Helma Jifu Vulink, Sensei | II. Generation

Helma Jifu Vulink, Sensei

Helma Jifu Vulink studied literature and theater in Amsterdam, her hometown. She set up her own company and worked for many years as an actress and drama­ teacher, especially focusing on communication training. Meanwhile, she raised a family and is the mother of one adult son and an adopted daughter. Jifu started Zen practice with Tenkei at Zen River in 2003 and moved in as a full­-time resident a few years later. Having received Shukke Tokudo in 2007, she served as Shuso in 2010 and later again in 2013 with Seido Suzuki Roshi in the position of Jokeshi during her Hossenshiki. Jifu’s functions at Zen River are flexible and manyfold. Besides being the yoga teacher during daily excercise classes, she works in maintenance and gardening. Moreover, she is greatly appreciated as the primary stand-in tenzo of Zen River whenever Myoho is not available. She’s our go-to party dish expert, serving up yummy tapas of every kind. Last but not least, Jifu is the indispensable soprano in the recently formed Zen River choir. She received Shiho from Tenkei in January 2014 with Musai from Santa Fe as Kyojushi. Alongside the other four Shiho recipients, she has started giving classes in a houseboat in the nearby university town of Groningen. She participated in Soto Ango training in Toshoji in the Winter of 2014/2015.
Since spring 2018 Jifu Sensei is living and teaching at the Zen Boat in Groningen.

Since spring 2018 Jifu Sensei is at home at Zen Boat Groningen:

From the May 2018 Zen River Update:

We are very happy to announce that the transfer of the Zen Boat – the beautiful houseboat in the centre of Groningen that our dear late friend and member Janneke Guermonprez bequeathed to Zen River – has finally received full legal status. It has taken some time because we had to wait for the local government to grant us the required mooring licence. But all the documents have now been completed and signed. This also means that Senseis Senko de Boer and Jifu Vulink, who were already provisionally living on the boat, can now really move over and step up the Zen Boat’s meditation programme. This marks the start of a whole new development for the sangha. Tenkei Roshi will officially inaugurate the Zen Boat at the end of a Weekend Sesshin there, on May 13 at 16:00 h, followed by a festive reception.

Zenriver "Zen Boat" Groningen
Zenriver “Zen Boat” Groningen

The Zen Boat is one of the outreach activities of Zen River Temple. Simon Senko de BoerHelma Jifu VulinkRobert Doin van de Roer, and Ingrid Ranka de Hullu – dharma successors of Tenkei Roshi – provide a daily programme of meditation and study classes that also run through the summer months. A weekend City Sesshin (retreat) is held once a month. Situated on a houseboat, the zendo (meditation room) is within walking distance of Groningen train station. Classes are held in an informal setting, and the program is based on Four Elements of Training: 1) Zazen, a form of sitting meditation that makes it possible to experience our deepest being and to gain clarity about our function in this life. 2) Zen Ritual, active forms of group meditation that help us develop a mutual connection with others. 3) Study, research of Buddhist scriptures throughout the ages that support the practice of Zen. 4) Bodhisattva Activity, training in living a life of wisdom and compassion based on well-tested Buddhist guidelines. For more detailed information on the Four Elements, please click here.

The Zen Boat is open to anyone interested in Zen practice. Full instruction is given to all newcomers. Questions related to practice can be asked within the group, or individually by appointment with one of the teachers.

Calendar of Events

March 23 City Sesshin, led by Jifu Sensei
April 67 City Sesshin, led by Senko Sensei
May 1112 City Sesshin, led by Jifu Sensei
June 89 City Sesshin, led by Senko Sensei
July 67 City Sesshin, led by Jifu Sensei


  • Monday 7:00-8:00 zazen 19:30-21:00 zazen + daisan
  • Tuesday 7:00-8:00 zazen 19:30-21:00 zazen + daisan
  • Wednesday 7:00-8:00 zazen; 17:00-18:15 series of introductory classes
  • Thursday 7:00-8:00 zazen 19:30-21:00 zazen + study class
  • Sunday 9:30-10:30 zazen
  • City Sesshins monthly

Introduction: Please call or email to make an appointment for a first meeting before the introductory class.

Language: Classes are held in English and Dutch. Contributions for membership includes all classes and private interviews upon request.

Location: Houseboat ” De Grote Gele Kwik”
Winschoterdiep 1027
Groningen 9724 GT

Contact: Tel. +31-50-7503343, email: zenboat@zenrivertemple.org


Contributions can be paid by bank transfer (see below) or in cash upon arrival.

Zen Boat Groningen

Monthly membership €40
Weekly membership €10
Sunday morning free
Introductory course (6 classes) €60
City sesshin (with accommodation) €70
City sesshin (without accommodation) €50
City sesshins begin on Saturday 6:30 and end Sunday 17:00 
  Weekly/monthly membership for the Zen Boat includes all zazen, classes & interviews

Payment Information

Bank Transfer

IBAN: NL33INGB0009233632, Acc. name ‘Zen River’; Reference: ‘Zen Boat’

Please access the Zenriver Temple website via the link in a new browser window:


Zenriver Temple website

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