[description of image below] Secrets of the internal tradition: This ancient Taoist text from a cut wood printing block includes coding known only to the initiated. At the points indicated by arrows, the adept would explain the secret meaning of the symbol.
Symbols play a large part in many spiritual traditions. Today we will be looking at some Chinese Taoist symbols on an old woodblock print. These look very similar to the first symbol taught in Okuden. What is interesting to note is that Taoist teachings were imported into Japan from as early as the 6th century. Some of the Chinese Taoist teachings were integrated into Japanese Shintoism and Buddhism, but also developed into a Japanese practice called Onmyodo, the Way of Yin and Yang.
Onmyodo includes healing practices, divination, spells and mantras. When we look at how Mikao Usui, the founder of the system of Reiki, is described on the memorial stone…
He engaged himself in history books, medical books, Buddhist scriptures, Christian scriptures and was well versed in psychology, Taoism, even in the art of divination, incantation, and physiognomy.
… it leads us to ponder whether Mikao Usui may even have been an Onmyodo practitioner.
Symbols are generally seen as keys which unlock hidden elements within one’s self.
There are very many symbolic expressions used in alchemical classics; students should proceed from symbol to discover the principle. When you get the image, forget the words, when you get the intent, forget the image. Then you will be close [to immortality].
Back to the the Taoist symbols from the blockprint above. This wood blockprint is taken from the book: Ba Gua Hidden Knowledge in the Taoist Internal Martial Arts – John Bracy and Liu Shing-Han. Within you can see different symbols. These symbols have hidden meanings and were revealed to the student by the teacher.
To find out more about these symbols from the blockprint we need to look at the image to the left. Here you can read the translations of some of these symbols by a Daoist teacher (copyright International House of Reiki). As you can see the symbols are all related to energy. Although you must note that the symbols themselves are not the energy, but rather it is the symbolic meaning that is the energy. In the West we often focus on the finger pointing to the moon and therefore miss the moon.
Due to the difficult to read print of the second image we have transcribed the text below:
1: Yuan Shen Yuan Jing
The original spirit and vital energy.
(Shen and Jing both mean spirit, just in different levels. Shen means energy of xian tian, Jing means energy of hou tian)
2: Xian Tian
Energy which you are born with. It means your own original connection. You can’t change it.
3: Hou Tian
The energy which come after born, from your food and training etc… You can change it.
4: Chao Jie Yun Zhi Ben
It means if you connect the energy of xian tian and hou tian, if your energy can reach the higher connection, then your life energy can go beyond fate.
5: Zhuan Shen Ru Ding
This part is saying a higher level energy can only be turn into your energy and be grounded, then you can reach the state of the higher level.
6: Jin Dan Zhi Zu
The original energy of power and strength. Jin Dan means golden higher energy. Zu means ancestor.
7: You Sheng Zhi Chu
The original energy of the very begining. This way saying original more means vital energy.
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.