Posts Tagged ‘Young Men’s Division’

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

Friday, May 30, 1975

Well today is my fifth anniversary since I received my Gohonzon. What a day! The Human Revolution was definitely hot and heavy!

I made some resolutions pertaining to my practice in next five years. The next five years have to be my fortune building years with a consistent hard practice. I must study hard. I must graduate college and also become a professor in Buddhism. Definitely must somehow get close to all of my leaders and to General Director Mr. Williams. In my 6 year of practice my goal from August is 60 shakubuku. 5 a month for one year. I must really develop my life to show the power of the Gohonzon to Young Men’s Division and potential YMD in Los Angeles. In 1975-1976 I must become an outstanding member of the Liaison Division. I know inside that if I don’t fight really hard I don’t feel the courageous and victorious feeling I really desire. My Bodhisattva nature doesn’t come out as predominately is what I mean to say.

Saturday, May 31, 1975

Today GMW came to the warehouse. What a great benefit. First we cheered and and rushed around him and his guest then proceeded to do a vigorous! Gongyo! After Gongyo he talked about his tour to Panama. After that we went back to work. Then Mr. Williams came by each project and showed a special guest, the author, the warehouse. He was very impressed. The first stop was our hut then the movie hut. They breezed through- afterwards Rejicho dawned an apron and worked on several projects.


At one particular project he worked at with Herbie Hancock and my member Scott Ferguson showed Rejicho what was happening since Herbie didn’t know. That made my evening complete. Then to top it off he came by our hut again and came up to me shook my hand and asked me what I was making. I explained what the bamboo panel was for. He then saw that I forgot one nail hole. He nailed it all down and when he tried to pick it up he discovered it was nailed to the floor. We all laughed together and as soon as he finished we clapped for him. What a far out man!

by James C. Stephens

April 29, 1974

This is my resolution: I have resolved for a year to chant 2 hours of dmk a day. I believe now is the time to launch such a campaign. It is also time for me to launch my Shakubuku campaign.

Here’s my resolution for the month of May. 1) Everyday to advance vigorously and with a smile at work and in district activities; 2) To chant 2 hours of vigorous dmk for these personal goals; 3) To Shakubuku 7 Y.M.D. (Young Men’s Division); 4) To promote 25 World Tribune; 5) To learn the true spirit of Sta-Funi (Oneness of Master and Disciple) and follow no matter what; 6) To read a news magazine each week; 7) To study Buddhism at least 1/2 hour per day. My goal in Shakubuku each day is 10 phone numbers every day. To support my Chikabucho to my fullest extent.

May 1, 1974

This morning I rose at 6:45 and went to Ric’s with Gary and put up a Butsudon for him. We chanted for about ten minutes. It was a groovy visit. He asked us to help him chant for a couple of weeks every morning, because he said, “I’m lazy, and I won’t keep up unless I get help.”

Afterwards when I got home around 8:00, Paul and I went next door and put up a Butsudon in the neighbor’s house. Pam had a marijuana cultivation charge to face in court today. We told her to chant for that. The charge was dismissed. Because of such a benefit, their family received Gohonzon tonight! I positively promised that the Gohonzon would work on her court case. It did!

Tonight I worked overtime until 10:00. We chanted til 11:00. Part of my resolution was to get 10 phone #’s. So I shakubukued until 1:40 AM from 11:00PM to get them and I did! Fantastic Shakubuku!

Now I’m chanting my 1/2 dmk to complete my 2 hours and then time to hit the hay!

May 2, 1974

In my campaign today, I shakubukued some people with it seems alot of potential. After work at about 8:30, Chico and I went out and did a couple of hours of Shakubuku. At work I ran into an old friend of mine from Monroe. He is my age and already has some grey hairs. He is not in the best condition.

May 3, 1974

Worked until 8 and then left immediately for the JHQ (Joint Headquarters in Santa Monica). I caught the end of Mr. Williams lecture. Today was President Ikeda’s Inauguration Anniversary. I did TCD (Traffic Control Division) there by passing out the candy and drinks, gifts from Mr. Williams.

Afterwards I did Shakubuku until 2:00A to try to reach my goal of 10 phone #’s. Only got 8. Try harder tommorrow. Didn’t get to talk to Soshibucho, but he said to come down tomorrow night..


by James C. Stephens

Sunday, June 13, 1971


This morning we had a really vigorous and sincere YMD meeting with the first concrete emphasis on Seattle Yusohan[1] movement. Steve Gore (butaicho) will be in charge of the movement of people safely, while Rod Burke will be in change of moving baggage. Fukahonbucho Harvey Hall emphasized L.A.#1’s importance in Seattle. He emphasized the future presence of the head of the Yusohan movement in Japan would be here, Mr. Fukashima, I believe.

After YMD we had a sincere BB practice with emphasis on the movement we would be doing before the judges stand for Sogohonbucho. We also heard that Sogohonbucho had selected “Stars and Stripes Forever” for the parade.

After practice I crashed for a couple of hours and my Dad waked me up after he got off work. Immediately I sat down at the dining room table and I wrote a fine essay on the beginnings of the Cold War. It came very easily. Just as I was about to finish Nancy came by and I read it to her. I was trying to figure out a conclusion, but it seemed with my last quotation I had concluded it without realizing it. So we talked about the essay and I went over to her place to make some phone calls to different people. Afterwards I did Gongyo with Jason and Nancy and got a ride home and chanted my remaining two hours, practiced my instrument and studied Buddhism and fell asleep.



Yusohan were composed primarily of Young Men’s Division members who were committed to protecting the Dai-Gohonzon, the President of the Soka Gakkai, and the members of the Soka Gakkai.  We acted as crossing guards for members, traffic control, ushers,  informational guides, drove leaders to and from the airport, and did whatever we were asked to do from cleaning toilets, carrying luggage to protecting the General Director and on occasion President Ikeda.  We were also called TCD, Traffic Control Division.

BB or Brass Band.