Posts Tagged ‘Sho Hondo’

by James C. Stephens

October 9, 1973

Soka University

George M. Williams, “Over 120 dignitaries all over the US sent messages to our student Congress. What we set forth today will the determine the future. Abraham Lincoln said in August 1858, “We the people…life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness.”

Student division–discussion of democracy. It is our mission to provide happiness of all mankind. Life most precious treasure.

Spiritual Quest. Nichiren Daishonin was able to express. Buddha is life itself, the true aspect of life.

Goals to accomplish. Develop broad-minded international outlook-not narrow minded scope.

H.G. Wells in Outline of History said, “Our true nationality is mankind.”

We are all brothers and sisters. Hippy to Happy Movement. F to A movement.  Mr. Hell or Mr. Heaven. Challenge yourself with Human Revolution. It’s your responsibility to become outstanding bright youth. Always take the side of the people. Men of action, not students of theory.

President Ikeda said, “You should be wise enough to grasp today’s reality with a persistant vision of kosenrufu. Percieve importance of the storm ahead.

Always carry President Ikeda’s guidance close to heart. Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask not what the world can do for you, but what you can do for the freedom and happiness of all mankind.

The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. Brilliantly carry out every activity.


Comment on the preceding notes: I’ve included these rough notes of Williams speech in Japan as this was an historical event as over 3,000 Buddhists from America made a pilgrimage to Japan to commemorate the first anniversary of the completion of the Sho Hondo.


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

August 5, 1973

Kosenrufu Gongyo with Mr. Kikumura

Gosho-A Reply to Myoshinama-Gozen.

‘Everytime when we have Gosho study, I’m sure new members wonder what in the hell is this all about? Whoever the letter is written to from Nichiren, think of this as yourself.

Try to imagine, 700 years ago, it was quite different. Because philosophy came from Asiatic country, you feel like twitching a little bit. U.S. does not have true religion of its own. If you want to study depth of Christian religion you have to study Latin, etc. If you want to understand Nichiren Daishonin’s philosophy you have to study and try to understand Japan or Oriental way to understand Nichiren Daishonin.

The reason why I explain this is that for new members I don’t want the Gosho to become a joke!

Because of confusion of different terms, let’s think of it like letter for me. That way it is more easy to understand key point of Gosho. In GMW letter it explains prime point. If you embrace the Gohonzon without doubt and strong faith then the Sho-ten zenjin will protect you at all times. Seven years ago people used to say, “Buddhist gods tap me on my back.” I don’t doubt maybe some it has happened to. To individual maybe a fact, but for everybody maybe it doesn’t happen.

What is Buddhist god? When you chant daimoku, do your Gongyo, then everything within your environment gives you a constructive support or destructive support to your daily life. According to you everything does job of Buddhist god. Everything is dependent on you. If you are onshitsuing, maybe piture fall on someone. When you chant daimoku, maybe red, but on time for work. But if you onshitsu, maybe green light and someone run through red and get you.

Many of you experience long green lights. Cup of water can do anything–death-life–divorce.

If you chant many daimoku everything will turn out constructive for daily life. If you think somebody is going to hold hand then that that’s your Christian nature. If you see man walking around Buddhist god okay, but let’s not condemn other people for what they can’t see.

I see many people not in Brass Band or Koteketai. But its’ okay. I know many people young members may go home with a doubt. Many of you that has physical, financial problems.

If everyone stood up and told problems, everyone would cry. But why we join NSA is because we can change problems.

Some of you practice for a year may not think it works. Many of you think because you get fired from job you want to quit. Just because you are behind 3 months on car payment, you doubt Gohonzon. That’s why I ask who still doubt Gohonzon for a year. Ask what your practice is like. If you have problem of that you can come down and talk to me. If you get fired, look, wouldn’t you fire a person for calling in sick every other day?

File1344Many Brass Band and Koteketai wonder, what is my future? You realize many things have changed. Many younger people if you look at your future 30 r 40 years-you look at it in titan Christian nature. If you can’t do anything. If you can’t pay for shoes why do you want a Cadillac. A religion who gives a man a Cadillac who has no job, gives him the problem of stealing for gas. What a rotten god!

People you associate with different they don’t talk about kosenrufu on just a Sunday. What will happen in 4 years you probably can’t imagine. Because your karma we face may ugly obstacles. Instead of talking against your leaders, this is the time to chant more daimoku. We must have faith to realize protection of Buddhist gods.

Mr. Williams 17 years ago was one man. He’s our example. When we can’t see tommorrow, President Ikeda sent him letters of encouragement. Because of your problems you onshitsu, but in General Director William’s case, no members, why didn’t he become a hood? Because he had absolute faith in the Gohonzon to look ahead 1-2-3 or 4 years. If you try with the feeling that Mr. Williams and others have proved the Gohonzon you will really have a great future. If you have a big obstacle, like people getting a doctor’s diploma, who worked hard for it. People are proud of you and you are proud. No work-no value.


My wife Elizabeth marching in the Koteketai drill team.

Isn’t it great when mother or father see you overcome sancho shima? Instead of leaving with doubt, it’s hard, but to overcome doubt NSA designed so you can go to various activities for young people Brass Band and Koteketai to overcome problems and doubt. General Director Williams prime point. If you embrace Gohonzon with strong faith, Buddhist gods will be protective. Mr. Williams is really concerned about how all of you are. Chant daimoku and become a member he doesn’t have to worry about and become a member that can make Sho-Hondo a success!



Mike Kikimura was a very interesting leader who was quite the unpolished rough guy who was one of the founding leaders of Nichiren Shoshu/Soka Gakkai in the US. He was quite interesting to listen to. His rhetoric was definitely fascinating. Whether or not you liked him or not, he was unique. I just read a bit about his background which provides a bit more understanding about who he was. He was interred in one of the Japanese Internment camps during WWII and also fought in the Korea war.

Here’s a link to his interesting background.


by James C. Stephens

October 30, 1972


Midnight October 6, everyone heard that Dai Gohonzon would be transferred October 7. Vice President and General Director were not there, but in Tokyo. But NSA was only ones there. YMD of NSA were selected to protect Dai Gohonzon transfer ceremony. GMW (General Director George M. Williams) told members at 7:00 in the morning. Raining day before, snow on Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji so beautifully appeared. Did morning Gongyo together. GMW explained, We together, all NSA promised to protect Dai Gohonzon. Hawaii members just arrived in time. They ran up to the fountain. Didn’t know what was going on. Just saw Geka and Sensei.

President Ikeda said all NSA there. GMW answered we are not just NSA of America, but NSA of the world. We have descendants of every nation of every country all over the world, Africa, Chinese Americans, Philipinos.

Convention1972_1I left from U.S. over a month ago. We (GMW & Sensei Ikeda) met with Ambassador Ingersol from US to Japan. So Sensei invited him to luncheon. 3 hour interview. President Ikeda said he had many fond memories of L.A. World Peace Convention.

October 1, Opening Ceremony. Transferring Rights to President Ikeda and from President Ikeda-Gokuyo to High Priest Geka.

Many guests, dignitaries to the ceremony. Representatives from the Vatican, Ambassadors, and official guests of President Ikeda.

Edward M. Kennedy sent U.S. flag to President Ikeda that flew over the Capitol in Washington for World Peace.

by James C. Stephens

January 21, 1972

Record: Second American Revolution; II Volume

“President Ikeda has stated in his preface to Human Revolution;

“A great revolution of character in just a single man will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and further enable a change in the destiny of all mankind.” October 12, 1965-

I am very excited to start my diary for the year of Sho-Hondo 1972. 1971 in passing was a year with many significant events which had great impact on my life. Last May 12 we had a Min-on in the Hollywood Bow. which filled it; on July 23-25th we had our Seattle Convention, on September 12, 1971 the 700th Anniversary of the Tasonokuchi Persecution we opened our new Los Angeles No. 1 Community Center, and on January 1, 1972 we welcomed the New Year of Sho-Hondo. Most significant, however was not the events, but the struggle leading to each one of the events. 1971 was a year of turmoil in the world and at times in my own life. In June or May our family separated. My mother and brother left for Mammoth Lakes in Central California. I am sure there was and is a benefit in that episode. My father and I have realized many things about life because of such an experience. I realized that sooner or later castles built on sand do wash away.

In December, I took the Freshman Study Exam for the Nichiren Shoshu Study Academy.

New Year’s Gongyo at Myohoji Temple. It was really strange. It was unbelievably cold everywhere with snow capped mountains everywhere in Southern California and cold winds, whew. But, so strangely when Jim Jay, Rich Rode and I arrived at Myohoji Temple there was unmistakably a warm breeze blowing at the Temple. That was definitely President Ikeda’s Ichinen, the same thing happened in Eliott Bay in Seattle during President Ikeda’s fireworks during the Seattle Convention, such a warm breeze during chilly night air.”

“Tonight, we just ended our World Tribune campaign and we reached our goal of 85. Last Sunday we ended our campaign for the entrance examination to the Nichiren Shoshu Study Academy. Our district got twenty people out for the exam. One of my members, Bill Myers took the exam and achieved a score of 98.

Today, I visited my member Ron Uota in the hospital. Ron was paralyzed from an accident 3 years ago, but last Thursday night before the study exam he had a car accident which totaled out his car, and almost himself also. I tried to reach him for several days, but with no luck. I thought he had gone home and not left word. It was not until Tuesday that I discovered from his landlord and then parents that he was in very serious condition from an automobile accident. I was a little bit freaked out on how to handle the situation. So I called Shibucho Guy McCloskey and he said to chant diamoku, so that’s all I could do. In the next three days his condition went from poor to stable to fair in Intensive Care Unit to a regular hospital room today. I visited him today and what a strange situation. Everyone was very down, but Dan Castle and I were in good spirits and I am sure we encouraged Ron to get better. His parents are Nembutsu and were in very depressed condition. Such encouragement as that pity is not needed, it only hurts harms people trying to recover. Soshibucho Gary Curtis is going to come out and see him Sunday.

File2818Tuesday, Sogohonbucho gave a Seminar at Valley State College (now California State University at Northridge CSUN—I have a picture of me talking with then Masayasu Sadanaga-now George M. Williams, the General Director of SGI-USA). I introduced Mike Pimenthal one of Chico’s members to him. Then Lance Stromsei got guidance on his works since he could only come to meetings on Saturdays and Sundays. The guidance Sogohonbucho gave was to everyone right around him. He hit me with his Ichinen, so powerful. He related his experience when he worked as a janitor from 12 to 8 in the morning and was a student at UCLA and had meetings in starting Nichiren Shoshu of America. He said when you are studying you should preview and review your lessons. After class you should go directly to a study spot in the library which is marked with your name and study for an hour or so. Every day you should not fail to do that. He said that when you are stupid like me that’s the only way to really pass. You can’t study late at night because that usually falls through.’

File2819After the seminar we walked with Sogohonbucho to his car. The feeling I got was really indescribable, but it was fresh like after a rainfall, and the sun comes out and everything smells so fresh. It just seemed like everything was okay.”

Masayasu Sadanaga, aka George M. Williams talking with Lance Stromsoe, Carol Dell, Ken Dilando, and James Stephens after his lecture on Buddhism at Valley State College (CSUN).

by James C. Stephens

Monday, October 11, 1971


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

[2] On shitsu basically means slandering.

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

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

“The Lotus Sutra states:

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

(Hokekyo, p. 419)”

A short video of the ceremony. Gojukai Ceremony

by James C. Stephens

Monday, August 30, 1971

Worked 8 hrs. sanding eves on a house. Two meetings tonight were successful. I did Shakubuku before the meeting, but no guests. I must have been noticeably discouraged, because Russ drew me aside after the meeting and told me not to get discouraged, everyone’s mission is different, some can immediately draw in 8 guests, but some cut the district’s karma. Shakubuku is a joint effort.

We finally got a telephone in today. My Brother Ron is coming down for 3 days. He just spent time in Sun Valley, Idaho.


Wednesday, September 1, 1971

File3288Ron got in this morning from Las Vegas via Greyhound, so Dad and I picked him up and then went to the Butsudon shop. It is good to see Ron. It is very strange however, because he really brings out my karma extremely heavily.

This evening we spent together and saw “Andromeda Strain” and “Colossus.”  One was about Bio warfare and the other about machine as the master.

Thursday, September 2, 1971

Worked at the Headquarters until 9:30 masking walls, so we could stucco the ceilings. At 10:00 we had a Jr. Hancho meeting lead by Steve Bell. He went over Resolutions, goals, guidance and what we develop from it.  We went over songs and their great importance. The meetings showed me exactly where I was at and how and where I needed to change. I cut a lot of karma.

Friday, September 3, 1971

Ron, Dad, and I did a lot of odds and ends. I really felt that I didn’t accomplish anything, but being with Ron was a good benefit.

Saturday, September 4, 1971

Ron and Dad came to the Monthly Leader’s meeting tonight. It was the best meeting I have been to yet. They showed the new Seattle film.

Sogohonbucho just got back and related Pres. Ikeda’s guidances. He talked of people who began practicing in the 3rd period 1965-1971. He said they “have joined in the Golden Age of Kosen-rufu…Non-members are unable to measure NSA, so welcome their opinions, but always carry faith. After all faith is faith…Emphasized sticking close to senior leaders…study language.”

Sho-hondo is the happiness of all mankind. Shakubuku is like an underground stream. Lay foundations now! Steady movement. Protect Unity! Starting in January 1972, write your history of Kosen-rufu through October 12, 1975.”


Sunday, September 5, 1971

Spent the day with my Dad and brother at the Ontario “500” race. I really enjoyed the outing very much. I love my brother very much and my Dad. I had one beer and was knocked on my —-. After the Race I did Shakubuku a lot of people. I am slowly realizing what Shakubuku is all about. It does not matter whether or not they tell you to get lost, because those types just take your karma, so Shakubuku anytime, anyplace, anyone. I am finding that just the time or person you might not Shakubuku is usually the big benefit.

Ron left tonight. I didn’t want him to leave, but I know it is necessary. Dad spent entirely too much money when Ron was here, but, why worry? What has been done should not be worried about. Honnin-myo!