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- Interlinking Threads
(Examples of the use of the terms 'Choku Rei', 'Dai Ko Myo'
and 'Reiki' in Japanese 'New Religions'
Copyright © 2005 James Deacon


The jumon for the first Reiki symbol - Chokurei - when written in one particular set of kanji can be translated as 'direct spirit(s)', or 'spirit direct'.

Takata-Sensei translated Choku Rei as 'put the [spiritual] power here', and there is also a possibility that the symbol is a calligraphic stylization of the kanji character choku itself - which has many meanings, including: direct; in person; at once; & near by.

In my researches, I had discovered reference to the term choku rei in the writings of Masahisa Goi, founder of the religious group Byakkõ Shinkõkai.

Goi states: "In the beginning, Great God took His body, His light, and divided it into various rays of light. He then functioned 7 rays of light to operate as the power source of human beings. These 7 rays of origin, which I call Chokurei (direct spirits from God), are the image of God working in this world of mankind..."

As this was the first instance of the use of the term chokurei in any spiritual sense that I had discovered outside of Reiki, obviously I decided to do some further research into Goi and his group. Could it be that he had been a contemporary of Usui-sensei? Or possibly even a student?

However, as it transpired, Masahisa Goi was only ten years old when Usui-Sensei died; and Byakkõ Shinkõkai had not been formed until 1955. But could there yet still be some connection with Usui-Sensei and Reiki?

It seems that Goi, who had been born in Tokyo, had been sickly from birth. By his twenties, he had completely given up on orthodox 'western' medicine and turned to spiritual practices as a source of therapeutic benefit. Unfortunately I have as yet not uncovered anything to suggest that Reiki was specifically amongst the practiced he encountered at this time.

Later, Goi began studying - and was strongly influenced by - the writings of Mokichi Okada. In time, having been cured through Okada's spiritual healing practices, Goi began widening his contacts amongst spiritual and religious practitioners of the time, and actively began promoting his own theories and practices of healing, eventually leading to the foundation of the above-mentioned Byakkõ Shinkõkai.

While I could not discover any clear, direct connection between Masahisa Goi and Reiki, what was becoming clear from my research was that there was a series of complex interlinking threads connecting the many and various modern-day Japanese spiritual organisations, healing groups and 'new religions'.

* * *

The 'Scroll of Light'

Mokichi Okada, through who's practices Masahisa Goi had been restored to health, was the founder of the religious group Sekai Kyusei kyo (Church of World Messianity) (later also known as Shumei) - and the originator of the healing practice called Johrei (which some people have sought to link, whether directly or indirectly, to Reiki).

In Okada's Shumei religion, the central focal point for prayer is something referred to as the 'Scroll of Light'. Seen as a direct connection to Deity, the scroll is believed to promote peace, protection, balance, and righteousness.

There are a couple of versions of the 'Scroll of Light', and one or other version hangs in every Shumei 'church'. The first version bears three kanji characters (signifying the 'Great Holy Light of Compassion'), the other version has the same three kanji, plus two additional kanji (signifying 'True Deity').

It is the three-kanji version of the 'Scroll of Light' that hangs in the shrine of the Shumei sanctuary on Kishima Island.

As can be seen from the picture below, the kanji inscription on the 'Scroll of Light' - this focal point for prayer, this direct connection to Deity - reads: Dai Ko Myo.

Picture courtesy of Shumei Headquarters

* * *

Omoto Kyo

Shumei founder Mokichi Okada had been a member of one of Japan's seminal modern-day Spiritual Groups - the Omoto Kyo - which had been founded in the early 1800's by a visionary named Nao Deguichi. Over time Nao, then later, her son-in-law Onisaboro Deguchi, evolved the Omoto Kyo belief system (from diverse elements originating within Folk Shinto, Buddhism and Christianity) to become one of the (if not the) most important of all the Japanese 'new religions'.
Many of the other later 'new religions' and other spiritual and healing groups evolved out of Omoto Kyo - and a great many more, though not actually having Omoto Kyo as their source were greatly influenced by Omoto Kyo beliefs and practices.

It goes without saying that Okada's own healing practices had been strongly influenced by his Omoto Kyo background. He had actually been a teacher in the Tokyo branch of Omoto Kyo, and as such was experienced in the performance of Omoto Kyo's primary religious healing ceremony, the miteshiro, in which a ritual implement was slowly passed over and around the body of the 'patient' in order to drive out possessing spirits, disease and misfortune, with the aid of 'Divine Spirit' - which (interestingly I thought), the anthropologist Winston Davis [in "DOJO: Magic and exorcism in modern Japan"] tells us, Omoto Kyo refers to as:
"...shinki or reiki..."
Unfortunately Davis does not elaborate on this.

* * *

Nao hi

Recently, from some sections of the Reiki Community there has been talk of an alternative jumon for the first Reiki symbol - that it has a 'secret' Shinto form, pronounced: nao hi.

In researching this term, I discovered that the term nao hi is also used by the Omoto Kyo and in their philosophy is used in an almost identical way to Goi's later use of chokurei.

In Omoto Kyo philosophy, nao hi (which, just like chokurei, translates as 'direct spirit') is "... the simplest, purest, innermost aspect of the human spirit, embodying supreme good and ultimate beauty."

However, it transpires that Omoto Kyo also used the actual term chokurei itself - they even produced a magazine entitled: Chokurei-gun ("Direct-Spirit Army") - first published in 1909.

Thus, it would seem that Omoto Kyo, via the teachings of Mokichi Okada was almost certainly the source of Masahisa Goi's concept of chokurei.

And w
hile there are some within the Reiki Community who (without offering any supporting evidence) would have us believe that chokurei is a mainstream Buddhist jumon/symbol - would have us believe that Usui-Sensei 'borrowed' chokurei from Tendai Buddhism, (one source even claiming an [unsubstantiated] association with the Buddhist deity Daiseishi), it would seem that rather than being a Buddhist concept, the term chokurei might well be something exclusive to the Japanese 'new religions' - possibly originating within the Omoto Kyo philosophy.

The 'Power' Symbol

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

The 'Mental-Emotional Healing' Symbol

Various different forms of Symbol 2

The 'Distant' Symbol

Various different forms of Symbol 3

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

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