- UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSOCIATIONS
2005 James Deacon
- no less, no more
the symbols were a part of Reiki from the very outset, or were
added some time later, one thing that we know for certain is that
there were four symbols - and only four.
since the early 1980's onwards, several Reiki practitioners have
created their own personalized 'brands' or styles of Reiki.
of these people created modified versions of the original
symbols (e.g. mirror images, etc), or even replaced one
or more of the originals with a completely different symbol. Others
use modified versions in conjunction with the originals
or have added symbols from various different spiritual/esoteric
systems, and also added brand new, channeled, symbols.
just as they had done with the actual symbols themselves, some
of the creators of these new 'brands' of Reiki have also altered,
added to, or even replaced the meaning and association
- the core purpose, function and significance - of the original
symbols, to suit their own personal beliefs.
must be said that, in some instances, change to the actual significance
of the symbols was due to little more than over-enthusiastic 'clutching
at straws' in what was otherwise probably a genuine attempt to
uncover possible original symbol-associations that, it
was believed, had somehow been 'misplaced' in the transmission
of the system down through the 'Reiki Generations' from Usui-sensei's
example, some people decided that the four symbols must be linked
to the Four Elements: CKR to Earth, SHK to Water, HSZSN to Fire,
DKM to Air. (However, some, who had subscribed to the Four Symbols/Elements
association, on later discovering that the concept of the Four
Elements is actually a western concept and that in Japanese
esoteric thought there are Five Elements, rather than admitting
that the association was therefore somewhat flawed, decided that
originally there must have been a fifth symbol, and set
off on a quest to discover this 'long lost' Reiki symbol!)
- influenced no doubt by Taoist yin-yang theory - decided that
CKR must represent the 'Earthly' energy, and SHK the 'Heavenly'
or spiritual energy.
(As to where the other two symbols come in, well this was and
is usually glossed over.)
others, focussing on the belief that Usui-sensei was a Tendai
Buddhist*, decided to attempt to, as it were, 're-Buddha-fy' the
significance of the four symbols.
though there is no more 'hard' evidence to prove Usui-sensei was
Tendai than there is to prove he was a Christian - as was previously
we have seen, it is probable
that the SHK symbol was originally derived from the shuji (Siddham
character) Kiriku - which in Buddhist belief is associated with
both Amida Butsu and Senju Kannon (Kanzeon) Bosatsu.
on with this line of thought so it seems, some in the 'pro-Tendai
camp' decided that each of the Reiki symbols must represent a
particular Buddhist Deity, and therefore also represent the symbolic
significance of that particular deity.
Yet, while the three symbols we know as the Reiki symbols SHK,
HSZSN and DKM are also seen to have certain significance
within Buddhism, this does not mean that these symbols - when
used in the context of the Reiki system - have the same
significance as they do in their Buddhist usage.
these pro-Tendai Reiki folk promptly proceeded to assign a Buddhist
deity to each of the Reiki symbols.
Buddhas (Butsu) 'out-rank' Bodhisattvas (Bosatsu), Amida won out
over Senju Kannon and was assigned to the Reiki symbol believed
to have been derived from their joint shuji symbol, i.e.
the SHK. Some even went as far as to change the name of the symbol
to: Muryouju, others to: Mugen Muryouju [Muryouju
is the Japanese name for Amida in his manifestation as 'Buddha
of Infinite Life']
as the male deity Senju Kannon is a very popular figure in Japanese
Buddhism, it was presumably decided that he could not be left
out, so Senju Kannon Bosatsu was assigned to HSZSN. Though, what
connection there may be between the significance of HSZSN in its
Reiki usage and this particular Bosatsu, is unclear. The same
goes for the supposed connection between the CKR symbol and the
Buddhist deity assigned to it: the Bosatsu (Dai)Seishi.
the pro-Tendai Reiki folk chose to assign the Butsu Dainichi (or
Dainichi Nyorai as he is known in Japanese Esoteric Buddhism)
to the DKM symbol. [Perhaps it should also be noted that Dainichi
is actually the central Buddha of the Shingon school of
there were yet others who, in a similar attempt to link
the symbols to specific Buddhist deities, decided (for whatever
vague reason) that the Bodhisatva Monju should be assigned to
SHK, the Buddha Ashuku to HSZSN, and Amida to DKM. Finally, they
too opted to assign Dai Seichi to the CKR.
So, we have
those who have attempted to overlay the Reiki symbols with (conflicting)
Buddhist associations, others who have sought to clothe the symbols
in western esoteric Four Elements associations, and yet others
seeking to associate the symbols with Taoist concept of the energies
of Heaven & Earth.
others still, have sought to read into the Reiki symbols, associations
with the beliefs of the Kurama Kokyo sect - an independent 'new
religion' with strong Buddhist ties.
primary reason for attempting to create this association seems
to be due to the fact that the temple complex on Mount Kurama
(where, of course, Usui-sensei experienced the 'Reiki Phenomenon'
) is the headquarters of the Kurama Kokyo sect.
Kokyo worships a Supreme Deity known as Sonten. Viewed as the
source of all creation, Sonten, 'the universal soul', is perceived
as a triune deity, expressing in the world as the three spiritual
qualities of Power, Love and Light.
Kurama Kokyo belief, these three qualities are personified in
the form of three deities, since ancient times closely associated
with Mount Kurama. The quality of Power, seen to correspond to
the Earth, is embodied by the Shinto deity Maoson (or Gohomaoson).
The quality of Love, seen to correspond to the Moon, is embodied
by the now familiar Buddhist deity Senju Kannon. The quality of
Light, seen to correspond to the Sun, is embodied by the Buddhist
Kurama Kokyo sect also makes use of the shuji symbols associated
with each of these three deities to represent the spiritual qualities
of Power, Love and Light - the three individual aspects of Sonten's
learning this, some Reiki practitioners, it seems, leapt to the
conclusion that, as Usui Sensei had experienced the Reiki Phenomenon
on Mount Kurama, which is the headquarters of the Kurama Kokyo
sect, then the shuji used by the sect to represent Power,
Love and Light must surely be the source of the first three of
Usui-sensei's Reiki Symbols; especially seeing that Senju Kannon's
kiriku was amongst the three.
it was not long before the 'Power of Sonten', the 'Love of Sonten',
and the 'Light of Sonten' - with their correspondences to Earth,
Moon and Sun - were being equated with CKR, SHK, and HSZSN. Also,
the shuji representing the 'Power of Sonten' and the 'Light
of Sonten' were being hailed (though as it transpired, without
foundation) as probable original forms of the CKR and HSZSN symbols
respectively. (The shuji representing the 'Love of Sonten'
i.e. kiriku, of course already being more widely accepted as the
probable source of SHK).
To complete the symbol set, the unity that is Sonten himself was
equated with the DKM.
there was one slight flaw in attempting to associate the qualities
of the Kurama Kokyo's Sonten deity with the Reiki symbols. Although
the temple complex on Mount Kurama is currently the headquarters
of the Kurama Kokyo, the sect and its Sonten doctrine did not
even exist during Usui-sensei's lifetime.
fact, it did not come into being until nearly a quarter of a century
after Usui-sensei's death.
'Power Symbol' and its 'secret Shinto jumon'
'Mental-Emotional Healing' Symbol
different forms of Symbol 2
different forms of Symbol 3
Master Symbol part 2 - The Reiki symbol that (supposedly) never
different forms of Symbol 4
Introduction of the symbols into Reiki
Wheels' or Essential, Deeper 'Spiritual Tools'?
Symbols from a Japanese Buddhist Perspective
Kurama Kokyo Sect and the Reiki Symbols
Choku Rei Trail -
the terms 'Choku Rei', 'Dai Ko Myo'
and 'Reiki' in Japanese 'New Religions