By Do Je-hae
An eminent monk of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism was appointed Wednesday as the "jongjeong," or highest spiritual leader, according to news reports.
Ven. Jinje, one of the greatest living masters of the practice of “seon (Zen)," will officially begin his 5-year term on March 25, 2012.
The 26-member senior council of the order held a private meeting in Seoul, which unanimously voted Ven. Jinje as the 13th jongjeong. The 77-year-old succeeds Ven. Beopjeon.
Ven. Jinje was awarded the title of “daejongsa,” meaning “most eminent monk,” by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism in 2004.
To become a jongjeong candidate, one must be a daejongsa over 65 years in age and have more than 40 years of experience as a monk.
A jongjeong is the most authoritative spiritual leader and bears no administrative responsibility in the sect.
Ven. Jinje has been widely acknowledged as being one of the most eminent teachers of Korean seon meditation. He has also been active in promoting Korean Buddhism overseas.
He recently published an English-language book called “Open the Mind, See the Light," aimed at introducing the benefits of seon practice in daily life.
He made headlines here when he had a Dharma talk at Riverside Church in New York on Sept. 15.