The Essence of Reiki Jin Kei Do

The following article was originally published on the now-defunct website ‘OneMind Village’ in April 2007

I am often asked what it is that marks out the specific characteristics of the Reiki Jin Kei Do tradition of Reiki when compared with the other more dominant traditions of this popular healing system. I think that there is one significant difference between Reiki Jin Kei Do (RJKD) and other approaches to the Reiki method. Its importance is something that would be agreed upon by nearly all practitioners and teachers of the tradition even though they may have their own particular orientation to the practice, teachings, and methodology.

RJKD approaches the system of Reiki from the standpoint that it is in the first instance a method for the practitioner to engage with for their own inner journey of awakening. Whilst in some ways the greatest outward expression of Reiki is as a therapeutic modality, this is by no means the principle focus, of the RJKD method (though paradoxically this can be seen very much as an essential component of the ultimate goal or realization of the system – the giving of healing as a compassionate act).

The modern day system of Reiki has its roots in an originally nameless system of spiritual practice that was developed in the early part of the 20th Century and came to be known by its first students as ‘Usui Do’. The system was created from an amalgam of methods extracted and teased out of a number of other energy based and spiritual systems by Mikao Usui, a Japanese practitioner of Tendai Buddhism. It is becoming clearer, as research goes on that the founder of the method did not develop or teach an energy therapy. This side of the system which was expanded upon by Usui’s student Dr Chujiro Hayashi was not regarded by Usui as being of any great significance and in recent years there has in fact been a growing acknowledgment of modern Reiki’s misorientation as no more than an energy therapy. We can now see more of an emphasis beginning to emerge in exploring Reiki as a method for one’s own personal spiritual development.

There is a problem, however. Whilst this acknowledgment of Reiki’s true purpose and early orientation as a self-development method continues to grow in significance, there is within the dominant streams of Reiki very little information on exactly how it is possible for a contemporary practitioner to engage with the system in this way. Some teachers seem to simply mention the practice of sitting with hands in ‘gassho’ (prayer position in front of the heart) prior to or after a treatment as a sole expression of this ‘spiritual method’. Others suggest that meditation should be used as a part of the practice, but fail to describe exactly which meditation methods should or could be used or in fact how to use them.

In the tradition of RJKD the attaining of the state of enlightenment or spiritual awakening or reunion with the God-force is the goal of practice – it is the most urgent of reasons for being involved with Reiki. To this end then there are a number of specific meditation practices that are taught to students as skillful means from which they can develop their connection to the Universal Energy Field (or God, or the state of enlightenment). One of these methods is a meditation called The Six Point Meditation. This method is a simplification of a powerful Vajrayana Buddhist meditation called Buddho.  Indeed, much of the value of the RJKD approach is derived from its indebtedness to the larger healing system of the Buddho (or Buddho-EnerSenSense as it is sometimes referred to), the meditation of the same name being the central component within this elaborate system of personal spiritual practice. It is the Buddho/Buddho-EnerSense method which influences and impregnates the entire expression and orientation of the RJKD Reiki system.

The Six Point Meditation is taught to students at all levels within the traditional Reiki system of three degrees. A simple form of it is given at 1st Degree and is then elaborated upon at 2nd Degree and then further at 3rd Degree where, whilst still a simplified version of the Buddho, it is in fact quite a complex meditation in its own right. Other meditation methods are also provided to students, some of which are commonly found as universally known Buddhist methods of spiritual practice, whilst others are specific to the lineage of RJKD. With all of these students can begin to come to a realization of their oneness with the energetic state of being that is known as the Universal Energy Field and feel a deep energetic resonance with the quality of universal compassion that is the natural outpouring of this connection.

So how close does the RJKD approach come to Usui’s own orientation to his system? It is not possible in terms of the specific methods employed to state one way or another whether the RJKD approach is close to or dissimilar to Usui’s. However, given that RJKD has as its central philosophic aim the development of compassion and wisdom as an expression of the individual journey to the state of cosmic consciousness, then we can say that RJKD and Usui’s method are indeed very similar.

The current head of the RJKD lineage, Dr Ranga Premaratna has stated:

“The Buddho method which is the origin of Reiki Jin Kei Do clearly links the (Reiki) symbols and other teachings to its teachings. The advantage of Jin Kei Do is that it connects you to the teachings before and beyond Japanese Reiki; truly connecting to Sanskrit origins, mantras, yantras, symbols and meditation.”

So whilst no claim is made that RJKD is the original Usui method there is the sense that RJKD does have a very strong resonance with Usui’s system. This is not just in relation to its philosophic orientation but also because there are elements within the Buddho system that were taken by Usui and used in either whole or modified form in his development of his secular Reiki system. It is known that Usui had access to at least some parts of the Buddho system, most importantly the Buddho meditation itself which was a significant influence on the system’s evolution.

Reiki Jin Kei Do also shares the concern in utilizing the significant potential of the system for the healing of others on all levels via direct application of the Reiki energy. This is largely due to the fact that it has in part a common ancestry with the world’s most dominant lineage; that of  Hawayo Takata, through Chujiro Hayashi. Reiki Therapeutics is seen in some respects as one of the culminations of practice. As we develop our innate wisdom mind which automatically gives rise to feelings of compassion for all beings, we develop a strong urge to apply our Reiki ability for the relief of suffering in the world. The most natural expression of this is through the use of Reiki as a hands-on method.

There is a fine distinction here which it is important to recognize. Whilst the use of Reiki as an energy therapy is very much one of the destinations to which we are ultimately led it is important to remember that we need to focus on ourselves first. We need to develop ourselves first and heal ourselves and remove our attachments to the world of suffering (it is our attachments that in large part cause this suffering). Our primary goal in the development of our minds can lead us to the achieving of the state of enlightenment – the most crucial element in the full expression of the RJKD teachings. As we take this journey for our own benefit, we find that we have so much more to give to others. We apply Reiki mindfully, with a sense of compassion and a proactive commitment to making the world a better place for all. We take the path of the Bodhisattva. As we take this path, our work with Reiki Therapeutics becomes itself a central component within our rapidly expanding wisdom mind and heart of compassion. This then reinforces our journey to that state of enlightened being. A symbiotic relationship develops.

I think that in considering what the Reiki Jin Kei Do approach can offer, it is important to recognize that there is not a sense in which it is thought to be better than other approaches to Reiki. It shares many common values with other lineages and of course also shares key people in the transmission of its teachings. It is quite simply a different approach to the system.

Mikao Usui’s system of Reiki has created from a disparate group of spiritual seekers, energy therapists and the disenfranchised-through-suffering, a global community of many, many thousands. This Reiki community is intent on improving the lot of humanity and of themselves through the application of this beautiful method. However, we approach Reiki and from whichever tradition we come, we can be sure of one thing – we all have a common purpose in making the world a better place to be. In the end, this is all that truly matters.

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About Steve Gooch

Steve Gooch was born in March 1962 in Rugby, Warwickshire in England and grew up there with his two brothers and sister. He moved to Corsham in Wiltshire and attended Bath Academy of Art, where he studied sculpture and printmaking, before going on to work on projects for the artists Joe Tilson and Nick Pope. He also helped with the publication of a limited edition folio of Paul Eluard’s poetry. Steve moved to London to study for a postgraduate teaching certificate and then worked as a teacher of art in the UK. He gained his MA in Education with the Open University and also studied the discipline of Reiki with his Reiki teachers in Newcastle upon Tyne. His daughter Marianne was born in 1994. For a period of time, Steve devoted himself to teaching Reiki in his hometown of Rugby, before moving to Egypt, where he resumed his career as an art teacher, becoming the Head of Art in a prestigious British International School in Cairo. He continued to teach Reiki, introducing the discipline for the first time to Egypt. He also wrote extensively on the subject for various Egyptian English-language magazines. Returning to the UK, Steve’s son Sam was born in 2004. Not wanting to go back into the teaching profession, Steve took a job as a chef in a vegetarian restaurant and wrote his first book ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do: The Way of Compassion & Wisdom’. It was the world’s first book on that particular tradition of Reiki and is still considered to be the standard reference work on the subject. Steve them moved to Sudan, where he was again Head of Art at the prestigious Unity High School, and built an online living history for the school, called 'The Unity High School Archive'. It was in the process of building this archive that Steve uncovered a major scandal involving senior members of the Anglican Church, local dignitaries, and members of the faith communities. As a consequence, he got to know the head of the Secret Police in Khartoum quite well and then promptly left the country. Steve moved back to Egypt and took up a post as Head of Art in a school in Alexandria. Very much involved in the Reiki community in the UK, however, he founded the national organisation ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do UK’ and became the editor of ‘Focus: The Journal of Reiki Jin Kei Do UK’, and then set up the global ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do International’. He also set up the global video-arts project '12seconds for Peace'. The concept grabbed the attention of a number of big names in the peace movement, including Nobel Peace Prize nominees, and threatened to go viral. Circumstances (revolutions and social unrest) put it on the back-burner. Likewise, a major peace initiative called the 'Global Concert for Peace', scheduled for the summer of 2013, which would have been the world's biggest musical event, also went on the back-burner. Steve moved to Saudi Arabia for a little over a year in 2014, before returning to Egypt to take up a senior management position in another British International School in Cairo. Finally, after a year of professional purgatory in which he realised that there is no such thing as a good British International School in Egypt, he decided ‘enough is enough’ and quit the teaching profession for good to focus on his writing, art and Reiki classes. He is currently living in Cairo and writing ‘The Temple of the Djinn’, which is loosely based on the events that he uncovered during his time in Sudan. He is also teaching Reiki and working freelance for a variety of Egyptian magazines. He misses the UK and is looking forward to spending more time in his home country with his children. He'd also like to find time to paint and make sculpture.
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