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:

Patricia Josu Dahlgren

Having spied the zendo in the far corner of Horton Farm in the spring of 2009, Josu casually asked Seido to teach her to meditate. Even though not seeking Zen, she returned every Wednesday night,  followed the path, and eventually received the precepts in July 2011. Josu became close to the Dharma Rain sangha in Portland, traveling up monthly, which made it a joy to enter the Dharma Cloud lineage when she  became Seido’s first formal student in 2012. Her name means “Calm Center.”

Josu officially retired in 2016, after several careers, including Sensory Evaluation (R & D taste testing), hand-weaving and house cleaning, in addition to being “office manager” for her partner, who worked with schools in Australia, Guam, and the US. Josu enjoys animals, watercolor painting, cooking, watching the salmon spawn in Nelson Creek and chopping kindling.

Josu currently serves as Shuso (head student) and assists in numerous other roles. She has supported the sangha over the years in various ways, including compiling the EF~ZW Chant Book and organizing work parties each year to clean & set up the EFZ in spring.   Josu treasures the Empty Field, both when it is empty of people, and when it is full of the comings and goings at sesshin or other gatherings. She wants to nurture the growth of the Koho Student group and all other teacher-student relationships at ZW and EFZ.

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.”

Todd Futai Robertson

Futai began Zen practice at the Zen Center of Los Angeles in the 1970’s and has studied with a number of the teachers in the Maizumi Roshi (White Plum) lineage. He and his wife Senkei recently left the hectic big city life behind to live a more quiet life in the Oregon countryside after retiring from a career as a building inspector in Los Angeles in 2015.

Futai finds it a joy to practice out at Empty Field Zendo at the farm. He currently serves as the Tenzo (head cook) and leads zazen instruction at Zen West. Futai appreciates the supportive group practice found at Zen West and his personal practice with Seido.



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.