Posts Tagged ‘YMD’

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


December 5, 1977

Over the weekend I attended a Marina District Meeting. Only one Young Men’s Division is there now besides myself. I realize that I must raise more members, YMD. Tonight I talked with Honbucho Mr. Curtis and he said I need to talk more to Mr. Sugano. He said he learned when he was young that youth is time to tell your feelings to shut up, to cover up, ignore them. Unless they come from the world of enlightenment you can’t trust them. They will destroy you. We live in a human society you have to live with people. To get along with people is important. Your feelings are so strong they will ruin you. You don’t have to get rid of them, just control them. It can change very fast.

On the subject of daimoku. Ask yourself when is your favorite time of day to chant. Honbucho said nite bores him. That’s for beer and other things like being a father. I have to be a father til 10:30 after that I have so little time. I chant a lot when I’m happy, very little when I’m not. I get up early before everyone else and chant in the morning about 45 minutes. I chanted a lot when I was a new member. When you have a lot of problems Jim, I don’t think 40 minutes is enough, especially when you’re not in control of the situation.

20141117_085329_LLSTalked with Steven Parker. Wow, we sure had a nice talk compared to days when we were TCD (Traffic Control Division) together in New York. Told him I would send him book called Martin Eden. He’s a writer for Auto magazines. Showed Honbucho my diary. He said I hope there’s a significant change in Volume 9!..Talk to me when you have any problems.

During Gongyo tonight, I really thought about our wedding. With so many people invited it may be unwise. Possibly we should cut it down, since we are going to Israel. Financially it could put us into debt for a long while.

Thursday, December 8, 1977

Tuesday night I was home visited by Mr. Sugano who is our Territory I YMD Chief with Mr. Nagashima. From his visit, I really determined to begin anew! I must fight! Challenge myself! I can do 30 visits a month. Do it! Less theory more action. Encourage your parents in NSA and family by your strong action. You are future of NSA of the world. Human Revolution. Marriage–don’t become domesticated. Trust, President Ikeda and Mr. Williams that’s enough. We are all doing gongyo–human revolution. Have stronger life force–more compassion than others. Less controlled by outside. I took it be be more a true General based on the law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

December 6, 1977 is a date I shall make a new beginning from. It is a prime point. During Gongyo I felt rotten, like what are they doing here? But I challenged that attitude and resolved that this could signal a totally new beginning.

Already I’m experiencing new great benefits. Possible landscape job for President of A & M Records. $700 job for one of Rick Coleman’s projects. A new customer next door to Rick’s. A clean up job for Ira Pelofsky, a clean up job for Chuck James partner. All since I made that resolution. Even an unprocurable book in the U.S. book in the U.S.–Dialogue on Life #1–I got from a friend last night. Visited Tony Schmidt last night after library committee.  He got back from Tozan* a new man, what a light bulb. He’s really felt the Kechimyaku and reality of Kosenrufu. He’s brimming over with determination. We have a transfer member from Hong Kong we gave Tony since he got back from Tozan.

Tonight we had a Bucho meeting with Mr. Sugano. Same as my home visit except I could give my determination. He really confessed privately tonight that he felt Beverly Hills YMD really possess something different. Really sharp! We initiated Ode to Youth study three months ago. No one else has yet to do. But Mr. Hall will start beginning of 1978. Mr. Sugano said we all graduated from college. So sharp. However he feels we lack on thing. We lack backing in action. Sort of give up half-way. But so many clever ideas and you all take notes. No other headquarters did I see this! I’m sure you pass this on. But must use this potential develop–carry through 100%!

Tonight felt that Kechimyaku, a mission of Kosenrufu. Immediately afterwards Danny and I went next door to our Chapter YMD’s daimoku toso. We chanted and planned lecture tomorrow night. Goal: to apply Buddhist terms concretely to daily life. Everyone to participate.

Afterwards Hiroshi and I went out. I ate, he had coffee. We had a nice talk and afterwards I dropped him off.

After I got home, I talked to Liz-she seemed depressed, misses me, I of course miss her, but campaign will determine our happiness as mates. I love her deeply. I felt unhappy for her feelings. Chanted one hour to end campaign today. Must write in diary daily.

Goodnite!

 

by James C. Stephens


Monday, April 11, 1977

1:10 a.m., Tuesday morning.

Last few days have enjoyed beautiful spring weather. It’s been cool and slightly overcast with that ocean air influence. Perfect working weather. Soon, I’m sure we’ll have some more scorchers, though.

Had an enjoyable Easter Sunday. My Aunt Retha came over, Ann Sandene and her son Tony, and Emery a bowling friend of my fathers and three friends and members of mine, Tom Brittingham, Tony Schmidt, and Brent Wilson.

My Aunt Retha is looking so much better and younger. It’s great! We had such an interesting conversation about her studies in genealogy, etc. She told me about our family tree on the Stephens side of the family. In the near future I would like to get the tree from both sides of my family. It fascinates me.

After the folks ate, they went out bowling and we, the YMD, had our one hour toso and did a precise Gongyo, ate, drank and watched the conclusion of a very interesting movie, Jesus of Nazareth. Very well done. I was particularly impressed with the master disciple relationship between Jesus and his disciples, very interesting. I have much to say on this, but would like to start a notebook on personal essays on such thoughts of philosophy, education, etc.

https://youtu.be/ruLjkt-5Kao

This evening was most enjoyable for me. Bob Rafkin, a former roommate and good friend of mine is getting married this coming Saturday the 16th and tonight his Bride, Joanne Harris’s mother gave a dinner for them. It was a family dinner and I am touched deeply that I was considered to be close to Bob to be invited. We get along like brothers. Anyway it was on Restaurant Row at the Mediterranean Restaurant and I enjoyed it immensely. I became associated with Mr. Harry and Mr. Sinclair and several others of the Harris Clan and met Bob’s parents who are very neat people. There were quite a few members there also, including Mik and Liz Shevchek, Terry and Guy Meek, and Andrea Hairston.

Terry Meek and I had a very heart to heart talk; she’s definite proof of the Gohonzon, a very beautiful women with very warm eyes and emits an incredibly down to earth countenance without losing that female grace and beauty. I had mentioned Mr. Williams talking to my father and we got to discussing the literary group I started, she was extremely interested and wants to attend a meeting and if possible get into our group.

Had to leave at 10:45, because I had another equally exciting thing I had to attend in Westwood. About 3 weeks ago I met a girl named Isabel at Howard Johnson’s during my coffee break. We had a conversation across the counter and I mentioned our Literary group when I heard she was trying her hand at writing short stories. She sounded interested so I invited her to be a guest one month, she accepted.

We talked about travel and she mentioned she spent a year in France, so I mentioned the fact that one of the members in our group was from France, Pat Kremer, and if she needed to practice her French I was sure that maybe the two of you could get together via me as the liason.

About a week later I called made arrangements for the two to meet tonight. I had not shakubukued her up to this point. I introduced her to Pat, did sancho daimoku and we talked for awhile. We shakubukued her and I left for dinner while they had a talk in French. This was at 4:20. Now 11:00 I arrive and take Isabel home. We had a warm channel of communication. She expressed exhaustion in her meeting with Pat and Charlotte and how she went through changes talking to them. “They wanted to talk so much I had to fight to talk. It was a struggle, but I am becoming more aware of myself. It was good.”

She mentioned she was interested in Buddhism. Before she had come to a meeting but was not particularly taken by Phase I. She expressed that Charlotte came on a little heavy on shakubukuing her and then questioning me. Isabel sided with me in the care saying she was happy I had made friends. You’re more experienced and confident so if it comes up later you would of told me more naturally. We discussed the fact that one who is new is less confident and feels compelled to tell it our faster. Interesting.

As we departed, she said I have your number, give me a call about the book for June. I think I’ll be too busy to read until them with school exams. But I’d love to do it this summer. Maybe give me a call and we could go out or something. “Sure,” I said.

She is very soft spoken and possesses a lot of wisdom for a girl of 21. Beautiful eyes, medium dark hair, medium build. Born in Quebec, moved to California at the age of 6. Mother runs nursery in her home. Her father is an electronic technician for ITT or some big company.

I’m attracted to her, who knows but the Gohonzon. I’ve given up trying to figure things out if you know what I mean.

Oh well, its late and have much work in morning, so better sign off.

My heart is fragile

So caution is my password

But hope is always in the air

A woman is so important in my life

that I no longer take

things nonchalantly.

I feel my mission

supreme.

Fortune is on my side

each day I ask Gohonzon

My wife, my business, my members

Tantamount is my faith in Gohonzon

It I trust as

Parent, teacher and sovereign.

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, March 22, 1977

It is with a solid determination and growing confidence that I begin Volume #9 of my diary.

Last evening, I sorted out some old paper items that I had collected over the years. I read some papers I had written in college. I must confess that my level of understanding was not as high as I had thought. This was to me a profound realization of the wisdom and awakening my life has gained from an assiduous practice to the Gohonzon following President Ikeda’s guidance through the encouragement of Mr. Williams and my leaders.

Every since I have began to put President Ikeda’s guidance related by Mr. Izumi on eliminating slander into practice, it has been as if the veil was slowly coming off my eyes and I was seeing the world for the first time.

I have been experiencing a flowering of benefits, probably conspicuously important to me in my practice. One of, nay most of my members have been developing their faith and practicing. Kudoshin is the word I am trying to use. Scott Ferguson and I have been going to World Tribune Correspondent’s meetings. Our friendship is growing. I can say now that the friends I have always been seeking throughout my life are appearing. I believe it is in keeping with the emergence of the life of Buddha within my own life.

For the first time in my practice I actually talked and got guidance alone from Mr. Kikimura (with Scott). He read my World Tribune experience I was working on. Said I have to work on reporting.

The next is a many faceted benefit. On February 16, Mr. Williams attended a Marina Chapter study meeting at our Chiku (district house) on Jasmine Street. Many of my YMD attended this meeting. What was interesting was the fact that Scott Ferguson had prepared a letter to Rejicho regarding the Literary Group we had started. He invited Mr. Williams to a meeting of this group and put me as the founder and included my phone number.

As I walked into my home around 10:30 that night, my father was sitting by the phone at the dinner table looking asleep, but was awake. He casually remarked as it was an everyday occurrence, that Mr. Williams called for me and he had a chat with him. I of course was extremely excited, but questioning what it was about. I tried to reach him at the Headquarters, but without success. He had left for home. About a week later after much guidance I was fortunate enough to talk to Rejicho at the Study exam. Mr. McCloskey introduced me to him in the proctor’s room. He conveyed his happiness at my endeavor and offered some guidelines for the group and said he would like to attend a meeting in the near future and would like to discuss a book on the basis of Human Revolution and Kosenrufu. “Try your best!”

I have proceeded to receive guidance on the direction of this group from fellow senior leaders. Soon I will be writing a memo to Rejicho on this subject.

This is a great benefit for my practice. I’m becoming more excited about this literary group at each meeting. So far we have read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway and East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

I will keeping a more complete diary on the group meetings on each book.

As far as the Young Men’s Division of my chapter, it is my resolution to find many capable leaders for Kosenrufu. The final moments we spent with our General Director Mr. Williams pronounces my resolution. He said, “As a YMD centering on Mr. Hall, Homencho’s, Honbucho’s, Shibucho’s–develop yourself, don’t run out of breathe, run your pace, your way, your type, with Ku Doshin.”

I Resolve: To develop my self identity, to discover my potential and to develop and to raise many capable Young Men’s Division.

Again I resolve to become an outstanding member of the Liaison Division.

I resolve to put the 6 points of President Ikeda into practice. They are:

  1. Gosho first
  2. Unity first.
  3. Practice first.
  4. Shakubuku first.
  5. Eliminate onshitsu.
  6. Ku doshin first.

My resolution is for our chapter to carry out Sugano’s resolution of 1 shakubuku per YMD each month towards the next YMD Kosenrufu Day meeting on March 16, 1978.

We have 7 leaders. Our goal is 84 practicing new members in one year.

Sundays we will chant 2 hours and do Gongyo, and study towards that goals at the 1st Headquarters.

My goal is 3 hours of daimoku per day. Until then. Somehow, no matter how long it takes to build up to that I must return to the prime point of my faith-the relationship to my Gohonzon-Shitei Funi.

To become close to Mr. Williams. to develop the correct spirit of President Ikeda toward our literary group.

I chant for my members, my wife, my family and my business.

Somehow I have to put a home visitation campaign into effect for my practice. Must awaken some taitan members. Like to make this month and April loaded with these visitations. Must wait til schedule comes out for April.

My correspondence campaign has taken a bit of a dip. Right now I must develop my chapter as far as Young Men’s Division, this is of ultimate importance. I may type a form letter to my friend’s. I think this is the only way I can reach them all.

 

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, November 16, 1976

Sun Myung Moon korean shaman royalty

Last night I was appointed Young Men’s Division Senior leader of Marina Chapter. How happy I am! Such an opportunity to grow! Excuse me losing my train of thought, but I just caught wind of an interview of the “Moon” movement on the radio. It sickens me! Such a movement is evidence of Mappo. It is based on the charismatic leadership of a Korean named Sun Myung Moon, who is a self-proclaimed modern Messiah. He is an adamant anti-communist and such a Christian.* His goal is to rule the world. Revelation 12.* “To rule the world and be brought to the throne of God.”  People are grasping for a new renaissance in these dark ages. I can see slightly why we are off the street. Moon and everyone else is there. NSA has changed gears. My God you can’t even compare these movements as NSA is so advanced, it is the law of the universe. I have a great mission, I must develop. I must make our Chapter #1 in YMD. We must grasp Mr. Williams and President Ikeda’s spirit.

The world is calling for us. This only means it is time for me to challenge my life to its depths. Shibucho scolded me severely, said he was ashamed I was being appointed a Senior leader. He had nothing to do with it he explained. Someone thought you were sincere. I must become his right hand man. I must challenge my life to the depths. I have some ideas for a YMD campaign to really stretch, to change our lives. President Ikeda says youth need to be buffeted by the waves. Maybe we need to run, to climb, to learn Buddhism with our lives and spirit. Even on YMD to stand up. I am no GMW*, I can only try at my position. I’m realizing I must challenge myself. I have to realize my mission.

What will encourage young men? A football game! A hike! An outing. Let us climb the highest peak to see our city. To see how many people need the Gohonzon. To raise all of these YMD to send waves throughout L.A., nay throughout the world. Let’s spread our ways, stretch our limbs. Now is the time fight ourselves. To climb high is to fight the limits of our own bodies. This is the first step to broaden our horizons, to fight the complacency of our own lives.

I determine from the approval of Shibucho to start a visitation campaign to encourage every Young Men’s Division in Marina Chapter by January 1st.

First, I must learn Mr. William’s spirit.

Mr. Curtis is my new General Chapter Chief. This is indeed a great benefit. He has always known me so well. I am determined to become very close to him from this moment. I can no longer hide, or go away for two days or even one hour. I must advance within the principal of Honmatsu kukyo-to.* Only then will my members develop. From now I will chant 2 hours a day without fail.


  • Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church would not be considered a Christian in the truest sense of the word, but a leader of a syncretistic cult which mixes other religious components drawn from Confucianism, Buddhism, Korean shamanism, and Christianity.  http://howwelldoyouknowyourmoon.tumblr.com/post/100032400653/moon-the-korean-shaman-king
  • Revelation 12. 

    The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon

    12 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

    And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

    Satan Thrown Out of Heaven

    And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them[a] in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

    10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”

    The Woman Persecuted

    13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.[b]

  • Honmatsu kukyo-to: Everything is consistant from beginning to end.

by James C. Stephens


Saturday, October 16, 1976

Matisse line drawing

At this time I look to the past. I look to the present. But as a youth I must look towards the future. I am in a time of struggle presently. In search of a companion. In search of a way I can create.

Oh stranger! Where are you? Where do you hide? I seek the way to happiness. Gohonzon what is in store for me? I continually find myself at a loss in the world of companionship. What is it you wish to show me? I have seen the women my life has attracted only make me unhappy. I find happiness in helping my members. I find happiness in being alone. Am I destined only to a life at present of a celibate, devoting my life to business and to helping my YMD develop? Please make this clear to me. I’m getting colder as time advances. You know if I had a women who loved me maybe I could rest more at ease. Or do you wish that I struggle by myself, not seeking happiness outside myself, but rather engaging in a solemn solitary campaign? If only I had a sign for the future. I feel much emptiness inside. Gohonzon I am confused and at times frustrated. Am I one of those freaks of society who don’t match with one? Honestly, I’m beginning to lose confidence in myself and in the Gohonzon.

I look at my father. So many women, but he’s not happy. Have I slandered the Gohonzon so badly? Something has to come about in the near future. Tonight I didn’t go to the discussion meeting. I don’t expect you to zap me with a benefit. I know it’s something inside of me. I’m no different than anyone else.

I don’t really know where I fit in the scheme of things. I don’t feel I have done anything special so I don’t deserve anything.

All I am at the moment is seven people’s link to the Gohonzon. Possibly many more. People I know in society. How do I develop so I can get people to join? No. How do I develop so I will chant daimoku more?

Flow of thought. I live but to create. Why do I practice? To be happy but not 🙂 happy, but to create value to sing out. Last night I went out with an old “girl” friend of mine. Once a year I see her. This disturbed me as I always have a bad time or a distorted feeling after I leave her, it is so strange why I see her is of interest to me. I feel bad inside sick last night I ached. asked for a good true companion one I can share with. Please this is something I want Gohonzon. Tears. I’m sick of looking around. People tell me don’t look around it will happen when you’re not looking. Why is this so much on my mind? From a weak Ichinen*. I’m in the lower worlds no doubt, lack of a rhythmical life, but why do I descend into this condition? Is it from not communicating with my leaders? What then causes this? Is it in the end a battle against oneself? I believe it is.

Without fighting oneself. How do I fight myself? I’m finding it very hard at present. Sleeping many hours not being on time not terribly bothering me, but terribly bothering me. Tonight, today I slept a lot stayed out late last night. Somehow have to change my rhythm. Maybe into a day rhythm.  Early to bed makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Ben Franklin maybe I should adopt his maxim. Its hard sometimes to relate to President Ikeda’s guidance, but many more times easy. My arms tired from writing so fast. Rest. Sports, playing clarinet, doing what I need to do to stretch my life. I feel unhealthy. I need new clothes. I need newness in my life. Now I feel like an old man. Shit I hate it. Boy do I hat it. Someday this has to change. Why can’t I get it into me to change soon. Last night I saw Paul, he married Choey. She’s from Mexico, he’s from Cuba. Tonight I met a girl from Argentina. Beautiful. Where do I want to go? I don’t know. Is this a stupid exercise just letting your pen flow with your brain, my arms falling asleep. My Gongyo’s during this phase have been pretty terrible, irregular. Low daimoku. no study hardly. I’m bored with practicing. I bored with listening to music but that is slowing losing its enjoyment. Maybe I’m dying. No hope. No future. Up and down no consistency. No one to talk to. Russ just onshitsu’s some of my leaders, I’ve even lost confidence in him. Jim Jay’s a nice guy. Shibucho call back in 10 minutes. Call back. Call back in 3 minutes. Call back later. Forget it. I don’t want it. I’m just about ready to titan. Just work. A room closed in on me. No phone. Haven’t paid rent. Had a good job Quit. Why? To enter a business with my Dad. Struggle. I can’t back out. If Gohonzon doesn’t work really let it END HERE. My dad is getting old must change fortune. Me lose hope easily. NSA club just like rest of society. Not Mr. Williams though. Too bad I don’t have the guts to get close to him. Probably never will. Lonely winter I’m entering. I hope dad is happy. I can’t die it would make him unhappy. Although I feel death many times.

Time is strange. We receive training in stranger ways. Tonight I went to a ski show. Saw some old acquaintances. Did not interest me in the slightest.  Saw people chasing illusions of happiness. Skiing many people’s identity. Sickens me. Maybe because I was so close to this. People like Jim Evans Business only. Not like a human being as far as I am concerned a sickening example of a dehumanized individual. Dorothy with her “escort” started talking to me. I interrupted and introduced myself to her escort. No courtesy, no human courtesy in society today. I hope I’m going in the right direction. Don’t people realize what’s going on in the Big World of ours? Revolution in the world! Red China now Mao is dead widespread chaos over who’s the new leader. Thailand’s bazooka’s, grenades, machine gunned armed soldiers gunning down students in university. Mappo. And yet here I am. What am I doing to change this? Raising YMD. No patience. Ski Show what a joke. Commercialism has taken a beautiful thing and truly ruined it. Why it was like a three ring circus.

I’m glad I’m getting involved in landscaping. Here is a field which can really make people feel refreshed…Environment is very important. That why I am so often depressed living in this place. If it wasn’t for Mr. Justus’ encouragement I think I would go bananas. Struggling pioneer. Hope from him.

by James C. Stephens


 

Thursday, March 11, 1976

 

Well, a month has passed since I last wrote you. My, my. Many gallons of water have passed beneath the bridge. As usual I fall in love once a week with a different Joshibu. Luckily none of them know it or I’d have a lot of problems on my hands! Hah!

My campaign to get YMD practicing has taken a turn for the best. Our district is now a new chapter–Marina Chapter.  I got three YMD to receive Gohonzons the first Gojukai of March.

I also prepared them for the NSA Academy Entrance Exam. Richard Fong who I shakubukued from the Mayor’s office Summer Youth Program brought a guest.

Jordan Yee is a hard working medical student at UCLA. He’s from Hong Kong originally.

Tom Brittingham is doing really well. He’s living in his camper to save some money since he had a couple of accidents.

Howard Miramoto, the pharmicist finally got a car. Speaking of car that’s my benefit took, a 1969 VW bug. Still having problems financing it, but it will happen.

Red VW

Wednesday, March 17, 1975

Into a vigorous World Tribune campaign once again. My newest YMD are going through some obstacles partly because of my lack of training. I took 3 new YMD out to eat and it turned out to be a 3 on 1 (me) situation. Questions, questions, questions.

During my Shakubukuing of a new guest I brought, Richard invited Bob and also Howard to some Hindu meeting on Monday night in lieu of the discussion meeting. They all went. Howard sounded bad the next day.

March 23, 1975

Tonight no activities. Got off work early, washed car and clothes.

Went to a couple of movies with Sandy Shore.

I’m really confused and frustrated around girls.

Goodnight. I don’t feel good about this situation.

Tears cloud my eyes, love clouds my mind. Maybe I’m just seeking someone to share my love with. Is this such a bad desire?