachings to heart, and always remember that believers in the Lotus Sutra should absolutely be the last to abuse each other. All those who keep faith in the Lotus Sutra are most certainly Buddhas, and one who slanders a Buddha commits a grave offense.”

What is truth?