Zenji (Zen Master) (禅師)

Zenji is an honorific title for venerable Zen monks used in China and Japan.

Emperor Gouda presented Doryu RANKEI who founded Kencho-ji Temple the status of Zenji after Doyu's passing whereby he was conferred the first Zenji in Japan. The status of Zenji is conferred posthumously most of the time. The other posthumous titles given to monks include Daishi (literally, a great master, an honorific title given by the Imperial Court) (monk) and Kokushi (the most revered priest).

The Soto Sect

As a custom, the successive chief abbots of Eihei-ji Temple and Soji-ji Temple have been conferred the Zenji status by the Imperial Court.

[Original Japanese]