Remembering Malgosia Roshi

Malgosia Jiho Braunek Roshi — a brilliant and clear light with an exceptional smile and presence. She was loved by millions who came to know her as a human being, as a film star, and as a true Bodhisattva.

We met in 1983 when her husband Andrzej attended the first Kanzeon Polish Sangha Sesshin at the Temple of the Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn Sunim.  Andrzej and I went for a walk in the small forest near the Zen Center and he said you must meet my incredible wife, Malgosia.  We all had dinner that evening, my first introduction to her radiant, contagious laughter.

In 1986 while holding group Daisan at the old mill of Joanna Lasota’s with about a dozen Sangha members sitting across from me, I knew that Malgosia would be a great Zen Teacher and Master. Looking into her eyes I saw her future in a flash.  During the retreat I gave her my personal purple rakusu given to me by Maezumi Roshi in 1979 when he bestowed the title of Hoshi (Dharma Holder) on me.  I told her that she could only tell Andrzej and no one else at that time because I wanted to spare her the possible jealousy from other students.  I promised to transmit the robe and bowls to her some day in the distant future.  That day came in 2003, more than 17 years later, and then Inka, the Final Seal of Approval as a Zen Master, in 2011 in Ameland, giving her the title of Roshi.

Malgosia has looked after the Polish Sangha  much like a mother hen looks after her chicks.  The love that I have witnessed between her and her wonderful students is so heartwarming and inspiring.  Even during the last toughest days she was shining full of love.  Her spirit is ever present and I can feel her half way across the globe here in Maui. I have found it difficult to grieve.  However, I now realize that maybe she has not gone after all.  We who knew her are still being soothed and bathed by her vast and beautiful essence.  She will be missed by family, friends, Sangha, as well as most of Poland.  I miss her!

Genpo Roshi

photo by Stephanie Young Merzel

7 thoughts on “Remembering Malgosia Roshi”

  1. Dear Roshi, I’m sorry for your loss…I wish had known Jiho Roshi and her bright beautiful smile.
    I hope you’re well and good.
    Love C

  2. What a beautiful story in real life. Sending my regrets and thoughts to you Roshi….. And all who knew this beautiful human.

  3. Dear Roshi
    I am shocked and saddened that you have lost one of your most beautiful successors. I remember how infectious Malgosia was. Having witnessed her speak in Ameland I wanted to be just like her.
    Lots of love,

  4. I remember passing “the source of Mu” with her. I experienced a great opening and aha moment. She began crying and hugged me and then we were crying and laughing together at the same time. It was one of those moments you never forget and I am glad I passed it with her and had that wonderful experience. She mentioned the fact that what just happened proves the fact that the lineage works and it did work wonderfully through her. I am very sad for her passing but that moment will always be with me.

  5. Dear Genpo Dennis,
    thanks for the warm words.
    For those who`d like to see a warm
    moment of Malgosia …feel free and check my FB page and scroll.
    Being who we are is all that is needed to realize the Dharma ….Life…and even death
    Adriana Giuliani

  6. Although I have been brought up as a ‘dour’ Scottish Presbyterian, I have long ago realised that love and compassion is at the very heart of genuine spirituality. This was brought home to me by the Nobel Prizewinner, Albert Schweitzer who said,” If you can read the New Testament and not have COMPASSION for your fellow man (and woman) you simply haven’t understood it.” I know that this is true, NOT because I read it in a Book, but because I have experienced it in my heart. I am sure you are right Genpo, about feeling the presence of your beloved friend.
    Bill Bingham, Glasgow, Scotland.
    p.s. Please have patience with us, we (Protestants & Catholics) have only
    recently given up burning one another, and we could teach Al Qaeda a
    thing or two about using dynamite to solve our religious problems.


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