Posts Tagged ‘Shoten-zenjin’

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.

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by James C. Stephens


 

May 3, 1976

The following rough notes correspond to General Director George M. Williams’ 16th anniversary recollection of the Inauguration process of Daisaku Ikeda as the third President of the Soka Gakkai.Inauguration of President Ikeda Third President of Soka Gakkai photo

GMW heard of Pres. Ikeda’s inauguration by phone in Washington, D.C. when he was doing his graduate work.

In 1960, 50 or 60 membership. Somu-Administrator general-title of President Ikeda. Two years there was no President of the Soka Gakkai. 1958-May 3. No President. April 2, 1958 President Today passed away.

7th Bell President Ikeda on March 3 gave members vision for Kosenrufu.

2 Bell President Today.

April 14th-Third President accepted. Board of Directors asked President Ikeda many times to accept.

March 30. Kai Izumi-asked President Ikeda personally to accept position of President of the Soka Gakkai. Wouldn’t accept.

First official second approach. April 9th Board of Directors unanimous.

April 9th- Saturday, beautiful day 97 degrees after 5PM President Toda’s ceremony.

Stopped at , went to Honbu late hours Board of Director’s meeting. They informed me. Support President Ikeda to be President of the Soka Gakkai.

Cordially I refuse. Carma came through my whole body. Huge mission. Must be the great karma. Strong and strict and severely.

I’m age 32 still young. That age Nikko Shonin accepted Nichiren Daishonin. Anybody take over President I’m so tired. Anybody–nobody able to talk. My human thinking. My wife watch over me. April 10, April 11, April 11-Monday. Sunny sky, 3:30 in the afternoon.  Special Conference emerged of Board of Directors to nominate third President of the Soka Gakkai. Maybe I’m carrying great mission. Who knows. I refused many times in the past. I have to make up my mind. Dai Gohonzon will make me suffer. Dai Gohonzon is as great as universe and eternal forever existence. Have to ask Dai Gohonzon and maybe take leadership of campaign.

I’m a youth and a man, vigorous and abundantly I have to forge on. Our huge wave, mountains, and desert. Physical conditions are bad. April 11. Number one goal. From May put all my effort into the study of the Soka Gakkai; number two, Zadankai (discussion meetings come first; third, Gongyo will be the prime point of all campaigns.

April 12. Tuesday. Cloudy. Third time keep asking President Ikeda. Director Harashima asked this time and I refused again. In my mind I know the mission. But I can’t answer in two minds. It should be the seventh anniversary of President Toda. He never attended any of the Board of Director’s meetings. He could feel everyone’s suffering. He understood, but he was sorry.  Felt lonely.

April 14. Thursday. Rain after clear. morning. Rainfall stay clear. Broadcast saying it will rain all day. 8:30 left home. Heavy step. Again Director conference. General Director and three Directors asked strongly. Everyone asks strongly. 10:10AM. He was nodding, seemed accepting, but how is my fate going to be. Everyone is jumping in Honbu. Rejicho and President Toda’s family waiting his answer. April 14. This day may a great turning point of my life. Can not help it, can not help, only remembering President Toda. Made a strong determination alone. Next day President Ikeda.

April 15. Thinking to make next campaign strategy toward 7 year anniversary of my master. Now depart. of ______victorious four years continued.

1964. April 2, May 3. I’d like to make a great victory campaign (America send 10 charter jets) completion of Dai Kyakudan. Strong word is follow is this. I am the direct disciple of President Toda. Being trained and trained, not afraid. Now is the time to repay master. Now is time to create history of Japan and history of the world.

Just like sutra. Bodhisattva asked three times and refused. Explained the request four times. Such a campaign as a man, no greater honor than that. Toda Sensei, Disciple Ikeda Daisaku.

May 3. Decided on date. Son of a fisherman Ikeda Daisaku. Father in seaweed manufacturing. Finally stand at head of campaign for Kosenrufu.

Shotenzenjin-Buddha’s of the three world’s and ten directions come to protect such a job. Buddha function movement never think this time, so important this practice is to the world. Am I afraid?

April 16. No matter, my mission protect Dai Gohonzon. Strong faith is key in everything. Such tremendous strength of Buddhism.

May 3. New Constitution of Japan. First Amendment-pursuit of happiness.

Tuesday, May 3, 1960. Fair, sunny day. I’m inagurated the Third President of the Soka Gakkai at Nihon University at 12:00 noon.

Nichiren Daishonin at 32 years 1253, April 12:00 noon. Lecture on True Buddhism.

Diary. General Meeting began. Still tired from last nigh. I can feel my master’s joy and can imagine in closing my eyes. My lifelong one in a lifetime campaign of Myoho going to begin. Beyond life and death. I’m glad my fellow members deeply rejoice with me. Act like leader, but like human being. Act like youth, no matter what must take the lead. Today on my Hosshaku Kempon (Nichiren Daishonin Tatsunokuchi). At moment heavy carma change into true appearance. Show as human being, but act as True Buddhia. Changed provisional life, make true appearance of advent to this world.  I’m 32 years old. May 3-16 years. May 3-25 years ago-President Toda Inaugurated.

On Inauguration speech. Like President Toda in 1951. Several thousand members and within seven years like to reach 750,000 families. 1960-nine years later there were one million families before President Toda passed away.

On April 2, 1958 President Toda passed his target. My goal is to reach three million families within four years. Number two-Build the Dai Kyakuden according to President Toda’s will. President Ikeda went to Redwoods October 5 and also procurred Canadian cedars and other raw materials from Norway, Budapest, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. Third goal is the reformation of religion of Japan. The press said that after President Toda passed away the Soka Gakkai would be corrupt.

Now the Soka Gakkai is fifteen million strong in 80 nations. Many old religious mountains are now just tourist items.

President Toda said after Dai Kyakuden build the Sho Hondo and remodel all kaikans.

His first letter to America. On May 20, George Williams went back to Japan for the third memorial of his father’s death. May 19, LA Times.

President Ikeda received Kaimoku Sho.

Although the Shotenzenjin did not protect.

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.

File1246

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. http://www.hosshakukempon.com/from-a-stormy-beginning-to-a-golden-life-with-no-regrets.html