by Frans Stiene
Within Okuden Reiki II we have the mantra and symbol hon sha ze sho nen 本者是正念 which literally translates as this: my original nature is Right Mind.
Mikao Usui put this mantras/symbol within his teachings to point out something essential, a key part of the system of Reiki puzzle: Right Mind.
Right Mind is a very important element within many Japanese spiritual practices and yet it is often misunderstood within the modern system of Reiki. So, let’s explore this a bit more so that we get a deeper understanding of Mikao Usui’s teachings.
“The No-Mind is the same as the Right Mind. It neither congeals nor fixes itself in one place. It is called No-Mind when the mind has neither discrimination nor thought but wanders about the entire body and extends throughout the entire self.” – The Unfettered Mind by Zen Master Takuan Sōhō
Thus Right Mind is the same as No-Mind, which is a mind that does not cling to anything at all. It doesn’t get caught up in anything and therefore it is wide open, like space, no beginning and end.
“This true Self cannot be perceived. It is vast and without limit. To awaken to this true Self is also expressed as awakening to “No-Self,” or “No-Mind,” or “Emptiness,” or “to forget the ego-self.”” – The Essence of Zen – The Teachings of Sekkei Harada translated and edited by Daigaku Rumme
Zen Master Harada also points out Right Mind – No-Mind in a very clear way. Thus hon sha ze sho nen – my original nature is Right Mind – points out that we have to awaken to our True Self, which is nothing different than emptiness. Hence Mikao Usui pointed out very clearly in his teachings that we need to lay bare our original nature, which is emptiness. Now we might ask ourselves what emptiness is. In his book, Meditation With Instructions, Garchen Rinpoche explains this in a very easy to understand way:
“Q4. How do we know if we have realized emptiness or not?
RINPOCHE: It is when you can recognize whenever an affliction or thought arises, and then you can naturally let it go, and it becomes emptiness. For example, anger arises and then it naturally goes away and dissolves into emptiness without any need to do anything to it — without thinking about it. When any kind of feeling arises, such as strong happiness or sadness, you know that you are happy or sad; but then the feeling will dissolve on its own, without your needing to think about it. It just dissolves naturally. If all those thoughts dissolve naturally, it is a sign of having realized emptiness.”
Again Mikao Usui very clearly pointed out the same thing within his teachings, for example in the precepts. In the precepts we see do not anger. When we have embodied the mantra and symbol hon sha ze sho nen, we have embodied Right Mind – No Mind – emptiness, which means no anger. Nothing sticks, nothing fixes itself to anything, therefore no anger. This is the same for the precept do not worry.
When we look really deeply at Mikao Usui’s teachings we can see so many pointers towards a state of mind of Right Mind – No-Mind – emptiness, and yet this concept often is overlooked in many modern teachings of the system of Reiki.
“Mushin 無心- Usually translated as “No-Mind,” this character combination might be approached as meaning the open mind without judgment or preconceived notions, without definitions or attachments; the mind that perceives reality as a mirror would reflect it. Paradoxically, No-Mind cannot be grasped by any of the senses, and yet it may be manifested through them. According to the Zen masters, No-Mind perceives the world directly, and without an agenda… Interestingly, No-Mind is defined as “natural” or “spontaneous” (自然) in classical Chinese, and as “innocent, without greed or twisted thoughts” in colloquial Japanese.” – The One Taste of Truth – Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea by William Scott Wilson
Here is yet another layer to hon sha ze sho nen: my original nature is Right Mind, no judgments, preconceived notions, or attachments. And yet, we do lots of hands on/off healing with these elements in mind, even if we don’t always realize it. For example, we say hot means that and tingling means this; these are all judgments and preconceived ideas. And yet Mikao Usui instructs us very clearly not to perform hands on/off healing that way! We have to be like a mirror, not just during hands on/off healing but in all we do today. Hence the word today, in the precepts.
A mirror reflects everything but does not judge, label, or distinguish. A mirror does not have any attachments and neither does it have preconceived ideas. A mirror also has no agenda. And therefore when we are like a mirror, simply reflecting, our energy flows freely and spontaneously.
To recap: hon sha ze sho nen means, my original nature is Right Mind, which is No-Mind, emptiness, no attachments, no judgments or preconceived ideas. Right Mind, does not cling or stick to anything, does not discriminate, and is like a mirror. Because Right Mind doesn’t stick to anything it is free and flows, wide open like space, and therefore we do not get angry and worried. And because of this we are grateful, true to our way and our being and have a compassion which does not discriminate, doesn’t change according to circumstance. Thus when we lay bare our original nature which is Right Mind, through meditating on and internalizing the mantra and symbol hon sha ze sho nen, we have embodied all of the precepts in all we do today.
Based in Holland, Frans Stiene teaches in North America, Europe, UK, Australia and Asia.
Frans is also the author of Reiki Insights, it is the continuation of his previous book The Inner Heart of Reiki, taking your personal practice and understanding of the system of Reiki yet another step deeper.