Before you all jump to the conclusion that this is an unashamed attempt at promoting my own book title, I would like to explain…
James deacon who I might add I am a great fan of has highlighted the fact that many New Age Reiki practices include the chakras as part of their training and questions their validity. Dr Usui appeared not to include Chakra theory in his practice and the Ryoho Shishin suposedly his original treatment guide does not mention them. However it must be said that the Ryoho Shishin is little more than a list of ailments and area’s of the body that should be treated and was intended as a resource for new students who were unable to scan or sense the area of need in a patient through practices like Byosen Reikan Ho.
So at what point did chakra’s enter into the practice of Reiki? Having been an advocate of chakra theory and it’s relevance therapeutically to Reiki (Heck I even wrote a book about it!) I decided to do a little digging…
James Deacon suggests…”The whole concept of chakras is really alien to Japanese healing practices (one – or more – of Takata sensei’s students, it seems, introduced the chakra system into Reiki probably in the late 70’s as a frame of reference for New-Age oriented westerners”.
However true that may be, it cannot escape our attention that Dr Usui incorporated symbology into the Reiki system that originated in the Vedas, which is where the chakra system is first mentioned. The emotional mental healing symbol in Reiki appears to have originated as one of the seed syllables in the original vedas. Later in it’s evolution it became known as Kiriku. ‘A spiritual emblem’ of both the Paradise Buddha Amida Nyorai and the Bodhisatva Senju Kannon, better known as The Goddess of Mercy and Purity, Kwan Yin.
Hiroshi Doi, founder of Gendai Reiki Ho who supposedly is a member of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, and studied with the former Gakkai chairperson Mrs. Kimiko Koyama, includes Chakra activation.. ‘Chakra Kassei Kokyu-ho’ in (First level). It sounds impressive but in all honesty the technique is little more than a mindfulness meditation on the heart, root and crown chakras. He was also trained under the tutelage of Barbara Ray up to second degree in the radiance technique. Barbara Ray claimed to teach the complete intact seven degrees of Reiki in it’s entirety given to her exclusively by Hawayo Takata in 1980. Having looked at the content of her teachings however, there is no mention of the Chakra System so we can only assume Hiroshi Doi did not get it from her.
Unfortunately when it comes to finding out what really constitutes original Usui Reiki, we are somewhat in the dark. There are so many claims to authentic and original Reiki systems that do not really stand up to scrutiny. This situation is further complicated by modern Japanese Reiki systems like Gendai Reiki Ho and Jikiden coming onto the scene and claiming to be the real deal. In the end I find myself continuously returning to The Western Lineage of Reiki as taught by Chujiro Hayashi and Hawao Takata and realising it has just as much right to claim it’s authenticity.
In as much as Reiki is an evolution of spiritual practices and methods to transform and heal, The Chakra system fits, albeit slightly uncomfortably for some, right into the central theme of self development and is a fantastic representation of human subtle anatomy. The hand positions given to us by Chujiro Hayashi follow naturally the seven energy points and even the Ryoho Shishin fits when laid on top of the chakra system.
The use of Chakras is now widespread in western lineages of Reiki and I respect those that choose not to adopt these ideas. However in a similar way, some Reiki systems dismiss the inclusion of hand positions claiming them not to be authentic Usui Reiki and therefore not of value. I would argue that any seasoned practitioner of Reiki knows that the hand positions like the Ryoho Shishin are merely a guide and once a student has developed sufficient sensitivity they are no longer required.
My own research into the chakras and the relationship between the psychological and emotional characteristics of disease has helped me as a therapist become more accurate and consistent in my practice. I view the body-mind relationship to disease as the starting point of any therapy and Reiki is the method I use to transform and dissolve the mechanisms that hold the disease in place.
The concept of chakras may be alien to Japanese healing practices and can easily be dismissed as New Age but in reality they reveal to us deep knowledge and wisdom written by seers and mystics many thousands of years ago.
For anyone wishing to read more on the psychosomatic relationship between mind and body I recommend Eastern Body Western Mind by Anodea Judith