If you’ve learned Reiki, you’ll know that there are many questions about elements of the practice that there seem to be no good answers for. Where do the Reiki symbols come from? What was the meditation that Mikao Usui, the Japanese founder of Reiki, practiced on Mt Kurama that led to his enlightenment experience? What relationship does Reiki have to the practice of Qi Gong, which Usui is widely assumed to have drawn on, in his creation of the Reiki system?
The answers to all of this are held within a practice called Buddho. In fact, Reiki doesn’t exist without the input and influence of the Buddho system.
The Buddho system, held exclusively within the tradition of Reiki Jin Kei Do, is an esoteric Buddhist practice with its origins in Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. Many within the Reiki community assert, quite forcefully at times, that there are no links between modern secular Reiki and Tibetan Buddhism and that everything Reiki, which was created in Japan, must logically, only come from Japan. Historically there are clear links between esoteric Buddhism as it’s expressed within Tibet and as it’s expressed within Japan. Many of the practices differ only in as much as they have different cultural flavours. So, whilst it’s entirely possible that modern Reiki was not based on the Tibetan practice of Buddho, almost certainly it would have drawn from its Japanese counterpart. Until we have knowledge of that Japanese system, we are left with the clear linkages that exist between Reiki and the Tibetan practice of the Buddho system.
So why should you learn Buddho?
1/ Attend any Reiki class and you will almost certainly be told of the profound enlightenment experience that Mikao Usui experienced on Mt. Kurama. For decades, the global Reiki community have been asking, quite understandably, what that meditation might have been. Several guesses have been made, none of them seem particularly credible.
Mt Kurama, where Usui experienced his moment of enlightenment is dedicated to the Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara (in Japanese, Kanzeon Bosatsu). It isn’t a great stretch of the imagination therefore, to assume that perhaps Usui’s meditation involved, or was dedicated to Avalokiteshvara.
Over the past few years, in the better researched books on Reiki, there has emerged an acknowledgement that the system of Reiki is in some way linked to Avalokiteshvara. Associations have been made between the deity and one of the Reiki symbols, though precisely what this means for the system or in what way Avalokiteshvara is an active presence within Reiki, no one seems to know. Except those within the lineage of Reiki Jin Kei Do.
The Buddho meditation, held within the lineage, is an esoteric Buddhist practice that is dedicated to and involves visualisations of Avalokiteshvara. The meditation has the potential to give rise to the much-reported phenomenon that Usui experienced on the mountain: seeing millions of little bubbles in all the colours of the rainbow within his inner vision (these bubbles are psychic essence drops called tiglé in Tibetan). It is also a meditation that is closely aligned with the originating material that gave rise to the Reiki symbols, not just symbol 1.
If you want to experience Usui’s meditation, then you need to experience Buddho. It’s a truly astonishing meditation that will blow you away when you feel its power.
2/ The Reiki symbols are always a hot topic in the Reiki community. There is almost an obsessive focus on this aspect of the system in the West and even more so in the Middle East where, having absorbed the vague and gossamer-like understandings about the symbols from Western teachers, locals sometimes panic over whether they conflict with their religious convictions. They don’t of course, but providing meaningful links to evidence on the internet is as hard as trying to build a snowman in the desert.
So, what do the symbols mean and where do they really come from? All manner of theories have been put forward over the years; some of them wildly nonsensical (the distant healing symbol being based on the outline shape of a Buddhist stupa for instance) whilst others seem more credible.
Symbol 1 has a relationship to focused energy: ‘put the power here’. It’s a command to the divine nature of the universe from which all manifest form arose. From a Buddhist perspective, it has a clear relationship to the state of enlightenment: to the realisation of the emptiness of all manifest form, to the dissolution back into the state of oneness of all manifest form (the impermanence of all phenomena), the awareness of which gives rise to extreme bliss. This state of bliss is the supreme manifestation of power. Enlightenment is an unstoppable force.