(warning – video of naked man at end of article :-))
Do you have to be a vegetarian to practice the system of Reiki?
No, you do not.
Anybody – whether that person is a drinker, smoker, or granny (that’s a joke granny!) can learn this practise, but …
At the foundation of the system of Reiki are the precepts.
For today only
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be honest in your work
Be compassionate to yourself and others
To live these precepts completely is to be Reiki.
Reiki practitioners and teachers work hard at maintaining their connection to these precepts which, understandably, is a difficult task. That is why the founder of the system of Reiki, Usui Mikao, also introduced other elements to the teachings, to aid the practitioner in ultimately realizing the precepts.
Practicing the system’s other elements (such as meditation, hands – on healing, meditating on the symbols and mantras, and receiving the reiju/attuenement) helps you to realize the precepts in order that you will live according to the way of the precepts and the system of Reiki.
It is good to remember that precepts are literally an instruction or guide. They are instructing us, for example, not to anger and to be compassionate to ourselves and others.
We all know that modern farming on large farms aims for high productivity for minimal cost, at the price of animal wellbeing. We know this no matter how much we try to ignore the abuse “of living creatures that lies behind the food we eat.” (Singer) It is companies, rather than farmers, today that are producing our food. Farming just isn’t like the ads on television show us. The cows, lambs, chickens and pigs aren’t really frolicking around enjoying lush green pastures. Veal calves, for example, can be found holed up in dark crates alone, to ensure soft (no muscletone), pale veal; chickens are debeaked, crated, and bred to be quick growers that have never seen the sun (compare seven weeks of this life to a chicken’s natural lifespan of 7 years). And when animals are transported to slaughter houses they are overcrowded and miserable until they meet their final, violent end.
An inhumane existence, lived without kind words or loving care. But these are things we do not wish to think about.
How do our consciences allow this to happen? Philosopher Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, explains that, “Once we place nonhuman animals outside our sphere of moral consideration and treat them as things we use to satisfy our own desires, the outcome is predictable.” It would seem, that as animals ourselves, we are deliberately allowing other animal species to live and die horrifically. Actually, we are not allowing this to happen, we are the cause of this happening.
Let us look again at the Reiki precepts. This time we will pair a precept with an act that human animals (human beings if you prefer) perform upon nonhuman animals.
Would you consider holding a pregnant sow in a metal cage with just 1 cm moving space around her body to be in line with the precept show compassion to yourself and others?
As a practising Reiki practitioner or teacher how would you answer this? The answer can only be “No, it is not.“
So, why is it then that there are so many Reiki practitioners and teachers out there that are still eating bacon (cured meat from a pig ) and supporting this cruel behaviour?
Is it that they have not understood the precepts?
Are we then teaching something without actively practising it.
If this is the case, should we be teaching the precepts at all?
Many Reiki practitioners and teachers offer Reiki to the world for healing while many of them still eat meat. Does this makes sense? Every 10 seconds a forest, the size of a football field, is cut down to support the meat industry, these fields are used to intensively farm the beef (cows) that people eat.
Nowadays many Reiki practitioners and teachers talk about Oneness, even claiming to be in the space of Oneness. But can we be One and at the same time take part in this cruelty against our fellow animals and eat their meat?
As a Reiki practitioner and teacher please think about this when you eat meat. Allow your energy to feel where your food has come from, how the animal you are eating has suffered, and what the global side effects are to eating this piece of meat. Can you sense what your actions are accomplishing, not only to you, your family and communities, but to the animals and the environment?
Within Japanese spiritual practices, like Shugendo for example, it is very important to eat only vegetarian meals, as they classify meat as poison. These practitioners are very strict vegetarians. The founder of the system of Reiki is said to have been a shugenya (Shugendo practitioner).
So next time when you buy or order meat, please think about the precepts and how you implement them in your personal Reiki practise.
This article only touches on this massive subject. There are some very interesting books written from a variety of viewpoints which can enlighten you about the mistreatment of animals and our deliberate ignorance of their plight. This article has not even addressed the morality of killing animals or the use of animals in scientific research.
Some books from our bookshelf
- Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement (P.S.) by Peter Singer
- Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer
- The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons in Love, Death, and Happiness by Mark Rowlands
- Animals Like Us (Practical ethics series) by Mark Rowlands
- Compassionate Action by Chatral Rinpoche
Free Vegetarian Starter Kit
- Excerpts from Chatral Rinpoche’s book regarding vegetarianism
- Animals Australia
- Eating Animals
Oh and here is an excellent video by PETA – it’s the naked man I’ve (I mean you’ve”) been waiting for!
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.