Posts Tagged ‘Tozon’

by James C. Stephens


August 21, 1973

I realize I haven’t written in my diary for awhile, but sometimes it’s difficult to write of your experiences. The Sho-Hondo convention is getting closer everyday. It seems like yesterday it was 200 days until the Convention, now it is just 53 or so days.

About three weeks ago, I was struggling to get my money in for Tozon, now I am really struggling to get the right spirit for reporting to the Dai-Gohonzon and President Ikeda. I have really been chanting for 3 goals I have in front of my Gohonzon. 1) 3 Gojukai by October 1; 2) To play for President Ikeda; 3) To develop a seeking mind and fighting Abutsubo spirit.

I have been getting really incredible benefits. At my one job Benson Jones I got alot of responsibility and developed alot at that job. Remember I was thrown into jail for traffic warrants? Well, I really chanted to do Hendoku-Iyaku on that problem. Just last week I was laid off my job because I wasn’t a fast enough typist. My feeling was fantastic because I was chanting for a way out of that job, because they wanted me to work for a year full time and I wanted to go back to school. Anyway, when my boss laid me off he told me to forget the $122 he’d loaned me to bail me out of jail and on top of that he paid me my regular wages for a weeks work just to look for a new job. Incredible!!!

While I was working at Benson-Jones I took on a second job, which I received guidance from my assistant Chapter Chief Russ Dilando to do. For two weeks I worked two jobs. Sometimes working for 24 hours in a row. It was an experience I will never forget. Those two weeks seem like they lasted for 2 months. It is really strange. On Thursday morning I would get up early, do Gongyo and go to work at 9:00, get off at 6:00, catch a bite to eat on the way to Santa Monica for Band practice, leave at 10:30 to be at work at 11:00. Then at Alphy’s Restaurant I would work my rear off washing dishes continuously for 8 hours. What Human Revolution! Come home between 7 and 8:00, do Morning Gongyo and go to work from 9 to 6:00. Get home from work and hit the sack. Get up at 9:30 or 10:00 do evening Gongyo and go to work at 11:00. After work on Saturday nite I would go to Band and after Band on Sunday go to work again and then the next morning back to work again at my regular job. Some Gongyos were really strange.

One morning I remember chanting and then falling over. I couldn’t help but laugh. Driving to work was a strange experience. One morning I literally had to pull off the road and take a 15 minute nap to be able to make it to work. Even then it was a terrible struggle. I would have definitely continued to work like this for my tozon money, if it hadn’t been for my district chief Mike Lisagor. As I was heading out the door to go to work on a Friday nite, he met me at the door of my car and told me to call in sick. So I didn’t go to work and was consequently fired. Mike told me to depend on the Gohonzon.

I definitely feel that the guidance I followed was the cause to get such a large settlement from the accident my dad and I had last December. I got $800 which paid off my tozon of $650 and also the $450 for my VW.

My health was definitely not too good as a result of all those hours.


 

Sho Hondo: The Grand Main Temple near Mt. Fuji housing the main object of worship of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

Dai-Gohonzon: The large wooden object of worship which Nichiren Daishonin carved and inscribed with his name that was enshrined in the Sho-Hondo.

Tozon: Making a pilgrimage to worship the Dai-Gohonzon at the Head Temple Daisekiji, near Fujinomiya, Japan.

Hendoku Iyaku: The practice of “turning poison into medicine,” or obstacles into benefits.

 

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by James C. Stephens


July 6, 1973

Only 99 days left to the convention it said at the Headquarters. Each day I hope to make a stronger determination and really build it in my life. Lately, I have been on a communication campaign with my assistant chapter chief Russ Dilando. One of my big problems has been communication. I report on things like a bureaucrat rather than as a human being. When I feel lousy I try to paint a rosy picture to my district chief, like, “I feel lousy, but I determine to change it!” Instead of telling him, straight like a common person, and getting to the root of the problem. That’s a big problem in our society. We may admit we have faults, but often it is just useless talk, when we don’t really try to get down and change those problems through action.

Mike Lisagor my chikabucho (district chief) said that many of my Sr. leaders said that when I find somebody to communicate with (a Sr. Leader) then my practice will really change.

I need to really be able to take guidance no matter how harsh it is and translate it into action. That is one of my major obstacles in handling or being able to handle more responsibility.

Another problem I am trying to tackle more consistantly is the problem of on-shitsu. I am chanting to the Gohonzon to be able to really learn from other people and rather than compete with others to learn that the battle is really against myself.

Right now I only have $100.00 down on Tozon and not to say the least I am worried about it. However, the job I got as an administrative coordinator is not bad. I really chanted for a well paying job and for a job that I could put myself to a definite challenge. Well, I got it. I type invoices, I file, I answer phones, talk to clients, work with bank accounts and truthfully am under some pressure. I am really happy for the challenge. It pays $2.75 an hour which is 50 cents an hour more than I ever made before. We are a service company which ships commercials for radio and T.V. and has other clients which we handle their business of film distribution throughout the U.S. It is definitely a good experience.

My obstacle are showing for Sho-hondo Convention for sure. For the last week I have had a touch of the flu, and not too good of a diet to fight it. I have been trying to get things turned on at my new apartment for the last week and so things and money have been tight. I got the electricity turned on last week and the phone this week.

Red VWMy car–wow. It’s a sore subject. I rarely am not seen running alongside it and then hopping in and popping the clutch to start it.

Well, it’s time to get back to work. I just shakubukued the waitress Maria–she’s from Columbia. Bye.


I was working two jobs. Before I got the job at Benson-Jones I got a graveyard shift job busing tables and doing dishes at Alphy’s Coffee Shop. I was determined to save up money for the Sho-Hondo Convention in Japan. I would go to evening meetings from 7-8:30PM, volunteer at the warehouse until 10:00PM, drive home, take a short nap, go to work busing tables and doing dishes at a 24 hour coffee shop, go home, take a short nap, shower, do my morning Gongyo (prayers), drive to Toluca Lake to work at my Administrative job, take a nap during lunch, work. Repeat.

by James C. Stephens


Wednesday, October 20, 1971

 

This morning Russ enshrined Dave’s Gohonzon and afterwards Dave and I did Gongyo together. The day I had was really vigorous. Class in Urban Administration was interesting.

 

This evening, a Shakubuku of mine actually called me and wants to come to a meeting. After Dinner, I wrote a couple of letters to friends in Japan and then I studied at the library for a 1 ½. After the library closed I did some Shakubuku. I won a religious debate over two Christians. One agreed with me about the pure lineage lacking in Christianity. In fact, when I left they argued about their philosophy. Christianity is a dangerous illusion definitely!

 

Gosho Whether or not your prayers are realized depends on your faith

When I got home I read longer, and when I started to doze I started reading Pres. Ikeda’s Complete Works on the Komeito Party[1], etc. His Ichinen is extremely powerful, because I ceased dozing and became extremely alert. Very strange to me.

 

Sunday, October 24, 1971

 

Today, we had an Oeshiki Ceremony celebrating Nichiren Daishonin’s Death. However, the celebration is not like celebrating a past event, but celebrating now. It was the first time I saw Sogohonbucho for any length of time since he returned from Tozon.

 

Dave, my Shakubuku met Gary Curtis…It rained early so we left the Temple early.


 

[1] Komeito Party, literally “Clean Government Party”  is Japan’s third largest political party which was founded by the Soka Gakkai.

Tozon: A pilgrimage to the Head Temple to worship the Dai Gohonzon, Nichiren Shoshu’s object of worship which serves as the pattern for everyone’s Gohonzon. Gohonzon’s are not owned by the member, but loaned to them.

 

by James C. Stephens


Monday, July 5, 1971

 

While I was working at the apartment a very strange thing happened. It was my first encounter with a member of the Hokeko Association of Japan. The Hokkeko member practice everything, but Shakubuku. But withouth Shakubuku they are not able to change their destiny or evil nature. I could really tell in Itsue (Sam) because he seemed prejudice against Soka Gakkai. He called the members low-class. But I really Shakubukued him and told him that they were human beings also and this woke him a little. I said I was a student and he said, good. I think his impression of Nichiren Shoshu is changing much. How about that! He had a small Gohonzon around his neck and he showed it to me. I guess such a Gohonzon should be opened once a year.

I don’t think Itsue knows what Gongyo is although he has had Gohonzon for 33 years (his age also).  I really see why Nichiren Shoshu as an Organization is so important to carry out our human revolution.

After the Garage sale it doesn’t seem like Dad and I got much accomplished. One Friday he had off seemed completely wasted looking for an apartment. That morning we chanted together for ½ an hour. It really must have been the start of heavy Family Revolution, because ever since, my bad nature has been coming out around my dad. Whenever it does I feel very bad for making him feel miserable instead of encouraging him. However I am now slowly changing that attitude little by little.

My first pay check $131 I gave to my dad to help pay rent. I got the $131 before Seattle so I could be paid Seattle with my earned money, which is a good feeling. But the $140 (my Gov’t. tax refund was due me from my dad so he helped me out.

We have not yet sold the horses or dogs. But I am confident that soon we will see good fortune enter our lives. But, oh those head trips, wow. They are extremely ugly and confusing. At Band practice on Sunday July 4th I felt close to going crazy. I am serious of that. I feel on the edge. At times I feel like throwing the towel in, but for some reason, I don’t know what, I am still pushing.

I am completely cutting out Sansho Goma for Nancy Whitman by trying harder on YMD activities. Russ separated us fortunately for both of us. I am a YMD not an aspiring MD. It is still hard to avoid Sansho Goma however, but it sure feels good to be off that trip.

We arrived at the Headquarters at 6:30 and Vice President Morita did not arrive until 9:30, so I chanted 3 hours and 10 minutes daimoku to the Joju Gohonzon. After Gongyo, V.P. Morita related Pres. Ikeda’s message to American members to carry faith because we have such an important mission, each one of us.

Everytime I see Vice President Morita I really go through a lot of hell. He’s really a benefit! I can’t imagine what Tozon will be like. I can’t wait!!


 

Tozon is the term for making a spiritual pilgrimage to the Head Temple Daisekiji to chant before the Dai Gohonzon, which is the chief object of worship of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists worldwide.

Sancho Goma: Roughly, it was a term given to conquering the three devils of sexual attraction that keeps one away from enlightenment. I could not locate the term in the Soka Gakkai Dictionary on Buddhism.

Morita was the Vice President of the Soka Gakkai in Japan at the time.