It’s Raining Rei

Bronwen and Frans StieneArticles, English 5 Comments


In our recent Dutch Shinpiden Level III course a calligraphic work of the word Reiki hung on the wall. It stimulated a discussion concerning the first kanji, Rei; the possible meaning behind it and how it relates to hands-on healing and the attunement process.

Working with kanji is amazing – not only does Kanji supply a word for us to read but it often holds a related visual image within its specific brush strokes. Imagine if the English word tree actually looked liked a picture of a tree… well, with kanji it is possible to discover such beauty. Let us look into the first of Reiki’s two kanji to find hidden meaning within its visual depths.

The pre-1940s version of the kanji of Rei shows three little bowls or cups in a row. These bowls are often thought to represent the qualities of the trinity. This might be the trinity of the father, mother and child, Earth, Heaven and Oneness or, if we look at the esoteric Japanese teachings, the three aspects of Buddha.

Another image within the kanji of Rei is that of a sorcerer praying for rain. Rain feeds our planet. Our world as we know it cannot exist without rain. In the kanji of Rei this nutritious, life-affirming rain falls down into the three bowls. This can be seen as the trinity being gifted with its fundamental nutritive needs.

If we place this meaning in the context of performing a hands-on healing session or an attunement, we come to some interesting conclusions.

The practitioner/teacher (sorcerer) is connecting to the energy (rain), this energy pours down and the client/student absorbs this energy for his or her fundamental needs. These needs, from a Japanese Reiki perspective, are the balancing elements within humanity of Earth, Heaven and Oneness (the three bowls).

Imagine now a garden which has a couple of tall trees, beds of colourful summer flowers, some shrubs and a lovely lush, green stretch of grass. It begins to rain. At first big drops splatter on the leaves, the grass, the flower petals. And then it pours.

Rain has only one flavour. It is rain. And rain does not make any distinction between the trees, the flowers, the shrubs and the grass. There is no judgement in the rain. The rain does not think… well look at that tall tree, I will rain a bit more on it and just a couple of drops on that little blade of grass; it is just rain.

The tall tree, the flower, the shrub and the blade of grass accept the rain according to their needs and ability to do so – not because the rain tells them what they can have and how they can have it. This is a very healthy and natural situation.

When we perform a treatment or attunement we need to act in this same way. The practitioner or teacher needs to “pray” for rain: praying in this sense is setting your intent, with the rain being the energy. The energy which we connect to as Reiki practitioners and teachers is only of one flavour, just like the rain.

How can universal energy, which is non-dual in nature, have more flavours? As soon as we say this is a different kind of energy than that, then we are not talking about non-duality at all – thus also not about universal energy.

After we have set our intent and the energy starts to fall down we must make no judgements at all, just like the rain. The client/student will absorb the energy according to his or her needs and ability to do so, just like the tall trees, shrubs, flowers and grass – not because the practitioner/teacher says so.

As soon as a judgement is made about the client or student and about the “amount” of Reiki they need, the practitioner/teacher is not coming from a place of love and compassion but has stepped out of the healthy and natural flow. The process will therefore have a very different effect. Some of the judgements that might be made during a treatment include deciding that one particular spot needs more energy then another, but who are we to judge? Isn’t it the client/student who decides what is needed?

So, next time when you perform a treatment or an attunement step into this non-dual space, let the energy rain down through you without making any judgement about the client or student. Be completely open and let the energy do its work.

Enjoy the freshness and vitality of rain – or whatever it may bring you.

Comments 5

  1. Avatar of seema

    I just love the reiki kanji and what it means , the whole system of Reiki is in this in nutshell. If we can just understand the kanji Rei we can know how to go about it. Thank you so wonderful .

  2. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  3. Avatar of seema

    Hi Frans, I think as reiki teachers when we teach classes ( shoden) we should place discuss about kanji , even if the students wont get it that time compleltly it will place a seed int heir minds. I find the kanji so special when ever I look at it . You have written about kanji in detail else where also and I had read that article some where else( not ihreiki) and that is what brought me here, it made so much sense went straight in the heart and it is so special . Thank you

  4. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Seema,
    Yes it is good to discus the kanji so that students understand what it all means and how to work with the system as explained by the kanji. This is why Usui-san used these kanji in the first place, pointers on how to practice.

  5. Avatar of christine

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