Mikao Usui – A Buddhist?!

Frans StieneArticles, English 1 Comment


As was common in his time, Mikao Usui had different names – to learn more, see the blog link below this article – and one of them is his 戒名 kaimyo name. Kaimyo is a posthumous name or an ordination name which a person gets when he receives the Buddhist precepts.

Mikao Usui’s kaimyo name is Reizan-in Shuyo Tenshin Koji 霊山院秀譽天心居士.

We can learn many different things from a kaimyo name as it reflects the person to whom it is given.

So to get a better idea of who he was, let’s look at Mikao Usui’s kaimyo name:

霊 – Rei as in Reiki

山 – Zan (as in mountain)

院 – In (a ranking/title of deceased)

秀 – Shu (preeminent)

譽 – Yo (given to one who has completed the Fivefold Transmission in Pure Land Sect)

天心- Tenshin (zenith, divine will)

居士- Koji (given to lay Buddhists)


Rei zan 霊山, reflect that Mikao Usui was a mountain practitioner, that he went into the mountains to practice.

In 院, stands for the title of the deceased.

Shu 秀, preeminent, surpass, to flower. So Mikao Usui was a preeminent person.

譽 yo, is given to someone who has completed the Fivefold Transmission in the Pure Land sect. Here we can see that he had practiced Pure Land Buddhism. The Fivefold Transmission is regarded as an advanced training for Pure Land Buddhist practitioners mainly taught to monks and nuns or to lay monks and nuns.

天心 Tenzin, meaning divine will.

居士- Koji, means that he was a lay monk: a lay person who is well versed in Buddhism.

So as we can see, Mikao Usui practiced Pure Land Buddhism and he was a lay monk who was well versed in Buddhism. Of course there are many different elements within Mikao Usui’s teachings which also point towards Buddhism. But as this is his kaimyo, it gives us some important clues as to who he was and what he was practicing during his lifetime.

Also read: http://www.ihreiki.com/blog/article/the_different_names_of_mikao_usui/ 

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