Posts Tagged ‘YMD’

by James C. Stephens


November 23, 1975

Ikeda at Malibu Training Center

Such disappointment, I experienced yesterday.

I tried so hard, but yet no result it seemed.

Obstacles always propose to me a test of my character.

I am but a child. I resent though being treated as such.

I feel on the verge of a breakthrough from adolescence to adulthood.

What do I see in the difference? Basically attitude. When one has problems do they control his existence or does one carry on with confidence in his heart and a smile in his eyes? I have as of yet failed to reached this point. I still at times let out a foul attitude towards certain people.

I must learn from people. I have too little time and too great a mission to play such small games. This arrogance I must Resist and Overcome.

Just because I don’t get something I desire must I throw a temper tantrum like a spoiled child?

Now I resolve to myself, it is time to breed into myself the true Gakkai spirit. To become a young man constructing a foundation not just my own foundation, but one for my country and for the world. I have put nearly six years of my trust into the Gohonzon, now is the time for a new breeze of freshness in my life. A change in my lifestyle.

Breathe deep

A new dawn

become a son of the Gakkai.

Search, because I am knowledgeable as yet what a true son is.

Keep struggling because without sweat on your brow

How can you know, the real joy of construction.

Cause and effect is the foundation of my life.

Sometimes things happen to me it seems, why?

A whole lot of bad things. Why?

To build my character? Maybe.

To reveal my true nature? Possibly.

To become in rhythm with the universe this is the fundamental law. To understand the nature of time; of cause and effect.

Jim, don’t be impatient. Strive to perfect your character.

Each day, clean and sharp. This is an important cause.

Each day Gongyo vibrant and straightforward.

A bus ride to Malibu Training Center. A talk, a warm talk with a nice young lady who moved from Massachusetts. Dropped off at Malibu. I walked in a warm breeze unseasonal. Breathe deep, fresh spirit.

Malibu shows me hope. Fresh, gleaming white fortress.

My battle is to gain new vitality fresh as a Malibu breeze. Deeep ast th great blue ocean, powerful as her waves; and meaningful as the sparkling universe.

Fight on! Day by day in the way I know.

The Malibu Training Center includes a meeting hall and the West Coast residence of the Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda. He held special leader’s meeting here when he visited the US. As a member of the Young Men’s Division Soka Group/TCD (Traffic Control Division) /Toban (guard) we were tasked with watching the property at least once a month. We would sleep in a the “Toban shack” which overlooked the beach. As volunteers, we helped build the entire estate over a number of years.  Mr. and Mrs. Inabe were permanent caretakers of the property. They were a very kind couple.


by James C. Stephens

February 20, 1975

Tuesday I got up early did a couple of things. I read for awhile and finally decided to take a shower. All of a sudden I heard some knocking on the window. It was ________.

We were both nervous, but happy to see each other.

I really feel something that I feel I can define now. I love her as a human being, we have something really deep in common. She sees me as a Bodhisattva and knows I’m true to her and concerned about her life. I vow to my Gohonzon to see her enlightened in this lifetime and with 3 happy boys.

One million daimoku for _______ to go to the Hawaii Convention and for a strong practice.

Today, no in fact last night I went by Mr. Mitchells and told him I’d be unable to take the job just part-time. This morning Mr. Mitchell woke me and told me I was hired and that I’d be using his Datsun station wagon.

So now I have it. I think I’m going to wash it. Bye.

April 10, 1975-Wednesday 2:30AM

President Ikeda’s guidance.

“A swan seems to swim calmly, but under the water and invisible to us, it paddles unceasingly. For this reason, it can glide smoothly. The leaders may be compared to the webbed feet. Through their strenuous efforts behind the scenes, the whole organization can advance with reassurance.

The new leaders of the future should not be here types who deal with matters merely through their own abilities. A good leader is one who harmonizes all the people in a group,be it a company or home, so that they can put into use their full individuality and potential and work smoothly.”


April 11, 1975 2:35 AM

In about one month I will of had the Gohonzon five years. I can not tell you how happy I am at this moment to realize my fortune of meeting this practice.

This evening we did Brass Band gongyo with Mr. Bond. Each day I’m realizing so much more about my life. I just read over my diary about my experience with ___________.

Now I see it with a much deeper perspective. It brings tears to my eyes and it affects my heart, but in  a much different way than two weeks ago. Of course its natural to be horny and feel you’re God’s Gift to women, that’s a male’s nature. But now I feel a bit more hesitation about the sex end. Sure it goes through my mind, but now I think much more about others happiness and constantly remind myself of my unfortunate experience. Sure its hard sometimes to women off your mind, but now I’m thinking much more about the serious campaign we are engaged in now. The Blue Hawaii Pre-Bicentennial Convention. I’m nervous. I have made a new resolution for the past month or more to develop the YMD in our district. For awhile some new YMD were coming around. Now they have titaned strongly. They don’t hate NSA, they love it, but are just too lazy to practice this philosophy. Now before I would have been depressed, but instead I have resolved not to give up. I know that the Gohonzon’s benefit is there but I have but to struggle and develop through the obstacle to obtain the great benefit.

Even though the Shakubuku result does not show at the moment, I am confident that we will very definitely shoot up very soon.  I feel that the YMD movement is taking on new power. I have seen Jeff Silver take on new interest, even make some suggestions about the Shakubuku campaign. This is my benefit, knowing this is from trying to capture some of Soshibucho’s YMD spirit. Shibucho is letting me help with the YMD report. Also I’m back in Brass Band. Last week I had to lead a major portion of a drum section practice. Definite steps to increased human revolution. I have also assumed the responsibility through Shibucho of being the Chapter representative of the University Club. I got a raise at my job of $25.

Three days ago Scott and I started a 2 hour toso every night until May 15 or later. This is a great benefit to me because I need this daimoku fortune to develop myself.

I’m finally starting to think of the person I want to become. Soshibucho is a great encouragement. Another benefit is the Shakubuku Shockwave I was able to go on to Santa Barbara recently. Shoshibucho was there. I shakubukued a girl and she joined. Sunday night I got a huge benefit. I had sort of blown Sunday, but nevertheless I felt like going to Santa Monica to get recharged. I dropped off some cards from the UC at the JHQ. No one seemed to be around. I talked to Jim Jay in the phone box for awhile and as I was about to leave he said Homencho was in the office talking to some people. Why don’t you try to get in. So I did and ended up listening to guidance for about 2 hours on various subjects from the Hawaii Convention to YMD spirit. Well time to chant some daimoku.

by James C. Stephens

October 31, 1972

As I look at myself now I feel somewhat at a loss. I can not say I have changed. I still have no members or even friends. Before I chanted at least I had friends, even though they have deserted me now. I can not call them friends I am sure. But I have not a friend to really share my life with. Every person I know I am still somewhat closed to. It is within my own life I realize. I’m sorry I don’t have members. I don’t feel like well because I feel low the Gohonzon will give me members.

I just don’t know. I can’t trust anything in the whole world. It’s really terrible. I can’t place my whole trust in anything, I don’t even trust myself. For weeks my life has been going in circles. I am so full of B… S…, pardon the language. Man, I don’t know what will happen. All I do is sleep for hours, miss classes. I am not eating, no phone, no car, I am in the same situation as a year ago. My health is so damn poor.

I can not even make a resolution and keep it. I have no faith in myself. No real goal. What is a goal of having a han, when it means nothing to me. I feel like dying, then what! See I don’t know what the hell is going on. I would like to see some actual benefit in my life that really matters to me over my g.. d.. rationalizing mind.


November 22, 1972


Which way is up or which way is down I do not know.

All I do is go with Gohonzon as my basis.


My family problem.


Father is losing constantly.

I get up late.

I miss school.

I feel like I am getting more stupid.

I have no car.

I have no phone.

I have no members.

I have no feeling of purpose.


November 29, 1972

I am realizing that because I have so many problems, that I must overcome them rather than them overcoming me. My district chief told us to set our goal for the Sho-hondo convention 1973.

My long range goal is to chant 2,700,000 daimoku by October 1, 73. My member goal is 5 strong YMD. My shakubuku goal for just telling people about chanting is 5,000/17 per day. My goal for guests in 80 guests. 10 months.




Retrospective: I had little idea that I had been so deeply impacted by the divorce of my parents. For a period of two years it seemed that I suffered from Anacylitic depression being separated from all my previous social base. My world had collapsed and the only social life that gave me any semblance of normality and power arose from the support I felt from the campaigns in the Gakkai, e.g., World Tribune, Brass Band, Conventions, Shakubuku. It slowly became my new family. However, they had no clue as to what I was going through with my own family and what’s more did not care to find out.

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.


James C. Stephens


Thursday, April 15, 1971

About 3:30 this morning we had a 3.5 earthquake. Really strange…I got back my gov’t test-got a D, as in Despicable, and then had a talk with Professor Machado. I shakubukued[1] him. Now I must really shakubuku him through better grades and class participation…I studied for my Man’s religions exam but fell asleep, in the library. That seems to be a real problem with me, I use it as an escape…Today I have a new determination to advance on my clarinet and in my studies day by day. But we’ll just have to see how long that lasts.


We had a very good Brass Band practice tonight. I helped another member with his music and it really felt good. After Band, Honbucho, Mr. Kikamura spoke to us about Sundays activities at Myohoji.[2] He quoted President Ikeda, saying that we should all develop our talent.” Because we can do something no one else can do for Kosen rufu. However he said that we should never think that Nichiren Shoshu needs us, but we really need Gohonzon for our individual happiness. He says Sogohonbucho[3] is working very hard and maybe we could help him a little more by chanting some diamoku for our unity and his success in his travels…I really chanted tonight to feel unity maybe it will come with hard work.


Ask Gohonzon in Evening Gongyo[4] to be in high spirits the next day and have a constructive meaningful day.


Plan your activities a day in advance during evening Gongyo is a good time. And then rethink it during morning Gongyo.


[1] Shakubuku: Tearing and crushing of another’s faith. “A method of propagating Buddhism by refuting another’s attachment to heretical views and thus leading him to the correct Buddhist teaching. The term is used in contrast to shoju, or leading another to the true teaching gradually without refuting his misconceptions.”

[2] Myohoji Temple was built in Etiwanda, California and was about an hour drive east of Santa Monica.  We used to take members there to receive their Gohonzon (Buddhist object of worship) and also for marriages, funerals, and New Years’ activities.  I became acquainted with one of the later priests who is now at Taisekiji near Mt. Fuji in Japan.

[3] Nichiren Shoshu’s organization was a hierarchy that was based upon the master-disciple relationship and used Japanese terminology to denote rank.  Sogohonbucho was George M. Williams, the General Director of  Nichiren Shoshu Academy (NSA, now known as SGI, International—or Soka Gakkai International).  Honbucho was Headquarter’s Chief, who was over the Soshibucho’s (General Chapter Chiefs) who were over Shibucho’s (Chapter Chiefs), who were over Chikabucho’s (District Chiefs) who were over Hancho’s (who were han or small group leaders) who were over junior hancho’s (who were cell leaders).  Each of the male roles had a female role that complemented it.  There were four divisions within the organization: Men’s division, Women’s division, Young Men’s Division (YMD), and Young Women’s Division (YWD).

[4] Gongyo is the prayer liturgy of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists based upon a chapter and a half of the Lotus Sutra which is recited five times with accompanying silent prayers in the morning and three times in the evening.