Why Won’t Buddhist Monks Talk About Reiki?

Buddhist monks won’t talk about Reiki, at least the Tibetan variety. A couple of years ago, I was visiting Samye Ling monastery in Scotland with one of my Reiki students. The monastery had an established programme of various workshops and training courses that monks or members of the public could attend for their own personal advancement. Their training courses are high calibre, expert-led affairs that have good standing in the Buddhist community and elsewhere.

Why won't Buddhist monks talk about Reiki?

There was no Reiki on offer, so my student and I thought to offer it. Given the extensive Buddhist connections with Reiki, they would, we assumed, quite naturally, be interested in hosting such a workshop.


The dismissive smiles and the monk’s refusal to engage in any meaningful explanation for their lack of interest in Reiki puzzled both of us. Why wouldn’t a Buddhist monastery, that routinely hosted Qi Gong workshops and the like, not want to be associated with the practice of Reiki? After all, it’s another energy healing discipline that is not so far removed from the practice of Qi Gong. There was no answer forthcoming, and we couldn’t even guess at a plausible explanation.


Fast forward to February 2020. I was about six chapters into my new book, Mindfulness Meditation and The Art of Reiki, and, in following up on my publisher’s suggestion to try and get some endorsements, I approached Gelong Thubten. Thubten is a Buddhist monk, author of the hugely successful, A Monk’s Guide to Happiness, and a well-known teacher of secular meditation for business and other organisations around the world.

His reply to me was “I’m so sorry, but reiki is a topic I would rather not comment on.”

WHY? Why on earth do Buddhist monks refuse to engage in this conversation or comment on the practice of Reiki? I didn’t get it.


Now I do. I think.


Reiki Initiations


Fast forward again to September 2020. Whilst continuing to conduct research for my book, then up to about chapter 9, I came across another book with a completely cringe-worthy title: Reiki Transmissions of Light, Volume 1, by Robert Fueston. The awful title notwithstanding, it is one of the best Reiki books to have been published in some time. Fueston’s research and presentation of his findings is impeccable and in-depth.


Is Reiki lazy Qi Gong?

Buried on page 117, there is an interesting little story that Fueston tells of a meeting with a Qi Gong teacher and his students. Fueston, it seems, taught them Reiki. Their reaction to that training was extremely interesting.


The Qi Gong teacher commented that, following the Reiki initiation, it felt as if his Qi Gong practice had advanced by several years all in one go. Another teacher commented that Reiki is just ‘lazy person’s Qi Gong’. Another interesting comment.


What to make of these comments in the light of Buddhist monk’s refusal to engage on the topic of Reiki?


An Interesting Theory


For me, Reiki has always been a personal spiritual development tool and not so much a method of hands-on healing. Frankly, you can throw this aspect of the practice in the bin, and you still have a worthwhile set of spiritual tools.


Any good spiritual practice (and we can certainly count Qi Gong in that light), will, over time lead the practitioner to the realisation and arising of two critical qualities: wisdom and compassion. These two qualities, which go hand-in-hand, are so important to the spiritual advancement of us all. They arise due to a steadfast and committed spiritual practice over many years.