The following article was written for the official Reiki Jin Kei Do lineage website in 2010 but was never used, so I am presenting it here.
The question often arises: ‘What is the difference between Reiki Jin Kei Do and Buddho-EnerSense’? So let’s have a go at nailing it down.
I am going to assume that you are already familiar in some broad and globally accepted sense with what Reiki is. I am also going to assume that you have a pretty good notion that Buddhism has quite a strong focus on meditation of one sort or another.
The philosophy of Buddhism of course, is one that the founder of Reiki – Mikao Usui – subscribed to and thus it is almost certain that his commitment to his own practice as a Tendai Buddhist influenced the development of his secular Usui-Do or Reiki system. It would be rather odd if it did not, given the strong metaphysical or mystical leanings inherent within this particular (Tendai) branch of Buddhist thought.
No-one is entirely certain just how much of any particular tradition influenced Usui in his development of Reiki. What we do know is that amongst the various methods that he was familiar with he had access to a system of Buddhist practice that does have a strong philosophic resonance with what is understood to be his early presentation of the secular Reiki system. We can see, at least from what seems to be suggested from the historical evidence so far gathered that Reiki or Usui-Do seems to have been developed and taught primarily as a method for the student to engage in for their own benefit. In fact, the hands-on-healing aspects of the practice at that stage in its history were largely subordinated to the much more important aspects that would lead the practitioner on the road to enlightenment. This was and is the primary focus of the Buddho or Buddho-EnerSense method also.
This Buddhist system (now known as Buddho-EnerSense) contains the Buddho meditation that Usui performed on his legendary 21-day fast on Mt Kurama and which led him to experience a moment of satori or a flash of enlightenment. The system also contains the origins of the Reiki symbols.
The Buddho-EnerSense system, contained within the Reiki Jin Kei Do lineage and passed on to us by the previous lineage head, Seiji Takamori, is fundamentally a Buddhist practice with both esoteric and exoteric elements from the Theravada and Mahayana traditions. Whilst the methods within Buddho-EnerSense do not require a commitment to or belief in any particular aspect of Buddhist philosophy, it does require an open-minded desire to explore methods that are designed to facilitate the ultimate in healing; the achieving of enlightenment or reunification with source (and thus the permanent elimination of suffering). This is its primary focus. It also has in large part practices that are designed for the healing of others on all levels, but again this material is prefaced with an engagement with philosophical ideas derived from Buddhism. So Buddho-EnerSense has a definite origin within specific aspects of Buddhist thought that can be traced back to the historical Buddha. It is a method that engages the practitioner on a journey of self-exploration that leads to the alleviating of suffering on a personal level and then for all beings.
Reiki Jin Kei Do on the other hand is very much the method of hhands-onReiki that was developed from Usui’s original system by his student Chujiro Hayashi. This was passed on down the lineage as a healing therapy and ultimately re-flavoured with the teachings, outlook and philosophic orientation of the Buddho-EnerSense system – from which it was in part originally derived. Reiki Jin Kei Do is however, very much more of a secular system than is Buddho-EnerSense. RJKD does not require an engagement with Buddhist thought on any level nor even an acknowledgment of its partial origins within Buddhism. Reiki Jin Kei Do is also very much more open to individual orientation towards the focus of the system. It can for instance be seen and used solely as a method for the healing on various levels of other people – as a straightforward complementary or alternative therapy. It can also be used principally however as a method for self healing. In this the focus is less on the act of applying Reiki in a therapeutic context for the benefit of others and more on the personal practice of meditation, energy cultivation and personal development. Of course with the philosophic aims of the lineage being the development of wisdom and compassion, there is at the end of this personal development journey a need to engage fully with Reiki as a therapeutic method for the benefit of all. The circle completes itself.
The twin strands of Reiki Jin Kei Do and Buddho-EnerSense held within the RJKD lineage are very much entwined and carry within their structure a similar orientation and world-view to specific elements of energy work. The one; Buddho-EnerSense has a strong Buddhist feel to it however, whilst the other; Reiki Jin Kei Do has, as Gordon Bell has noted, much more the quality of clear water that is open to be coloured by the individual practitioner. This quality is the real gift of Usui and a remarkable demonstration of his skill in developing a system that can be used by all.