Posts Tagged ‘Yusohan’

by James C. Stephens


April 19, 1974

Spirit of Toban

Talk by Honbucho Mr. Hall

Protecting the Joju Gohonzon means protecting the Headquarters from crazy people. It’s President Ikeda’s building, Mr. William’s building. There are three things to remember as Yusohan:

  1. To protect the Dai Gohonzon.
  2. Protect President Ikeda or the President of the organization.
  3. Protect the members.

Prevention is a hell of alot better than putting out a fire. In your mind be alert. As assistant you should be at your seat when members are around, but not glued. You represent President Ikeda!

NSA constructs people. Toban is for your future development! Look at young men today in our society. Damn few developing men with vigor.

Toshiro Mifune is an example of someone who is courageous and has guts. One who exemplifies spirit of master and disciple. Human spirit strong like a lion and mountain. Fighting to grasp the same spirit.

General Director Williams has unshakable courage and words like swords. Shakubuku meeting is a war of words. Not to chop people. Our enemies are misunderstanding, confusion. Such a perfect battle to engage in today. Special training to become treasure of NSA. To understand spirit of Toban. Where else can you find a master that gives a damn. That stays up nights thinking how to train you.

Because of training you become a free person. Not training for NSA, but as a leader in society. We need leaders who give a shit about the people. Happy society will not happen until leaders stand up.

Victory-to win. No win, no mercy. Win so you can help another. Devote your life to what is good and what is right.

Mercy. Work for people, work for society according to the law of the universe.

 

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by James C. Stephens


July 18, 1973

Two days before the Monthly Leader’s meeting with Mr. Williams (July 10), I was on my way to take Ken Dilando to his music lesson and me to work, when I was pulled over by our friends in blue, the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department). As I was sitting in the car and chanting under my breath, I was reflecting on how I was really chanting to take care of my old parking tickets, well then our friends came up and me me away to the Black and White sedan and shortly afterward took Ken and handcuffed him too. We were treated nicely until of course we got to the jail, where we were booked, fingerprinted, not told of our rights, and let into the tank. Strange, the guy that fingerprinted me, I had go to school with at James Monroe. Well as soon as we were in the tank we began chanting. We chanted from cell to cell to the bus, from Van Nuys to the County Jail.

At the County Jail it was pure bureaucratic bull we had to go through. I had notified my boss I was in jail (my dad was on vacation in Montana). We had to strip, shower, get sprayed, get our bodies inspected, x-rayed, blood tested, wait, wait, wait, eat, which wasn’t bad food, and wait for a cell. While we were waiting, I did alot of shakubuku. I shakubukued quite a few black dudes, one who chanted with me for about ten minutes, and another dude chanted with me who was strung out on heroine. I shakubukued my cell mate who was in for grand theft auto and burglary. It was a strange trip, and to make it through took a lot of daimoku. My cellmates thought I was crazy when I came in because I was so friendly and smiling, that’s what I was told by them after I told them I was a Buddhist and shakubukued them. They then understood and said, ‘I see, it’s your philosophy to be friendly, right?’

So, I taught them the chant, because my boss Ric Benson had bailed me out, which was really groovy of him. He also picked me up from jail at 12:30 at night. Pretty groovy.

Well, tommorrow 7/19, I go to court and see what happens.

Also I start my second job as a bus boy at Alphy’s for 2.40/hr. at 11:00-7:00.

I must go on Tozon. I made these determinations:

  1. To really have a strong, confidant, and seeking mind for President Ikeda.
  2. To play for President Ikeda in our Brass Band.
  3. To become a good son to my father.
  4. To have one YMD by Sho-hondo to stand up!!
  5. To chant a minimum of one and half hours/day to Sho-Hondo Convention.
  6. To play and march with true Yusohan Gakkai Spirit!!
  7. To recite Kaimoku Sho every day.
  8. To read Time and Newsweek weekly; to read a book on U.S. History; to study Buddhism daily.

by James C. Stephens


July 8, 1973

Kosen-rufu Gongyo with General Director George M. Williams.

‘We are pioneers–pioneers mean you have no money. You are pioneers like 100 years ago. Same frontier spirit. Must develop same spirit. No air-conditioning for them. Really a hard task to travel West. Some pioneers cry and some never see their family again.

‘First time I came 16 years ago, no community center. First Headquarters an old post office. President Ikeda told me to move to the West Coast. Then Western White House. Now Watergate.

‘President Ikeda stayed at the Watergate overlooking the Potomac River. But he stayed only one night. Asked about Washington, D.C.. No one knew much. He said, please you are young. Please study much. Learn about your country. You will be proud. Please study. Ok?

‘Study Democracy. You must study so you don’t have mob-o-cracy. Ignorance like the Salem Witch Trials.

‘What is the season? What type of world we live in? Through faith in Gohonzon we overcame. Many of us narrow-minded. We are the intellectual division of NSA. Read Time or Newsweek. Study alot.

‘Cousin smarter than me. But as soon as he graduate he went to hospital. Still there. I’m dumber maybe, but happy. Don’t worry about comparing university. You are members of NSA and disciples of President Ikeda. If you can’t study books, study NSA Quarterly.

‘The human body strange, hardships, problems, study all come back to you. Much knowledge comes from experience. Really become proud of America. If you’re Canadian, be proud of Canada. Just become a better human being. Better asset for nation, world and all mankind.

‘2001 just around the corner. Many of you will be on the moon. I hope all of you will become great leaders. I always spend each Kosenrufu Gongyo with you. I hope nobody hates you. Maybe no one follow you now, but 5, 10, 20 years from now, thousands, millions of people will follow you.

‘Chanting daimoku is important because the campaign (in Japan) is not over, the result is not in yet, so we have extended daimoku campaign tonight.

12:45 AM. Tokyo Time-9:00 on Monday. Komeito election.

Ikeda_Williams‘Good friends. My first butaicho (Young Men’s Division Chapter Chief) Mr. Y (sp?), now an assemblyman. Mr. Matsuo used to be one of my chikubucho’s (District Chief’s) when I was a YMD Taicho. I too care of 8 districts. Next Kakura, second from left end under President Toda, a General Director, #1 elected to Congres in Japan in 1956.

‘A Yusohan chief-Mr. Hachima, chief of all TCD (Young Men’s Traffic Control Division)-I under him. TCD lost spirit in Japan. They say George M. Williams take spirit away to America.

‘Behind the scenes spirit–TCD–happy, not Nazi feeling, but protect the members, and give the guests a good impression and feeling. Quick Action. Clear and Accurate Information. Watch for elderly people and children. Don Quixote spirit. Love everyone. Uniforms important. So they don’t get arrested directing traffic. Only TCD get special uniform, badge. Like Angel Corps (Young Women’s Division). Good Judgment. Smooth going. Thank you’s make things go better. Hard work.

‘Hard work–much difficulty, but remember you are pioneers. But as long as you have Gohonzon and President Ikeda. I your big brother with President Ikeda our daddy.

‘Keep study–not just recent news, but history of Los Angeles and the United States, of religious persecution. If you are just proud of Los Angeles you are a like a frog-in-the-well. Develop a systematic way of study.

‘Maybe not too handsome or pretty yet. Today’s handsome, I don’t trust.

‘Nichiren Daishonin always receiving persecution from all walks, types of people. In 1261 he was exiled to Izu Peninsula.

He (George M. Williams) then pointed at Gohonzon, ‘This is God. Open your eyes right in front of you. Jewish, Catholic, Chinese Gohonzon. Gohonzon same everywhere.

‘President Ikeda’s student should be A+ person at job or school. Let Gohonzon come in. Stand up this time, march towards the future. You can enjoy good health. Chant daimoku for good health. Someday become a great prince. Pay now, fly later-old Buddhism. Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism–fly now.

‘Kosenrufu and Shakubuku in past untouchable, now touchable. Kosenrufu one by one. Everyday Kosenrufu!

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.


James C. Stephens


January 17, 1971

The month of December was unbelievably heavy but I made it and I’m happy for that. During the week before New Year’s I chanted to get closer to my leaders and also to create value and make causes for the New Year. I went to Brass Band one day, but the next day I left for Mammoth for two days, to have “someone” ride home with Mom. But really I had opportunities to stay home and go to Brass Band. Well, Dick Bond told me to chant and see what happened. The Two days at Mammoth were really a blast. I saw Karen and Shakubukued her. I really seem to like her, but I saw later what value such relationships create; and how girls really can break the bond between you and the Gohonzon, or at least take your Ichinen off practicing to change yourself during young days in faith. But those two days were a tremendously valuable experience.

The day I got back I went to a Yusohan meeting and volunteered and was chosen as a Yusohan for Shibucho. This was to be the start of my biggest benefit since I joined Nichiren Shoshu in May. From that moment I was Shibucho’s Yosohan. It was not just a valuable experience, but it showed me where my life was and where it is going to go hopefully into the future.

That night at 2:30 I went with Soshibucho to LA International to pick up baggage of Kansas City and saw the Kanki of “out of town” members. But they didn’t seem out of town at all. Then on the way back to the Honbu I got to talk to Soshibucho. But it’s hard to talk to him for me.

When I got back I was told to take a nap. So I went up to the second floor, boy was it humid, a million bodies were lying all around. So I didn’t lay down but five minutes and felt there was more to be done so I went downstairs and worked on the “Space Needle” in the Band room. While I was painting, Sogohonbucho walked in and wow. He was carrying his saxophone to find a place to practice, but he was checking on our progress I know. But I heard him in his office practicing his sax. Time passed by fast and at 4:30 I went upstairs only to find that Shibucho had gone to the airport.

Later that morning I went to sleep around 5:30 in the World Tribune room and really enjoyed my sleep. Then I was busy doing odds and ends in the morning and by afternoon Shibucho said, Well you can go see the parade and do New Year’s Gongyo at the Temple. So during that afternoon I knew there was more to do, I don’t know why I wanted to do more but I did. As I was changing I asked Gohonzon, first for something to do and something to eat. Well, instantly a member came up to me and said, “Jim, got time?” Yep! “Ok, let’s go deliver dinners to New York and Hawaii. Inga guji. So we delivered dinners to New York and Hawaii; and I had dinner with Hawaii. Good dinners too.

Honbucho from Hawaii asked me if they had the generator yet for their float, so I ran over to the warehouse and talked to Soshibucho. He told me they needed two generators and two floats were stranded at the warehouse. Well, it was about 5:30 and the parade started at six. By the time we got everything loaded and everyone fed it was almost 6:00, and no communication from the warehouse to anywhere. So we got everything loaded and hustled to the beginning of the parade route and I and two New York members chanted all the way for Gohonzon to help everything work out. Immediately everyone loaded the dishes and I called Shibucho. It was a blow mind because a guy just gave me the money (member from N.Y.) no hassle. Shibucho said get those floats down here and he told me where the Ryder truck and stake truck were. Everyone’s karma was really oozing out by this time. I found the stake truck but unfortunately the New York skyline was built on it. I found on of the three Ryder trucks, someone lost the keyes. The other Ryder truck was emptying dishes and the last was without a driver. By this time I was a little frantic. But I got one on its way and finally got the other on its way. Then I was assigned to a Sr. leader from Chicago and his float was the one of two missing. But through their faith the floats arrived two minutes before parade time. It was a fantastic parade. I was a self assigned runner for Shibucho Jim Cuda. Never ran so much and felt it so little, it was unbelievable. The Gohonzon brought out my true vitality.

You know after a Christian parade how long it takes to clean up? Well we had the entire parade route cleaned, the floats demolished, the warehouses cleaned in tow hours at 25 to 12:00, unbelievable. True unity. Afterwards I went back to the Honbu and we loaded food for the Min-on on New Year’s Day. Then I went to the Shibu washed my pants, did Gongyo and crashed until 5:30. Then I went straight to the Honbu and reported to Shibucho. He kiddingly said I looked terrible, as I had clean pants and a new sweatshirt. So we got them dirty working that day getting things ready for people leaving after the Min-on. I didn’t get to the Min-on but I felt it. That morning I got to say Gongyo with the NY members and Sogohonbucho. Later as I was loading trophies and gifts from Sogohonbucho, he came up and asked me to count the trophy’s. It’s hard to express how it is to look up and look Sogohonbucho in the eye. It’s much like looking at a sun but can see the face. It’s the feeling. He doesn’t say anything, but you can feel it more than words could express.

That afternoon, I talked with a member that was from England and shared Toban with him. We had two or three very strange experiences with people coming in. About 7:00 I decided to take a nap for an hr. in a guidance room. One person came and shut the door so I wasn’t disturbed. At 1:00 I was awakened and promptly taken out of the room by another person on Toban. By morning I would have been dead by gas. But almosts don’t count, you win or lose in Buddhism. Why I wasn’t phased I don’t know.  I then did evening Gongyo on the third floor alone at 2:00. Really fantastic. Russ did it at home at 2:00 also; really mystic. Then I went and slept on the second floor, but only after I went down to see and smell the guidance room. Whew!

The next morning Mr. Kato asked me to clean the 2nd floor Butsudon. I was happy to serve the Gohonzon, but why me? It seems I am way too unworthy to have been given the opportunity to have been so close to the headquarters. Maybe one day I might fathom; why.

I really saw that I have to battle my ego, my big head. I have to be more humble.

I saw Brass Band is really important, and I still don’t know how Sogohonbucho does it. Maybe Gohonzon? Most definitely.


Sogohonbucho: General Director George M. Williams of Nichiren Shoshu Academy, aka Soka Gakkai, North American Division. His name at the time I believe was still Masayasu Sadanaga.

Honbucho: Headquarters Chief.

Soshibucho: General Chapter Chief.

Shibucho: Chapter Chief.

Shibu: Chapter meeting house usually belonging to the Chapter Chief.

Yusohan: Young Men’s Division group assigned to protect the Gohonzon, the buildings, leaders, and members.

Dick Bond: Leader of Young Men’s Division Brass Band and also of the Tribune Band which was an exclusive band that was on call for all sorts of VIP events held at the North American Headquarters.

Kanki: Basically life energy of a person.

Mr. Kato: The quiet right hand man, an administrator of General Director Williams.