Bronwen and Frans StieneArticles, English 2 Comments

Screen shot 2012 02 02 at 4.26.44 PM

[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.

Screen shot 2012 02 02 at 4.26.44 PM In Okuden level II and Shinpiden level III of the system of Reiki specific symbols are taught.

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].

Liu I-Ming

Screen shot 2012 02 02 at 4.28.34 PM 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 ArtsJohn 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.

Comments 2

  1. Avatar of Colin Powell

    Fascinating stuff – thanks for sharing! It is interesting to see the circumpunct (circle containing a dot) here. It is such a universal symbol, as is the spiral, found in many cultures. Seen here as Xian Tian (the energy you were born with – your original connection), it has also been used in other cultures to represent the Sun as a planet or god, gold (in alchemy) and also, most interestingly as the “creative spark of divine consciousness within people linking everyone to the creative mind of a universal “god””

    This latter meaning is very similar to the way that Onisaburo Deguchi, one of the early leaders of the Japanese New Religion Oomoto, uses the term ‘naohi’ in his book ‘Divine Signposts’: ““God endows human beings with naohi and thereby He gives the human soul limitless power. Thus does the body and soul of those in whom naohi functions fully shine with a beautiful light.” and “May all of you value naohi most highly; do not wander in darkness, but turn yourselves to light and follow the path.”

    Even more interestingly, the same characters used to write ‘naohi’ can be pronounced ‘choku rei’ 🙂

  2. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Colin,
    Yes so many similarities isn’t it. I love it when we can see all the similarities, not only within these Japanese spiritual teachings but also in others.

    Universal truth can not be hidden !!!

    You might like the book The Inner Teachings of Taoism which describes also some of these symbols. (great book by the way).

    Choku rei, for me also means being straight, or direct. We can only be straight with ourselves and others when we have a solid foundation, earth energy. Most of the time we are too scared to be direct or straight with others or ourselves for that matter of fact. We might also say that it has to do with being honest. Again most of the time we are not honest because we have too much fear; what will that person think if I say this or that?

    When we realize more and more the true earth energy within us we form a very solid base and this will help us to becomes more direct and straight within ourselves.

    In one way it is the same as Deguchi states, when we are more direct and straight with ourselves and others we have limitless power because we are not afraid anymore. This in turn will make us bright and shining.
    By simply looking at this way of choku rei we can start to see already how it relates to the precepts, worry, anger, being honest. Isn’t it amazing to see all the interconnectedness between all the elements taught within the system of Reiki.

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