Posts Tagged ‘Two Guys from Italy’

by James C. Stephens

August 13, 1978

Visited Russ Dilando with Liz up in Santa Ynez. When we arrived and were readying to do Sancho daimoku. BIG EARTHQUAKE.

Shook the area. Whew, just missed the pass entrance and rock slides. Benefit.

Nice talk with Russ. His father you know was murdered over a month ago by some hoodlums late one night. Russ is staying with his mom. He seems in fairly good spirits, but still seems a bit strange or off. I can’t explain what, but I just don’t feel 100% sure with him like I used to. He seems to be a bit insecure of the future and still dotes on the past a bit about the things he used to do. Not making the causes he needs to make, but maybe I am wrong. He needs to be with his mom at the present, so I just pray for his happiness.

Reflections: While we did take the time to visit Russ, I really didn’t fully grasp at that time how horrific it was for him to lose his father in such a violent crime.

“Joseph Nicholas DiLando, 58, died June 21, 1978, shooting” May he rest in peace. 40 years ago.

I personally had never come to terms with the news of my own best friend Paul’s murder in Spokane while helping defend an elderly woman on the streets. He was a Christian.

Russ from what I gather is growing specialized herbs, red Italian garlic and the like up in Santa Ynez. You might see him at one of the local farmer’s markets. I hope he is doing well. We had some good days together as young radical Buddhists and students at CSUN.

Two photos say it all. Russ introduced me to Italian Food. Of course our favorite place~ Two Guys from Italy in Northridge and to the best Calzone in Manhattan when we worked at the New York Convention in 1976.


by James C. Stephens

April 27, 1973

This month in fact, ever since Sepulveda became a chapter I have gone through some changes. My district chief Mike Lisagor has really helped me understand more of the spirit of this Buddhism and of President Ikeda. He has had many of the same problems that I have. We are definitely kenzoku.


For the last four or five Fridays I have been working on the Malibu Training Center. The Training Center is right next to the ocean. I can’t say but the feeling is so fresh and pure like the beautiful forests. Not like Mammoth Mountain, but a feeling of serenity and power and freshness. I believe it must be President Ikeda’s spirit.

Recently, I freaked out when I was really sick, I could hardly breathe and I can really understand shiki-shin funi from this. What was strange about this time that I got that titan feeling, was it so and ugly I thought what would I do if I wasn’t in Nichiren Shoshu; so instead of waiting around for someone to feel sorry for me and encourage me, I called my soshibucho Gary Curtis, and told him my problem. He told me I had no goals in my life. Even if its just to get across the street a person must have a goal he can reach. I told him I used to enjoy things so much and he said when you get older that fortune goes away, but by chanting you can get that excitement back. He said to call him back in a couple of days after I chant three hours of daimoku a day. Well I chanted and it felt like a new beginning. I didn’t stay home and chant those three hours, but I reached my World Tribune goal. I got one World Tribune on the street which was such a good feeling.

My brother flew in from Colorado earlier and we went out to Two Guys from Italy for dinner with my dad before the meeting. After the meeting I freaked out about being alone, but its so strange I am feeling stronger inside about just standing up.

My problem is just keeping going. I have a lot of things I want to do, but I am so lazy I never do anything, so I really chanted to overcome this and even more my on-shitsu nature. I really weep many tears during my daimoku and then Mr. Williams came and chanted many daimoku with us in Brass Band. I just don’t understand but I really felt alot for Mr. Williams. He has so much patience to put up with people like me. I was really choked up with tears while chanting to the Joju Gohonzon. Even with my bad nature Sogohonbucho really loves us. I’m really a fortunate person to be with him last night.

Russ explained at Band what he explained to me earlier when I called him that it is our Christian nature to be defeated and accept it. He said Sogohonbucho is always victorious. He never just stops, but always fights to win.