Posts Tagged ‘Toda’

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.

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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.”

by James C. Stephens


July 8, 1973

Kosen-rufu Gongyo with General Director George M. Williams.

‘We are pioneers–pioneers mean you have no money. You are pioneers like 100 years ago. Same frontier spirit. Must develop same spirit. No air-conditioning for them. Really a hard task to travel West. Some pioneers cry and some never see their family again.

‘First time I came 16 years ago, no community center. First Headquarters an old post office. President Ikeda told me to move to the West Coast. Then Western White House. Now Watergate.

‘President Ikeda stayed at the Watergate overlooking the Potomac River. But he stayed only one night. Asked about Washington, D.C.. No one knew much. He said, please you are young. Please study much. Learn about your country. You will be proud. Please study. Ok?

‘Study Democracy. You must study so you don’t have mob-o-cracy. Ignorance like the Salem Witch Trials.

‘What is the season? What type of world we live in? Through faith in Gohonzon we overcame. Many of us narrow-minded. We are the intellectual division of NSA. Read Time or Newsweek. Study alot.

‘Cousin smarter than me. But as soon as he graduate he went to hospital. Still there. I’m dumber maybe, but happy. Don’t worry about comparing university. You are members of NSA and disciples of President Ikeda. If you can’t study books, study NSA Quarterly.

‘The human body strange, hardships, problems, study all come back to you. Much knowledge comes from experience. Really become proud of America. If you’re Canadian, be proud of Canada. Just become a better human being. Better asset for nation, world and all mankind.

‘2001 just around the corner. Many of you will be on the moon. I hope all of you will become great leaders. I always spend each Kosenrufu Gongyo with you. I hope nobody hates you. Maybe no one follow you now, but 5, 10, 20 years from now, thousands, millions of people will follow you.

‘Chanting daimoku is important because the campaign (in Japan) is not over, the result is not in yet, so we have extended daimoku campaign tonight.

12:45 AM. Tokyo Time-9:00 on Monday. Komeito election.

Ikeda_Williams‘Good friends. My first butaicho (Young Men’s Division Chapter Chief) Mr. Y (sp?), now an assemblyman. Mr. Matsuo used to be one of my chikubucho’s (District Chief’s) when I was a YMD Taicho. I too care of 8 districts. Next Kakura, second from left end under President Toda, a General Director, #1 elected to Congres in Japan in 1956.

‘A Yusohan chief-Mr. Hachima, chief of all TCD (Young Men’s Traffic Control Division)-I under him. TCD lost spirit in Japan. They say George M. Williams take spirit away to America.

‘Behind the scenes spirit–TCD–happy, not Nazi feeling, but protect the members, and give the guests a good impression and feeling. Quick Action. Clear and Accurate Information. Watch for elderly people and children. Don Quixote spirit. Love everyone. Uniforms important. So they don’t get arrested directing traffic. Only TCD get special uniform, badge. Like Angel Corps (Young Women’s Division). Good Judgment. Smooth going. Thank you’s make things go better. Hard work.

‘Hard work–much difficulty, but remember you are pioneers. But as long as you have Gohonzon and President Ikeda. I your big brother with President Ikeda our daddy.

‘Keep study–not just recent news, but history of Los Angeles and the United States, of religious persecution. If you are just proud of Los Angeles you are a like a frog-in-the-well. Develop a systematic way of study.

‘Maybe not too handsome or pretty yet. Today’s handsome, I don’t trust.

‘Nichiren Daishonin always receiving persecution from all walks, types of people. In 1261 he was exiled to Izu Peninsula.

He (George M. Williams) then pointed at Gohonzon, ‘This is God. Open your eyes right in front of you. Jewish, Catholic, Chinese Gohonzon. Gohonzon same everywhere.

‘President Ikeda’s student should be A+ person at job or school. Let Gohonzon come in. Stand up this time, march towards the future. You can enjoy good health. Chant daimoku for good health. Someday become a great prince. Pay now, fly later-old Buddhism. Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism–fly now.

‘Kosenrufu and Shakubuku in past untouchable, now touchable. Kosenrufu one by one. Everyday Kosenrufu!

by James C. Stephens


Saturday, July 17, 1971

 

File3288With only 5 days to Seattle, such excitement and progress is definitely being made in my human revolution. Today I believe a giant stride forward was taken. We moved today and probably Monday will be living in our new apartment. I really feel cleansed of a lot of junk, and as I sit in the apartment now, by candlelight, I feel like a pioneer in the great new civilization. It is definitely a great feeling. I think these days will be the greatest of my memories.

 

Wisdom, Glory, & Passion—Third American Student Congress.

 

J.F.K. once said, “World Peace is a daily process.”

Gary Curtis related Pres. Ikeda’s guidance to “fuse into society.”

The Canadian delegate said, “More shakubuku and more daimoku. Time to construct, not complain. Pres. Ikeda encourages us to be foremost.

The delegate from Hawaii said, “What is culture? The zadankai[1] meeting.”

Mr. Fukishima spoke. “From the bottom of my heart, Congratulations to Glorious Third American Student Congress! Such a youthful, bright, cheerful members of Student Division meeting. If President Ikeda attended he be very happy. President Ikeda make such a fantastic foundation. On this July Student Congress, this July very meaningful month. July 4, 1776—thirteen colonies declared independence. President Toda, the second President who was imprisoned was released on July 3rd.

July is month of revolution. Most meaningful meeting right now. This meeting must be turning point. Don’t you think so? Hai![2]

“This July is a very important meeting. Sokagakkai 20 years ago inaugurated. President Toda say: ‘New generation depend on passion and strength of youth.’ Create a new world means creation, means not Christian, but something as never existed before. Such passion means youthful searching of true idealism…strength means believing in Dai-Gohonzon.”

“In America today generally several 100 thousand young losing targets for future. Furthermore all you are studying in college or University because of Gohonzon, your study return with great wisdom. Crisis you face now are most important. What should be done? Greatness of master only shown by disciples. At work—image greatest of master. We are prince and princesses of Nichiren Daishonin. Must overcome obstacles.”

Sogohonbucho said, “I move that next May at USC we hold Student Congress.”

 


 

 

[1] A zadankai meeting is a discussion meeting which follows a prescribed routine and is held in member’s homes to which guests are invited to attend.  They typically begin with chanting the daimoku, followed by Gongyo. After the evening prayers are finished, the leader and emcee turn around towards the audience and then the emcee welcomes people to the meeting, followed by a couple of rousing Gakkai songs.  The tunes are usually quite familiar, like “I’ve been working on the Railroad” but the lyrics are totally Buddhist, e.g., “I’ve been doing Shakubuku all the live long day.” Early on everything would be followed by a vigorous, “AAO!AAO!AAO!” with fists thrust into the air, the Japanese equivalent to “hip, hip, hooray!” Then the emcee would ask us to introduce the guests.  Shortly afterwards, people would ask if they had an experience they’d like to share which varied from getting a free parking place, a new job, car, healing, etc. After the experiences, the meeting with be opened to questions from the guests and new members which the leader would answer. Following the questions, guests were asked if any of them would like to try chanting. The meeting usually started at 7pm sharp and ended promptly at 8:30pm.

[2] Hai was Japanese for yes. In the early days of the movement we would respond in Japanese to a question with a determined “Hai!” to express our commitment.

Looking back: My brother who had moved to Mammoth and looked fit. He was worried that I was not getting enough to eat. With around the clock activities, donuts and coffee became a standby. Not a good formulae for healthy living.