Gyo is a word very few westerners are familiar with, if at all. It is a Japanese word and carries meanings such as Harsh, Severe and Austere. Gyo can be found in martial arts and spiritual discipline and is an ideal expedient tool through which complete focus may be applied to the task at hand by applying the Mind to it.
Within the Tendai Buddhism tradition, Gyo takes on many forms. For example, San Sen Rai Hai (3,000 prostrations), Kuju Nichi KaiHoGyo (90 day Continuous mountain marathon), Kessai (Waterfall purification) and others.
The monks who complete these Gyo have the title of ‘GyoJa’ or Gyo practitioner. The monks do not have to do these forms of Gyo, but are choices they make themselves for their spiritual development and this is important. Once the monk is given permission to carry out a particular form of Gyo, the only stipulation is he, or she, must complete it no matter what.
If we care to look back into spiritual history, we will notice forms of Gyo. In the example of Jesus, 40 days alone in the desert with no food or water is Gyo.
Shakyamuni Buddha’s days and nights under a Bhodi tree is also Gyo. St.Francis of Assisi alone in the mountains prior to his ‘Stigmata’ is also Gyo.
In each example, these wonderful teachers had reached a point in their spiritual development where each came face to face to their crucial barriers blocking the path to total Heaven, Nirvana, Oneness and thus, enlightenment. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Special men? Only in that they each showed /demonstrated the very highest potential we each have. You only need look at the example of Usui Sensei. Had he not undertaken Gyo himself, would he have been able to manifest Reiki?
Gyo goes hand in hand with ones spirituality. We feel something deeply within.
We search dimensions to nurture it. We make the right noises. We read, study and practice, but we still do not have the complete picture. This only comes through Gyo. And not just once. Each Gyo undertaken is a step closer to the breakthrough. Should this happen…..What should we expect? The answer to this is…Nothing. That is to say ‘No Thing’ . Yet this No Thing, is the very Some Thing from which All stems. The energy from this Rach, Pnuema, Ka, Chi and, in Japanese; Ki. And source, because it is form-less, can be called ‘Rei’ or Spirit. ‘The Spirit’s energy’. Usui Sensei, through his Gyo, overcame Self and reintegrated with All. And in so doing did not channel this power from its source….He was One with The Source. And what was possible for him, is possible for his followers too.
As practitioners of the system of Reiki, in fact for any person following the spiritual path, before unity is achieved, before any full fruition of the path be made fully manifest, there is the vital need to begin the process of overcoming Self.
Any success, no matter the discipline, is simply an indicator of what could be.
Successes are not the end, but tiny stepping stones. We must not limit ourselves. There are the wonderful examples of the great Masters who have shown what is possible for each and every person alive on this planet. All we need to do is follow their example and Gyo will be as important stepping stones for us as they were for them.
Reverend Jiryo has been a guest on our podcast The Reiki Show discussing Reiki and Traditional Arts and was also a special guest speaker at the Council of Australian Reiki Organisation’s 2007 Reiki Convention.
In January 2008 he is facilitating a “Reiki-Tendai Gyo Weekend” in the Blue Mountains in Australia for students of the International House of Reiki only. We are thrilled to be able to offer our students this unique opportunity to learn experientially about the link between Tendai Buddhism and the Japanese origins of the system of Reiki.
You might be interested in what he has to say about the January weekend Gyo practice:
“It is well known in Reiki circles that Usui Sensei spent time secluded in the mountains close to Kyoto. The form of seclusion/training he undertook may be referred to as ‘Gyo’ which may be understood as ‘Preparing the vessel’. There also seems to be some connection between Usui Sensei and Tendai Buddhism with even the suggestion that he may have been ordained as a Tendai priest.
The Reiki-Tendai Gyo weekend is an introduction to the type of invaluable training he most likely undertook.
As a Tendai priest, I am honoured to play a small part in leading this Gyo experience and pray it increases your personal understanding, knowledge and application of Reiki.”
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.