The Guiding Council cares for the growth and development of the sangha.  Its members have received Buddhist precepts and are committed to the mission of Zen West ~ Empty Field.

The GC’s purpose is:

  • To suggest, initiate, support or conduct projects, events or outreach that benefits the healthy development and growth of the sangha.
  • To conduct membership meetings, survey, communicate with and be available to the membership.
  • To vision and plan for the future and develop our offerings in line with our mission.
  • To manage, care for, and develop the group’s assets/resources.
  • To help field and or bring existing internal concerns, grievances or ethics violations and assist in their resolve with the support of our ethics guidelines.
  • To act as a sounding board in regards to dharma program direction initiated by teacher(s).
  • To review and support sangha commitment towards ecological awareness and social responsibility.

We are happy to receive your suggestions and feedback on how our group is serving your needs.

Our seven member Guiding Council meets every other month.  The group nominates its members based on needed expertise and skills. Current GC members include:

Carol Senkei Robertson

Senkei first encountered Zen meditation in the early 1970’s at the Zen Center of Los Angeles and received the precepts from Taizan Maezumi Roshi in 1981. After raising a family and working as an elementary teacher, she moved to Oregon with her husband Futai. Subsequently discovering the Empty Field Zendo close to her new home, she dusted off her zafu, and returned to Zen practice reinvigorated by the lay approach to Soto Zen with a teacher comfortable with Western psychology. She also volunteers weekly at a local school working with kindergarteners and is engaged in the visual arts.

Senkei enjoys practicing on at the farm zendo where the natural world is present and alive. She enjoys creating a friendly, welcoming place for those who arrive to sit with the sangha and is currently leading workshops for the sangha blending art and Zen practice.   She also serves as the Membership Liaison for EFZW and Chiden (Altar Care). Senkei became Seido’s formal student in 2016. Her dharma name means “Penetrating Spring.”

Nancy Seiryu Rosenberger

Seiryu first encountered Zen in Japan in her early twenties. Although always influenced by it, she returned to it seriously in her fifties. She met Seido through practice with the Corvallis Zen Circle and became her formal student in 2015. Seiryu is retired from teaching cultural anthropology at OSU. She likes to hike, sing, travel, and spend time with grandchildren.

Seiryu values the experience of Empty Field retreats that integrate our relationship to earth, air, fire, water, and food. She values the Zen West sangha for its close relationships and its focus on living every day human lives as Zen students. Seiryu brings poetry, Buddhist study, and facilitation skills to the sangha and currently serves as the Doan-kokyo (chant leader) and Yoga Sensei. Her dharma name means “Peaceful Dragon.”

Bruce Hindrichs

Bruce was first touched by the Dharma in the early 1970’s after returning home from Viet Nam.  He traveled for many years, living primarily in a 1964 Ford Econoline van.  After attending a talk by Babba Ram Dass in Atlanta, Georgia he moved to Macon, Georgia to live with the people that organized that event, and  discovered Zazen.  On March 28, 2018 he took Jukai at the Empty Field Zendo, declaring Buddhism as his primary path.  Bruce serves as co-chiden.

Bruce attended Humboldt State University.  After several years of studying sculpture, to the horror of his fellow sculpture students, he completed a degree in Business Marketing, and then enjoyed a 30-year career in corporate sales.  He still does some sculpture and has recently attempted watercolor.   Being a rolling stone, and living all over the U.S., he finally settled in Eugene, Oregon in 2004.  Bruce is now blissfully retired. He is working realizing the koan “Show Me the Rhinoceros.”

Hope Birrell

Hope is a massage therapist in the Thai tradition primarily working with hospice patients. She has a daughter in high school and is active in the local movement to help youth in Eugene facing homelessness through the organization “15th Night.” Hope received Buddhist precepts in 2018 and finds Zen practice naturally aligns with her way of being in the world. Hope is training as Doan-Kokyo and cares for the zendo’s oryoki bowls. She brings years of non-profit organizational experience to the Guiding Council.