Gisell & Kaila – Buddhist in America

Gisell & Kaila – Buddhist in America


– What was it like growing
up in a Buddhist family? Um… ♪ Night crawls out when you’re alone ♪ – Kaila. It’s seven o’clock. You got 30 minutes. – [Kaila] Later. I’ll wake up later. – 30 minutes. Come on,
you’re gonna be late. Let’s go. (growls) (Kaila screams) Toki. Mm-mm. (gasp) – Jump, jump, jump. No, Toki, no! – Mom, you want cereal? – Huh? – You want Reese’s Puffs? – Okay. – Okay. – Toki, off the table! Off the table! Off! Off! Off! – Good boy. (bells) (Buddhist chanting) (foreign language spoken) – Chao, chao. Chao! – I had a really good
relationship with my parents, I followed my mother
everywhere she would go, like to bed, to the bathroom, (laughs) everywhere, I was literally,
she used to call me her tail. My father is the more quiet type, but he shows his love by
providing for his family. I have an older sister, Susan, we used to fight a lot, so much that my mom used to tell us that
we were brothers, not sisters. And I have a little sister, Erica, who is 8 years younger than me. My family encountered
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in Peru, someone told my grandfather
that if he chants, he will be happy, so he came home one day, and told the whole family, from now on, we’re going to be chanting
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. My mom was 9 years old at the time, and every time she heard
my grandfather chanting, she said she would just crack up. (laughs) And we moved to the United States when I was about 10 months old, and
we moved straight to Jersey, and ever since I’ve been a Jersey girl. My family used to struggle
a lot financially, but we really never felt the blow of it. There was always a love in the house, and we never, you know, felt
that we were missing anything. I think the love, came,
everything, I would say from my mother’s Buddhist practice, from her chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. – Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. – I think I would say I
was a little embarrassed being Buddhist, just
because it was so different and my friends had no
idea what was going on. Whenever they were over at my house, and they would hear a bell,
they would just be like, is that a gong in your house? And I’d be like, no, no, it’s nothing. But, I think in middle schools when I started really trying out
this practice for myself. I don’t know if I want to say it, but I started chanting because of a boy, he liked this other girl
who was actually my friend, and I would compare myself a lot to her, and so I just really
chanted to be confident, and try to be myself, and
be the best that I can be, and not compare myself to other people. And I think that’s when
I started really becoming happy and really seeing
the power of this practice. – When I was a kid, I always
wanted to be everything. I wanted to be a teacher, I love fashion, I love to dance, I listen to
everything my parents said, when I was in 8th grade,
that was a time when I met Kaila’s father. He would say, “Jump!” and I would say, “How high?” and the type of crowd that
he used to hang out with used to drink all the time,
and they would skip school, I would skip school. I just started wanting to have fun, and coming home really late at night. Everything just kind of
fell apart from that time. I stopped chanting and just
saw chanting as a chore. I didn’t want to do a chore. I went from being a straight-A student to just barely passing. Once I got left back from Freshmen year, I just lost hope. I felt like I couldn’t redeem myself. I told my mother I wanted
to drop out of school, I told her no matter what
you say, I’m not going to go, so we had a meet with my
guidance counselor at the time, and he said, “If you quit now, “in one month you will be pregnant.” I was like, not me, how can
you think of that of me? And he was right. I was pregnant, one month later. So, things at home just
got rough in a sense, that my parents were very, very angry. So, I kind of just stop
talking to them as much. I didn’t want my parents in the hospital when she was born. There was one point I
was just like screaming, screaming out of the pain of labor, and as soon as it came in, I shut up, and I held it in just to
let them know I’m okay, and then I told them they can leave. I just didn’t want them
seeing me going through that. I felt already they were
ashamed of me having her, so. I just felt like I kind of let them down. Especially cause they didn’t wanna tell people that I was pregnant, it just made it harder, so it was
just, feeling shameful sucks. I just felt ashamed. When I first held Kaila, I
was really confused, though. Like everything just happened so fast, I didn’t know how I was going
to be able to do it all. For the first year, it
was mainly just getting used to parenthood and not sleeping, but things started probably getting a little rough with her father when Kaila was one years old. He started using drugs at that point. So first it would just be verbal abuse, and then it would be physical abuse, it just wasn’t, it wasn’t good. One night, that, it was
a Friday, and, you know, it was really the first time I chanted to my own gohonzon. (Buddhist chanting) I just chanted that I
wanted to transform my life, and I wanted to become happy. I didn’t want to be another statistic. A drop out, single mom, crazy baby daddy. I was just, just chanting,
just to have a happy family. I just wanted something to change so bad. I just, I was desperate. But even though I was chanting
for a harmonious family, what kind of crazy happened is
he told me he was unfaithful. So, I got so pissed that, I ended up like breaking up with him, and I moved back home with my parents. I had to take my life back into my hands. I continued my Buddhist practice. And I was able to get my GED. I started having a steady job, and little bit by little bit, I just started becoming
closer to my family. Especially to my parents. All of my best friends are
members of the Soka Gakkai, they were the people that, you know, no matter what
I was going through, I called and they always encouraged me, to not give up on myself. And I feel that’s really what
a good and true friend is. – I think it was difficult
not having my dad around, also because I did grow up with him for a little bit of my childhood. So, not being able to see him, very oft- Oh, I don’t want to cry! Okay. I do think about him every
day, and I do chant for him, and I hope he is doing well. But because I have such a big family, like they never made me feel like I was alone. I just, I really love my family. And they’re so funny too. Like, we always crack jokes
at home, and everything. I really love my family. – (Kaila) She’s married to the Muffin Man! – The Muffin Man? – (Kaila) The Muffin Man! – She’s married to the Muffin Man! (laughter) – Kaila is a old soul. (laughs) Very funny, herself,
has a strong character, and sometimes more mature than I am. She’s very grounded. Very caring, mature,
responsible, young lady. I feel like we, actually,
we kind of grew up together. Like she actually helped
me become a good mom, and at the same time, I try to help her, become like a good person, like I feel like I have a roll dog for life. ♪ So good, baby baby. ♪ ♪ It was all a dream! ♪ ♪ I used to read Word Up! Magazine ♪ ♪ Salt-N-Pepa and Heavy
D up in the limousine ♪ – I always loved dancing,
since I was young. There would be like family parties, and I would just be
dancing, Spanish music. So I decided to start
taking salsa classes, about six years ago. And I never stopped. I never wanted to do anything on my own. So, actually me, going
to, starting salsa class, like by myself, was a big step. Oh my god, it just is a part of me. Like, honestly, it is a part of me. I feel that anythings possible. Like just because I’m a mother doesn’t mean I can’t do
everything that I love. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It means, punching my
obstacles in the face. It means, (laughs), to really just be me. To believe in me. To be myself. To believe in myself,
to be true to yourself. All of this good stuff. – I know what it makes
me feel like, it makes, Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
makes me feel confident, and in control of my
life, and really allows me to grow like as a person. And every time I’m
feeling like overwhelmed, or sad, like I always have
the Gohonzon to go to. – She’s off to college next year. When I think about it, it scares me, just to be away from her. But she chants
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, so I know she’s going to be absolutely fine. I would say, don’t give up. I would say, don’t be ashamed of yourself. I think that’s probably
what I would say to myself. – [Interviewer] Kaila gave
a little message for you. – Okay. – You ready? – I’m ready. – Can I start over? Hi mom, I just wanted to say that, I never knew how much
you were struggling when I was growing up with dad and everything, and I just wanted to say
thank you for always being strong and always being there for me, and doing things like
taking me out for ice cream, and just trying to make me
laugh and make me happy, even though it was a really difficult time that we were going through. I really admire how much you have changed, and how you’re chasing your dream of becoming a salsa dancer,
how you are so dedicated to pursuing your passion, I
really admire that a lot. And, I really like the
relationship we have now, I could be so open with
you, and you’re always so understanding and compassionate, and, just thank you for being an amazing mom. And for always supporting me. I just want to make
you really proud of me. I just want to make you proud. I’m just very grateful for you. Thank you. – So, I’m so fortunate. If I could just ask for
anything in the world, I think I think I have that. Thank you. (acoustic folk music)

You may also like

58 Comments

  1. We will be watching this experience at our discussion meeting for February! Beautiful Gisell & Kaila! I'm crying over here! lol NMRK

  2. i cried.
    i don't know why.
    maube its because I am closed to my mother and she is a very brave woman just like her.
    Praying for your happiness both of you
    NMRK

  3. omg gisel i loved this experience thank you so much for encouraging and sharing your story cant believe she is going to college now!

  4. Years ago I was lead to believe that to practise Nichiren’s Buddhism correctly, one had to attend meetings and belong to an organisation. Nowadays I’ve come to understand that anyone, regardless of whether they become a ‘member’ of a group or not, can benefit from their own personal practice. The reason for this is that the Law Itself represents the identity of what some now refer to as the ‘unified field of all consciousnesses’. In other words, it’s the essence behind all existence and non-existence, the ultimate creative force behind planets, stars, nebulae, people, animals, trees, fish, birds and all phenomena, manifest or latent. All matter and intelligence is simply waves or ripples manifesting to and from this core source. Consciousness (enlightenment) is itself the true creator of everything that is, ever was and ever will be, right down to the minutest particles of dust, each being an individual ripple or wave. The big difference between chanting ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo’ and most conventional prayers is that instead of depending on a middle man to connect us to our state of enlightenment, we’re able to do it ourselves by tapping directly into it by way of self-produced sound vibration. On the subject of ‘what or who is God?’, when we compare the concept of ‘God’, as a separate entity that is forever watching down on us, to Nichiren’s teachings, the true omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence of what most people call ‘God’ is our enlightenment, which exists nowhere else but within us. When the disciples asked Jesus where the Kingdom of God is, didn’t he tell them that it was within them? Some say that ‘God’ is an entity that can never be seen. I think that the vast amount of information that is constantly being conveyed via electromagnetic waves gives us proof of how an invisible state of what many call ‘God’ could actually exist. It’s widely known that certain data being relayed by way of electromagnetic waves has the potential to help bring about extraordinary and powerful effects, including instant global awareness of something or mass emotional reaction. As well as many other things, it’s also common knowledge that these waves can be used to detonate a bomb or to even enable NASA to control the movements of a robot as far away as the Moon or Mars. However, none of this is possible without a receiver to decode the information that is being transmitted. Without the receiver, the information would remain impotent. In a similar way, it’s very important for us to have our receiver switched on, so that we can activate a clear and precise understanding of our life, all other life and who we and all else that exists truly is. Chanting ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo’ helps us to achieve this, because it allows us to reach into the core of our enlightenment and switch it on. That’s because, as I mentioned before, the sound vibration of ‘myoho-renge-kyo’ represents the combination of the three major laws that underlie all existence. ‘Myoho’ represents the Law of latency and manifestation (Nature), and consists of two alternating states. One state of ‘myo’ is where everything in life that’s not obvious to us exists. This includes our stored memories when we’re not thinking about them, our hidden potential and inner emotions whenever they’re not being expressed, our desires, our fears, our wisdom, happiness, karma, and more importantly, our enlightenment. The other state, ‘ho’, is where everything in Life exists whenever it becomes obvious to us, such as when a thought pops up from our memory, whenever we experience or express our emotions, or whenever a good or bad effect comes forth from our karma. When anything becomes apparent, it simply means that it has come out of the state of ‘myo’ (dormancy/latency) and into a state of ‘ho’ (manifestation). It’s the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness, being awake or asleep, or knowing and not knowing something. The second law, ‘renge’, governs and controls the functions of ‘myoho’ – ‘ren’ meaning cause and ‘ge’ meaning effect. These two laws, ‘myoho’ and ‘renge’, work together simultaneously and underlie all spiritual and physical existence. The final and third part of the tri-combination, ‘kyo’, is what allows the law ‘myoho’ to integrate with the law ‘renge’. It’s the great, invisible thread of energy that fuses and connects together all Life and matter, as well as the past, present and future. It is often termed the Universal Law of Communication. Perhaps it could even be compared to the ‘string theory’ that some scientists now suspect exists. Just as our body cells, thoughts, feelings and all else are constantly fluctuating within us, everything in the world around us and beyond is also in a constant state of flux, in accordance with these three laws. In fact, more things are going back and forth between the two states of ‘myo’ and ‘ho’ in a single moment than it would ever be possible for us to calculate or describe. And it doesn't matter how big, small, important or trivial anything may appear to be, everything that’s ever existed in the past, exists now, or will exist in the future, exists only because of the workings of 'myoho-renge-kyo'. These three laws are also the basis of the four fundamental forces and if they didn't function, neither we nor anything else could go on existing. Simply put, all forms of existence, including the seasons, day and night, birth, death and so on, are moving forward in an ongoing flow of continuation, rhythmically reverting back and forth between the two states of ‘myo’ and ‘ho’ in accordance with ‘renge’ and by way of ‘kyo’. Even stars are dying and being reborn again in accordance with the workings of ‘myoho-renge-kyo’. ‘Nam’ is like a password or key; it allows us to reach deep within our life and fuse with or become one with ‘myoho-renge-kyo’. On a more personal basis, nothing ever happens by chance or coincidence, it’s the causes that we’ve made in our past, or are presently making, that determine how these laws function uniquely in each of our lives from moment to moment, as well as our environment. By facing east, in harmony with the direction that the Earth turns and rhythmically chanting ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo’ repeatedly for a minimum of ten minutes daily, any of us can gain actual proof of its effects in our life. By building up a force from within, it allows us to pierce through even the thickest layers of our karma and reach directly into the ultimate wisdom of our and all other life. Unlike the fantasy of a magic wand to make our problems vanish, chanting ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo’ awakens our innate wisdom and brings to the surface our hidden potential, a much clearer realisation and understanding of our good and bad karma, and positive ways that we can both cope with and change our negative circumstances into positive ones. It brings forth the wisdom that can free us from the ignorance and stupidity that is preventing us from accepting and being proud of who we truly are, regardless of our race, colour, gender or sexual preference. It also allows us to see and understand things outside of ourselves more clearly and, by way of the electromagnetic forces of which we are all a part, helps us to connect with, or draw towards us, any external circumstances or help that we need. Proof of this effect soon becomes obvious to anyone who chants ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo’ on a regular basis. Of course, the more sincerely we chant, the more powerful and faster its effect will be.

  5. OMG! I'm literally wiping tears..(It's cause I'm sleepy.. I swear!) Thank you guys for being so open and honest and for sharing your experiece with the world! U truly exemplify what it means to get this practice WITH YOUR LIFE. I feel so fortunate to have encountered this practice in my lifetime and proud to know that I share this wonderful faith with beautiful souls such as you ladies. Thank You!.. I pray that as you continue on your journey of human revolution, that you are able to inspire and lead others to the Gohonzon.. Especially Kaila's father.. Wishing u all the best! #NMRK!!

  6. Gisell &  Kaila I watched your video.  I think it's wonderful  how you guys put this video together.   This is not the male in the photo it's his auntie Liz.   Liz Deleon…you know me.  Smile.  The male in the photo is my nephew.    I just happen to go into SGI page and the first video I saw is you.  Your experience is so touching.   I know I haven't seen you  guys in a  long time but you know that I am still a  Buddhist…..and I too am in control of my life.  I hope I see you guys at the next meeting   Love Liz DeLeon

  7. I am so thankful to Marga who told me about you. I also met your sister Erika at the youth bbq we had recently. Thank you, for sharing your story and inspiring so many of us. ❤️

  8. I see her and have talked her at the center. She is an awesome person very kind, compassionate and cares about the Youth!

  9. Be proud. Buddhism is a religion of love and compassion as the Dalai Lama said, boundless and unconditional. It looks beyond the divides created by man in his heart and mind.

  10. Thank you Gisell and Kaila for sharing your personal story. Its people like you who make me realize how great this Buddhism is.

  11. sorry I couldn't get past how the daughter just left the water running while she brushed her teeth. water is a limited resource and gift. please don't waste it!

  12. Plz Enjoy R Kosen Rufu Victory from Tacoma!!
    https://soundcloud.com/3-412/5-chant-daimouku-for-the-childrens-future

  13. My real-life encounter with your family, however brief, introduced me to a surprising new language of the heart. Thank you!

  14. Buddhism, once thought of as a mysterious religion from the East, has now become very popular in the West, and is one of the largest religions in the United States.

    As Buddhism does not require any formal "conversion", American Buddhists can easily incorporate dharma practice into their normal routines and traditions.

    The result is that American Buddhists come from every ethnicity, nationality and religious tradition.

    In 2012, U-T San Diego estimated U.S. practitioners at 1.2 million people, of whom 40% are living in Southern California.

    In terms of percentage, Hawaii has the most Buddhists (at 8% of the population, due to its large Asian American community).

    The term American Buddhism can be used to describe Buddhist groups within the U.S, which are largely made up of converts.

    This contrasts with many Buddhist groups in Asia, which are largely made up of people who were born into the faith.

  15. Chanting does seem like a chore for me. // I pretty much have no one in my life… I have friends but no one is, , close. I spend days or nights awake on the computer, — or just sleep for long lengths of time. So for example this last time I finally fell asleep at about 4-5 am yesterday and woke up at about 8 pm later that day — I too don't want to do anything on my own.. like even chanting alone,, if I believe in myself I would chant more, It is just thinking someone is listening outside my window and this gives me embarrassment. I feel your story is an inspiration to me. I want to thank you for sharing on youtube. I hope to take charge of my life and live. The Faith that I can make by believing in who I am is unlimited. When I believe in myself there is nothing I can't do. I plan to do it all.

  16. Amazing so inspiring and is a big dose of optimism with a side of positivity. Oh and an extra helping of happiness. Lol

  17. Wow! what a bunch of strong ladies…
    From gma to daughter and gdaughter.
    well done!👋👋👋👍
    MAM MYOHO RANGE KYO…

  18. What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it with us. Nam myoho renge kyo absolutely works for anyone who is willing to try it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *