Reiki-What you need to know

Reiki finds its origin in Japan. It is healing art that was drawn from Buddhist, Shinto, and Taoist traditions, and synthesized into a palatable system, by a Japanese spiritual leader named Mikao Usui.

The term “REI” in this context means “from the higher spiritual realms”, and “KI” means “vital life force and/or energy.”┬áThus Reiki means the principle of life force energy from the higher spiritual realms.

In Reiki, the healing energy, or dynamic, is allowed to flow into the practitioner, and then the practitioner acts as a vehicle through which this energy can be passed onto another individual via the hands.

Reiki treatment restores balance and harmony to the person and their body, bringing about a greater sense of wholeness and relaxation. Reiki treatment occurs with the client fully-clothed, as Reiki can transcend materials of many kinds. The treatment itself generally feels very relaxing, thereby providing the client with a meditative state of awareness, which can assist in the body’s healing process.

What is Reiki?

The Japanese Healing Art of Reiki was developed by Mikao Usui in Japan in the late 1800s. Mikao Usui, a devout Buddhist, developed Reiki in his desire to understand methods of healing and medicine and to apply that knowledge.

In Japanese, “Reiki” is the word for the concept of “Universal Life Energy”. The initial stages of Reiki may be achieved by any person regardless of their personal spiritual believings or philosophy. The initial stages of Reiki include a sort of “re-awakening”, kind of re-opening of stronger healing capabilities that lie within all of us.

In Reiki, healing energy will flow into our bodies, into ourselves, We will then act as vehicles for this energy so it can be passed on to other individuals through our hands. It will become a natural process to touch somebody and let the healing energy flow when a person is in pain so this pain can be relieved. Reiki treatments restore harmony and balance in persons and bring about a great sense of wellbeing.

Kukai/Kobo Daishi – Founder of Shingon Japanese Esoteric Buddhism

Fact and Legend

You won’t find any figures in the rich Japanese history about who such lively and abundant biographies were written as Kukai, perhaps better known by his popular posthumous title of Kobo Daishi.

In 1934, a complete biography of Kobo Daishi was compiled to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of his passing away or his entry into the eternal samadhi. This compilation included all earlier biographical works from before 1868 and contains 194 volumes in 93 works. If the authors had added the biographies published from 1868 onward, the number would have probably been double.

There are also a number of “unwritten biographies.” This refers to the many folklore and oral tradition tales that even today still are existing in all corners of Japan. Gathering these together would be a virtually impossible task but these tales would undoubtedly fill another enormous set of biography volumes that would, in size, rival the earlier mentioned combined Biographies.

Serving Kaiseki – the meal for tea

Serving Kaiseki: Formal, playful and metaphorical, Kaiseki is the meal made for tea.

Hiroko Sugiyama is reaching out for a bowl for making a welcoming new brew of hot water using fragrant yuzu, a distinguished Japanese citrus fruit variety. And while though you can find no speck of dust in her charming kitchen, Sugiyama is rinsing the bowl with water before filling it with simmering hot water from the tea kettle on her kitchen stove. She actually will rinse all dishes the moment she takes them down from the kitchen shelves.

She says: “Each time you’re using a bowl, refresh the bowl with water so it’ll become more alive. Suppose I was a true kaiseki master (she refers to those chefs that prepare formal meals at Japanese official tea ceremonies) she sais, I actually would have been spending quite some thought and time thinking about what kind of water I would use. Maybe I would have carried special water all the way down from famous Mount Rainier so the guests could be tasting the snow.”

Introduction to Buddhas & Bodhisattvas

Bhaisajyaguru-Yakushi Nyorai

The 2nd major Honzon deity of the 88 important Shikoku Island temples is called (in Japanese) Yakushi Nyorai and it is named Bhaisajyaguru in the Sanskrit language. In the Japanese language, he is named Yakushi Ruriko Nyorai. In fact, he is the Chief or Lord Buddha of Pure Land of Bliss within Heaven’s eastern quarter of Heaven. His name “Yakushi”, literally means “Medicine Professor”.

Yakushi made 12 resolutions or vows and the 7th vow is the resolution to disperse the illnesses of persons that called upon Yakushi’s name. “When my name is called for, all sick persons will be cured and their soul and body will instantly be tranquil and not have any sickly feeling”. Yakushi is assisted by two faithful attendants, Gakko and Nikko, and he also commands 12 divine generals, the Juni Shinsho, that are representing his 12 great vows.

Often, he is portrayed while carrying a medicine pot in one hand from which he is dispensing his healing medicines. His medicines are healing both body sickness and mental sickness. Yakushi Nyorai has never been depicted in the Garbhadhatu (Taizo-kai) Mandara nor the Vajaradhatu (Kongo-kai) Mandara.

Life of Mikao Usui

In 1865, on August 15, Mikao Usui came onto our world in the Japanese village of Yago in the Gifu prefecture. His ancestors had been living in that region for 11 generations and his family was belonging to the Tendai sect that lived according to Esoteric Buddhism. At the age of four, Mikao Usui was sent to one of the Tendai monasteries where he received his primary education where he appeared to be a highly gifted and bright student.

He was growing up at a time that Japanese society experienced dramatic changes. From 1641 onward, so far before Usui was born, all Europeans and other foreigners, with the exception of the Dutch, were expelled from the country and those who had permits to stay, could only do so in special trading centers around Nagasaki. The Christian faith was banned in Japan and the Japanese people needed to at Shinto temples. Japan remained isolated from the west until the 1850s and it wasn’t until 1873 that the country lifted the ban on Christianity.

During the period 1860s – 1890s, Japan transformed from a feudal society system to an industrialized country. Japan, as always, was looking for a good spiritual direction for the nation’s people as well. The Meiji Emperor regime started to overthrow the Shoguns and all Japans feudal states were placed under the direct control of Japan’s central government that was relocated to Tokyo.

The Art of Enlightenment

What did he say … “you can become a Buddha in this very body”… and you can do that through the practice of art. In other words, art is the way, … the way to enlightenment.

More than 1250 years ago, Kukai, posthumously called Kobo Daishi, a famous poet, calligrapher, artist, philosopher, engineer, great diplomat; founder of the first democratic school in Japan where science and art had been considered complementary to each other; founded his Dojo – the meditation hall on Koyasan, where the secret teaching is still being given.

It is cold and dark in the morning when we start in our temple Muryoko-in to chant our Shomyo, a pentagonal recitation of mantras and Buddhist wisdoms. The black kimono with the yellow kesa, the fragment of the Indian Buddhist monks’ cloth, is the sign that the purpose of the performance and recitation is not only for those in attendance but also for the practitioner himself.

Introduction to the Three Secrets

The three Buddha secrets allow us to experience the Buddha nature of the universe and ourselves as one. The following Alan Watts video may be helpful in understanding the Buddhist Secrets:

Mudras — The Secret of the Body

The hand gestures known as mudras identify the practitioner with the universe and express the hidden activity of the body. The human body is reflective, as a symbol of the larger universe. It is one way to begin resonating with the field of energies held intact by the Buddha’s.

Speech – The Secret of Speech

The activity of speech known as mantra expresses another secret activity. A place where one can “sound” the resonate field of energy, thus coming into alignment with the Buddha’s through the reciting of sacred formulas called Dharanis.

The Shingon School

The Shingon (Tantric) tradition of Mahayana Buddhism arose in India in approximately the 6th century AD, although its roots go back many hundreds of years before that. It, too, adopted the position that none of the Hinayana (and now none of the Mahayana) was to be rejected.

If the world was indeed the body and the mind of Mahavairocana (Dainichi Nyorai), then all religious teachings possessed in some measure the Truth, and especially all Buddhist groups must possess this Truth in a greater or lesser degree. Tantrism began as a movement more concerned with the Practice of Buddhism than with any theoretical reformulation of doctrine.

The practice of Tantrism was primarily concerned with the means by, which once could attain Buddhahood, to supreme awakening in this very life. Since Tantrism was concerned with both the ritual and meditation practices leading to enlightenment, the Shingon tradition has developed highly complex and long rituals that monks and qualified laymen undergo to approach enlightenment. In general, Tantrism has been more concerned with practice than with doctrinal speculation.