Updated: Oct 6
Reiki Jin Kei Do is a specific lineage and branch of the energy-healing discipline of Reiki. Once often referred to as ‘the eastern lineage of Reiki’ (it clearly isn’t), it is a system that, uniquely amongst all traditions of Reiki, holds the originating esoteric Buddhist teachings that modern Reiki developed from. Another label for the lineage, again, no longer used is Usui Shin Kai, which means the heart or core teachings of Usui, and this label needs to be reinstated. Why? Because Reiki Jin Kei Do does indeed contain the teachings that are at the heart of the whole of modern Reiki: its esoteric Buddhist heart.
A Reiki Jin Kei Do class would in many ways be very similar to any other high-level traditional form of Reiki, with a lot of talk and practice of using the system as an energy-healing method. Reiki Jin Kei Do is much more than this, though. The whole method is built around a deep exploration and understanding of the practice of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is the foundation on which every single expression of Reiki is built, though most Reiki teachers are utterly unaware of this fact and don’t teach it. It’s a practice that I have explored in a great deal of depth in my book, Mindfulness Meditation and The Art of Reiki.
In any good Reiki practice if you are focusing on the energy-healing aspects of it and not meditating daily, your practice is profoundly out of kilter. Meditation keeps you grounded, and it keeps you balanced amongst other benefits, and it takes you to the heart of Usui’s system. Mikao Usui was the guy who developed the method that came to be known as Reiki in the first place.
Usui Shin Kai
So, what is the heart of Usui’s teachings? It’s a system called Buddho. Buddho is the name of the meditation that Usui performed on Mt Kurama that led to his enlightenment experience and then to the evolution of his system into an energy-healing practice. Buddho is more than just the name of a meditation practice, however. It’s a complete esoteric Buddhist method for the healing of body, mind and spirit that ultimately can open the door to the Absolute for the committed practitioner.
The Buddho system contains not only the Buddho meditation, but also a sophisticated Qi Gong practice called Chi Nadi. Talk to any of the leading authorities in the field of Reiki and they will tell you that Usui clearly drew on esoteric Buddhist Qi Gong practices in the development of his system. That is exactly what Chi Nadi is. The power of it is astonishing and it dovetails with the practice of the Buddho meditation. It utilizes not only the mindful movements of traditional Qi Gong and its awareness of energy as it moves through the subtle energy system but incorporates the use of complex Buddhist mantras (that relate directly to the Reiki symbols) and various visualisations.
There are also sophisticated treatment methods within Buddho that extend and deepen the practice of hands-on healing in a way that is not available within the traditional Reiki canon.
Critically, the system also contains the precise origins of the Reiki symbols, their function as meditation aids, how they work in a healing context, and why.
Ranga Premaratna, the lineage head of Reiki Jin Kei Do:
“The Buddho method, which is the origin of Reiki Jin Kei Do clearly links the (Reiki) symbols and other teachings to its teachings. The advantage of Jin Kei Do is that it connects you to the teachings before and beyond Japanese Reiki; truly connecting to Sanskrit origins, mantras, yantras, symbols and meditation.”
Attacks on Reiki Jin Kei Do
Many years ago, prior to the publication of my book Reiki Jin Kei Do: The Way of Compassion and Wisdom, it was quite trendy to attack Reiki Jin Kei Do and dismiss its teachings as unsubstantiated nonsense. These days, Reiki Jin Kei Do just gets ignored.
Back in the early 1990s when Reiki Jin Kei Do was just emerging as a coherent tradition within the larger Reiki community, many questions were asked about the origins of the teachings, the transmission of the teachings via the monk Seiji Takamori and the authenticity of its teachings. Mostly, those questions were valid and deserving of answers. Mostly the answers given did not satisfy those asking the questions. Hence the situation today where Reiki Jin Kei Do is silently dismissed as an irrelevance.
This is a damn shame and says a lot about the tunnel-vision position of the global Reiki-hierarchy (those leading authors who have written some of the more popular or populist books on the system). Not one person who has dismissed Reiki Jin Kei Do (silently or otherwise) or criticized it in some way has ever bothered to explore the teachings and find out for themselves.
If anyone in Reiki Jin Kei Do informed the Reiki community back in the 1990s that the Boddhisattva Avalokiteshvara had something to do with the system of Reiki, they would have been ridiculed. Today it's an accepted fact that the Boddhisattva of Compassion is closely and intimately connected to the system and to the Reiki symbols. Today it's also an accepted fact that the second Reiki symbol is derived from the Siddham script character hrih. It isn’t, but this assumption (and that’s all it is as no one has any concrete evidence to support the claim) is very close to the truth of the symbol’s origins. Its actual origin is, again, held within Reiki Jin Kei Do.
Mindfulness meditation, always the bedrock that the system of Reiki has sat on and the ground of all the teachings in Reiki Jin Kei Do, is now, finally being acknowledged by some to be important in the practice of Reiki. Teachers everywhere are now trying to encourage their students to take up the practice. It’s about time because without a solid mindfulness practice a Reiki practitioner will end up profoundly out of balance in their practice of Reiki.
As time has gone on, the global Reiki community, as it continues to sideline Reiki Jin Kei Do is inexorably moving in Reiki Jin Kei Do's direction. Step by step, leading authors discover information that has been at the core of the Jin Kei Do method since the monk Seiji Takamori passed on the Buddho system to Ranga Premaratna back in 1990.
Who knows what the future will bring? Reiki Jin Kei Do contains teachings that are clearly related very deeply to the origins of Reiki. Will those teachings stay within the lineage of Reiki Jin Kei Do forever? O will the Reiki community continue the pattern of the last 20 years or so in making new discoveries, thus moving inexorably in Jin Kei Do’s direction without acknowledging that Jin Kei Do knew it all along?
Part of the problem is that the Jin Kei Do teachings are Tibetan in origin. The Reiki purists argue that everything Reiki must have come solely out of Japan and that anything not Japanese therefore cannot have anything to do with the system, at least in its original form. This makes no sense given the widely known fact that Usui travelled extensively prior to the formulation of his system. Who knows exactly what he drew on or was influenced by?
We should also acknowledge the fact that Tibetan esoteric Buddhism has an equivalence in Japan. The two approaches differing only in cultural orientations to the teachings. If a teaching exists in Tibetan Buddhism, it certainly has a culturally different flavoured counterpart in Japan. Buddho, therefore must have an equivalence in Japanese esoteric Buddhism. Did Usui draw on the Buddho that we know in Jin Kei Do or did he access its Japanese equivalent? No one knows. What is evident however, is that Buddho contains every single element of modern Reiki in an ancient Buddhist form, with much more extensive explanatory context than has ever existed in the Reiki system.
As I say to my students: without Buddho there is no Reiki.