Posts Tagged ‘Toban’

by James C. Stephens


December 18, 1977

JCS Note: The following are verbatim notes as I took them down in a Toban meeting with General Director Williams and are not embellished. I will break the long post into two parts. The following will cover page 1-5, the second from pg. 16-29. My notes include phrases which Williams would use which were not always phrased in proper English. However, I think they provide an accurate historical and linguistic eyewitness insider account of what actually transpired during the 17 year old movement. This is probably one of the longest entries I had written up to this point in my journal. It also paints a picture of the early relationship of George M. Williams with the young Ikeda who was serving under President Toda. I will include explanatory notes in brackets integrated into the post rather than at the end because of the length of the post. All mistakes are not Williams, but sometimes my notetaking was as not quite as quick as a particular series of exhortations when he rattled off many terms. But you do get the general flow.

Begin entry. Williams begins:

“Wow. Good morning. How are you?”

“Fine.”

As you heard about this President Ikeda’s H.R. Volume X, it covers a tendency of campaign details of, what he done actually. The beginning of this study pg. 14 Josei Toda assessed the situation in Kansai for exactly what it was..almost hopeless. So actually this hopeless campaign President Toda send Sen’nichi Yamamoto [Daisaku Ikeda’s pseudonym in the multi volume collection of the Human Revolution which I then abbreviate throughout my notes] this campaign Pres. Ikeda first time he write about his own campaign. In other words, his maiden campaign, his first campaign for himself, so actually remain in history. P.I. [President Ikeda] was behind the scene more likely previously. Previous H.R. Pres. Toda is the center. This Vol. X as you heard, his camp, his reply to his master Pres. Toda. Actually, Vol. 9 is ended last Sept. 1976 and this Vol. X start year after Sept. 3, 1977. Previously he start writing of the HR, he really founder and his self. because this is his campaign and also he replying to Pres. Toda. Therefore in one of his essays in Book essays on HR they appear in Seikyo Shimbum in which HR book you know can’t cover whole things. The essay covers up between the lines. Pres Ikeda says in Essays in H.R., ‘that it is really difficult to write, not because of his inability to write, but because of his intensive Ichinen so diff. to write because Vol. X covers Pres. Toda’s last 2 1/2 years of campaign and SY his campaign his reply, how he dedicated. So actually writing about himself is not easy. Writing about someone else, Pres. Toda is easy. every detail he could write. Of course, once in awhile he couldn’t write every detail sometimes. Now before Sept this year, for one year he really consider how to write about Pres Toda’s last two and half year campaign which cover Vol. X and S.Y. own campaign. But, finally one of the morning Aug 27, 77, Morning he came to Honbu and said, “Now I’m going to write S.Y. march campaign. Then he start writing Sept. 3, 1st article Seikyo Shimbun appeared. Because Kansai campaign is the most important campaign of all. We heard of many people talk about Kansai campaign or spirit of Kansai. So easy we heard about, and many people still remember the wonderful campaign, but how Shin’nichi Yamamoto suffered himself to make victory of Kansai campaign. Because the campaign’s prime point of the Soka Gakkai for the future. You know honmatsu kukyo to? Consistancy form beg. to end? Recently many people looking for new guidance, any from Pres Ikeda. Some members return from Japan always, “did he say something new guidances?” no such a new guidances! Principal the same! Have you ever heard about same tree, but another roots? Same tree, but same roots more deeper in ground that is tree. Some tree looking for another roots, that is strange question. This is roots of Soka Gakkai today. If you understand this point clearly. If you understand roots of the Kansai campaign you can understand future, what kind of lower what kind of fruits its going to bear. That much Osaka campaign is very important to all those who S.Y. of today. That time Osaka a terrible situation like NSA many people not well trained members even group chiefs is 1 or 2 years of faith. Just like NSA. not easy. Many members go to Japan astonished and surprised. Gee Japan wonderful. Of course! 47 years. NSA only 17 years. To compare is impossible from the very beginning. That why we have lots of future. Don’t you think so?

“Hai!”

Josei Toda and Makaguchi

Josei Toda (standing) the second President of the Soka Gakkai and Tsuneburo Makiguchi (seated), the first President of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai in 1930. 

Only 17 years don’t compare to 47 years, give me another 30 years and another 30 years on top of that, then see what happens. Today fantastic Japan. Of course! 47 years Pres. Makiguchi started. President Toda completed foundation. Pres I. built on top of that. We going to be foundation first, for future NSA don’t you think so?

“Hai!”

That why I’m asking all you Shin’nichi Yamamoto’s. Now you are SY for future NSA. 47 years after say you are tremendous organization. We are Soka Gakkai but we are 17 years young Gakkai like Kansai. Shin’nichi Yamamoto who campaigned with young members, not easy, if you think of that. If your age is 28 please understand this situation. Hopeless situation in NSA! If all of you 20 years in NSA I can ask you many things. But you are really just young members, how can I ask you” You are just babies looking for milk. What I can give you is steak. Develop yourself first. Prepare your own tooth, sharpen enough. Then ask steak. Go through middle food first. Pres. Toda knew how difficult Kansai campaign was. That time in 1956, that time SY only 9 year member. He joined in 1947. This year is 30 years. August 24. Not easy to launch campaign. Why he ask SY? Reason is he like to know how SY reply in Osaka in impossible situation. Membership less than 30,000. Most of them newly joined members. And also Osaka Chapter Chief Sheracki, his name here Haruki, his real name Geichiro Sheracki, used to be Tokyo Flyer Pro Ball Pitcher. He was well know, but not a good candidate name for election for House of Counselor’s-like Senate in America. And target to win election was 200,000 votes, have to have that and membership, you, not age, but young in faith, not well trained in other words. Go do anything kind of members is fine. Like many of you who joined recently and doing Toban. Sometimes don’t know the reason is for Toban. Your senior leader assigned you that’s why you doing. Inside sometimes complaining feeling you have. You don’t know how much years after you will be able to talk about what you are doing today. Osaka members just like that, less than 30,000. Even hancho today equivalent today to chapter chief, shibucho is top in Osaka. No Honbucho is top, next is Chikubucho, next is Hancho today homencho, hancho ..Chikabucho is one year member-Han meetings more likely today. Now today’s hancho more likely 10 years members..Just young member is equivalent today that time Chapter chief, Shibucho is top in Osaka right. No Honbucho or anything, remember? So Chapter chief is top next is Chikabucho. Then next is hancho, so today you know you have Homencho. Homencho next Honbucho right? Chikabucho, Honbucho is Chikabucho appearing right here right? Hancho. What do you know? Chikabucho is today. Such Chikubucho is one year so you can understand how situation is difficult in Osaka.

(….Some inserted explanation for my readers

[Are you confused yet? Williams was talking about how fast the Soka Gakkai was growing and talking about the leadership ranking. Here’s a short and simplified breakdown from the bottom up. And do remember each of the leadership levels also was broken down into four divisions. Young women’s, young men’s, women’s and men’s.

Junior hancho– small group which formed the foundation of the Soka Gakkai usuall composed of 3 to 8 or so members.

Hancho-group leader over several junior hanchos. There could be several hanchos in district depending on the size of the district.

Chikabucho-District leader. There were often many districts in a chapter.

Shibucho-Chapter leader-There could be several chapters in a General Chapter.

Soshibucho-General chapter leader. There could be several General Chapter chiefs in a headquarters.

Honbucho-Headquarters leader. There was one headquarters in Santa Monica composed of several general chapters.

Sogohonbucho-Leader over multiple headquarters in a region. I’m a bit unclear to this day what the difference between a Homencho and a Sogohonbucho is. At one time we called Mr. Williams, Sogohonbucho.

Homencho– Territory leader. There were several Headquarters in a region and one Territory leader, e.g., Santa Monica Headquarters, North Hollywood Headquarters, East Los Angeles, Santa Ana.

Rejicho-National leader. George M. Williams was over all the territory leaders in the US and associated territories. He was headquartered in Santa Monica on 525 Wilshire Blvd and other buildings nearby. Known as the North American Headquarters.

….Post based on notes continues below

Young Ikeda and President Toda 1955 Seikyo Shimbun

The young Daisaku Ikeda seated next  Second President Josei Toda with trademark glasses holding a cigarette in 1955.

Han meetings, they could meet in today’s hand meetings more likely, but today you know homencho most likely 10 year member in NSA, but that time such Honbucho, Shibucho only 1 year, then training to fight for 200,000 target! Pres. Toda almost cruel mission given to SY. And Osaka itself is really terrible member who were very poor. Sick. I still remember that time Soka Gakkai 1956, I came to United States in 1957. Next year. So I remember clearly this time of Pres. Toda’s situation. I was eye witness. 1956 January, I was at President Ikeda’s home. This time I’m the one after he returned from Osaka who rubbed down his shoulders. SY skinny., eyes only so sharp. Scary. I became disciple to Pres. Ikeda in 1953. The first time I met him person 1955. One year after, before Jan. 3, I became disciple of President Ikeda from my side, my Ichinen and determination. Although Pres. Today alive, but I decide I like to become disciple to him Pres Ikeda SY one year before 1955.

After that’s why almost every night I visited his home to do something for him, rub down, or talking, or listening. So I know the behind the scenes story of this so clear vision that still comes up in my mind. I’m so fortunate at that time. 1956 Jan. 3, before he go to Osaka. So anyway, SY at that time so physically weak, and Osaka members, nothing but poor and miserable people. Members of SG bad. So you feel ashamed to belong to SG at that time. Everybody say, “Oh, some bunch of poor people. Whole bunch of sick people.” Whole bunch of not good name. Maybe another 20 yrs, 30 yrs, NSA will be the really slick SG of Japan type of big organization.

Everyone of the leaders millions of leaders behind you. But today just like SG or NSA is still small organization only through convention people know, “Oh, NSA”, but still not in so-called tremendous impression. But wisdom so far, so far. That’s why the name knowing NSA. But Osaka worse than that. Just like an org. of hippys, organization of poor people that is 1956. Jan. situation. Pres. Toda knew SY physical condition so weak. I remember, he was so weak. Always high temperature. Always skinny, not round face like mine, skinny, bronchial pneumonia all the time. Therefore Pres. Toda his clear mission give to SY, if we understand today. Why Pres. Toda did it? But Pres. Toda know how Pres. Ikeda would do it. Pres. Toda knowing not that in 2 1/2 years he would die. Pres. Toda have to know how SY sould reply and future of Soka Gakkai will response. That same today. Therefore, Pres. Toda Ichinen like King of Beasts, Lion, Lion King. Kick lion cub down hill, cliff. How lion cub can climb up cliff to succeed crown. If you’re lion cub take such a challenge. It’s not easy at that time, moment you are assigned so many things and gee why does this happen to me? Sorry you gotta have! If you’re honorable NSA YMD! You gotta have. Enjoy your mission, to do impossible things. Constantly, I’m going to ask you to do it especially 1979. I’ve never expected to have response like terrible year past. That is disqualification of NSA of YMD. That kind of attitude is no qualify you to be leader of 1979 up. Your response was terrible of that time. From now on, if you really try to understand SY-his spirit of Osaka, better do your best. Don’t response of terrible way. Please leave such YMD. We do not want to have such YMD in NSA. Because if you are NSA of the future. Do it. Take care of own property, own things…Don’t feel like you’re doing it for somebody else. Do for your own sake, that’s why SY did it. That’s why SY felt this decisive campaign is for himself. Win or not is for his future. 14 pg. 4 lines from right column.

“For the past 10 years SY had never once protested against Toda’s requests whether they were explicit or implicit.”  It’s easy not easy never question. Remember the Impossible Dream what we dedicated at the Sho Hondo Convention? Such a spirit of Sancho Panza. It’s like really impossible dream. Without question or pause to be willing to march into Hell for a heavenly cause. That exactly Pres. Toda asked SY and he reply to that. Osaka was hell, please remember that from the very beginning then you understand the whole article. Osaka was hell for SY, but he went for Hell. To Hell for Heavenly cause, now third President of the Soka Gakka International. You’ve got to understand this point-that was a campaign of Hell. You have guts to go to hell for a Heavenly cause-that’s SY. And Pres. Toda asked SY to go to Hell. Kicked cub down the cliff. Do you think its a clear thing? No! If you are future Rejicho’s of NSA got to do it. You will be my successor. I’m the 1st NSA Rejicho of America. So fortunately Pres. Iked appointed me that way. But some of you going to be 2nd Rejicho for the future. When you hesitate to do it you disqualify yourself. You’re the one really willing to do even job like Hell. Within hell for a heavenly cause. That’s the one SY did it for Pres. Toda. You know master and disciple Pres. Toda and SY. Pres. Ikeda asking us whole thing is hell sometime. Not only smiling NSA YMD “Oh you’re wonderful. He might say if you’re baby face, maybe. Faith if young he might say that. But when he really start training you, it’s not easy training for you. That make you great that’s why. Please understand that kind of way. P. Ikeda his expectation for you, is who going to become future leader of NSA? Who going to be willing to do for that? Therefore, Pres. Ikeda, SY accept everything without question. And worry inside, but with question he response everything he accept. Shitei Funi-you all call Pres. Ikeda master, easy to call him, but how many of you going to act as disciple? Disciple, not follower, only the Rolling Stones or Beatles fans they go any place give flowers, clap hands, easy! Many of you are fan for Pres. Ikeda. But disciple has really got to do it behind the scene. Like Hell. Job like Hell. So you sometime protect this building you say. But what kind of Ichinen do you protect the building? You’re RSG, you’re called. Reception, Security Group. But actually should be same spirit SY to protect this bldg. for Pres. Ikeda.  Whoever come to reception, this is opportunity to be future leader, please undertake this. If anything happens you take responsibility with your life. Die for it. To protect NSA. Devote yourself to NSA with your life. That kind of way is really spirit of SY. Impossible request from Pres. Toda. Never answer back, that is a disciple. Push down the hill, rolling down, climb up, try to answer the request. Up on hill, master looking down, see club climbing with nails coming off, blood all over but still going up the cliff. That the lion cub. Finally up to the top. Lion King looking down and really chanting for the disciple. Or Pres. Toda’s ichinen taht time. Pres. Today not clear, but Pres. Toda expecting how SY reply to Pres. Toda. And SY did among 6 candidates, 3 lost in good chances. Tokayo candidates Mr. Harashima’s father, those people they failed. But impossible Osaka won, the two of them. One district level area of Kansai Shakubuku target. Pres. Toda did not say 1000 shakubuku per month. But SY did it because he knew result of campaign, faith of Guidance, Gosho, Gohonzon first. Whole thing SY did to members of Osaka 1 by 1 to really develop 1 become like general of 1000 soldiers. It’s easy to become general of soldiers. But all of you YMD be future leaders you are Honbucho’s of future, you are the General Director’s of the future. Therefore your mission not going to be easy. General of generals that’s why. You go to Pentagon you can tell General of General 4 stars, 5 star generals, he has to lead other generals-1 to 2 stars. That General of soldiers. Soldiers are really, I don’t say stupid, but really soldiers they just surprised general know everything. but knowing many things and become General of Generals and Professor of Professors, Doctor of Doctors. You know what I mean. Philosopher of philosophers, Professor of Professors that is not easy. This is campaign President Ikeda did in SY. That’s why it’s a tremendous, harsh campaign, you’re reading now.

Toda and Ikeda

The young leader Daisaku Ikeda walking alongside his master Second President Josei Toda. I believe this was taken at the head temple on pilgrimage to the Dai Gohonzon before Toda’s death.  I don’t read Japanese, so if you do could you interpret the side bar written in Japanese into English? Thank you.

It’s really harsh and also so much severe, but so much affection from Toda to SY as experience for the future General of generals and SY suffered, but then finally Gokaihi ceremony January 2nd he found Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Gohonzon is really General’s strategy. To win whole campaign you use Gohonzon. This Gohonzon is one. President Ikeda say it is key to win your future. Everyone I don’t know who from this room is to become future general of generals. Dr. of Doctors, Prof. of Professors. Leader of leaders. Honbucho of Honbucho’s is Sogohonbucho. Rejicho of Rejicho’s, you’re going to be Rejicho of Rejicho’s, President of Presidents. To compare that Jimmy Carter, cheap, Senators nothing, Congressmen pussies. (laughter) Leaders of human being that is more great don’t you think?

Hai! (pg. 16)

 

 

 

 

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by James C. Stephens


Friday, December 9, 1977

Saturday, Liz and I looked for a hall for wedding reception. Nice place for wedding at Ambassador, but too expensive. We later find out we got a misquoted price. Oh well. We got a better place on Tuesday in the Pacific Palisades, about $3,000 cheaper-$140 for the hall and kitchen and $30 for the clean-up fee. Liz and I are much more excited about this. More reasonable too. The lady Irma is a doll. She’s so helpful and so nice.

Saturday night we celebrated Hanukkah with Liz’s family (not parents, but mother’s sister). We had a great time. Danced til 12:00. Boy am I sore though, it took a lot of energy! Aunt Doris was there from Israel, Rebecca and her husband Jerry, a friend of theirs, Sharon and Ruthie played the piano and clarinet respectively. Ruthie is 16 and very good on clarinet. She wants to be in the philharmonic one day. We talked about an Aaron Copeland concert we had both attended and heard a fantastic woman clarinetist play.

Star Wars poster

Sunday the 11th, did gongyo with Mr. Williams with the Young Women’s Division while I was on Toban*. After meeting, set up 2nd floor for Junior Pioneers*  recital based upon the “Star Wars” theme. Was really fun and there were a couple of tears at times thinking of the future of these children. Rekindled again my sense of mission.

Tired after meeting! Took lots of energy.

After meeting had dinner at Liz’s and then Toban at L.A. #1 headquarters.

 Monday.

Difficult day-depressed. Deal at Ambassador Hotel too expensive. Something grabbing my life-don’t know what it is. A terrible lonely feeling. Called many of my old friends last nite. Good talk with Tom, Scott, Mike Hutchins…

December 17. 

Saw “Close Encounters” with Jerry Wilhelm and Brent Wilson. Raining. Nice change of weather.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

 


*Toban: Japanese term used in the Soka Gakkai for someone who guards the headquarters, community centers, temple, training center, opens doors, answers phones, acts as a gatekeeper of sorts to make sure the center is safe for the members and secure after they leave. We would also vacuum the entire facility at night before retiring. We would stay there over night to protect it and answer phones. Higher level youth division leaders and men’s division leaders usually were given this responsibility. We also opened the doors of the Butsudon for meetings and also made sure they were closed and locked afterwards. We were taught to protect the building and members.

Junior Pioneers: In the Soka Gakkai, a youth organization for kindergarten and elementary school age children of Soka Gakkai parents.

by James C. Stephens


Thursday, April 22, 1977

Days are getting warmer, but the nights are still cool enough to sleep well. A lot has transpired in the past week and a half. Friday last I and about 10 other guys took out our friend Bob Rafkin and got him drunk as a skunk, since he was getting married the next day. We went to McGinty’s, the Fox Inn. Had a great time, that is until the morning. I can’t remember having such a big hangover. Boy was I in pain. Luckily I made it to the wedding in time, although I ended up doing Gongyo in the back of a Mustang sitting next to a trash bin for the champagne.

That wedding was very groovy. As a matter of fact I had a most interesting thing happen, but maybe it was nothing. I was supposed to get a ride back with the guy I rode with-Sal Rivas, but it ended up I rode back with Suzanne Harris. Now before I left, I thanked the priest for the use of the temple. He said thank you for cleaning it so well afterwards.

He then said, “Are you married?”

“No,” I replied.

“When you get married you’ll have to use the temple.”

I said, “Of course.”

He then looked at me most seriously and said, “I think you will be getting married very soon.”  That freaked me for sure.

I rode back with Suzanne and Catherine a friend of the family. We had an interesting talk. She asked me lots of questions, age, length of practice, etc. I asked her many as well.

At times I think I make too much of such things, you know, read things into situations, make assumptions that have no base. Well I asked her out for dinner, but she had a guidance appointment with Mr. Kikimura. She explained to me that she was presently going through some heavy human revolution. The long and short of it is I became attracted to her.

Tuesday, I called her about 11:00 for a date, but all she said was when I asked her if she could talk or was she busy was- “Is it important, related to a meeting schedule?”

“No,” I said. “Okay, I’ll call some other time.”

Tonight I saw her at our general chapter meeting, but got the impression she was avoiding me like the plague. I asked her Shibucho, Don Mentzer, who is a favorite person of min, if he knew of any reason, or boyfriend, or situation why it would not be okay for me to ask her out. He said, “Well, she’s a tiger, Jim. She’s been through some men. But she changes, does human revolution. I don’t see why not.”

I didn’t get the best vibes from him, like maybe she wasn’t my type. So I couldn’t make connections with her. I’ve been so damned nervous about it, it hardly seems worth it. If she says no, well, if she says yes…

Daddy Long Legs Book CoverA bright note aside from my normal sancho goma problems which are pretty natural, is Mr. Bell talked to Rejicho about our literary group and thanked him for encouraging me and mentioned my name to him. He said he is very happy about the group and that members are trying to do these things. He then said he would like to suggest a book and pulled it from his shelf. It was in Japanese called Daddy Long Legs. He then explained. “It’s one of President Ikeda’s favorite books. You can read it in a night, it is short.” Believe me I am very encouraged!

Talked to Mr. Inabe at Malibu tonight. It seems his mother is extremely ill and he is going to Japan for two weeks. He doesn’t expect her to live. She is however in her nineties.

Mr. Inabe asked me if I could call all the Tobans from Santa Monica and North Hollywood and make sure they make it to Malibu. I said I’d be glad to.

I deeply like and respect this man, Mr. Inabe. He has pulled me through many heavy times.

April 29, 1977

Was so nervous and tired about asking Suzanne out. Called her. She has a boyfriend. Much relieved.


 

Bob passed away after a losing a bout with cancer in 2013. He was a great roommate. A genuinely nice guy and like an elder brother. I wished we would have kept in contact over the years. He is survived by his daughter Shelby Layne Rafkin. He was a very skilled guitarist who practiced 8 hours a day. “His career began rubbing shoulders with Bob Dylan and the folk scene of the ’60s in Greenwich Village. He was an in-demand session player in Los Angeles for years working with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Gene Vincent, the Everly Brothers and the Lovin’ Spoonful.”

I remember Bob performing “I’d Rather Be An Outlaw.” It’s quite interesting in that my great grandfather John Wesley Stephens survived an attack from the railroad skinners who raided his ranch and stole his cattle to feed the laborers building the transcontinental railroad. Great Grandpa Stephens took 44 stitches after he was left for dead by the skinners and survived. He walked with a cane until his death.  He used to read the Book of Revelation to his family each Sunday evening at their home in Texas.

I also liked his song “Lazy Waters” which he composed for the Byrds, but I actually like his performance much better.

by James C. Stephens


January 7, 1977

File1202

I finally got a hold of Judy Gold (she had left a message about 2 weeks previous she was trying to get a hold of me) and she suggested I come by and see her that night. Well it worked out she wanted to meet me at the Saloon around 9:30. Right! 9:40, 9:50, she didn’t show. But proof of my human revolution I did not get bummed out needless to say. Rather I had a beer, sat down and no sooner had I sat down when a girl asked if I had a light. Hold it, I’ll get you one. So I sat down at her table and Virdette (as I later found out) had another friend sit down. Her name was Adrian. Well the long and short of it was Virdette knew some people from Outdoor Sports Inc that I did and me being penniless they bought me six beers and we all became a bit high. Adrian and I hit off quite well and I think we might be going out in the near future. She’s going to Northridge CSUN as a Sociology major I believe and her mother is a psychiatrist, father divorced and in Germany, stepfather is a psychologist. So the evening turned out okay!

Left a message at her folks answering service today. Haven’t talked to her as of yet though.

On December 31, New Year’s Eve Day. As you might be aware of I and my father have been searching for an apartment. And New Year’s Eve was no exception. No Luck! But wait! I called Judy and she said come on down in about forty minutes. So looking at Dad, I said, “You don’t mind do you?”

He responded, “No. It’s okay. I’ll look for an apartment.” He didn’t look so happy. So I said, “I’ll make a couple more calls.”

One apartment I looked at a week before the landlord said was $250 a month. We could not afford it. So I didn’t call him back until the 31st. He said, “I’ll be over there in 1/2 hour meet me there.”

So Dad and I scurried over there and found out that an apartment over the garage was also for rent. What we didn’t know was that we had a contender. So the landlord came over and we looked at the $250 one and it was okay, but we were sold on the $150 one. Then the girl came up to look at it. While she was looking at it, the landlord and my Dad and I made a deal on the grounds maintenance for $50 a month off the rent. The girl came out and she said, “Too small.”  We rented it. $100 a month, $50 off for gardening. Not only that but we got a small shed for storing our equipment and behind the garages there was some room for a small vegetable garden, a side of the garage for storing 5 gallon plant containers, a washer and dryer below. It was a perfect apartment for the two of us. More than I ever expected.

The events leading up to this were frustrating, maybe proof of my lack of faith in the Gohonzon. But I keep telling Dad when a place fell through. Obviously it wasn’t meant for us-don’t worry.

Let me tell you Dad was really excited when we got this place! SO WAS I!

Last few days have been raining no maintenance, but you better believe I’ve been busy inside doing painting, etc. Two tobans this week.

Gary Curtis

Gary Curtis

Wednesday night I had my first Toban at the World Culture Center. Mr. Curtis was Chief Toban. About 10:00 PM, Mr. Williams came down. I walked him to his car, opened the door, shut door in the rain and TCD’d him out onto the street. He rolled his window down and said, “Thank you. Goodnight.” I responded, “Take care.”

Words do not do justice to the feeling I got from that experience.

On Thursday, I did Toban at L.A. #1 Headquarters.

January 1st we had an incredible meeting with Rejicho (Mr. Williams) at the World Culture Center. I was a TCD. Russ (Dilando) was in charge. I came late since I found out we needed TCD about 11PM. Didn’t want to ask same guys as night before so I seized the benefit.

New Year’s Eve Gongyo we did at LA #1 with Mr. (Frank) Hotchkiss leading. Saw a film recap of the “Top that Tune” contest. Hilarious!

File1411

From the top of the stairs at 1314 1/2 14th st in Santa Monica, California, Darlene Benson, Zadith Fresquez, Gayle Hammer, Kathy Schindler and Liz Lascar.

Afterwards I was just planning to go home not go out. But Kurt Triffet needed a ride to a party his chapter was throwing for Don Mentzer’s Birthday and New Year’s. So I got invited. What a trip! Met a girl named Gayle. Beautiful experience with the Gohonzon. We became good friends. She’s very nice. (I recall telling her that I had started a study group with Bruce Barnes and we were reading through Daisaku Ikeda’s Human Revolution, but that I was missing one volume. She mentioned that Liz Lascar had a total library and that she would see if she could get her to loan her copy to me).

Human Revolution by Daisaku Ikeda

Will have a phone installed on Thursday. AAO! Communication has been really poor this week. But things are definitely going better.

Adios!

by James C. Stephens


 

November 23, 1975

Ikeda at Malibu Training Center

Such disappointment, I experienced yesterday.

I tried so hard, but yet no result it seemed.

Obstacles always propose to me a test of my character.

I am but a child. I resent though being treated as such.

I feel on the verge of a breakthrough from adolescence to adulthood.

What do I see in the difference? Basically attitude. When one has problems do they control his existence or does one carry on with confidence in his heart and a smile in his eyes? I have as of yet failed to reached this point. I still at times let out a foul attitude towards certain people.

I must learn from people. I have too little time and too great a mission to play such small games. This arrogance I must Resist and Overcome.

Just because I don’t get something I desire must I throw a temper tantrum like a spoiled child?

Now I resolve to myself, it is time to breed into myself the true Gakkai spirit. To become a young man constructing a foundation not just my own foundation, but one for my country and for the world. I have put nearly six years of my trust into the Gohonzon, now is the time for a new breeze of freshness in my life. A change in my lifestyle.

Breathe deep

A new dawn

become a son of the Gakkai.

Search, because I am knowledgeable as yet what a true son is.

Keep struggling because without sweat on your brow

How can you know, the real joy of construction.

Cause and effect is the foundation of my life.

Sometimes things happen to me it seems, why?

A whole lot of bad things. Why?

To build my character? Maybe.

To reveal my true nature? Possibly.

To become in rhythm with the universe this is the fundamental law. To understand the nature of time; of cause and effect.

Jim, don’t be impatient. Strive to perfect your character.

Each day, clean and sharp. This is an important cause.

Each day Gongyo vibrant and straightforward.

A bus ride to Malibu Training Center. A talk, a warm talk with a nice young lady who moved from Massachusetts. Dropped off at Malibu. I walked in a warm breeze unseasonal. Breathe deep, fresh spirit.

Malibu shows me hope. Fresh, gleaming white fortress.

My battle is to gain new vitality fresh as a Malibu breeze. Deeep ast th great blue ocean, powerful as her waves; and meaningful as the sparkling universe.

Fight on! Day by day in the way I know.



The Malibu Training Center includes a meeting hall and the West Coast residence of the Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda. He held special leader’s meeting here when he visited the US. As a member of the Young Men’s Division Soka Group/TCD (Traffic Control Division) /Toban (guard) we were tasked with watching the property at least once a month. We would sleep in a the “Toban shack” which overlooked the beach. As volunteers, we helped build the entire estate over a number of years.  Mr. and Mrs. Inabe were permanent caretakers of the property. They were a very kind couple.

by James C. Stephens


Friday, June 6, 1975

About 2:00 AM last night Mike Hayes and I got a call from Mr. Murie. In the morning we were to meet at 8:00 o’clock to do gongyo with Rejicho. So about 15 of the stage crew met with Mr. Williams to do gongyo at the Control Center. After an incredibly strong gongyo he talked to us about our health and how important it was to get energy from nature by exercise. He then gave us a Spanish lesson and read President Ikeda’s guidance for June 6, 1975. He said, no matter what criticism we may endure or no matter what flattery we may receive, let’s keep going ahead with the Gakkai spirit.

President Ikeda’s Daily Guidance: “No matter how we’re criticized let’s carry on. We know glory and victory await us in the course of our persistent struggle.”

Afterwards w

hawaii-outrigger-canoe
e had some rolls and coffee, then headed for the beach. We rode in outrigger canoes. What a gas! Then Rejicho came out and we gathered round him. He seemed very serious today. But I picked up on his incredible Ichinen for the success for this convention. He was looking all round this Bay with binoculars. I wonder what goes on in his great mind?

We rode in a catamaran also. What a gas. While riding his man who sailed this boat told us that July is known for big surf. And we had better really pray for something.

We’ll be taking performers to the Island in these catamarans.

A great experience with Mr. Williams.

Got a bad sunburn–used some Hawaiian herb on it and it. Works wonders.

Saturday, June 7, 1975

Helped finish the backdrop for tonight’s General Meeting! However, I got a tremendous benefit. I’m toban to protect the warehouse tonight.

Last night while treating my sunburn with that special succulent herb I talked to the warehouse nurse Bill. A very encouraging talk about his district’s growth from nothing to a real dynamite district.

Finally caught up with my diary a bit!

My resolution is to work much harder than ever to create more fortune for my future, family and district. I must struggle each moment. I’m going for broke.

Imua!

Friday June 20, 1975

Wow. I could not begin to believe that 13 days have passed since I last wrote in my journa. Time passes so quickly.

I have been realizing a whole helluva a lot about myself. The groovy thing is it feels like I am changing many things on the spot.

My strong pride has come out many times, you know-the I’m right feeling. Uptightness.

Tuesday, June 24, 1975

Lately I have been experiencing some of the greatest feelings I have experienced in my life.



Ichinen: Life force.

Rejicho: General Director

Toban: Guard

by James C. Stephens


bamboo-forest

Friday, May 23, 1975

Came home around 12:30 daytime after Toban and showered, slept for about 3 hours. Went back to the warehouse, ate and got back to work. One of my dreams definitely came true tonight. When I was a young boy we used to travel to the beach; and on our way I always saw this little thatched Hawaiian type grass hut and I used to hear this song, “Little Grass Shack.” Well tonight I was taught by the grooviest Hawaiian Women’s division Helen, Margaret and Lizzie how to weave palm leaves. What a gas!

They’re becoming my good friends.

Saturday, May 24, 1975

Today we worked our bodingas off. Our crew is really uniting. Last night my project chief Mik Strawbinger and Dan  Pardo came over and we talked over a couple of beers then some cafe ole. Got to bed around 3:00.

We had a daimoku campaign in our group today and really got a lot accomplished. We switched off chanting about 20 minutes a piece. I must have chanted around an hour and a half today. I needed it too. I took my temperature and it was about 100 degrees and of course it made things a taste uncomfortable, but the daimoku saw me through the day.

I talked to one guy named Joel, a black guy and really had an incredible talk about racism and political activity. Very interesting talk.

Sunday, May 25, 1975

Had a mother of a tug-o-war. First our crew lost, got the most rope and were set. Next time we got set evenly and what a fight. We pulled and growled and fought. Finally in a last ditch effort we united to Wa-shoi and pulled the other team over the line and we claimed victory!

Tuesday, May 27, 1975

Went through mucho human revolution today. Carpentry puts me through changes like Brass Band training.

I understand that in a memo on the ABC campaign that this convention determines the success or failure of NSA. To me that is a very heavy responsibility for all of us. In a way I’m really scared for Mr. Williams. That’s why I am determined to try my damnedest to support anyone I have to follow, happily!

This afternoon during the height of my frustration with our Tiki hut, Mr. Murie had bought three big 5 gallon containers of ice cream and fudge. Perfect time, it made everybody relax and made it easier to go back to work joyfully.

Wednesday, May 28, 1975

This morning did Gongyo and instead of chanting for just my own shoga, I thought more of taige. Our group, headed by Mike Strawbinger; Mike Tamani, Dana Weeks, and Jo Michaelburger and myself all got to go to the Bamboo forest to cut 1000 stocks of Bamboo for the Polynesian village. Like a dream come true. So beautiful being inside a bamboo forest. Incredible feeling of serenity, but at the same time adventure. And what a view from the trail of the ocean wow!

Only one bad incident. Not really bad, but it put a perspective on why we were in this forest cutting the bamboo. One collegiate type guy with a mustache, beer in hand came walking down the trail emitting the worst possible vibes. Telling us how screwed we were for cutting down the bamboo, his friends for world peace. Jesus never intended this. A totally arrogant attitude that my words can not express. He asked me if we had a permit and I asked him if was a park ranger. He said, “Yes.”  I said, “Yes, we do. Talk to the man up by the trucks. Well later I went up on top and told Andy Hirama, Mr. Hirama’s son the details he told me.

“See that man?” referring to a gentlemen sitting on the ground watching the proceedings taking place. “That’s the park ranger.” Well, I really had a laugh.