Posts Tagged ‘Sue Bennett’

by James C. Stephens

Sunday, March 17, 1974

This morning I awoke at about 7:30 and put up the flag at the JHQ (Nichiren Shoshu Headquarters in Santa Monica, California) and did Gongyo with the Brass Band. Afterwards I promoted some World Tribune and did some cleanup at home. From about 6 pm I helped Scott Wilson with the TCD (Traffic Control Division) at the JHQ. At about 9:45 Scott and I frantically exchanged pants. He needed some whites since he was leading the meeting. Strangely when I left I got some whites about 2 minutes before the TCD meeting. After the meeting I rode back to the JHQ with Scott and stuck with him while he was finishing up some last minute adjustments on the bus lists. We then walked out front and what a fortunate rhythm. Honbucho Hall drove up. We talked to or should I should say he talked to us for about 20 minutes outside the Headquarters. He asked my name and if I was on the list. He also told us he was not going to South America and that Mr. Williams was going to be back this week.

Honbucho interspersed guidance on the TCD spirit when he talked to Scott and I (more tommorrow).

Tuesday, March 26, 1974

Recently, I have been thinking about my plans for the next five years…In the past few years I have though casually over the possibility of starting a business. I thought first of a restaurant business, but reviewing the state of our economy in so far as the food prices I have postponed such a goal until I have and also the economy has reached a more stable period. Inside my own life I have seen many problems which have been reflected to me by my environment and colleagues.

The major problem I don’t know, however I wouldn’t call them problems, just realizations. My cultural background was never too firm. Being raised in Montana is quite a contrast to being raised in L.A. But at the same time I realize I can’t compare myself to other people. Rather I have to go through a Cultural Revolution within my own life. Such a revolution I believe involves exposing myself to much literature and a much wider variety of experiences in my life.

11:15. I have been seriously thinking about starting a business or a small shop dealing with skiing. Mainly it would involve waxing, sharpening, and repairing skis. Also I would like to be a center for ordering skis of racing prototypes. Of course the idea is still in the idea stage. Mainly I have to start talking around and see what such a business involves.

Yesterday I applied for a job working for a campaign for Baxter Ward. Unfortunately it had already been filled, however I plan on working for his campaign for Governor after the convention. I talked to Shibucho and he said it wouldn’t hurt doing it 2 or 3 hours a week or so. I really feel it would be a valuable experience. I have been thinking about learning some languages.

Both of my new members have turned in their money for the convention. Their names are Gary Sheldon and Chris Collinge. They both are really groovy.

I think a plan for my cultural change would involve 20 minutes of study periods on several different fields of interest:

20 minutes on science, 20 minutes on history, 20 minutes on economics, etc. Definitely reading current magazines and many great literary works. Right now I’m starting on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.  20 minutes study of Buddhism is a definite necessity to my development. Well it’s late and I must get some rest so I can find a good job tomorrow.

One last thing. Sunday the TCD went to San Diego to look the area over for the convention. It was a definite success and I’m sure a valuable experience for the convention. I told Shibucho about our TCD activity. He gave me permission and guidance to be strict on our TCD. The four TCD are myself, Arnie Roff, David Valencia, and Chico Olivera. Tomorrow night, I’m in charge of 5 TCD to protect the Koteketai practice.

Saturday, March 30, 1974

Wednesday, I again looked for a job and planted some seeds for job possibilities.

Sunday, March 31, 1974

We had a TCD meeting and surveyed the parking lot in the rain.


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.