THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THREE OF THE REIKI 'SYMBOLS'
FROM A JAPANESE BUDDHIST PERSPECTIVE
© 2002-3 James Deacon
[NOTE: It must be clearly understood
that this article presents a
Buddhist interpretation of three symbols which we also
know as the Reiki symbols SHK, HSZSN and DKM. It is not the intention
to imply that these symbols -
when used in
the context of the Reiki system - have
same significance as they do in a Buddhist sense]
'distance symbol': HSZSN mantra [or: Nen
Shingon* as it is sometimes called] is essentially a call to
it reminds us of the 7th step in the Noble 8-Fold Path of Buddhism.
While there have, over the years, been several suggested translations
of HSZSN - including several very misleading ones - probably one
of the clearest translations is:
Thought (Mindfulness) is the essence of being".
Shingon' translates as 'Mindfulness Mantra'
The term: 'Shingon' translates as 'True Word' - in this context
meaning 'mantra', and not signifying the.Shingon
sect of Buddhism.
The term 'Nen' refers to ' mindfulness' (- 'Sho-nen' refers to 'correct
For an animated
.gif of the Nen Shingon, see the:
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The 'mental-emotional symbol': SHK ('Spiritual Composure') is
almost certainly a stylised form of the Sanscrit siddham-script
character known in Japan as kiriku (pronouced: k'rik
Kiriku is the sacred sign or emblem of both Senju Kanzeon
Bosatsu (a thousand-armed form of the Bodhisatva Kanzeon or 'Kannon')
and Amida Butsu - the Buddha Amida - (or Amida Nyorai as he is called
in Mikkyo Buddhist traditions), and is regarded as itself possessing
the divine grace of both of these Buddhist Deities.
is said that Senju Kanzeon Bosatsu watches over those suffering
from a distressed Heart-Mind and lends his hand at the time of their
Amida - Buddha of Infinite Light & Life - is widely worshipped
in various schools of Japanese Buddhism, including Tendai. He is
the main deity in Jodo (Pure Land) Buddhism; and also in Jodo Shin
(True Pure Land) Buddhism which holds that Spiritual Peace of Mind
and salvation are to be achieved by relying on his power.
are told that 'Mariko Obaasan' - a Buddhist Nun said to have known
Usui Sensei, claims that he was a devotee of Amida - and that he
made an offering to Amida every day.
is essentially perceived as a single-character depiction of the
nembutsu: the sacred mantra of Amida: "Namu Amida Butsu",
and as such invokes the merit associated with the fukushu or
recital/repitition of that mantra, thus bringing Spiritual Peace
of Mind ('Spiritual Composure') to the individual reciting the mantra,
or to any other being to whom the reciter chooses to 'transfer'
[NOTE: In Shingon Buddhism, the mantra: "On Amirita Teizei
Kara Un" is favoured in place of the nembutsu.]
The 'master symbol': DKM. The interesting thing about DKM from
a Buddhist point of view, I feel, is that the real importance lies
in the meaning of the KM kanji-pair
DKM: the 'Great Bright Light' can perhaps be better understood as
the 'Great Komyo'
The term Komyo is something of great significance in Japanese Buddhism.
In a Buddhist sense, Komyo signifies 'Enlightened Nature' or 'the
Radiant Light of Wisdom' - the Radiance of a Deity - not one specific
Deity, but any expression of deity - be it in the form
of a Buddha, Bodhisattva, 'Vidyaraja', etc. ( -even a Shinto kami
for that matter).
DKM can be seen as the manifest expression of the Light of Wisdom:
the means by which illumination "dawns on us."
Komyo appears again and again in Buddhist thought, for example,
the Gobukonkomyokyo - the Sutra of Golden (en)Light(enment)
Komyohensho - another name for Dainichi Nyorai (central Buddha
of the Shingon sect)
Komyo Bosatsu - Japanese name for the Bodhisattva Jaliniprabha
(Komyo Bosatsu is also sometimes referred to simply as Dai-komyo)
Komyoshinden - the 'Palace of the Luminous Mind'
Komyoshingon - the '(en)Light(enment) Mantra'; etc.etc.
is also another name for the Komyoshingon - a very important
(and powerful) mantra]
The complete phrase 'daikomyo' appears as part of a sacred 'nine-syllable'
mantra dating from before the 8thC:
- which conceptually translates as: "The Wisdom of the Four
Hearts* leads us to Enlightenment"
* The Four Hearts ( lit: Four Perspectives):
Merciful Heart expresses love for everything, the Sincere Heart
right, the Attuned Heart follows the natural order of things, and
Heart holds to the chosen pursuit.
It also occurs in the name: "Daikomyo-o"
- 'Great Shining
Bright King' .
Daikomyo-o is one of the daison myo-o (great and venerable
kings of magic knowledge) - compassionate yet wrathful deities who
protect humans against evil influences, and who possess the knowledge
and force contained in mantras.
one respect, just as the siddham character kiriku is regarded
as itself possessing the divine grace of the Buddha it represents,
so too in an esoteric sense, the three-kanji phrase 'Daikomyo' may
be seen to directly represent the mystical experience of Komyo [the
'Bright Light' or 'Enlightened Nature': the Radiance of a given
Deity], and as such, may be employed by one who has achieved that
'enlightenment,' as a means of passing on (- to a lesser degree
-) the effects of that experience to others.
THE REIKI SYMBOLS