The Right Mind of Reiki

Frans StieneArticles, English Leave a Comment

by Frans Stiene

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Within Okuden Reiki II we have the mantra and symbol hon sha ze sho nen 本者是正念 which literally translates as this: My Original Nature is Right Mind. This means that our essence, our True Self – Reiki – is Right Mind. But what is Right Mind in traditional Japanese spiritual practices?

Right Mind is a common teaching in Japanese Buddhism. Therefore Mikao Usui pointed out something vitally important to his students: an essential teaching!

Within these teachings we see that Right Mind is the same as No Mind; No Mind in Japanese is called Mushin. In Japanese spiritual practices it is also very common to have different labels for one and the same thing.

“The No-Mind [mushin] is the same as the Right Mind. It neither congeals nor fixes itself in one place. It is called No-Mind when the mind has neither discrimination nor thought but wanders about the entire body and extends throughout the entire self.” – The Unfettered Mind by Zen Master Takuan Sōhō

As we can see, when we have a state of Right Mind we have no discriminating thought but a mind that is free and therefore touches our whole being. Many people want to discriminate in their practice: this is hot and this is cold and therefore this means this and that means that. But Mikao Usui pointed out very clearly in his teaching not to do this, not to hold on to labels or comparisons or judgments.

“In mushin, the mind is free from distractions, preconceptions, and judgments, allowing for spontaneous and instinctive action.” – Katarina Woodman

Our Right Mind is free, with no distractions. Therefore Mikao Usui also advised us to not be distracted during hands on/off healing, but rather to let our mind be wide open and free, with no preconceptions.

“Once you have regulated your breaths, you must next regulate your mind. This is the most difficult part. It means, briefly stated, to think of nothing at all; to sit in a state of mushin, “no-mind.” – Hakuin’s Song of Zazen by Yamada Mumon Roshi

So first we have to practice regulating our breath, this is why Mikao Usui put the breath meditations like joshin kokyu ho etc… first, in Shoden Reiki I. Then we start to go deeper in Okuden Reiki II, where we learn how to regulate our mind into a state of mushin.

“Mushin: a Japanese term used to describe the Zen state of no- mind. Roshi Keido Fukushima likes to describe it as “creative mind,” “free mind,” or “open mind.” The goal of Zen is to achieve and function in this state of mind which transcends all dualities.” – The Laughing Buddha of Tofukuji: The Life of Zen master Keido Fukushima by Ishwar C Harris

To take it even a step further, by placing hon sha ze sho nen in his teachings Mikao Usui tells us to lay bare our original nature which is non-dual, transcending all dualities.

“Chinese, zheng, 正 (sho) [Japanese]. Zheng represents nonduality.” – Zen Chants by Kazuaki Tanahashi

Thus when we do “distance” healing, there is no me here and you over there to receive something which I am sending to you, as that implicates duality. Rather, Mikao Usui was pointing out that when we perform “distance’ healing there is no one sending, no me here and you there, only a deep state of mind of interconnectedness.

“It is a state of no-mind where distinctions between self and other do not exist.”
– Hakuin’s Song of Zazen by Yamada Mumon Roshi

In that state of hon she ze sho nen there is thus no self and no other, nothing to send just to be.

“Zen satori is to realize the self of empty mind, of mushin.” – Zen Bridge – The Zen teachings of Keido Fukushima Roshi

Mushin is satori is realizing that we are Reiki, our True Self, a great bright light. And as we all know Mikao Usui was teaching his students the way of satori.

“So mushin includes empty mind, free mind, fresh mind, creative mind, and pure mind. All these notions are included in mushin and the goal of Zen practice is to become this self of empty mind.” – Zen Bridge – The Zen teachings of Keido Fukushima Roshi

Mikao Usui also pointed out this pure mind within the Japanese Reiki meditation practice joshin kokyu ho, Joshin means pure mind. So we can see that Mikao Usui was pointing to pure mind – Right Mind already within Shoden Reiki I, as it is at this stage, right at the beginning of our Reiki journey, that we learn joshin kokyu ho.

“Freedom of mind is born from mushin. Even though there’s nothing binding me, this is not a passive freedom, not a freedom from, but a freedom to. You go forward freely, but this is not a selfish freedom, it is not self-centered freedom. Basically, a Mu person cannot be self-centered or selfish. You naturally begin to think of everyone around you and to love people around you. Loving and self-examination arise naturally. If you throw your ego away, you naturally think about and love people around you from the bottom of your heart. If you cut off your ego, you experience this love arising with no explanation. This is the true Mu experience. This is good understanding.” – Zen Bridge – The Zen teachings of Keido Fukushima Roshi

Therefore Right Mind – Mushin is about the embodiment of the precept “show compassion to yourself and others.” Again we cannot divide self and others: our essence is non-dual. This is a compassion which does not change according to circumstances, like our normal confused daily compassion can. Rather it is a compassion which comes from Right Mind, unconditional love.

“This true Self cannot be perceived. It is vast and without limit. To awaken to this true Self is also expressed as awakening to “No-Self,” or “No-Mind,” or “Emptiness,” or “to forget the ego-self.”” – The Essence of Zen – The Teachings of Sekkei Harada translated and edited by Daigaku Rumme

Right Mind, Mushin – No-Mind, is therefore also emptiness. Again these are very common teachings within Japanese spiritual practices. If we try to find the beginning and end of our mind we can’t find it: thus our mind is emptiness. But it is not “empty empty.” In fact this emptiness is full of everything, unlimited potential. But because it is empty there is no attachment whatsoever.

““Present” or “right now” also can be expressed by such terms as nyoze (suchness, or as-it-is-ness), ku (emptiness), mu (nothingness), “do” (the Way), or “Zen.” Or if we look for an even broader meaning it could be called “ho” (the Dharma, the Truth, or the Law).” – The Essence of Zen – The Teachings of Sekkei Harada translated and edited by Daigaku Rumme

Mikao Usui also pointed out this “present” or “right now” within his introductory precept: today. Plus, he called some of his meditation practices “ho” like joshin kokyu ho. Thus hon sha ze sho nen is nothing different than joshin kokyu ho which is nothing different than the embodiment of the Reiki precepts. At their core, they all are the same thing, the same essence.

“The emptiness of both body and mind refers to a state of no-self or no-mind… When you experience this realization, all sorts of physical problems may disappear, and tensions and rigidity of the mind are dissolved. In this way sufferings are relieved.” – On Zen Practice: Body, Breath, and Mind by Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi

This is the medicine Mikao Usui pointed out within the Reiki precepts: The spiritual medicine of all illness. When we start to embody emptiness, Right Mind, our suffering is relieved.

“Mushin 無心- Usually translated as “No-Mind,” this character combination might be approached as meaning the open mind without judgment or preconceived notions, without definitions or attachments; the mind that perceives reality as a mirror would reflect it. Paradoxically, No-Mind cannot be grasped by any of the senses, and yet it may be manifested through them. According to the Zen masters, No-Mind perceives the world directly, and without an agenda… Interestingly, No-Mind is defined as “natural” or “spontaneous” (自然) in classical Chinese, and as “innocent, without greed or twisted thoughts” in colloquial Japanese.” – The One Taste of Truth – Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea by William Scott Wilson

Right Mind, Mushin – No-Mind, sets us free, we start to feel spontaneous and innocent; why? Because in this state of mind no anger or worry will stick, and therefore we can be free without any agenda whatsoever.

“In Sanskrit, the word for “right” is samma. It means “to go along with,” “to go together,” “to turn together.” It originally comes from a term that means “to unite.” So “right” is a state of being in which everything can live together, or turn together, united. Right is a state of human life in which we live in peace and harmony with all other beings. It is right, beyond our ideas of right or wrong, good or bad.” You Have to Say Something: Manifesting Zen Insight by Dainin Katagiri

Right Mind is experiencing a deep state of interconnectedness, where we live in harmony with all other beings: compassion to ourselves and others. No separation. If we are in a state of separation it is very easy to be kind and compassionate to one person and not to the other. But in this deep state of mind of Right Mind, interconnectedness, we have a compassion which does not change according to circumstances.

“First put aside the desire to judge immediately: acquire the habit of just looking. Second, do not treat the object as an object for the intellect. Third, just be ready to receive, passively without interposing yourself. If you can void your mind of all intellectualization, like a clear mirror that simply reflects, all the better. This nonconceptualization – the Zen state of mushin (“no mind”) – may seem to represent a negative attitude, but from it springs the true ability to contact things directly and positively.” – The Unknown Craftsman – A Japanese Insight into Beauty Soetsu Yanagi

In this state of Right Mind, Mushin – No-Mind, we do not intellectualize, we do not judge, our mind is like a mirror. It just reflects, but the mirror does not get caught up in what it is reflecting. And this is how we need to do hands on/off healing, how to do reiju/initaiation/attunement, and then we can also start to live our life like this.

“Wholeheartedness means to do something with “no mind.”” You Have to Say Something: Manifesting Zen Insight by Dainin Katagiri

Then we can lead a life in which we are wholehearted, we can live wholeheartedly.

“Though Bodhi Mind is known by many names, they all refer to One Mind. Bodhi Mind is not one’s individual mind. It is universal Mind, and it is open to all beings. It is Mind with a capital M. It is the state of enlightenment.” – You Have to Say Something: Manifesting Zen Insight by Dainin Katagiri

Right Mind is also One Mind or Bodhi Mind, or Universal Mind. When we start to embody, this we realize that we are Reiki.

“This “source” is variously referred to in Buddhism as buddha-nature, self-nature, no-self, no-mind, and intrinsic wisdom. All are alternative names for the nature of “emptiness” in the Mahayana teachings.” – Attaining the way: a guide to the practice of Chan Buddhism by Sheng Yen.

Then we realize our Buddha Nature and see that we had this kind of nature all along; we just looked for it in the wrong place, externally. And of course Buddha Nature is realizing that we are Reiki, the great bright light.

“The Right Mind And The Confused Mind

The Right Mind is the mind that does not remain in one place. It is the mind that stretches throughout the entire body and self. The Confused Mind is the mind that, thinking something over, congeals in one place. When the Right Mind congeals and settles in one place, it becomes what is called the Confused Mind. When the Right Mind is lost, it is lacking in function here and there. For this reason, it is important not to lose it. In not remaining in one place, the Right Mind is like water. The Confused Mind is like ice, and ice is unable to wash hands or head. When ice is melted, it becomes water and flows everywhere, and it can wash the hands, the feet or anything else. If the mind congeals in one place and remains with one thing, it is like frozen water and is unable to be used freely: ice that can wash neither hands nor feet. When the mind is melted and is used like water, extending throughout the body, it can be sent wherever one wants to send it. This is the Right Mind.” – The Unfettered Mind by Zen Master Takuan Sōhō

This flowing water we can find too within the kanji of Reiki. Plus when we do the deep breathing practices like joshin kokyu ho, we generate an inner heat at the hara, below our navel, so that our frozen mind can start to melt. When our mind is frozen we get angry and worried very quickly, but when our mind is not stuck in one place this anger and worry softens.

“The No-Mind is the same as the Right Mind. It neither congeals nor fixes itself in one place. It is called No-Mind when the mind has neither discrimination nor thought but wanders about the entire body and extends throughout the entire self. The No-Mind is placed nowhere. Yet it is not like wood or stone. Where there is no stopping place, it is called No-Mind. When it stops, there is something in the mind. When there is nothing in the mind, it is called the mind of No-Mind. It is also called No-Mind-No-Thought. When this No-Mind has been well developed, the mind does not stop with one thing nor does it lack any one thing. It is like water overflowing and exists within itself. It appears appropriately when facing a time of need. The mind that becomes fixed and stops in one place does not function freely. Similarly, the wheels of a cart go around because they are not rigidly in place. If they were to stick tight, they would not go around. The mind is also something that does not function if it becomes attached to a single situation. If there is some thought within the mind, though you listen to the words spoken by another, you will not really be able to hear him. This is because your mind has stopped with your own thoughts. If your mind leans in the directions of these thoughts, though you listen, you will not hear; and though you look, you will not see. This is because there is something in your mind. What is there is thought. If you are able to remove this thing that is there, your mind will become No-Mind, it will function when needed, and it will be appropriate to its use. The mind that thinks about removing what is within it will by the very act be occupied. If one will not think about it, the mind will remove these thoughts by itself and of itself become No-Mind. If one always approaches his mind in this way, at a later date it will suddenly come to this condition by itself. If one tries to achieve this suddenly, it will never get there.” – The Unfettered Mind by Zen Master Takuan Sōhō

Often within our practice and/or life we become attached to sensations or how it all should work, etc… but by holding onto these thoughts we create a confused mind instead of Right Mind. Our confused mind is constantly busy, analyzing, distinguishing and more… and that is why we get upset. Therefore Mikao Usui put the teaching of hon sha ze sho nen – Right Mind in his teachings so that we can soften our anger and worry and be more and more compassionate.

“Right-mindedness is none other than virtue.” – The Unfettered Mind by Zen Master Takuan Sōhō

Right Mind is no other than virtue. And what is this virtue? The embodiment of the Reiki precepts in all we do:


Do not anger

Do not worry

Be grateful

Be true to your way and your being

Show compassion to yourself and others.

“The right mind operates at each time and in each place to make you take the right attitude and act properly without deviating from the Way.” – Master Sogaku

Thus it is of utmost importance as Reiki practitioners and/or teachers to have a direct experience of this Right Mind so that we can have the right attitude for our practice to blossom.

“Therefore to return to this no-mind of our youth—a state someone has compared to an eternal smile —is the object of human life.” – Hakuin’s Song of Zazen by Yamada Mumon Roshi

Extra information about Right Mind – Mushin – No-Mind:

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