Posts Tagged ‘Young Men’s Division’

by James C. Stephens


Wednesday, May 04, 1977

Wildflower

Obstacles or sancho shima will arise when we are making headway in our practice. For our district we can say we are making strong headway. As of late we have confronted the demon of death and the demon of insanity. I’m sorry to say that my friend and colleague John DeGomez had a great tragedy befall him this past week. His sister whom I knew committed suicide by hanging herself. I deeply regret that she did and am grieved by this unfortunate circumstance, I send my daimoku to her. Her face is very clear to me. Damn!

The second demon was the X* incident. A girl that, nay a woman in her 30’s, who used to practice in the old Wilshire, caused a scene at the World Culture Center and threatened to slit a member’s throat. She had to be physically restrained. Saturday night she ended up at our discussion meeting. I welcomed her, naive of the fact she had this incident behind her, but nonetheless I sensed a strange feeling.

Tonight we had a district daimoku toso in which Steve Bell, Bruce Barnes and I arrived early in order to meet X* and uninvite her to our meetings. She did come and Mr. Bell put it in very humanistic and rational manner to X*, ‘Hi, sorry we have to uninvite you. Please understand why. We have to go on your recent performance at the headquarters and until you improve your track record I’ll have to ask you not to come to any meetings.’

The way he said it was a bit different and very merciful, but strict. He spoke to her in a mild rational way. I could not have done it. I of course had mixed feelings, but I definitely was against her coming to any meeting if there was any chance that a member might be hurt in the least.  Incidentally, she did leave and it seemed she understood and didn’t leave uptight.

My Young Men’s Division have recently gone through many changes. You know that Jeff Silver finally rolled up his Gohonzon. Now he will be only able to blame himself instead of the Gohonzon for his problems. I sincerely believe this is an important step in his human revolution. He will eventually come back, as soon as he grows up, realizes his shortcomings and realizes the value of the Gohonzon. He needs to learn by facing society along. I feel confident in this.

Two of my other Young Men’s Division are in need of finding meetings closer to their homes. Darrel Schreiner and Walter Johnson. I am in the process of trying to make this happen. Darrel’s practice is so-so, but Walter is doing well and wants a place where he can bus to and fro and become more involved. I’m excited for him. But I’ve got to get my rear in gear and find him a meeting place.

Tom Brittingham had a fling for about a week with some girl from India until some Arab Prince whisked her off to the middle East in his jet. The Gohonzon has an incredible way of protecting members. Amazing! Anyway he’s back struggling with school and practice. I’m not worried. He’s young and has a lot of guts. He’s a good kid, just a bit unsettled and confused. But it will work out.

Last night and afternoon I got my filing system in order. A major accomplishment. I feel 100% better with things in their proper place. Now I can begin many projects I have neglected because the lack of my organization.

Called Pat Flaherty this morning at work in Helena. He has now gotten into Christ, he says. Sent me a letter, but I never received it. Well, he has to practice Christianity to see for himself. He is wanting to know Buddhism’s relationship to Christianity. I can’t relate to him falling into this Christ trip, but then he said it was a good looking girl who gave her Christ experience. And again life is so mysterious the mind so marvelous. I am not in the least discouraged at my shakubukuing him. When he joins, watch out! The guy has so damn much potential.

Friday night Isabel and I are going to a play called Vanities. It’s a comedy. Should be a lot of fun.

 

Each day I will try to advance if only a step.

Yesterday I sent my Japanese friend a letter.

In this way without fanfare we will develop bonds that can never be broken by war, or evil demons or selfish politicians.

I’m trying to correspond more. I feel I am the link to the Gohonzon for a great many people, many friends.

Mission. A growing sense of this is blossoming in my life.

I’m trusting the Gohonzon more. Isabel is not a member, but of course I would like her to practice. I will take my relationship seriously but not filled with anxiety.

The desire grows within me to find my mate.

It’s becoming more exciting as my trust in the Gohonzon, grows. What every happens for my human revolution and growth.

Soon,

Seven years

Each day

seems, no brings

with it

the realization of what

Jiyu no Bosatsu

means to me.

A blade of grass

weak?

No, I don’t think so.

Look at it

she pushes up through

the seemingly impervious concrete.

What does she desire?

I believe to live, to breathe,

to search for its purpose.

Life.

I feel like the seedling

now sprouting its head through

the crust of earth

Seeing, breathing, seeking

Sun,

Seeking a master

for the first time

seriously.


“The days of man are like grass. He grows like a flower of the field.  When the wind blows over it, it is gone. Its place will remember it no more.” Psalm 103:15

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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


 

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.

herbie-hancock

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.