All instruction is but a finger pointing to the moon; and those whose gaze is fixed upon the pointer will never see beyond. Even let him catch sight of the moon, and still he cannot see its beauty.
This famous saying about the finger pointing to the moon is highly relevant to the system of Reiki. The finger within the system of Reiki represents the five elements: symbols/mantras, hands on healing, meditations, attunements/reiju and the precepts. It is very easy to become attached to the finger! We mustn’t forget that these practices are just the finger pointing to the moon; tools and instructions to discover your own inner Great Bright Light.
Yes they are important, for without them we would not be able to find the moon. But, if we think that it is the attunement, for example, that does the trick or the symbols/mantras, then we are focusing on the finger and not on what it is pointing out.
So take a step backwards and look at the tools and instructions within the system of Reiki and see where it is that they are really pointing to.
Bronwen and Frans Stiene are the co-founders of the International House of Reiki and co-authors of The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, Your Reiki Treatment, The A-Z of Reiki Pocketbook and the Reiki Techniques Card Deck. Bronwen and Frans teach in the USA, Europe and Australia. Visit the Courses page to find a course near you.
Just read this, perfect timing 🙂
This finger can only fulfill its role as pointer if you are aware that it is pointing directly at you – Thich Nhat Hanh
I am enchanted by the simplicity and power of this teaching. Nothing more need be said. Thanks. Peace.
Lovely quote 🙂
All the practices we do are refiners’ fires that we can use to clarify ourselves. So the finger is the practice pointing to outselves. I think this is where a teacher can come in too. They are also refiners’ fires.
There’s nothing else to work on but ourselves. I saw another quote that I like the other day:
A student once asked Zen teacher Steve Allen,
“If you were given a wish-fulfilling jewel, what would you wish for?”
“To stop wishing,” replied Allen.
It’s a recipe for happiness. It fits well with practising the Reiki precepts and how the pointing of the finger works year by year.
Wonderful quotes and a timely reminder! I realized this weekend that I often think of myself as “working” with the mantra, etc as opposed to playing with the energy. Shifting the focus to playing shifted the focus from the finger to the moon! Shifting the focus to playing has also led me to slow down, breathe and bask in the Great Bright Light. And to begin to stay, more and more, in the awareness of my own Great Bright Light, while at the same time staying in the awareness that we are all the Great Bright Light.
Love the “stop wishing” answer, just wonderful 🙂 This is so true, we always seem to wish for something yet we forget to be in the moment. This is also the case when we do a hands on healing, we often wish that the person “feels” something, or “gets better”, what ever that means!
What is also interesting to note is that the finger points to ourselves, which means that we need to use the tools taught within the system of Reiki internally!
In many modern systems of Reiki the tools are taught very externally, like the symbols and mantras for example, or even the attunement and reiju, yet they are for internal development. So if we keep practicing these tools externally then we point the finger away from ourselves and we will never discover our own inner true nature, or as it is called within the system of Reiki, our inner Great Bright Light.
Why not start today, shift your awareness from the external practice to the internal practice!
Still reading the Thich Nhat Hanh book (reading a couple of books at the time) and came across this what I wanted to share with you all:
By Thich Nhat Hanh from Zen Keys:
The authentic mind seal is transmitted in every moment. If the disciple deeply observes the way the master walks, eats, speaks, and performs each act of daily life, transmission can take place continuously. The ceremony of transmission is just a formality. True transmission is available to each disciple in every moment.
This is real Zen, not just in books but in living reality of relationship and daily life.
The master does not transmit his own awakening to the disciple as such. He only helps her realize the awakening already present within her. The expression to “transmit the mind seal” is essentially symbolic. The mind seal, as reality in itself, expresses the nature of awakening. <end>
For me this is the same with reiju/attunement, Reiki (spiritual energy) / the Great Bright Light is already within each being.
Again it is pointing the finger to ourselves. If we think the reiju/attunement is something external to receive from the teacher or to be performed on the student we point the finger externally and we will never discover the hidden inner meaning of the reiju/attunement.
It is such an amazing journey, never ending, always unfolding.
I’m loving this post and all the comments! I think the anaology also should send a red flag to all of us who are Reiki Masters/teachers to focus on humility and compassion, lest we become the finger that diverts our students from their goal. We must at every moment strive to keep their focus on the moon! We’ve had a gorgeous harvest moon here inscenic PA this week, and you can bet my gaze was firmly fixed!
Gack! Please forgive the two typos in my previous comment. it was word-perfect the first time, but I apparently got a little distracted when your security refused to accept my word verification and booted the comment out! But no worries, the moon is still beautiful tonight…
I agree with you completely, many teachers teach to focus and get attached to the finger, which in turn is not very compassionate either. If we truly want to teach the spiritual side of the system of Reiki then we need to make sure we teach students to see the beauty of the moon. The most compassionate element within the system of Reiki is helping others to find their own inner great bright light.
Love this post! Love the moon too! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and perspective. LOVE IT!
I love reading all your coments and the articals.
I have found that when explaining Reiki to people and what it is I say that we all have this energy in us and the reiju’s and teachings are an awakening to what is already inside of us
, The Great Bright Light. I am enjoying this discovery of self. Frans teachings of the System of Reiki allows one to see that light, thank you. 🙂
..Self care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self, and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”
from Parker Palmer’s recent book on ‘Healing the Heart of Democracy’
Just a small reminder that this work is powerful beyond measure and that when we experience the moon others do as well.
Love the quote, thanks for that.
Healing comes in many ways, if we heal ourselves then we react differently in the world we live in, this is also healing. Healing others is not just performing hands on healing on others, but also being kind, loving, caring etc.
So true, Frans! What good is a healthy body if the heart inside is aching? Simple kindness is often underrated, but it works its own little healing miracles all the time. And love is surely the greatest healer of all!
I agree. This is why looking at what healing is, is very interesting.
Within the system of Reiki the deepest form of healing is presented within the precepts, this means that we heal our anger, worry, fear and that we becomes humble, honest and compassionate. So in one way we can say that the precepts are Love
There is no finger and no moon….