This week, June 21st in the northern hemisphere we celebrate the Summer Solstice. The Earth is tilted 23.4’on it’s axis and depending on the time of year, is oriented either toward or away from the Sun.
On the Summer Solstice the Sun appears to stand still in our skies (Which is the meaning of solstice in Latin) and just like a sunflower, the Earth has its face pointed towards the Sun for the longest day of the year. Even though after the solstice, the days begin to shorten toward the autumn Equinox, on this day throughout the world people celebrate the arrival of summer.
The Sun takes on great significance in Japan. The name Japan means ‘Sun Origin’ or the land of the rising sun and their National Flag is a red disc on a white background symbolising the Sun. The earliest record of this flag being used is by emperor Mommu in 701 AD. In Buddhist mythology, the Great Sun Buddha Mairavairocana is regarded as “The Great God Who Shines in Heaven” and in Japan the worship of the Sun Buddha comes in several forms. Tendai and Shingon Buddhist worship Dainichi Nyorai (The Great Illuminator) and in Shintoism, The Deity Amaterasu (The Sun Goddess) is worshipped. All these Deities relate to the same ‘Supreme Deity’ through various branches of Eastern mythology and mention of The Sun God can also be found throughout the world in many forms.
In Reiki we are told a story of Dr Usui receiving ‘Enlightenment’ after his 21 day retreat and the location of this event Mt Kurama is seen as the birth place of Reiki. Dr Usui included the ‘master symbol’ into his practice to represent Sonten which is the living or supreme soul of the universe. Sonten is glorious light or great shining light which is the meaning of the master symbol and it is important that we receive this symbol when we have arrived at a point in our journey when we are ready to be enlightened.
The journey of Reiki and the symbolism contained within the practice can be seen as a development towards this goal of self discovery, each step having significance on our journey towards self enlightenment. Shining light into the shadow aspects of ourselves and illuminating them helps us to overcome and accept them. Ultimately I believe Dr Usui was revealing to us through the practice of Reiki that we are, each one of us, the great shining light and through the practice of Reiki we come to recognise our own Buddha Nature.
To celebrate the Summer Solstice and The Great God Who Shines In Heaven, The Sun Buddha, I wish to share a sequence of Chi Gong that can be used to connect yourself to the Sun and bring the light down into your hearts to then shine out to the whole world. You will utilise the Sun Mudra below.
- The Sun Mudra