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As we have seen the jumon for Symbol 1 - Chokurei - when written in one particular set of kanji :

refers to an Imperial Edict,
Proclamation or Order ("by command of the Emperor").

Yet, written in a different set of kanji:
............................................ .....

it can be translated as 'direct spirit(s)', or more conceptually as something like: 'In the presence of the spirit(s)' [ie: kami ].

Recently, there have been rumours among some sections of the Reiki Community about - as I have heard it called - a 'secret, Shinto form' of the jumon choku rei.

This 'secret' form, it transpires, is the phrase: nao hi.

Now, while the phrases choku rei and nao hi do indeed have the same meaning:

'direct spirit'

it is somewhat of an exaggeration to portray nao hi as a secret, Shinto jumon.

It is important to be aware that, as kanji are of Chinese origin, each character has two forms of pronunciation or 'reading': the on yomi or Chinese-derived reading, and the kun yomi or native Japanese reading.
For example:the kanji for 'mountain', in its on yomi reading is: san, but the native kun yomi reading is: yama. (Both are in common usage in Japan)

In exactly the same way, rather than being a 'secret' form of the word choku, the word nao is simply a different 'reading' or way of pronouncing the kanji character: ....................................

Choku is an on yomi (Chinese derived) reading, and nao is simply a kun yomi (native Japanese) reading. 

Hi, it transpires, is a somewhat obscure, Classical Japanese, reading of the character we now read as rei - the  second kanji in the phrase choku rei: ...                                            .....

But while nao hi may not be a secret Shinto jumon, it is the term used to describe an important concept in the philosophy of the Japanese religious group or 'new religion' known as Omoto.

[Tentative Link Alert! It is claimed by some that Usui Sensei had connections with the Omoto group (led by Nao Deguchi and her son-in-law Onisaboro Deguchi) and that he may have been influenced by Omoto philosophy]

The Meaning of Nao Hi

So, just what is nao hi - this 'direct spirit' of Omoto belief (or, as it is sometimes also rendered: 'pure spirit')?

In an interview about Omoto belief in 1997, Yasuaki Deguchi (d. June 18, 2002) - a grandson of Onisaboro Deguchi had this to say about nao hi:

"Human spirituality is comprised of one spirit and four souls. The one spirit is that which we refer to as naohi (lit. direct spirit). Naohi may be understood as the simplest, purest, innermost aspect of the human spirit, embodying supreme good and ultimate beauty."

For further insight into the nature of nao hi, I have selected several quotes from a four-part work by Onisaboro Deguchi, entitled
'Divine Signposts':

"God endows human beings with naohi and thereby He gives the human soul limitless power. Thus does the body and soul of those in whom naohi functions fully shine with a beautiful light."

"The power which stirs and activates the soul failing through tiredness and distress is naohi."

"That which is able to save your body and soul is naohi given by God."

"True wisdom is that which one does not acquire from learning, but that which God gives, that is, the light of naohi."

"May all of you value naohi most highly; do not wander in darkness, but turn yourselves to light and follow the path."

"When in your body there dwells naohi, though you may be weak, you need not shrink with fear even before the strongest enemy."

"If you are favoured with naohi, even if you have lost the way in the dark you can find the light and true path."

"If you are favoured with naohi, your prayer to God becomes certain and true; happiness can be yours, because your heart conforms to God's heart."

So, could the Omoto concept of nao hi: "the power which stirs and activates the soul failing through tiredness and distress..." have been a contributing influence in Usui Sensei's choice of the jumon choku rei to accompany the 'power' symbol?

It was my intention it to look at this possibility in greater detail in a 'part 2' to this article, but as I re-read these nao hi related quotes from Deguchi, I begin to hear more than just choku rei in them.

Where 'the light of nao hi' ends and the Light of Reiki begins....

The 'Power' Symbol

The 'Mental-Emotional Healing' Symbol

Various different forms of Symbol 2

The 'Distant' Symbol

Various different forms of Symbol 3

The 'Master' Symbol

The Master Symbol part 2 - The Reiki symbol that (supposedly) never was...

Various different forms of Symbol 4

The Introduction of the symbols into Reiki

The Reiki Symbols - Unsubstantiated Associations

'Training Wheels' or Essential, Deeper 'Spiritual Tools'?

The Symbols from a Japanese Buddhist Perspective

The Kurama Kokyo Sect and the Reiki Symbols

The Choku Rei Trail - the terms 'Choku Rei', 'Dai Ko Myo'
and 'Reiki' in Japanese 'New Religions


Reiki Pages


reiki books and music

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