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reiki distant healing symbol
The 'Distant' symbol

Symbol 3 is technically not a 'symbol' per se, but rather is a stylised combination of five kanji characters.

Each of the four Reiki symbols has an accompanying Japanese mantra/phraze - frequently referred to as a jumon ('spell' or 'incantation'). In 'western' lineage Reiki this jumon is commonly used as the symbol's name.

In the case of Symbol 3, the 'symbol' itself is actually the jumon: "Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen"
[or "Hon Ja Ze Sho Nen"], written in kanji characters.

Over the years there have been several suggestedtranslations of the jumon: "Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen" - including several very misleading ones. For example, it is frequently said that "Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen" translates as "no past, no present, no future".

However, probably one of the clearest translations of "Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen" is actually:

"Correct Thought (/Correct Mindfulness) is the essence of being"

Just as calligraphers in the West - when writing a phrase in the Roman Alphabet - will frequently embellish their artwork with flourishes and overlaps, and often combine letters or allow them to run into one-another, this is also the case with Japanese kanji calligraphy.

There are various calligraphic renditions of Symbol 3 - all looking slightly different depending on the 'brush style' of the individual 'drawing' it.

In the example shown here, not only are there overlaps, but also certain strokes which form part of the individual kanji have been omitted.

As kanji are of Chinese origin, each character has two forms of pronunciation or 'reading': the on yomi or Chinese derived reading, and the kun yomi or native Japanese reading - e.g: the word 'mountain' in its on yomi is: san, but the native kun yomi reading is: yama. (Both are in common usage in Japan)

There are many thousands of kanji characters - some highly obscure & only very rarely used; however, the five kanji whose stylised interlinking forms the HSZSN, are to be found amongst the "Jooyoo Kanji" - that is, characters specified by the Japanese Government as approved for common use. In fact, they all come under the category of kanji expected to be familiar to all Fourth Grade Students.

The original five kanji are given below with their on yomi and kun yomi, and their basic meanings (however the emphasis is on the word 'basic' - the meaning of a kanji when in combination with others can be somewhat different from the meaning of the kanji in isolation.)


kun yomi on yomi kanji

root, source, origin, essence, basis, counter for long things, book, present, main, true, real

moto, mato HON reiki symbol,reiki symbols,
someone, person mono SHA reiki symbol,reiki symbols,
just so, this, right, just, proper kore shi,
reiki symbol,reiki symbols,
correct, justice, certainly, exactly, righteous
tada.shii, tada.su, masa(.ni), oo, kuni, ma, tadashi masashi sei,
SHÔ (shou)
reiki symbol,reiki symbols,
mindfulness, wish, sense, idea, thought, feeling, desire, attention, concern *** NEN reiki symbol,reiki symbols,

Basic Uses of Symbol 3:

As the designation: the 'distant' symbol suggests, Symbol 3 is used to send Reiki at a distance - be it to people or other animals, places, events, situations; or even across the 'great illusion' that is time itself.
With the aid of this symbol, Reiki can be 'sent' to interact beneficially with issues or situations long since past, or alternatively, ones as yet not having manifested themselves.
Some practitioners utilise the symbol when they need to 'connect' (metaphorically speaking) with people.
The distant symbol may also be used as a means of assisting interaction with, deity, spirits of place, or ancestral spirits (or as some prefer to phrase it: ancestral energy-patterns)

In some Japanese forms of Reiki, Symbol 3 is seen as representing the transcendent 'oneness' within the practitioner, and the realisation that there is no separation between the two people sharing the phenomenon of giving-receiving Reiki.
[In yet other Japanese styles - Hekikuu Reiki for example - Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen is taught neither as a 'distant' symbol, nor as a symbol of 'oneness' but rather as one pertaining to mindfulness and the mental faculties in general.]

Various different forms of Symbol 3

The 'Power' Symbol

The 'Power Symbol' and its 'secret Shinto jumon'

The 'Mental-Emotional Healing' Symbol

Various different forms of Symbol 2

The 'Master' Symbol

The Master Symbol part 2 - The Reiki symbol that (supposedly) never was...

Various different forms of Symbol 4

The Introduction of the symbols into Reiki

The Reiki Symbols - Unsubstantiated Associations

'Training Wheels' or Essential, Deeper 'Spiritual Tools'?

The Symbols from a Japanese Buddhist Perspective

The Kurama Kokyo Sect and the Reiki Symbols

The Choku Rei Trail - the terms 'Choku Rei', 'Dai Ko Myo'
and 'Reiki' in Japanese 'New Religions

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Disclaimer: The contents of this site is for general information only. James Deacon does not necessarily endorse the methodology, techniques or philosophy of individual modalities detailed herein, and accepts no liability for the use or misuse of any practice or exercise on this site, or ones linked to this site.