Mind, Speech and Body and the System of Reiki

Kathleen PrasadEnglish 5 Comments

three bowls

Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness,
I send my heart along with the sound of the bell.
May the hearers awaken from forgetfulness
And transcend the path of anxiety and sorrow.
Those who are listening to the sound of the bell
silently recite the following gatha:
“Listen, listen,
This wonderful sound brings me back
to my true home.”
As we listen to the sound of the bell,
the voice of the Buddha inside,
calling each of us back to our true home,
the place of peace, tolerance and love.
–Thich Nhat Hanh

Shingon Buddhist and Mikkyo practices teach that the ancient wisdom of the Mind, Speech and Body (also known as The Three Secrets) are present everywhere and in all things. It is said that these secrets allow us to uncover our true nature–one that exists both within ourselves and the entire universe.  Practitioners use mudras, mantras and visualizations to purify and harmonize The Three Secrets.

Similar teachings are present in Japanese martial arts training, where the warrior was to learn how to recognize these “Three Keys”–Mind, Speech, Body–as the three fundamental ways of being in the world. Learning to harmonize and unify them would allow the practitioner to attain not only martial power, but also power over all aspects of one’s own life.

Tibetan Buddhism calls them The Three Vajras. Practitioners work with seed syllables corresponding to the Three Vajras: a white om (enlightened body), a red ah (enlightened speech) and a blue hum (enlightened mind) to experience their own Buddha nature.
In the Christian bible, the book of Proverbs says, Chapter 16:23-24, “From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

In Hinduism, the Bhagavad Gita calls them The Three Eternal Values; austerity of body, speech and mind is the way to manifest goodness for oneself and the world.

In a recent class with my teacher, Frans Stiene, he introduced this concept of “Mind, Speech, Body” using the Japanese term “Sanmitsu.” I find it so interesting, the ways different traditions have made use of this ancient and apparently universal wisdom, and I’d like to share with you some of my own thoughts about how Sanmitsu relates to Reiki

Sanmitsu and Reiki

Sanmitsu and the Reiki Precepts:
The thoughts we focus on, the words we speak to others, and actions we make in this world: each of these causes energetic ripples out into the universe. The ideal would be that all of these are in harmony and alignment with each other. All are forever linked; our actions reflect our words, which in turn reflect our thoughts. Reiki, the “energy of spirit” is hard to define, we can’t see it with our physical eyes, describe it fully in words. It is so beyond words, yet it is so powerful in its physical effects on our clients and students. We see it in their speech and in the physical/mental/spiritual healing that
is manifested. In the same way it would be impossible to “see” a thought, measure it, or even fully explain what it is. Yet our thoughts are so powerful, and indeed all our speech and action in this external world (undeniably and physically heard and seen) originates there. When we go deeper than the physical, we begin to see the powe 
in the unseen, and our universe (as well as our inner nature) expands and opens and becomes free.

We have a choice of how to “be” in this world. For me, positivity is key–for today only we should not anger and not worry. Open to the possibility of visualizing harmony and healing, allowing ourselves to have faith in this possibility and believe it with our whole heart. The words we speak and actions we take should be steps in this same
positive direction.

For me, this is how to be true to your way and your being: by aligning thought, word and deed in a way that is compassionate to yourself and also to others

Sanmitsu and Being the Best Reiki Practitioners and Teachers We Can Be: 
Focus your thoughts: Your passion for your Reiki practice or Reiki teaching is a spiritual path for uncovering your own true nature.

Allow yourself to “see” it as perfectly in balance and harmony. Just the thought of this will shift the energy towards healing. Speak your truth: Bring it physically into the world, speaking about your contemplative insights and direct experience with Reiki with your clients and students. Words from the heart will inspire others on the path.

Do your practice: Let go of the thoughts and words to just “be” in that indefinable, beautiful healing space every single day. In this way we uncover our true nature and “bright light” and we allow it to manifest in the world.

Kathleen Prasad is a Shinpiden Reiki Level III graduate of the International House of Reiki and founder of AnimalReikiSource.

Comments 5

  1. Avatar of Tamu Ngina

    This reminds me of years ago when I first became a Reiki practitioner…even before I consciously knew of any connection to Buddhist principles…I felt Reiki as being a spiritual transformative path even though Western Reiki was more about hands on healing of others. I had a difficult boss…really difficult….I caught myself reacting mentally in a negative way to her….and my immediate thought was…How does this behavior help me to be an appropriate Reiki practitioner.

    So next time…when the not so fair/nice boss was near me I would smile…I would think happy thoughts…when the boss spoke to me telling me to do something even though this boss was very condescending I would just nod and smile as I listened.

    My kind actions drove said boss crazy…but I felt so much happier about my job and better about myself when I acted more mindful of my thoughts, actions and body language in response to this person.

    Eventually one of the customers offered me a better job with higher pay! 😉

    Now as I walk a Japanese Reiki path and also being a Buddhist Lay Minister in training, the path has opened up more clearly and completely.

    Thank you Kathleen for such a well written and mindful article!

  2. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Kathleen,
    Thanks for your wonderful article, I love to work with the concept of Sanmitsu in my own practice and when I teach, the concept makes it all much clearer for myself and the students.

    Hi Tamu, for me, when I started to go deeper into the system of Reiki I started to notice many Buddhist elements, not always easy to discover, often hidden, but yet when I discovered them my practice took on a very different tone.
    Great to hear you have become a lay Buddhist Minister.

  3. Avatar of Kelly McDermott-Burns

    Thanks Kathleen.  In my first Shinpiden manual from Frans’ class there were directions for Self-Reiju.  I think they came from Hiroshi Doi.  But each hand position was linked to right mind, right speech, etc.  I think of this when I do Reiju. That each of these elements must come into balance for us to live compassionately. They remind me of the precepts as well, where they are linked. It would be difficult to have right mind without right speech or right body without right mind. Great article! I’m looking forward to learning more in NYC!

  4. Avatar of Susan Andrews

    Hi, Kathleen,
    Thanks for the beautifully articulated essay.  I have developed a mantra/image of my own that I say as I am out walking in the early morning.  It goes like this: “Pausing, breathing, pondering, releasing, responding with integrity, civility, clarity, love and joy.”  I use it as a way to anchor myself in the present moment, to recognize and release any tightness in my body and negative thoughts in my mind, so that I may be response-able and positive in my speech.  I have such a passion for Reiki as my spiritual path.  I am especially appreciative of your comment to “Bring it physically into the world, speaking about your contemplative insights and direct experience with Reiki with your clients and students. Words from the heart will inspire others on the path.”  I find myself doing this more frequently lately.  Thank you.

  5. Avatar of seema

    Thanks Kathleen for the nice article…
    Mind is very powerful , it manifests what we say ( speech)and inturn affects our body , yes, in Hindusim and Gita one can find that as well.
    Looking forward to learn more,
    Thanks Frans for directing me to the sources.

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