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Why should we have to learn to say the symbol names or mantras in Japanese? Why not just use the English translation? Same question about the actual distant and master symbols - aren't they just the names drawn in Japanese writing? So why not just write the English words instead. It would be much easier.

Well, for a start, learning how to pronounce the Japanese phrases, and draw the stylised kanji that make up these two symbols, is a basic sign of commitment on the student's part - it shows a willingness to make an effort to learn...
It is also a useful exercise in Mindfulness: focussing the attention
Then there is a matter of showing respect, and gratitude:
- taking the time to learn (and it really doesn't take that long) the correct form of the symbols and the pronunciation of their names/jumon is one of the many ways in which we honour the Gift that is Reiki.

And while we certainly know the English translaton of the kanji used as symbols 3 and 4 - perhaps it says something about the inherent spiritual importance of symbols per se, that, on bringing Reiki to an English-speaking society, Takata-sensei translated everything concerning Reiki into English - except for the word 'Reiki' itself, and the Symbols: their forms and names.

I was told that when doing Reiki we should be careful not to pick up on the other person's stuff: their physical aches and pains or emotions?

Personally, I feel it can be useful to 'interact' with the client's physical/emotional states - an important element of the therapeutic session (afterall, the hibiki picked up as part of byosen are an example of basic interaction with the client's 'stuff') - but it's all a matter of how we interact with their 'stuff'.
Whether simple hibiki, or more complex sensations of pain (somatic, emotional or otherwise) or surfacing memory, etc - by acknowledging it, and to whatever degree, experiencing it, I feel this helps us connect at a deeper level with the client, enabling a clearer 'flow ' of Reiki.
However, there is a difference between allowing ourselves to interact with and experience the client's 'stuff' in the moment [being 'present' with it during treatment], and taking it on and holding onto it [taking it into our own lives beyond the treatment session]

While reading up on Reiki, I notice there doesn't seem to be anything about removing stale, blocked or negative energy from the person you are treating - like there is in some other types of healing. How come?

I feel this is where 'Reiki' (as a system) differs from, say, Qi Gung or Shiatsu, or Therapeutic Touch - in each of which we do have the conceptualisation of adding 'energy' into the system or releasing/draining energy away from the system.

Now while a lot of 'reframing' and 'revisionism' has gone on within Reiki in the last few years - in particular, with some Teachers seemingly bent on presenting Reiki as being essentially little more than a purely manual form of 'ki-therapy' practice (much akin to the most basic levels of Wai Qi [projected Qi Gung Healing]) - we have to remember that, at core, Reiki is not about adding energy into the system in order to 'top up' deficiency (kyo), nor for that matter, about removing energy from the system to release excess (jitsu) [or, for that matter, 'negativity'].
Rather, Reiki is about Transformation.
IMO, when we give a treatment, rather than ki-energy to 'top up' the clients energy reserves, we are chanelling a - for want of a better word phenomenon - a spiritual 'something' which elicits a positive, benign, transformative reaction/response within in the client. [Remember, it is only in its most simplistic usage that the word Reiki can be considered 'energy' .]
With Reiki, 'Negative' energies/energy-patterns are transmuted into positive ones and 'Positive' energies/energy-patterns are reinforced.
Nothing need be added - nothing need be taken away.

I was taught [Ishikuro/Robertson lineage] that if you use the master symbol on a client during treatment this 'implies you accept full responsibility for their healing'?'' Why is this?

If I recall correctly, the original thinking was that the Master symbol was considered purely as an initiatorial symbol, so in attempting to use it on a 'client' in a healing context, you would in fact be 'passing attunement' to them. From the Tibetan teachings brought in by Arthur Robertson who (- with input from Iris Ishikuro) created Raku Kei Reiki, came the understanding of the Teacher's karmic responsibility for their student (which, in using the DKM on them, the 'client' had now - albeit unintentionally - become).
In just about every initiatorial tradition I am aware of, it is a very serious matter for a teacher to take on a student. A student is said to be (for want of a better term) 'tied' to the teacher/master - through a karmic bond.
Whether in Tibetan Vajra tradition, or in the Mikkyo traditions of Shingon and Tendai, the teacher/master (mikkyo: Ajari) is karmically responsible for the student until the student becomes a 'master' in their own right and takes on the responsibility for the 'karma' in relation to the teachings they are being empowered with/into.
Being karmically responsible for the student ('client') would also include responsibility for their healing.

I have heard that you can control Reiki. But surely it flows where it will without any help from us other than being a channel for it?

Perhaps not 'control', Reiki, but certainly 'guide' or 'direct.
Yes indeed we are 'channels' - and as channels, our part of the 'agreement' (as it were) in our 'contract with Reiki' is to be a clear channel - to 'get out of the way and let the Reiki flow
- but at the same time, WE choose for whom or for what (object, place, or event), and for when (past, present, future) the Reiki will be channeled - and, for that matter, we choose how long we are willing to act as a channel (i.e. the length of the particular Reiki session/treatment). When, for example, we choose to use the Seiheki Chiryo-ho technique (to effect change to a clients habits, perceptions, addictions, etc ) we are directing Reiki to effect a specific outcome - not just change, but a specific change. When we use CKR we are not simply being a channel - we are in effect directing the Reiki to flow more potently, in keeping with our personal perception of the need for it to do so, rather than just letting the Reiki 'happen' as it will. And so on.

Isn't Reiki just another name for Chi or Ki, I mean, they are all spiritual energy, right?

Chi is not just Spiritual energy. Chi is a wideranging and inclusive term for energy of varying degrees of 'coarseness' and 'subtleness' - from the more 'tangible' energies including 'bio-energy' - right through to the 'cosmic' or most 'spiritual' end of the spectrum. [The original ideogram or kanji for chi implies steam rising from a covered pot of rice cooking over a fire, with the lid of the pot being lifted by the steam - hence its basic meaning: energy or motive force.]
The term Reiki, on the other hand, refers to a (or possibly the most) highly refined form of chi which can be accessed by a living being's energy-system.
And while the -ki part of Rei-ki is the Japanese equivalent of chi, there are some subtle differences between the Chinese understanding of chi and the Japanese understanding of ki. In isolation, ki is indeed 'energy' (but not just 'energy' - it also loosely translates as Intent, Attitude, Mood, Emotion, Spirit (in the sense of 'Spiritedness'/Fiestiness), Feelings, Heart, Mind, Disposition, Character/Nature, Temprament; the very essence of a thing); but in combination with other kanji - ki can refer not only to 'energy' itself but also to the effect of energy being expended - the effect of energy in action.
In the case of Rei-ki, rather than referring to 'Spiritual energy' itself, this deeper meaning would imply: 'the effect of Spiritual Energy in action'
[Hence, the reason many people are now beginning to translate 'Reiki' as something along the lines of 'Influence of the Spirit'.]

At the beginning of the Reiki Principles, when it says 'The Secret Method To Invite Happiness'; what does the 'Secret' part mean?

I feel that its all a matter of how literally we translate: Shoufuku no hihou.

We can rephrase 'The Secret Method To Invite Happiness' as something like
'The Secret to Being Happy'.
I feel the Principles themselves are the 'secret method'. Its a bit like that book title: "The Seven Secrets of Success" - the 'secrets' are 'keys' or strategies to apply to life. so too, in just the same way the Principles are 'secrets' - strategies to apply to life.
Essentially, for me, its saying: "Look - this is the Secret to Being Happy - and the key to Spiritual Healing: Just for today, do not get angry... etc, etc..."

I have heard that if you are unwell or even not focussing on what you are doing during the Reiki session you might end up giving some of your own energy instead of Reiki energy to the patient.

Perhaps its not so much a case of 'instead of' as one of 'as well as'; and I don't feel you have to be unwell for this to happen either.

The desire to 'do' Reiki - to involve yourself in the therapeutic process (beyond simply being a medium for Reiki) can certainly, IMO, bring your own energies into the mix. I'm sure at some point we've all been there.

The concept of nen: mindfulness ( - as in HSZSN) is very important in Reiki, I feel. Though, not so much, being mindful of what you are doing, as being mindful that 'you' are not doing the 'doing' - Reiki is.

As Takata-sensei was fond of saying 'let go and let the energy flow'
It is a case of constantly being mindful of the need to 'step out of the way' - of overriding the desire of the conscious mind to interfere (albeit to benign intent) in the process, and instead, simply let the Reiki phenomenon 'happen'.

Is it true that Dr Usui found Reiki while he was doing something called Lotus Repentance meditation?

IMO, too much is made of the possible (and I repeat POSSIBLE) link between the Lotus Repentence Ritual - a Tendai Buddhist practice - and Usui Sensei's meditation.
To the best of my knowledge, the Lotus Repentance Ritual is a rite practiced primarily at Hiei Yama, it was not commonly performed at Kurama Yama. Even if it was performed at Kurama, it seems to be primarily a Priestly practice - just because he was Tendai, doesn't mean Usui was a priest. And just because he meditated on a mountain that was, during his lifetime, under Tendai control, doesn't necessarily mean he was even participating in a Tendai rite.
Although the main Temple complex was under Tendai rule, as a Sacred Mountain, Kurama Yama was frequented by members of many different sects. It was/is also of course sacred to followers of Shinto (- let's not forget that 'Mao-son' -one part of the trinity collectively referred to as Sonten by the independent Religion that took over Kurama after WWII - is in fact a Kami, not a Buddha or Bodhisatva)
Kurama also holds significance for several of the 'new religions' which were in existence in Usui-sensei's day (eg: the Oomoto-kyo - with whom many claim Usui-sensei was possibly connected). And like many other sacred places, Kurama was no doubt frequented by numerous 'independent' shamanic and mystic devotees, practicing many and varied meditative austerities. Usui Sensei's meditation could have been something from any of a number of traditions.
Also, the practice of 21-day meditation is not solely a Buddhist (let alone specificallyTendai) one. Even amongst the founders of other modern-day healing traditions and 'new religions' in Japan, similar themes can be found.
For example, the experience of Hase Yoshio, founder of the healing sect Reiha no Hikari Kyôkai:
Having been sickly since childhood, Hase Yoshio was suffering from tuberculosis, pleurisy, and after surgery for an intestinal condition, his doctor had told him he was unlikely to survive more than a month.
In the time he had left, he decided go on a religious quest.
Hase climbed to the summit of Gokenzan Yama, where, he sequestered himself in a small hut. Lining up twenty-one stones to count the days, he sat in perpetual meditation, discarding one of the stones each day.
The day came when there was only a single stone remaining, and on this day, Hase experienced a spiritual phenomenon. He became aware of the voice of god, and the voice said, "Be the messenger of god and walk the path of god." As the voice spoke to him, Hase was transfixed - unable to move - as if he were tied down; and suddenly, all the terrible pain that had crippled him for so long mysteriously dissipated. And in time his health recovered fully….

Do the symbols have to be imprinted in the chakras for the practitioner to be able to use them to intensify the healing produced by the Reiki energy?

The whole concept of chakras is really alien to Japanese healing practices (one - or more - of Takata sensei's students, it seems, introduced the chakra system into Reiki probably in the late 70's as a frame of reference for New-Age oriented westerners).

"...use them to intensify the healing produced by the Reiki energy?"

Perhaps we in the west think too much about Reiki in terms of 'energy' (something that we have re-imported back into Japan)

Reiki is - to my mind - more 'Spiritual Phenomenon' than 'Energy'.

Rather than seeing it that healing is 'intensified' by the symbols - it might be better to say that the symbols bring focus ( -mindfulness) to the whole 'Process of Sharing' that is the Reiki Experience.

To infer that symbols are 'used to intensify the healing produced', seems to me to suggest that healing is something that the practitioner 'does' to the client.

When a Reiki Practioner and a Client enter into the Sharing Process that is the Reiki Experience, the Practitioner is simply the Facilitator for the Experience, Reiki is the Catalyst, the Client themself is the Healer....

I am looking to make Buddhist connection to Reiki. In your opinion do the Reiki symbols link to these Buddhas: CKR for Dei Seichi Bosatsu, SHK for Monju Bosatsu, HSZSN for Ashuku Nyorai, DKM for Amida Nyorai ?

Why do you feel the need to link the Reiki symbols to individual Buddhist Deities?

CHR is NOT a Buddhist Symbol - it is possibly of Shinto origin. On one level, it may be seen an invocation of the Blessings of the Kami [- choku rei = 'Spirit Direct from God']

SHK is the ONLY Reiki Symbol with any direct connection to an emblem of a particular Buddha. SHK is based on the shuji symbol "kiriku".
Kiriku is used in Japanese Buddhism to symbolise Amida Butsu - Buddha of Compassion (and also to symbolise the bodhisattva, Senju Kanzeon).
To draw the kiriku is - for followers of either of these two Deities - to invoke their power/Blessing.

BUT, this does NOT mean that, in Reiki symbolism, SHK necessarily has any direct connection with either Amida or Senju Kanzeon.

HSZSN is not a 'symbol' per se - it is actually a MANTRA reminding us of the need for Mindfulness in ones undertakings - not a symbol of a specific Buddhist Deity (though 'Mindfulness' is the 7th step in the Noble 8-Fold Path of Buddhism.)

And as for DKM, in a Buddhist sense, it signifies the great Komyo -'Enlightened Nature' or 'the Radiant Light of Wisdom' - the Radiance of a Deity - not of one specific Deity, but any expression of deity - be it in the form of a Buddha, Bodhisattva, 'Vidyaraja', etc. ( -even a Shinto kami for that matter)

Please see the section of this website on the Symbols



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