Graziano: Hi Frans! Welcome to this interview which is a post masterclass interview. It was a very nice masterclass! So, welcome!
Frans: Thank you for organising the masterclass and this interview! It was a fantastic masterclass, I really enjoyed it too!
Graziano: Yes it was really good, a lot of good feedback! The topic you talked about, Hatsurei Ho, it was a great topic that people really like because they can also practice it! That way you get some really useful insights and they can use it in practice to get a lot of benefits. So, yes, thank you very much. This is the idea of these masterclasses, to give something more to the Reiki community. To be able to share with people that are experienced and have really developed skills and awareness. I think it’s very important. Well, Frans, I have some questions for you! In the masterclass I had some questions about techniques, and maybe I didn’t have the time to explain what I meant. So I will do that now. For example, it often happens that someone watches you do something and says, “this is not the original Reiki, the Reiki that Usui passed on to his students”. So do you think this is a bit of a risk, to define Reiki through those same techniques? Because you are one of the teachers, that I think, yes these techniques are useful. I mean, they have to be, but you teach people to progress through the experience through self-awareness and through empowerment. I wanted to know exactly what you think about it. There should not be a limit to say that Reiki is specifically these techniques, that’s not how it’s ordered.
Frans: Wow, that’s a broad topic! I think there are lots of different layers to that. First of all I think when we practice a technique it’s really important to practice the technique in the right way. I just started doing fitness, and I have no clue about fitness because I’m not a sports person. So I started to work with a personal trainer!Someone at the gym here in my apartment asked me, “Frans you’ve progressed really quickly! I’ve been going here for a long time and I’m not progressing as quickly as you.” I said, “Well, I don’t know what to do! If I just do whatever, then I might be like you and not progress that quickly, but because I have a personal trainer who knows what to do and how to instruct, the progress is much faster!” So, in a way if we really think about healing, we can say we have all the time in the world etc. but in a way we don’t, because I don’t know when I might die. Unfortunately the other day this young boy in my local community died very suddenly in an accident. So we don’t really know how long we have! Therefore it is better for me to practice correctly plus getting the results that way is much faster. What is that result? Of course kindness, compassion, self-empowerment and insight. Because ultimately when we look at the system of Reiki it’s about how we die. Do we die with anger and worry? With fear? We’re not being grateful about our life and we’re not being true to our way and inner being. Do we not be compassionate or do we die with the embodiment of the Precepts. So that’s one thing! Then of course, there’s lots of different practices and lots of different techniques. Some are really Mikao Usui’s teaching’s and some maybe not. For example, when we look at the Reiki Three symbol and mantra, we can also see that traditionally it had a link to a much longer mantra – the light mantra. So I teach this in my retreats often. Now some people will say that this is not Reiki. In a way it’s still Reiki! But that of course we can debate, much like lots of things. What is Reiki? Ultimately, Reiki is laying bare your true nature (your true self), your great bright light. And if I can help someone with a practice that might not be “standard Reiki” and they have that experience of their true nature for a brief moment – they feel less angry, less worried, less fearful – then I can definitely say that is Reiki. Do you know what I mean?
Frans: It’s a tricky one. I spoke to someone today and she asked me, “Frans, what do you think of people changing these practices and creating new practices?” And I said, well it’s all good and well, but we should not forget that Mikao Usui (according to tradition and teachings), had an enlightened experience. He’d been practicing for many, many years. Traditionally in Japan, before you are allowed to change anything from the lineage or of the tradition, you need to have this experience on a very big scale, not just a brief moment. There needs to be a baring of your true nature. Traditionally you were given permission to change and adapt. So I think nowadays a lot of people change things and yet they change it from the perspective of duality or unenlightenment and therefore the practice also has that flavour to it. That means when we practice something that really focuses on duality or unenlightenment we do not get the desired results. So there’s many different layers to it.
Graziano: Exactly, yes. It was a broad question. We just had a masterclass with Justin Stein and he assumed that Reiki is not Japanese – it’s a transnational concept that came out in different traditions, but the concept is almost the same. The concept of Reiki is like when you put the ocean in a cup and say – this is the ocean.
Frans: I mean this is the thing. So for me there are always two layers to it. This is something the International House of Reiki started to teach very early on in the 2000s. We promoted quite extensively that there is Reiki – your true nature, your great bright light, and then there is the system of Reiki. The system of Reiki consists of the five elements of the Precepts, meditation, hands-on healing, symbols and mantras and Reiju (initiation attunement). The system of Reiki helps us to lay bare that we are Reiki and that we are this great bright light. If we really look at Mikao Usui’s teachings we can see he was saying that this great bright light is non-dual in nature. So when it’s non-dual in nature then we cannot say that that great bright light, or that kind of enlightenment, is different than your enlightenment – it’s all one in the same pot. We cannot say that enlightenment is Japanese, Tibetan or modern because ultimately that enlightenment has no label. For example, if I look at Taoism – there is that saying that if we put a word to tao then it’s not tao. This is really when we lay bare that we are Reiki. That dualistic idea of this or that, like higher vibrations or lower vibrations, none of them are better or worse teachings.
Graziano: Exactly. Imagine this, (it’s okay if you don’t want to say), you can leave Reiki in a creative, natural, personal way without borders. Is that odd or not? Because this was kind of my experience. Techniques are important, a newcomer needs a way to follow. Much like you starting to train – you need someone that will show you how to exercise. But maybe in two years you will walk the street and say, “I can do this” because it is inside you. If you truly get this Reiki concept it’s not something outside, like you said, duality. When I say, this is wrong and this is right, this is real (original Reiki) or this is not the original Reiki. When you see the concept in a really universal way in which everybody has space, not just the one that follows the rules or the techniques, I feel more comfortable like this. Okay, I choose the style of Usui, but the concept of Reiki should be a bit more open minded.
Frans: Yeah, I agree 150 percent with you! I see it like this – say I want to practice the violin. First I need to have very specific teachings, specific rules in a way, and I need to practice correctly to be able to really play it. If I practice incorrectly I will not be able to play the violin. Through years and years of practice, maybe two years or maybe 10 years, then I might be a virtuoso. I will be able to be so in tune with my inner music that I can let go of the structure of it and in that moment I don’t see a difference between me, the violin, the music and the people who listen to it. It is all blended into this one universal sound, so to speak. Then we are completely free! I think you can see this with these really skilled musicians. Take Eric Clapton for example, when he plays the guitar this guy is free. There is a freedom in his playing. He might never have trained in Reiki, but that for me is Reiki. I remember when I lived in India and I lived in the Himalayas. There was a lot of Tibetan Buddhism in this little town and you would meet these Tibetan masters. They are Reiki! Of course they haven’t practiced Mikao Usui’s system, but that great bright light is exactly the same. The healing that emanates from their compassion, the kindness, the no anger and no worry – it is exactly the same. So we cannot say that my no anger, no worry, being grateful, being true to my way and my being is Christian and yours is Buddhist or Reiki. No it’s the same. It’s the same compassion, right?
Graziano: You completely get the point, because even Usui said – everything is Reiki, no one excluded. It means he had this enlightenment (his satori) and he was aware that there is not any division between me and you, me and the reality that that I live. Everything is one. Until we have this definition of yes or no, black and white, we will never capture it.
Frans: Yes, that’s it.
Graziano: Another question. Mikao Usui goes up the mountain. Nobody initiated him, he became enlightened with a satori experience. Then he creates his style in the years to come. Over the years this style has really changed, you said it before. Not just the normal people that in their ego think, “now I want to change some things”, but important people, like Hayashi changed some things and Takata changed many things. But it worked! It worked, but in a way, they create their own interpretation of what Usui wanted. Do you think that at a certain point of the development of Reiki this becomes a copy? I call it like a copy and paste, you know? They want to make more of what Usui did. It’s really a big illusion, because we are European. Okay I talk about me – I’m Italian, I have a different culture, I have a different religion and a completely different education. I have never been in Japan and I don’t talk Japanese. But I copy some things that I really don’t understand, but I copy and then I say, “no this is original”. This is really a big illusion. Maybe it’s necessary as one of the first things to start teaching. But don’t you think that at a certain point you should start to develop and really feel what Reiki is for you?
Frans: I think again, there’s many different view points of this. One of the reasons I trained with a Japanese priest was to see where Mikao Usui took his teachings from. We can really see this in Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, it’s a phrase that if translated correctly says, “my original nature is right mind”. ‘Right mind’ in Japanese means non-dual mind, the mind of emptiness or great bright light. So he was already very clearly pointing to this within this particular mantra, phrase and symbol. Therefore when when we read it and see it, we come to the conclusion (like we just talked about before), that an Italian right mind is no different than a Tibetan or Japanese right mind. We might express it slightly differently because of language and habits, but the enlightened mind is exactly the same. This emptiness is exactly the same.
We can really see this when we look at the changes that Mrs. Takata or Hayashi did, and when we say “this is original” or “not original”. I also see this with the idea of lineage, because often people say, “my lineage is more original” or “that lineage is more original”. I like to bring it back to the embodiment of being Reiki, of really laying bare this great bright light. For me, lineage in itself (at least in modern practices), is a bit of a hoax, because things have changed much – for either good or bad, it doesn’t matter. For me the most important element is lineage of emptiness or lineage of the great bright light, of right mind. What do I mean by that? It’s that we can have as much as we can through dedicated practice of this direct experience of emptiness or great bright light. Then we can really say we are not necessarily practicing Mikao Usui’s teachings, but that we’ve had the same direct experience of emptiness. That again only comes through sitting on our butt and actually doing the practice. Without practice we are not realising that everything is Reiki – just like Mikao Usui said. Therefore we can debate until we are blue in the face – this is a better lineage, this is a shorter lineage, this is a good tradition or this is not a good tradition. The real measurement comes from when we are less angry, less worried, less fearful and we become less egotistical and jealous and we are more kind and compassionate. I would say only then are we are embodying what Mikao Usui is trying to teach us. Do you know what i’m trying to get at?
Graziano: Yes, yes. I completely agree with you, we are on the same page. It’s like when you have the experience, really the experience, it’s not something you define through the words of others.
Graziano: It’s like when I talk about Japan. I know there is Japanese language and Tokyo. I might even be good at explaining Japanese geography and culture, but I have never been there.
Frans: Yeah absolutely! This is the same. Even in Buddhism, there is a lot of talk about luminosity, emptiness, great bright light, daikomyo and right mind. But it has stayed an intellectual phase. This is why I really like my teacher in Japan. When I go there he presses my buttons, like really presses my buttons. He wants to see if I get angry, if I get worried, if I’m fearful and if I’m actually embodying the Precepts. He really challenges me so that if I do get worried, if I do get a bit pissed off or if I’m not grateful, compassionate or not being true to my way and my being – that way I can adjust it and he points it out very clearly. He says, “Now Frans, we can see that you are getting angry or worried. So do something about it”. What can we do about it? We can go and sit on our meditation pillow and practice. But this is very difficult to do as teachers in a modern way because we’re not used to it. If I were to do this to my students they would think, what the hell, who are you to to push me like this, to challenge me like this. Stop pushing my buttons! But in fact it is really beautiful. It’s challenging and it’s really difficult, but at the same time he can only push my buttons because I have those buttons. If I didn’t have buttons then there would be nothing to push and everything would be okay. So through that we can start to see if we are slowly embodying what Mikao Usui was trying to point out – less anger, less worry and less fear. We only have to look at Reiki forums online to see how many practitioners and teachers have so much fear. So I think, “what are you practicing?”
Graziano: Yes. I also think that Reiki needs to change a bit.
Graziano: If we don’t, I don’t think Reiki will survive the next hundred years.
Frans: I don’t think so either.
Graziano: Because people that I have worked with within Reiki over the years, I have found connections, and we all say the same. Maybe in different words, but we agree with the main topics. But the majority still delegates everything, “It’s not me, it’s Reiki”, “He does everything, I do nothing” and so on. You can never find this light when you delegate roles to everything outside.
Graziano: And even this ‘initiation’ issue, we already talked about it, but there is also a big misunderstanding. I talked with someone whose thesis is about it and initiation is something cultural, it’s everywhere. It’s not something that belongs to Reiki. It has a deeper meaning. Initiation – the word says ‘initial’, the initial step towards a path to something that you will reach. There are many facets in initiation. When you enter into the community and you start your path, to go forward you have to have a change inside you. A change, so much so, that they don’t recognise you anymore. You go into class, almost surrounded by loneliness, you feel alone and you don’t feel that they understand you because your change is that much. The others don’t recognise you anymore on this level BUT you enter into a new level, and when you enter into a new level it’s like you are the same but you are different. Then again they recognise you the more levels they go up, all the way to master. The last issue is losing my personality. Maybe that word is too strong, but there is all this identification that people use that are from outer issues that create so much anger, worry and so on. To truly reach the inner self there will have to be a very big change. The others may not recognise me anymore, they will say, this is not him anymore.
Graziano: But this is the final step that we have to do. I don’t know if you agree with me?
Frans: That is really what we’re talking about – self-empowerment. This is really what Mikao Usui was pointing out, that self-empowerment, again, again and again. If we really look at the Precepts, it is all about self-empowerment. If we look at the mantras it is pure self-empowerment. Reiju is traditionally also self-empowerment. In fact, I actually have this wonderful book laying here on my table, I love this book, because it really talks about it all from a Japanese perspective of healing and empowerment. It is from a very well-known Japanese priest, it’s ‘Kaji: Empowerment and Healing in Esoteric Buddhism’, I’m not sure if you know it, you might have read it.
Graziano: Ah yes, Kaji, I have read some things about it.
Frans: It’s a fantastic book. I had a conversation with a Shingon priest about it, he knows about the system of Reiki, and and he was saying that for him, “If he looks at the system of Reiki then it’s really based on Kaji.” But Kaji, from their perspective, is healing is really coming from your own enlightened nature, your own right mind or from your own luminosity, not having that anger. Or, as you say so beautifully Graziano, it is that change. That change is not always easy, because as you said, your partner, family or friends, they might think this is not that person anymore. Not necessarily in a bad way, but that the person is less angry, less worried and takes things very differently. That might actually have a “negative” effect on your family and friends because the way you react is different. I heard this wonderful story, it’s quite nice. It’s about one student, who’d been really good at practicing. So he started to become less worried and less angry. Then one day something happened in his family and his wife, mother-in-law and father-in-law got angry at him because, “you’re not crying about the situation, you’re not worried, you’re not angry”. And he says, “Well is that necessary?” and he rang me up and said, “Frans, how do I deal with this”. I said, “how can you support them if you’re angry, worried and feel all sad about it”. If you are very clear-minded and you’re not swept away by that anger, worry and fear, all the melodrama, then of course you can help them much more. But in the beginning they might think – wow, you’ve become insensitive.
Graziano: I completely agree with what you have said. When you have psychological changes, the relations change, but also the control changes. Generally in a system of people, or family relation, there is a control in those situations. When you change you have a fear that you can’t have any more influence over them.
Frans: This is it!
Graziano: It makes you angry! “Then what happens now! Why have you changed? What is this Reiki, this Reiki is bullshit!” Sorry. Because it completely changes you, and you are not worried anymore, no more anger. It is exactly this. The real initiation – the real meaning of initiation is that it is just an improvement to some things. Things that have to happen inside you. It’s not something outside that can make it happen, no, it has to be inside you. The master, or teacher, he just introduces you.
Frans: That’s it. It’s an introduction.
Graziano: He opens the door, but you have to enter. It’s not like I take you and push you in. No, I open the door you want to enter but you have to want this experience. Go make it.
Frans: Yeah, absolutely. We have to be willing to take that step and therefore every initiation is different. Say that you perform a Reiju on me, an initiation on me. I might have a certain experience of no more anger and worry etc. but due to my habitual patterns I quickly forget about it.
Graziano: I was thinking that we are like yin and yang, white and black.
Frans: That’s it, yeah. My light is not so good. I had two big lights and one broke unfortunately. But then I go home and then I practice as much as possible – the meditation says think about the system of Reiki. And hopefully, you keep practicing! So you keep laying bare your great bright light, your right mind, your compassion and kindness, your emptiness. Then when we come together maybe two or six months later there’s a whole different possibility.
Frans: It’s not because of you and it’s not just because of me, but it is interconnected. Ultimately you are not giving me anything – you are helping me to realise what I was in the first place. What I had forgotten in the first place due to society and upbringing. Due to life experiences we forget that we are human. I like that, because if we look at the word human, we come to humane. Being humane means being kind and compassionate. I think a lot of people are not even “human” anymore, we’re not kind and compassionate – we’re not humane.
Graziano: Yes! This is another topic I’m also sensitive about. There are a lot of people, we are anonymous. We walk in the street, we meet people, but we don’t have the strength to really deeply touch others. Maybe because the other person has a fear of being touched, as you said you touch the buttons. Maybe I also have fear, but if I touch the buttons I can say, you can touch my buttons too. So we remain on the surface. You’re there in the sewer phase. For me Reiki is a self-empowerment system in which you go deep and you reflect on yourself. In this reflection you cannot recognise yourself. It sounds strange, because generally you watch the mirror and that is me. But in a really deep reflection you can recognise that that is not me.
Frans: That’s it!
Graziano: So I’m something different! But till I identify myself within this reflection, I cannot see who I really am. It’s not easy, there is a lot of resistance, a lot of fears. But I think Reiki needs to go in that direction. Where it’s even more deep and more meaningful. It really gives you something. It’s not just, “oh here is some hands-on healing”.
Frans: Absolutely. No matter if we do it on people or on animals, it’s wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But the fundamental thing is that change in the mind. If we really look at the system of Reiki this is also what it is. My new book is about how can we facilitate this change in our mind. I don’t like telling these stories, but it was a beautiful moment – it doesn’t always happen. Everything is closed here because of the lockdown, but you can have take-away coffee. So yesterday I walk to my favourite little cafe and I order a coffee and some cake. I’m going to a meeting and there’s two women behind me (I don’t remember who they were), but anyway – I said, “hello ladies”. I get my coffee and cake and I leave. Two hours later after my appointment I walked back through that same street, so I thought I might have a little croissant for lunch. I had another meeting to go to, so I didn’t have much time to make lunch. So I order a coffee and a croissant. And the woman who serves me (I know her), she says, “Frans, I want to tell you something”. She told me that she overheard the two women behind me saying, “Do you know that guy? He’s always so friendly and he is always so happy. When I see him I just feel good”. She said it was just so wonderful how they talked about me, and I thought – well for me, this is Reiki. We don’t have to do hands-on healing because l can still be a bastard. But when we can stop and help people to realise that just with a smile, just by being kind, compassionate and warm-hearted we already make a change, it’s a ripple effect that can take place. That is really Reiki, because that is also pointed out within the Precepts. It doesn’t always happen, I’m still a shithead sometimes. I get angry, worried and fearful. But when I talk about Reiki, this is implementing it in my daily life. That doesn’t mean that I sit there the whole day doing hands-on healing, but in my daily life I infuse my actions with kindness, love and compassion without anger, worry, fear while being true to my way and my being as Mikao Usui pointed out very clearly in the Precepts. Today, in all my actions, I practice this diligently. What is he pointing out to practice diligently? It is no anger, no worry, being grateful and compassionate. If we can teach that then I think there’s still hope for the system of Reiki to survive. But if we solely keep it to hands-on healing without the change of our own mind, or as you beautifully pointed out, that slow change in the way we manifest that, then I think it is not going to last for a long time.
Graziano: I have the same feeling. You anticipated my next question. I wanted to ask you about your new book! So if you could make a short and interesting introduction so we can await it coming out, that would be very nice.
Frans: It’s called ‘The Way of Reiki’, and for me the way is in how I implement that in my daily life. So it’s not about specific hand positions, it’s really what we’ve been talking about now! How we can implement this in our daily life, how did Mikao Usui point to this and what is the change that is needed. It’s also the fine tuning of our practice – so the preparation of our practice. For example, if I want to make a cake and I’m not used to making a cake, I need to follow a certain recipe and I need to do it in a very specific order. I can’t just grab the ingredients, chuck them in and expect a cake to appear! So Mikao Usui left some very specific instructions, but they are a little bit hidden. So I’ve tried, as much as I can, to reveal them and show them in a very clear way. We must follow those instructions that Mikao Usui left in the Precepts, the mantras and in the symbols. That way we get the perfect cake, so to speak. What is the perfect cake? That change of mind, from being an angry, worried, fearful person who’s not being grateful or true to their way and being and definitely not being compassionate and kind. Then becoming a person who is the embodiment of the Precepts in all they do. That for me is a lifelong journey.
Graziano: Nice! I’m very curious to read your book. When will it come out?
Frans: Well it was meant to come out early this year, but due to corona a lot of things have changed. So it’s hopefully now coming out in October! You can already pre-order it on amazon or book depository and those kind of websites.
Graziano: Great! And congratulations.
Frans: Thank you.
Graziano: I am sure it will be another big success! Well Frans, thank you very much, like always. It’s been very nice to interview you, talk with you and have confrontation. I think we really talk the same language, even if i’m Italian and you are Dutch, but in Reiki we have the same mindset. When I have the opportunity to share and bring information, I’m really happy to do it because we need it. If you love Reiki, we need to assume some responsibilities. You have to have the courage, you have to be brave to bring about these changes, otherwise, as you said, I don’t know what will happen.
Frans: I love what you’re saying Graziano. That is the word – self-responsibility. I think with Reiki people think we just have to surrender. But what does that mean for you? “I don’t have to do anything”, well that’s not surrendering, it means you’re just blanking out. This is not surrender. So we have to be honest – sometimes one of the Precepts is translated as honesty. We have to be brutally honest with ourselves and say, “Am I responsible? Am I, myself, responsible for this great bright light and for not being angry and worried?” I have to make sure that I have this responsibility of surrendering in the right way. But to be able to do that I first need to know what surrender means. For example it doesn’t mean becoming a zombie. You hear these words of “being Reiki”, but what does that really mean? So we as individuals, we have a self-responsibility to figure out and investigate what being Reiki means. What does surrendering mean, what does letting go mean. Only then can we truly say, I really need to be more self-responsible to be able to really do this.
Graziano: This is a nice way to conclude this interview!
Frans: Thank you.
Graziano: Thank you very much and I am looking forward to the next masterclass.
Frans: Absolutely! Thank you so much.
Graziano: Thank you very much, have a good night.
Frans: You too! Bye bye.