Reiki and Esoteric Buddhism
There are many in the traditional Reiki Schools who teach that the symbols and mantras are to be kept secret and shared only with those who have received the attunements to run Reiki. I do agree that these specific energies do work only for those who connect with them and that does most often require attunements from someone who has been attuned to the teaching level. I know that the symbols and mantras are only tools for helping focus the energies. This view has been confirmed by information about how Reiki is taught in Japan that have come to light since this page was originally written.
Most people who are attuned to Reiki find that they can activate the energies by intention alone after a while .
I have no idea what the personal Spiritual beliefs of Usui Sensei were it is obvious that he was a genuine scholar of many subjects.
My Buddhist studies of long ago have given me some information and opinions that I will share now. (I at one time thought I wanted to be a Buddhist Priest even though women were not being ordained which is why I have delved slightly into some of the more obscure areas of study).
The Reiki Symbols have never been secret they have been used in Buddhist Esoteric Teachings for Centuries I was familiar with 3 of the symbols 4 if you count Raku as very esoteric Buddhist principles for almost 30 years before I ever heard of Reiki . My studies were with some Nicheren Sects which are direct descendants of Tein-Tai/ Ten-dai sects I have read that Dr Usui is Buried at a Tein-Tai temple. though many buddhist sects have similar teachings and temples traditional allowed scholars to study without strict regard for sect .
I believe that What Dr Usui Received In his meditation was access to the Reiki Energies and that he used the symbols that as very learned Scholar he would have known closest to the deepest meaning and Purpose of the energies. I have now heard that there is some historical indication that he used these symbols in teaching prior to his meditation on Mount Kurama. The Symbols may have appeared in his vision but they were not in my opinion, the gift /reward of his meditation they were the explanation of the use of the energies. and a tool to share the energies with others.
To me symbols are symbols. they represent something. They can be a useful tool for connecting to energies and for focusing but what power they may contain, whether placed there by a spiritual master, inherent in their form , or created by the intention of many, can be invoked and activated by intention alone without requiring the direct use of the symbols themselves. All the traditional Reiki Symbols are either Japanese Written characters or esoteric symbols that can be encountered in many other contexts.
In the Tradition of Buddhist Scholarship and Priesthood each and every Character /Symbol/ word/ phrase, contains Layer upon layer of meaning the word myo for example contains the concepts of yin yang as mutually possessed it contains the fusion of dark and light and refers to the entire unknown or hidden sacred meanings of all existence and to the laws by which reality operates ,to all "miracles and spiritual events. and that's just for a start.
Ku is a concept so complex that volumes have been written about it by dozens of priests and scholars, it concerns the void, the potential and the pre-existing essence of everything before it is physical. The simplest introduction in Buddhist Studies to explaining the concept of ku begins "where the cherry blossom is before there were cherry blossoms "
These words symbols phrases, were secret only in that the deeper meanings were of interest and comprehensible only to the dedicated and gifted scholar. the characters/symbols also had mundane common meanings and uses. Certainly in the Tendai and Nicheren Sects it is common to meditate on gaze at chant draw characters for the purpose of obtaining benefits and spiritual understanding without any need to understand the meaning of the symbols in that use they invoked, evoked power but they could also be used to write a grocery list as it were.
It was also thought that merely to see the character or hear a phrase would ensure eventual enlightenment. It is still fairly common in the Nicheren Sect Lay organizations to deliberately expose people to phrases and views of Kanji characters containing Spiritual teaching with the idea that that exposure alone will be enough to establish a connection to the teaching that will lead eventually to the persons enlightenment.
My controversial views
I choose to explain elements of Reiki that have usually been revealed only during the initiation training. For me and many others drawing the symbols and Mantras is not absolutely required to activate the energies. They can all be activated by intention alone. These pages feature Both the traditional Usui Reiki and the modified Reiki form because the energies are activated by intention and Attunements are given by direct transmission rather than through a hands on attunement ritual. All the energies and functions in the traditional system are included and additional energies and processes are received by most people.
I have used the mantras / symbol names openly throughout much of this text rather than just referring to them indirectly, Due to my Buddhist Background I was familiar with most of them before I ever heard of Reiki.
The particular Buddhist tradition I followed encourages sharing sacred symbols and sounds with others even in secular context as a way of planting a seed for the future enlightenment of the viewer. So I would in a sense be violating my spiritual principles were I to keep the Reiki Symbols secret, remembering that I had encountered most of these symbols in a Buddhist context for almost 30 years before I heard about Reiki, and that my former (San Bruno) neighbor 2 houses up from our old house had her children's dance costumes elaborately embroidered with a motif of what she called "blessing seeds" that is, Cho Ku Rei Power Symbols.
To give a an example of the depth of meaning possible in one word I will use this example from and old translation of a Buddhist Sutra of the word Reiki which has been defined simply as Spiritual or Universal Life force or energy. the Reiki referred to in this excerpt would primarily be that of a Buddha
I was looking for something about Karma in a old book of lectures on the Hokekyo (Lotus Sutra ) a translation of some Buddhist lectures from the early thirties by Makaguchi and I stumbled across this,
" Reiki" (Spiritual power) is divided into 10
1. the power to tell the reasonable law of cause and effect from an unreasonable one neglecting the causal law.
2. the power to know the causal relationships ranging over the three existence's of life- past present and future.
3. the power to keep himself in the state of enlightenment
4. the power to realize the various functions of mind.
5. The power to know the intellect of people
6. the power to know the life condition of people.
7. the power to foresee the future of people
8. the power to know the causal relationships of people
9. the power to realize the the life of the past existence and the way to enlightenment
10. the power to obliterate past karma.
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