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On the Cover—Colorado

Highlighting SGI-USA members from Colorado applying Buddhism to daily life.

Photo by Tim Gilies Photography
Photo by Tim Gilies Photography

JayCee Beyale

It’s mural season here in Denver. Mornings, I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, get coffee and catch the cool morning air. When I’m not working a mural commission, I’m in the studio painting between six and nine hours a day.

Not long ago, I struggled to believe I could become a full-time artist. I was hesitant even to discuss my craft. My Buddhist practice, however, gave rise to greater confidence. Now, it’s in conversation about my art that I’m most vocal. And here, I can’t not talk about Buddhism, because my faith inspires my craft.

Art, for me, has been about building relationships, telling stories and bringing forth humanity. It has been a vehicle to tell my story. I hope to empower other artists—especially young indigenous artists—to have the confidence to tell their own.

Photo by Tim Gilies Photography

Faye Matthews

At 14, a pilot invited me and my mom to the flight deck. I sat in the pilot’s chair and put on the headset. This job seemed filled with adventure.

I pilot flights to Frankfurt, Munich and London. I fly to one of these cities, have 24 hours there, then fly back to Denver. The job exposes me to so much beauty. For instance, the moment, climbing through a cloud, when you break over its top; or when, after a long stretch over the ocean, land comes into view again; or, flying low at night, when whole cities are mapped in huge clusters of light.

When kids board, I invite them to take a seat in the pilot’s chair and wear the pilot’s hat. I want them to get a glimpse of life’s beauty and possibilities, to know they can do anything.

Photo by Tim Gilies Photography

Josei White
Aurora, Colorado
Police Dispatcher

When I arrive, I hit the ground running. Calls start pouring in from around the city for any service call requiring a police officer, be it a fender bender, theft, break-in or sighting of a missing person.

Situations change quickly. What has been critical is learning how to respond, prioritizing calls as they develop and relaying accurate, vital information to the officers so they know the status of the situation they’re walking into.

A strong morning gongyo is vital. Throughout the day I have to remain both empathetic and level-headed, despite sometimes hysterical calls. That’s the best way that I can help the person in front of me. I’ve learned from Ikeda Sensei the spirit to fight for the well-being of others behind the scenes, giving my all whether or not others notice my efforts.

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