Reiki – Our True Self

Frans StieneArticles, English Leave a Comment


My hope is that all practitioners of the Way completely believe in their true self. – The Mirror of Zen by Zen Master So Sahn 

The kanji for Reiki can be translated in many ways, but the clearest and most direct translation is True Self. But in order to see that, we need to look deeper than the literal translation of the kanji of Reiki.

Some translations of the word Rei: 霊
* Spirit
* Life
* Soul
* Inconceivable spiritual ability
* Bright
* Unpolluted
* Pure
* Divine
* Mysterious 
* Spirit; the spiritual aspect of the human being

Some translations of the word Ki: 気
* Mind
* Spirit
* Breath
* Energy
* Air
* Invisible life-force
* Vital energy connected to the breath
* Steam

By looking at the kanji we now can start to ask ourselves some questions:
What is bright, unpolluted, divine, and mysterious within me? What is my spirit, life, and soul? What is my mind, breath, energy? What is my invisible life-force?

If we investigate these questions clearly, we come to the conclusion that it is our True Self which is bright, unpolluted, divine, and mysterious. That it is our True Self which is our spirit, life, and soul. That it is our True Self which is our mind, breath, and energy. And that life-force emanates from our True Self.

Mrs Takata also pointed towards our True Self in her diary entry of December 10th, 1935. She wrote:”Meaning of “Reiki” Energy within oneself, when concentrated and applied to patient, will cure all ailments – it is nature’s greatest cure, which requires no drugs. It helps in all respects, human and animal life. In order to concentrate, one must purify one’s thoughts in words and to meditate to let the true “energy” come out from within. It lies in the bottom of the stomach about 2 inches below the navel. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, concentrate on your thoughts and relax.”

She called Reiki our True Energy, which in essence is our True Self. Traditionally in Japan our True Self can be rediscovered only through going within. And the gateway to this discovery is through the hara or tanden, which lies in the bottom of our stomach. And as Mrs Takata also pointed out, we can rediscover this only through meditation, concentration, and purification of our thoughts. 

Kanji was borrowed by the Japanese from the Chinese, and in China the kanji of Reiki means Ling Chi.

My Taoist teacher once explained to me that Ling Chi is our pure potential as a human being, our True Self. But she continued that we only really can remember this through dedicated meditation practices. It is realizing our fullest potential as a human being, enlightenment.

Mikao Usui created a system for healing ourselves, not just on a physical level but on a spiritual level. We can see this clearly within the precepts, which only point towards the mind. Thus the deepest form of healing that Mikao Usui had in mind was to rediscover our True Self so that we can reclaim our divine mind and energy.

“Did it ever occur to you that this feeling of dissatisfaction or emptiness might be caused by your searching for the value, the basis, or recognition of your existence only in things outside yourself, such as in your property, or in work, or in your reputation? This empty feeling of yours probably comes up because you haven’t yet found this basis within the reality of your own true self. In other words, you feel a hollowness in your life because you have always lived only in relation to other people and things, and haven’t been living out your true self.”
– Opening the Hand of Thought: Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice by Kosho Uchiyama

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