Debra Seido Martin is a Soto Zen Lay Teacher, practicing psychotherapist and long time organic farmer. She received dharma transmission in 2009 from her late teacher, Houn Kyogen Carlson, founding abbott of Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland, a thriving temple known for its commitment to full training path for lay practitioners as well as monastic students. Her understanding of practice has been influenced by many remarkable teachers over the years, including Chozen and Hogen Bays of Great Vow Monastery, Reb Tenshin Anderson and Green Gulch Zen Center, and Ejo McMullen of the Eugene Zendo, where she first met her teacher Kyogen.
Seido’s understanding of the dharma draws upon her decades of work with the land growing vegetables for the local community, as well as her practice of psychotherapy. Both endeavors inform her understanding of Zen as a pathway to healing our disconnection from the land, from one another, and ultimately, from our buddha nature
Despite an undergraduate major in literary critical theory, Seido fell in love with farming at the age of 23 and claims her first Zen teacher was a tomato. She and her husband of 23 years, Bill Booth, developed Horton Road Organics in 1991, a small farm that helps reconnect practitioners to the earth. The farm offers a training program for aspiring organic farmers, and grows food for local farmers markets, natural food stores, 65 member CSA, and several soup kitchens.
In 2007, Seido began exploring Western therapeutic approaches to address entrenched emotional and relational blocks she experienced in herself and other long time practitioners. She currently maintains a therapeutic practice, Open Field Therapy, that dovetails with her work with nature. As a therapist and Zen teacher, Seido brings an awareness of healthy human attachment and the impact of trauma on the mind and body integrated into Zen’s understanding of liberation.