While researching our books, The Reiki Sourcebook, and the soon to be released The Japanese Art of Reiki, we discovered that this is not the sort of knowledge that has deliberately been buried away from prying eyes – rather it has been lying under the dust of an unexplored past. By brushing off some of that dust, this article reveals a code: one that is constantly in play for practitioners across the globe – often unrecognized and unacknowledged.
Do you practice Reiki to help others, to work on yourself, to send distant healing, or for other reasons? The motivations behind an individual’s practice are endless due to the system’s numerous and immeasurable benefits. At the heart of these many rewards, deep within the foundations of the system, exists a law that makes this all possible. It is the home of spiritual energy and its name is non-duality.
The word, non-duality, expresses the underlying Oneness of existence: that there is no ‚I‘ – just the simplicity of being. It exemplifies the concept that we all come from the same source, are the same source and return to that same source.
As a practitioner, the more knowledge you obtain about what you do and experience, the deeper the connection to your practice becomes. This unshakeable groundwork accordingly sharpens your intent: resulting in an overall more effective practice.
By delving into the Japanese background of the four traditional Reiki symbols and mantras, it is possible to discover how this code is the system’s blueprint and what that signifies in practical terms. To respect the nature of the teachings (as a system employing levels) the mantras in this article are replaced by the pseudonyms CKR, SHK, HSZSN and DKM. The symbols are listed as Symbol 1, Symbol 2, Symbol 3 and Symbol 4 as is taught in Japan.
The four symbols are clearly recognizable in Japan. Symbol 1 has connections to Tendai symbology and versions of Symbol 2 can be seen in temples across Japan. Symbol 3 and 4 are Japanese kanji[i] and when read in Japanese create the actual name of the corresponding mantra.
Breaking this code requires that a researcher first tap into understanding the Japanese philosophy of Heaven and Earth. Knowledge of these dualities, or polar opposites, is the primary structure required before appreciation of this law can grow. Dualities are the breeding ground for the ultimate experience of non-duality. Non-duality is not specifically a Japanese concept; it exists in all forms of life and its dual beginnings can often be found in references to yin and yang, negative and positive, or female and male. These examples are just the tip of an infinite iceberg of opposites.
A Japanese cosmological theory states that through the union of the dual forces of Earth energy and Heaven energy all things were born, including humankind.[ii] By this it is understood that people are a blend of both these forces, and to live purposefully these elements need to flow freely, becoming united. This can occur through working specifically with the first two traditional symbols and mantras taught in the system of Reiki.
Symbol 1 and the mantra CKR enable practitioners to connect to Earth energy. To do so one must direct the focus within, rather than outside of, the self. It is within that this energy is accessed. You are Earth energy – you just haven’t acknowledged its existence.
Underneath the growing layers of anger, sadness, fear, judgments and beliefs that humans gather – this knowledge lies hidden and neglected. These layers obscure one’s true nature that inherently comprises Earth energy. To re-establish a personal connection with the energy of the Earth is the purpose of Symbol 1 and CKR practice.
In the West, Symbol 1 and CKR are renowned for their grounding, protective, physical and powerful qualities – each of these is a basic Earth trait. By comprehending this and applying this facet of the code to the system of Reiki, one’s practice begins to take on a whole new potency of meaning.
Working with Symbol 2 and SHK involves exploring your mental and intuitive abilities. By taking this understanding one step further than the Western usage, the realm of Japanese philosophy and its connection to Heaven energy is exposed. Heaven is an expression that can trigger a thousand-fold beliefs, emotions and visions in as many religions and cultures worldwide. Viewed commonly throughout the globe as an abode for angelic beings, a floating paradise or a future resting place; Heaven maintains its culturally unique interpretation in Japan – one that includes an internal connection. As with Symbol 1 and CKR, practitioners can find their relationship to Heaven energy innately within themselves.
Energetic qualities are best understood through experience rather than words. To achieve a profound understanding of the connection between Earth energy or Heaven energy and yourself requires dedicated practice. This is accomplished by practicing solely with one symbol and mantra at a time, rather than a list of symbols and mantras simultaneously. Humans are too often in a rush to get to the end station of enlightenment forgetting that the process itself may possess the enlightening factor.
The grounding effect of the first symbol and mantra supports the ensuing work with the ethereal second symbol and mantra. Without this centered preparation the development of intuitive or psychic abilities can be hazardous. You may become unbalanced like an upside down triangle wobbling on its tip; reverse the pattern and stand with your base firmly rooted to the Earth, supporting your inner growth.
Now comes an intriguing part of the system of Reiki: the third symbol and mantra HSZSN. In the West this is commonly associated with distance. It is believed that by using these elements distance can be breached to send energy to someone or something else. From a Japanese perspective this concept goes deeper still, into the mechanics of the Japanese universal laws: Symbol 3 and HSZSN aid the realization of Oneness. This makes complete sense if you grasp that within Reiki – the energy of everything – distance cannot exist. Hiroshi Doi’s translation of HSZSN is ‚Right consciousness is the origin of everything‘ – that ‚right consciousness‘ is Oneness. Experiencing Oneness with everything, whether it is with another being, place or thing, is an alternative viewpoint of the machinations of ‚distant healing‘.
To fully comprehend the purpose and meaning of Symbol 3 and HSZSN it is also necessary to have worked with the previous 2 symbols and mantras of Heaven and Earth energy. Without undergoing the process of first becoming Earth and subsequently Heaven energy it is impossible to give birth to the concept of Oneness within. Just as in conception it is imperative that the egg and the sperm join to create the miracle of a complete human. With Earth energy alone and no understanding of Heaven energy, or the other way around – Oneness cannot be given birth to. This is the central cosmology to the system of Reiki. Practicing successively with each of the symbols and mantras draws one along the path to Oneness and non-duality.
So where does that leave the fourth and final symbol and the mantra DKM? DKM, a frequently used Japanese word, when translated literally means ‚Great Bright Light‘. It appears commonly in Japanese religious texts and even in Japanese martial arts practices.
Becoming this light is truly Knowing the concept of non-duality. In it everything is experienced as One: there is no good or bad, dark or light, ugly or beautiful, positive or negative, no God or Buddha – just existence. Once you acknowledge this Oneness in every thought, feeling and movement of your being – the true nature of existence is uncovered.
This system that you practice is multi-layered. As you progress through each layer new truths come to meet you, joining you on your journey. Know that the profundity of these arcane teachings is here to be discovered – their sole purpose being to support your life’s spiritual progress.
Uniting Heaven and Earth together, you travel the inner path to Oneness. The unique system of Reiki is offering you the opportunity to return to your true nature, that of the Great Bright Light. The code is broken.
[i] Kanji are the Japanese written characters
[ii] Shugendô by Miyake Hitoshi, Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan