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Q&A with Joy: Is Reiki Buddhism?

'Fuyusansui' by Tachibana Morikuni, 1679-1748.
‘Fuyusansui’ by Tachibana Morikuni, 1679-1748. Woodblock print, ink on paper. A rocky mountain reaches up to frame the moon while a tree, in the valley below, stretches wide, all but obscuring a human-made structure. A reader asked, “Is Reiki Buddhism?” but while both Buddhism and the more animistic Shintoism influenced the creator of the system, Reiki is not a religion.

The system of Reiki is very adaptable. As a result, different lineages — and even different teachers in the same lineage — teach it differently. The system of Reiki promotes healing, and many teach or use it as a healing modality. Some teachers emphasize the psychological benefits, such as inner stillness and peace of mind, that result from the practice of the Reiki system. Reiki techniques are also useful for connecting with something  bigger than us. Some people define this as Divinity, some people describe it as the vastness of nature. In fact, the founder of the system, Mikao Usui, connected with the Reiki energy as a result of rigorous spiritual training. Accordingly, teachers present the system of Reiki as a spiritual practice. So, it seems logical that this system is an offshoot of Buddhism and the other religious paths, such as Shintoism, that Usui-san practiced. But is Reiki Buddhism?

Here’s the question: Is Reiki Buddhism?

Hello. I’ve gotten into a discussion with Buddhists of different schools (Theravada, Zen, Tibetan Buddhism) and they all have said that Reiki may have influences from Buddhism and Usui may have been a Buddhist monk but at the end of the day it is NOT Buddhism and only a technique for relaxation. Is this really the case?

Here’s my answer: No, but it is is spiritual practice

This is a great question! Yes, Mikao Usui was a Buddhist practitioner, and that background, as well as in other aspects of Japanese culture and religion, influence the system of Reiki. But no, Reiki is not Buddhism. However, it is not a relaxation technique either, although relaxation can be one of the benefits of practicing the system or receiving a session.

Instead, I learned Reiki as a spiritual practice. In this approach, Reiki is a simple, non-religious system for connecting with Divinity, as we would say in the West. A more Eastern way of phrasing it would be that practicing Reiki connects us with the Source of All That Is. It is a spiritual practice, like Buddhism, but simplified and made more accessible for the average person to practice. By connecting to our true self through meditation, self-healing, reciting the precepts, and the other pillars of the system, we are able to heal ourselves and work towards achieving inner peace.

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Q&A with Joy: Is Reiki Buddhism?

2 thoughts on “Q&A with Joy: Is Reiki Buddhism?

  • May 12, 2019 at 1:50 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Joy,

    Usui Sensei was absolutely adamant that Reiki is non-denominational, so it can’t be Buddhist. Also, there is no actual evidence that he was a Buddhist or even a Daoist, even though his ultimate aim, Anshin Ritsumei, is very close to Daoist theory. Any claim about Usui Sensei being religious in any sense is all apocryphal. Some people say he was a Christian, but there again, no proof exists. His remains are in a Buddhist cemetery because all Japanese have their ashes interred in Buddhist cemeteries.

    There isn’t even a record of his going to Kurama San, the mountain where he is said to have achieved Satori, and he has no affiliation with the monks of Tendai Sect who have the main monastery there.

    Actually, Buddhism is also not a healing modality, so there again, Reiki can’t be Buddhist. It’s not even a religion, as it doesn’t have a God.

    So, I agree with you, Reiki is most definitely not Buddhist.

    Elise.

    • May 12, 2019 at 4:10 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Elise! Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

Comments are closed.