Posts Tagged ‘Toban’

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 whawaii-outrigger-canoee 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.

by James C. Stephens


October 25, 1974

You need a job to keep your life together. I decided that I could not go to school and keep my life somewhat together. Consequently, I sought work. For the last three weeks I have been working at Litton Industries, which has been a very good learning experience. I have been learning a lot about cost analysis in my position as a data aide. At first I was frustrated not going to school, but as far as my life is I can’t afford to go to school, nor can my life condition take it. I’m not a good professional student. In the near future I would enjoy taking nite courses and eventually graduate.

This month my practice has not been as strong as in the past moth, but I have nonetheless been learning much from my experiences. I have started dating a girl I’m falling in love for. I know that sounds corny, dating and in love. For me it’s really a change. And I think it has been coming for a long time. One thing I do know is that my human revolution is being magnified greatly. But I welcome it!

File1346

This month I got guidance to join the Bagpipes. What a groovy experience and human revolution on top of that!

We reached our Gojukai goal, AAO! AAO! (a Japanese “hip, hip hooray!”)

Last nite I was at the 1st Headquarters and Russ Dilando asked me to take toban because the other tobans were late, so I took toban (guarding the building and members).

Relationship

It’s difficult to make such a commitment 

                                    not knowing the uncertainty

of such a venture. 

    My human revolution has been magnified

             not in a bad way because Human Revolution is not bad,

but rather one can create value in his life

                                      through

the light of True Buddhism

no matter what the cause.

           I’m discovering the shallowness of my nature,

but also the joy of discovering the depth of Buddhism as it

 relates to my 

                 life.

At times, I’m so afraid of the fact that I have entered a romantic relationship

with another human being.

                               The joy is great,

                                         but at times the frustration 

almost tends to become unbearable. 

In such close relationship nothing is hidden,

your faults are definitely magnified.

             People warn me. People encourage me. I don’t feel it’s 

enslavement, but people warn me that it is. 

                      Only one way to go and that’s to week guidance from

Soshibucho.

But no matter what I Jim Stephens and she  must continue our practice to the Gohonzon.

Strongly!

Our goal, my goal is to create a happy district by April 1, 1975. 1 million daimoku by that date.

S H A K U B U K U   S P I R I T  !!

Only through the Gohonzon can I lead a happy life.

by James C. Stephens


April 19, 1974

Spirit of Toban

Talk by Honbucho Mr. Hall

Protecting the Joju Gohonzon means protecting the Headquarters from crazy people. It’s President Ikeda’s building, Mr. William’s building. There are three things to remember as Yusohan:

  1. To protect the Dai Gohonzon.
  2. Protect President Ikeda or the President of the organization.
  3. Protect the members.

Prevention is a hell of alot better than putting out a fire. In your mind be alert. As assistant you should be at your seat when members are around, but not glued. You represent President Ikeda!

NSA constructs people. Toban is for your future development! Look at young men today in our society. Damn few developing men with vigor.

Toshiro Mifune is an example of someone who is courageous and has guts. One who exemplifies spirit of master and disciple. Human spirit strong like a lion and mountain. Fighting to grasp the same spirit.

General Director Williams has unshakable courage and words like swords. Shakubuku meeting is a war of words. Not to chop people. Our enemies are misunderstanding, confusion. Such a perfect battle to engage in today. Special training to become treasure of NSA. To understand spirit of Toban. Where else can you find a master that gives a damn. That stays up nights thinking how to train you.

Because of training you become a free person. Not training for NSA, but as a leader in society. We need leaders who give a shit about the people. Happy society will not happen until leaders stand up.

Victory-to win. No win, no mercy. Win so you can help another. Devote your life to what is good and what is right.

Mercy. Work for people, work for society according to the law of the universe.

 

by James C. Stephens


March 7, 1974

On Friday, March 1st a new era began in NSA. At the first Headquarters Mr. Williams enshrined a new Joju Gohonzon. The old Gohonzon was ten years old and had Soka Gakkai written on it. The new Gohonzon has Nichiren Shoshu Academy, November 26, 1973 written on it. Friday night I was TCD for this activity. Boy did I go through some heavy changes. Dave Anderson, my TCD chief gave it to me with both barrels. I was TCD of the cross walk on Lincoln Blvd. and what a responsibility it is to guard the crosswalk for pedestrians.

Saturday morning I got a call from my Shibucho to be TCD at the Joint Headquarters. So Saturday morning the first thing I had to do was get some gas. The lines at most stations were about 30 minutes long and I didn’t really have the time to wait that long. Strangely, a service station decided to open up exclusively for my member Paul Diamond and I. (Many years later he asked me to fill in for him as a chauffeur for Eli Broad, who would become the wealthiest entrepreneur in Los Angeles. I did so. Picked up the three newspapers he read daily,  Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and LA Times, drove to his house and drove him in his Jaguar to the UC Board of Regents meeting in Long Beach).

Afterwards I went to the Joint Headquarters and talked to Scott Wilson and at about 4:30 I went to the airport to pick up Mrs. De Chu of Panama. She’s really a groovy person. She speaks Spanish, English, and Japanese and was really an incredible person.  After I picked her up at the airport I took her out to buy some clothes. We sang Doshi-no-uta together.

At eight I had another mission. Instead of going to a meeting I had to drive Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Chuda. I drove them to Malibu in the super van. What a trip. It was pouring rain and all the way out we were learning Doshi-no-uta. I was teaching them the words and son, but in essence they were teaching me the spirit of the song. We sang the song all the way there in the rain, fixed up some beads for President Ikeda’s room and then sang Doshi-no-uta to Mr. Enaba and his wife before we left. It was such a groovy experience.

Sunday morning at 6:00 I started picking up Senior leaders at the Airport for the special Senior leaders meeting with Mr. Williams that afternoon. Once Brad Nixon from Seattle found out that I was originally from Montana he casually joked about the need for leaders in Montana. Later he got serious and he asked my name and who my Shibucho was.

To me it was definitely a benefit from the Gohonzon that such a thing would happen. It was not a mere circumstance. I’m sure of that. Cause and effect are too clear to me for that.

After morning transport, I was told no more help was needed that they had a fresh crew. Well I stayed anyway just downstairs and shaved and washed my face and then took a nap for an hour while we were waiting for the leader’s meeting to conclude.

Afterwards we cleaned up and I was fortunate to be able to give Mrs. O’Rayeh who was carrying Gohonzon’s for Las Vegas, a ride to the airport. On the way, I told her of my Montana benefit from Brad Nixon. He told me he would give me Montana and Idaho and even part of Canada if I decided to move. She was in the bus earlier when he talked to me.

Josei Toda Portrait

Second President Josei Toda.

On the way, she told me about her early practice and her husband Mr. O’Rayeh. She told me that they both received guidance from President Toda personally. She told me he was a very funny person, but very powerful when he had to be, but immediately afterward he would encourage the person he just scolded. Mr. Grant told me that once too. He said that Mr. Williams would scold someone and he really would forget right afterwards. He doesn’t harp on things. Mrs. O’Rayeh said also that President Toda usually wore a kimono. He was a very relaxed person and unusually tall for a Japanese. When he used to give guidance he always would look at you over his glasses with his head tilted down.

I swear I believe we or at least me, for example, take Japanese or people who have practiced a long time for granted. But I felt her beauty from the Gohonzon very deeply. She has had the Gohonzon for something like 20 years. She’s definitely a groovy example of the Gohonzon.

Later that night I got guidance from my Soshibucho Gary Curtis on my job. He told me to stick with it. It’s easy to cop out, he said, but stick it out. He said to quit before the convention is senseless. If you have the Ichinen there will be plenty to do two weeks before the Convention.

Last week Pres. Ikeda was in town for three days. My Chikubucho in fact our whole district was fortunate to have our Chikubucho be with President Ikeda.

For three days before President Ikeda got here, the Malibu Training Center now renamed the Malibu Community Center by President Ikeda, was moving fast. Friday night I helped in the pouring rain and I mean pouring.

Saturday, however I had tobon at the 1st Headquarters during the day. That day was really far out. The Koteketai was leading a whole lot of songs and then all of a sudden, I was called. “And now we’ll have a song from the Toban.” What a hell of a rush. I started off by singing NSA we’re going to Sho Hondo. Oops! Everybody cracked up. Then I sang a vigorous rendition of Shakubuku Song and quickly exited back to my seat to the thunderous applause of the Koteketai. What a rush!

During the week I made the resolution to be on time for work. Monday I did not work, but really got a lot accomplished. I took care of 3 warrants, my registration, address changes, payed off a bounced check and various other things. It was totally worthwhile. Now I have one warrant left which I’m now working on taking care of. I decided not to buy a new car, but to put money into my ’64 VW and get it painted. I think it’s a wise decision, because the price of cars has gone up accordingly with the price of everything else. Hell, you can’t even buy milk one day without the price going up the next minute you turn around. It’s a strange situation. Everywhere you turn there’s some type of problem. If it’s not inflation, it’s gas lines, it’s a line at the post office. The even sadder thing is that the Government is not moving fast enough to put a stop to this critical situation. The gas crisis they say, well it’s over, but is it? Maybe temporarily, but unfortunately the Arab oil barons, a handful of men, could do it easily again to us at an even more crucial time.

It’s four a.m. now at the Joint Headquarters and people are still moving around so at least one Toban should be up. Guess who?

It’s my first Toban at the Joint so I want to be the best Toban! I’m not trying to be a martyr by staying up all night, but Mr. Hall said the Joint Headquarters should be especially protected even if “it means staying up all night yourself.”

James C. Stephens


January 17, 1971

The month of December was unbelievably heavy but I made it and I’m happy for that. During the week before New Year’s I chanted to get closer to my leaders and also to create value and make causes for the New Year. I went to Brass Band one day, but the next day I left for Mammoth for two days, to have “someone” ride home with Mom. But really I had opportunities to stay home and go to Brass Band. Well, Dick Bond told me to chant and see what happened. The Two days at Mammoth were really a blast. I saw Karen and Shakubukued her. I really seem to like her, but I saw later what value such relationships create; and how girls really can break the bond between you and the Gohonzon, or at least take your Ichinen off practicing to change yourself during young days in faith. But those two days were a tremendously valuable experience.

The day I got back I went to a Yusohan meeting and volunteered and was chosen as a Yusohan for Shibucho. This was to be the start of my biggest benefit since I joined Nichiren Shoshu in May. From that moment I was Shibucho’s Yosohan. It was not just a valuable experience, but it showed me where my life was and where it is going to go hopefully into the future.

That night at 2:30 I went with Soshibucho to LA International to pick up baggage of Kansas City and saw the Kanki of “out of town” members. But they didn’t seem out of town at all. Then on the way back to the Honbu I got to talk to Soshibucho. But it’s hard to talk to him for me.

When I got back I was told to take a nap. So I went up to the second floor, boy was it humid, a million bodies were lying all around. So I didn’t lay down but five minutes and felt there was more to be done so I went downstairs and worked on the “Space Needle” in the Band room. While I was painting, Sogohonbucho walked in and wow. He was carrying his saxophone to find a place to practice, but he was checking on our progress I know. But I heard him in his office practicing his sax. Time passed by fast and at 4:30 I went upstairs only to find that Shibucho had gone to the airport.

Later that morning I went to sleep around 5:30 in the World Tribune room and really enjoyed my sleep. Then I was busy doing odds and ends in the morning and by afternoon Shibucho said, Well you can go see the parade and do New Year’s Gongyo at the Temple. So during that afternoon I knew there was more to do, I don’t know why I wanted to do more but I did. As I was changing I asked Gohonzon, first for something to do and something to eat. Well, instantly a member came up to me and said, “Jim, got time?” Yep! “Ok, let’s go deliver dinners to New York and Hawaii. Inga guji. So we delivered dinners to New York and Hawaii; and I had dinner with Hawaii. Good dinners too.

Honbucho from Hawaii asked me if they had the generator yet for their float, so I ran over to the warehouse and talked to Soshibucho. He told me they needed two generators and two floats were stranded at the warehouse. Well, it was about 5:30 and the parade started at six. By the time we got everything loaded and everyone fed it was almost 6:00, and no communication from the warehouse to anywhere. So we got everything loaded and hustled to the beginning of the parade route and I and two New York members chanted all the way for Gohonzon to help everything work out. Immediately everyone loaded the dishes and I called Shibucho. It was a blow mind because a guy just gave me the money (member from N.Y.) no hassle. Shibucho said get those floats down here and he told me where the Ryder truck and stake truck were. Everyone’s karma was really oozing out by this time. I found the stake truck but unfortunately the New York skyline was built on it. I found on of the three Ryder trucks, someone lost the keyes. The other Ryder truck was emptying dishes and the last was without a driver. By this time I was a little frantic. But I got one on its way and finally got the other on its way. Then I was assigned to a Sr. leader from Chicago and his float was the one of two missing. But through their faith the floats arrived two minutes before parade time. It was a fantastic parade. I was a self assigned runner for Shibucho Jim Cuda. Never ran so much and felt it so little, it was unbelievable. The Gohonzon brought out my true vitality.

You know after a Christian parade how long it takes to clean up? Well we had the entire parade route cleaned, the floats demolished, the warehouses cleaned in tow hours at 25 to 12:00, unbelievable. True unity. Afterwards I went back to the Honbu and we loaded food for the Min-on on New Year’s Day. Then I went to the Shibu washed my pants, did Gongyo and crashed until 5:30. Then I went straight to the Honbu and reported to Shibucho. He kiddingly said I looked terrible, as I had clean pants and a new sweatshirt. So we got them dirty working that day getting things ready for people leaving after the Min-on. I didn’t get to the Min-on but I felt it. That morning I got to say Gongyo with the NY members and Sogohonbucho. Later as I was loading trophies and gifts from Sogohonbucho, he came up and asked me to count the trophy’s. It’s hard to express how it is to look up and look Sogohonbucho in the eye. It’s much like looking at a sun but can see the face. It’s the feeling. He doesn’t say anything, but you can feel it more than words could express.

That afternoon, I talked with a member that was from England and shared Toban with him. We had two or three very strange experiences with people coming in. About 7:00 I decided to take a nap for an hr. in a guidance room. One person came and shut the door so I wasn’t disturbed. At 1:00 I was awakened and promptly taken out of the room by another person on Toban. By morning I would have been dead by gas. But almosts don’t count, you win or lose in Buddhism. Why I wasn’t phased I don’t know.  I then did evening Gongyo on the third floor alone at 2:00. Really fantastic. Russ did it at home at 2:00 also; really mystic. Then I went and slept on the second floor, but only after I went down to see and smell the guidance room. Whew!

The next morning Mr. Kato asked me to clean the 2nd floor Butsudon. I was happy to serve the Gohonzon, but why me? It seems I am way too unworthy to have been given the opportunity to have been so close to the headquarters. Maybe one day I might fathom; why.

I really saw that I have to battle my ego, my big head. I have to be more humble.

I saw Brass Band is really important, and I still don’t know how Sogohonbucho does it. Maybe Gohonzon? Most definitely.


Sogohonbucho: General Director George M. Williams of Nichiren Shoshu Academy, aka Soka Gakkai, North American Division. His name at the time I believe was still Masayasu Sadanaga.

Honbucho: Headquarters Chief.

Soshibucho: General Chapter Chief.

Shibucho: Chapter Chief.

Shibu: Chapter meeting house usually belonging to the Chapter Chief.

Yusohan: Young Men’s Division group assigned to protect the Gohonzon, the buildings, leaders, and members.

Dick Bond: Leader of Young Men’s Division Brass Band and also of the Tribune Band which was an exclusive band that was on call for all sorts of VIP events held at the North American Headquarters.

Kanki: Basically life energy of a person.

Mr. Kato: The quiet right hand man, an administrator of General Director Williams.

 

by James C. Stephens


Saturday, April 16, 1971

Today I got up at about 8:00 and cleaned my room. Sal came over and we chanted an hour of good daimoku and did Gongyo. Afterwards we drove down to Fullerton and got a girl’s World Tribune. It was really a good experience Shakubukuing an older lady and a young girl.  They were Sal’s old acquaintances and it was a good Shakubuku. They fed us lunch and we had a good personable talk, no real hang-ups. It feels real good.

 

Then we went to the Honbu and fortunately the Fuji shobo was open and I got my Seattle T-shirt for Band Tommorrow….I had an unbelievably full schedule for me, but the Gohonzon helped me achieve my goal; for your daily schedule has got to be a goal. I got one World Tribune today which brings my total to four. It broke my record of last month, so I’m happy for that. And it just seemed my schedule answered itself. I was going to pick up my new butsudon, but Russ left it here, I was supposed to call up Jay Stone, but Jay called me; I zipped in cleaning the house and it was just a good day.

 

Evening we had a good Zadankai meeting. We had an elderly man and many younger guests. I helped the older man and it made me feel good inside. But not just good, but it put me through human revolution.

 

One other thing I must note; My Dad, while buying some hay, ran across a man he hadn’t seen in ten years. The benefit is this man offered my Dad or asked him to interview for a job managing a Rental (U-Rent type of set-up) Shop for $15,000-20,000 + commission a year. It sounds good, but I don’t get my hopes too high. I just have got to get him to chant so it goes through; I will chant, too of course.

 

Oh, I practiced my instrument again day by day. Now I must extend that to my studies.

 

Tomorrow-Myohoji—can’t wait.


World Tribune campaigns. On a monthly basis we would go out and promote the organization’s newspaper to members, friends, relatives and meet briefly each night to see who got the most subscriptions.

Zadankai meetings: Discussion meetings were held in individual’s homes and occassionally at the Headquarters, wherein one would bring guests to a meeting designed to introduce them to Buddhism.

Honbu-Each headquarters had a meeting place. Santa Monica Headquarters originally was housed in an old Elk’s Lodge that we remodeled as members. One would enter through a front door into the reception area where the Men’s Division or Young Men’s Division would be on Toban (guard). Downstairs was a sitting area with vending machines, near the Fuji shobo where one could purchase religious articles such as beads, incense, books, and convention t-shirts; the Headquarter’s chief’s office, and restrooms.

One would go upstairs, take off one’s shoes, and then enter the main meeting area which housed the especially inscribed Joju Gohonzon (Object of worship) made for each headquarters, housed in a large Butsudon on a platform in the front of the room. One would chant sancho daimoku three times out of respect. Usually on the right hand side of the wall hung a photo of President Ikeda, the third President of the Soka Gakkai. On the platform were offerings of fruit and during New Year’s mushimoshi, rice cakes.  On another altar table were place two candlesticks, an incense burner and on the floor to the right a bell which would be rung to help others in a call to prayer.  Women would sit on the right, men on the left.

In an adjacent room was a room especially dedicated to President Ikeda whenever he would visit. Next to that was a kitchen.