Sallie Jiko Tisdale has been practicing Soto Zen since 1983. She received Lay Dharma transmission in 1997 from her teacher, Kyogen Carlson, and currently serves as Godo for Dharma Rain Zen Center. She has written eight books, most recently a collection of essays titled Violation. Her work has appeared in many magazines and journals, including Harper’s, Conjunctions, Tin House, and Tricycle. For the past few years, she has been one of the columnists for the “Ask the Teacher” column in Buddhadharma. She also works part-time as a registered nurse. She is a member of the writers’ organization PEN and both the American Zen Teachers Association and the Lay Zen Teachers Association.
Kakumyo Lowe-Charde has been practicing at Dharma Rain since 1998. He was ordained in 2002 by Gyokuko and completed transmission in 2012. He has been heavily involved in the operations side of temple function and in residence for most of this time; practice and work at the temple is his full time occupation and avocation.
Kakumyo has sat over 100 week-long silent meditation retreats and sesshin practice is a primary practice and teaching vehicle for him. He has worked with a variety of Soto and Rinzai Zen teachers, including spending periods in residency with Shodo Harada Roshi, Daido Loori Roshi, and with the Bays at Great Vow Zen Monastery, and has done several SZBA-sponsored residential trainings.
He enjoys a deep appreciation for the Abhidharma, the Eihei Koroku and the Lankavatara Sutra, and an active and creative relationship with the natural world and physicality are important elements of his “turning the light within.” Kakumyo has been practicing qigong for over 20 years.
He is married to LaShelle Yoan Lowe-Charde who teaches mindfulness and communication. His responsibilities with Dharma Rain for the past several years have focused on the development of the new campus. Kakumyo currently serves Dharma Rain as the Kanin (Director of Operations and Development) and as Co-Abbot Pro Tem. He has 6 formal students.
Jill Bukkai Washburn grew up in Northeastern Ohio and completed an AB in History and Philosophy in Virginia in 1965. She served in the first group of VISTA volunteers in North Carolina and, continuing to live in the south, was active in the civil rights movement during those years. She married and had three children and the family moved to Dallas, Oregon in 1982. Bukkai was active in the 12 Step movement called ACOA in the mid-eighties and took the 12th step especially to heart, which is concerned with finding a spiritual path. Another major influence, besides finally growing up, was the late author Peter Matthiessen, who began to practice zen in mid-life.
Bukkai came to Dharma Rain in 1987 and received the precepts in 1988. She was a part-time resident and concentrated on retreat practice. She became Gyokuko’s lay disciple in 1991 and was transmitted as a lay teacher in 1999. She served enthusiastically as tenzo for retreats and dharma camp for many years. She founded the Joju Project at Dharma Rain and worked to expand the services around death and dying.
Bukkai is semi-retired and visits Dharma Rain every few weeks to give a dharma talk and sanzen. She is a member of an intimate practice group in Dallas. At Dharma Rain, Bukkai is the guiding teacher for the Daoren Circle, a small group seeking to practice within the concrete details of everyday life.
Randi Getsushin Brox writes: I was born in North Norway far beyond the Arctic Circle in 1935, five years before World War II. In 1944 my town, Hammerfest was totally destroyed by the Germans and the population was forced to evacuate on a few hours’ notice. We lost all our worldly belongings in the process. This experience taught me the truth of intransience and I have never been strongly attached to worldly possessions.
My only brother was murdered when he was 37 years old.
Because of the chaos of World War II started elementary school in third grade, and at 15 had to leave home in order to continue my education in another town. After receiving my high school diploma I studied literature at the University of Oslo for six years receiving a cand, philol. degree in “language and literature.” I finished my PhD at the University of Illinois and then taught French literature at the University of Oregon for 34 years.
My family in Norway belonged to the Lutheran State Church. They were not religious and my first experience with organized religion was through DRZC. I became a Buddhist and The Eugene Zendo met in my house for about ten years.
I have spent time in several parts of the world and was a Fulbright lecturer in Cameroon and then Burkina Faso for two years.
(Editor’s addition): Much of Getsushin’s work at DRZC has been with the prison program, which she founded and oversaw for many years. She is now retired, living in Portland.
Richard Fumyo Mishaga is a lay teacher who has been practicing at DRZC since 1986. He took Jukai in 1991, became a lay disciple of Kyogen Carlson in 1992, and received Denkai transmission from Kyogen in 2006. He has held various ceremonial and organizational positions at DRZC including jisha, shusho (1998), tanto, Board Membership (12 years), and Seminary Program Student Advisor (6 years). He is currently a member of the Elders Council, the Succession Committee, the Strategic Plan Monitoring Committee, and the Leadership Development Team. In his personal practice, he has a deep affinity for our Chinese and Japanese lineage ancestors and for the Avatamsaka and Vimalakirti Sutras. He enjoys studying Hua Yen philosophy.
Fumyo was raised in a large, ethnic family in the industrial Midwest and he maintains his ties to his ethnic background and traditions. He holds a B.S. in Zoology (Ohio University), M.S. in Wildlife Ecology (University of Nevada), and a Ph.D. in Ecosystems Ecology (New Mexico State University). For most of his professional career he worked as an environmental consultant, specializing in restoration ecology, large-scale ecosystem planning, and big game and endangered species management. He traveled extensively on professional assignments both nationally (22 states) and internationally including extended stays in Egypt, Chile, and Mexico.
He has a deep commitment to lay practice in the secular world. Since his retirement in 2003, he has continued to serve on various civic and governmental committees, and in professional organizations. He enjoys gardening and volunteers as an Oregon State Extension Service Master Gardener. Fumyo has been happily married to his wife Paula since 1967 and he has a son (Adam), daughter-in-law (Joanna), and one grandson (Maximus).
Debra Seido Martin is a visiting lay teacher from Eugene having received dharma transmission in 2009 from Kyogen whom she began practicing with in 1999. She is the guiding teacher at Empty Field ~ Zen West that includes seasonal retreats on her and her husband’s organic farm in the coast range and a weekly sitting group that meets in Eugene.
In addition to training with DRZC, her understanding of Zen has been shaped by several sanghas over the years, including the Zen Community of Oregon, the Eugene Zendo and San Francisco Zen Center. Seido’s dharma draws upon her work in nature growing organic vegetables for the local community, as well as her practice of psychotherapy that developed as she began exploring Western therapeutic approaches in 2007 to address entrenched emotional and relational blocks she experienced in herself and other long time practitioners. Both endeavors inform her understanding of Zen as a pathway to healing our disconnection from the land, from one another, and ultimately, from buddha nature. Seido is also a lover of dreams for their mystery and insight, and enjoys working with them as koans.
Jody Shintai Dungay has been practicing at Dharma Rain Zen Center for 25 years. She received lay transmission from Gyokuko Carlson in 2011. In addition to teaching classes and occasionally offering Dharma talks at Dharma Rain, Shintai is a teacher at Wy’east Zen Center in Sandy, Oregon. She was a resident at the temple from 1999-2001 and again in 2010 after returning from living in Germany for seven years. Shintai was educated at Linfield College and Portland State University. She works as a speech-language pathologist with young children and their families.
Sylvan Genko Rainwater comes from a deeply religious (protestant Christian) family and went to Bible College right after high school, hoping to do spiritual work. Before long, though, she realized that particular path wasn’t for her, and became a solitary seeker for many years. She married, had two children, and then divorced and came out as a lesbian, entering into a minority subculture that, along with feminism, has informed much of her understanding.
Genko received her BA from Portland State University in 1995, and a M.Ed in Adult Education from Oregon State University in 2005. Work experience has included clerical, typesetting, teaching, and administrative.
She found her path and has been practicing at DRZC since 1999, and living at the Center since 2005. She took Jukai in 2001, was ordained by Kyogen in 2007, and received Denkai transmission in 2013. She did a 1-month monastic training period with SZBA at Jikoji in 2007, and a 3-month practice period at Tassajara in fall of 2009. She is a member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association and the American Zen Teachers Association.
She currently serves as Head of Precenting, Sewing Master, Head of Housekeeping, Head of Residency, and Co-coordinator of the Prison Program.
Gyoshi was a mechanical engineer in his professional life, specializing in energy efficiency and commissioning large buildings. He is now retired. He has three adult children, all of whom have had some Zen experience in their lives. The oldest, his son, was a non-practicing resident at Shasta Abbey for 6 months when he was 2 years old. Both daughters participated in Dharma Rain’s Dharma School program.
Gyoshi was born a few months after the end of World War II. He was born into deep family darkness around one uncle who was killed at the very end of the war, a second uncle who was crippled in the war, and the shock of the world learning of the holocaust. He was raised in the Jewish religion and traditions. But though he tried, he couldn’t find any deep connection to that path.
Gyoshi was intrigued by the various Eastern religions through study in college, and in 1968 began attending the Los Altos (California) Zen sitting group. Shunryu Suzuki was the visiting teacher during that time. The seed of path was well planted then, but didn’t quickly grow.
He missed most of the 70s in the U.S. when he dropped out of medical school in 1969 and moved to British Columbia where he lived at or beyond the end of the road for the next 10 years. His Zen practice took firm root when he participated in his first lay student residency term at Shasta Abbey in the spring of 1974. He received the Precepts from Jiyu Kennett Roshi at the Jukai retreat at the end of that term. He returned the following year for another term, and has been practicing ever since.
He has been a member of Dharma Rain since 1983, became Kyogen’s disciple in 2000, and received lay transmission from him in 2014. He has been co-leading and leading the Zen sangha at Oregon State Penitentiary since 2009.
Jyoshin Catherine Clay holds a B.S. in Genetics from the University of Kansas, and is currently working on an M.Div from Maitripa College in Portland. She spent several years as a tech in a neuroscience lab at the Vollum Institute at OHSU.
She has been a member of DRZC since 2001, took Jukai in 2004, and became Kyogen’s student in 2006. He ordained her into the priesthood in 2008. She spent three months at Zen Mountain Monastery in New York in the fall of 2011. She served DRZC as shuso in 2014, with Hossen in 2015. She received Denkai transmission in December 2015.
She has served as tenzo, precentor, and head of the jisha-ryo. Her interests include ceremony and ritual studies, and the use of form as a training tool. She enjoys facilitating small group talks and discussions. She regularly goes to give teaching at the Wy’east Zen Center in Sandy, Oregon. She currently serves as Assistant Kanin.