the reiki precepts (gokai)

The Reiki precepts, called ‘Gokai’ in Japanese, form the very foundation of Mikao Usui’s system for self-healing and spiritual development, simply known as ‘Reiki’ in the West.

The five core principles of Sensei Usui are contained within the whole text seen above. The writing is read from top to bottom, right to left. Commonly called The Five Precepts, they start in the third column from the right below the space, and continue in the fourth and fifth columns from the right.

Usui Sensei said that we must first heal the mind/spirit before the body can be healed successfully, and taught his students to recite a series of precepts (meaning a command, rule of conduct, or moral instruction) to help bring those qualities into daily life. He called Reiki “The secret art of inviting happiness (shoufuku no hihoo) – the spiritual medicine for all diseases of body and mind (manbyo no ley-yaku).”

Learning to say the words in Japanese can be an illuminating experience because much of the power is lost in translating the words. In their original language, the words have a ‘mantric’ quality and energy of their own.

Whilst these precepts are aimed at those studying the Reiki system, anyone may listen to the recording and try repeating for yourself.  Do this by going inwards into your own (spiritual) heart, and centering there. Allow the conscious mind to become still… let all chatter subside. Then recite them softly, yet audibly.

Reciting these words three or more times generate a peaceful energy, which may assist you greatly in coping with difficulties in your daily life.

Gokai recitation is a powerful tool to create inner change. After time, the sound may lessen and turn inward. Though it may not sound as effective, you will sense that this change is a natural development. Resonation with the precepts themselves will occur over time, and as you contemplate them.

Saying the Full Gokai (in Japanese)

Reiki Master Teachers should ideally aim to speak the whole text in Japanese, and understand the deeper meanings within the text.

Japanese Text

Shofuku no hiho,
Manbyo no reiyaku.
Kyo dake wa:
Okoru na,
Shinpai su na,
Kansha shite,
Gyo wo hakeme,
Hito ni shinsetsu ni.

Asayu gassho shite kokoro ni nenji,
Kuchi ni tonae yo.
Shinshin kaizen.
Usui Reiki Ryoho.
Choso,
Usui Mikao

English Translation:

The secret art of inviting happiness,
The miraculous medicine for all diseases.
At least for today:
Do not be angry,
Do not worry,
Be grateful.
Work with diligence,
Be kind to people.

Every morning and evening, join your hands in meditation and pray with your heart.
State in your mind and chant with your mouth.
For improvement of mind and body.
Usui Reiki Ryoho.
The founder,
Mikao Usui.

Ancient links to the past – Tendai Buddhism

Sensei Usui may have adapted the Reiki precepts from a similar teaching used in the Tendai Buddhist sect of Shugendo from the 9th Century:

Do not bear anger,
For anger is illusion.
Do not be worried,
Because fear is distraction.

Show compassion to yourself and others,
Because this is the centre of Buddhahood.

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