Henrike Jishin Reef
January 29, 2021 by Yugen Lakey
It’s with a heavy heart that we share the news that Henrike Jishin Reef died on December 7, 2020. Jishin was a resident at Yokoji from 2009-2011 and served as Head Trainee in the spring of 2011.
Many of you who were present during that time will no doubt remember Jishin, her kindness and warmth, and all the nourishing food that she prepared for the sangha while serving as tenzo, or head cook of the temple. Even for those that only knew Jishin in passing, she was hard to miss as she was almost always wearing at least one article of purple clothing — even the kimono she wore under her monk’s robes was a deep shade of purple.
The one thing that stands out for me, is how caring Jishin was. I was looking back through the blogs I wrote during her stay at the center and found this entry from March 8, 2011:
Jishin is the head trainee and I think she’ll do a great job. She is the mother hen amongst the residents and is always the one to take food down to someone if they are ill or to check up on people when they aren’t doing so well. Jishin now has a whole group of trainees to take care of and we’re lucky to have her.
I remember it was a sad time when Jishin left, and she did so at the same time as another resident, Graham, who was also an important part of the residential community. During the Spring 2011 Training Period, Jishin wrote a number of blog posts for Yokoji. This is her first post, introducing herself. She posted about trusting your guts, her reflections before the Training Period started for which she was serving as Head Trainee, and talking about the koan she was working on for her Dharma Combat ceremony.
Jishin and Keizan Roshi, the leader of Stonewater Zen in the UK, shared a deep friendship over many years. Jishin was integral in helping Keizan Roshi set up the Liverpool Zen Group which became a much larger organization over the years as it transformed into Stonewater Zen.
Jishin passed away from cancer in her home county of the Netherlands. We miss you, Jishin.
May your vows be fully realized, and may we realize the Buddha Way together.