招福の秘法 Shôfuku no hihô (The secret of inviting happiness through many blessings)
萬病の霊薬 Manbyo no ley-yaku (The spiritual medicine for all illness)
今日大けは Kyo dake wa (For today only:)
怒るな Okolu-na (Do not anger)
心配すな Shinpai suna (Do not worry)
感謝して Kansha shite (Be humble (be grateful))
業をはげめ Goo hage me (Be honest in your work (spiritual work i.e. meditation and spiritual development))
人に親切に Hito ni shinsetsuni (Be compassionate to yourself and others)
朝夕合掌して心に念じ口に唱へよ Asa yû gasshô shite kokorô ni neji kuchi ni tonaeyo (Do gasshô every morning and evening keep in your mind and recite)
心身改善臼井霊気療法 Shin shin kaizen Usui Reiki Ryôhô (Improve your mind and body, Usui Reiki Rhôhô)
肇祖臼井甕男 Chosso Usui Mikao (Usui Reiki Ryôhô Founder Mikao Usui)
What are the Five Precepts?
The five precepts, or gokai as they are called in Japan, are guidelines to aid students in their journey toward spiritual development. Mikao Usui taught them from as early as 1915. The Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai perform gokai sansho, or the chanting of the five precepts three times, at the end of their regular group meetings. The five precepts are the six sentences in the centre of the entire poetic teaching. The teaching consists of an introduction, the five precepts themselves, directions on how and when to use them and what the result of this practice will be. An old Japanese version of the fie precepts was in the top left hand corner of a photo of Mikao Usui that was provided to Frank Arjava Petter by Tsutomu Oishi.
The Five Precepts in Detail
Here is a look at some meanings that may lay behind the five precepts.
The secret of inviting happiness through many blessings
The spiritual medicine for all illness
This first paragraph introduces the ‘secret’. It alludes to spirituality being an instrument to good health. The ‘many blessings’ may be the benefits of the repeated receiving of the attunements. Mikao Usui and the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai performed attunements on a regular basis, believing that many attunements lead to enlightenment. After many years of personal practice and the receiving of the attunement it is understood that the practitioner becomes one with the universe. Another viewpoint may see the practitioner being showered with the blessings that the universe has to offer when practicing the teachings.
For today only:
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be honest in your work
Be compassionate to yourself and others
For today only is a practical sentence to keep the practitioner’s minds focused on the NOW. It is the typical Buddhist stance. By focusing on tomorrow — well, tomorrow never comes. Each moment of life is NOW. If these precepts are practiced NOW then they are being practiced in each and every moment of the practitioner’s life.
If you no longer want to create pain for yourself and others, if you no longer want to add to the residue of past pain that still lives on in you, then don’t created any more time, or at least no more than is necessary to deal with the practical aspects of your life. How to stop creating time? Realise deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.
(Excerpt from The Power of NOW by Echart Tolle)
Do not anger is a basic Buddhist principle. Anger not only hurts those in the practitioner’s vicinity but the practitioner him or her self. It is the antithesis of balance. Once the practitioner is no longer a victim to the senses then focus can energetically be placed on the spiritual path.
Sometimes people feel that anger is useful because it brings extra energy and boldness. When we encounter difficulties, we may see anger as a protector. But though anger brings us more energy, that energy is essentially a blind one. There is no guarantee that the energy will not become destructive or our own interests. Therefore, hatred and anger are not all useful.
(Excerpt from the Power of Compassion by His Holiness the Dalai Lama)
Do not worry as this causes stress at all levels. Stress lowers the immune system opening the practitioner up to the possibility of disease. To worry is a lack of faith. Fearfulness is a reaction that does not trust the universe to provide what is best for the practitioner.
… Shantideva says:
If you can solve your problem,
Then what is the need of worrying?
If you cannot solve it,
Then what is the use of worrying? …
(Excerpt from The Healing Power of the Mind by Tulku Thondup)
Be humble and the practitioner will find this humbleness and thankfulness permeating each and every aspect of his or her life. Thoughts will be of a life of abundance rather than want. The importance of material circumstances will no longer be the gauge that existence is based on.
… True happiness relates more to the mind and heart.
Happiness that depends mainly on the physical pleasures is unstable; one day it’s there, the next day it may not be…
(Excerpt from The Art of Happiness by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler)
Be honest in your work is asking for the practitioner to be truthfully dedicated to spiritual progress by not becoming a ‘spiritual materialist’. There are many words for ‘work’ in Chinese and Japanese. In this case the precepts are referring to spiritual work and spiritual development. ‘Work hard’ should then actually be translated as ‘Work hard at your spiritual development’.
… Understanding the energy consequences of our thoughts and beliefs, as well as our actions, may force us to become honest to a new degree. Lying, either to others or to ourselves, should be out of the question. Genuine, complete healing requires honesty with oneself. An inability to be honest obstructs healing as seriously as the inability to forgive. Honesty and forgiveness retrieve our energy — our spirits — from the energy dimension of ‘the past’.
(Excerpt from Anatomy of the Spirit by Carolyn Myss, Ph.D.)
Be compassionate to yourself and others and the practitioner will remember the connections of all things under the universe.
… numberless times in previous lives we have each fulfilled the role of a mother. The feeling of a mother for a child is a classic example of love. For the safety, protection and welfare of her children, a mother is ready to sacrifice her very life.
(Quote by His Holiness the Dalai Lama)
Mindfulness brings peace to life. This thought reminds human nature that it is compassionate and to understand and experience connectedness. Oneness.
Do gasshô every morning and evening
Keep in your mind and recite
Gasshô is the placing of both palms together in front of the chest. It is a sign of respect for oneself, the action and the energy. This simple act balances both the mind and the body.
Keep these precepts in the mind throughout the day. They are not just for reading but also for living.
Improve your mind and body
Usui Reiki Ryôhô
Founder Mikao Usui
The last three sentences name the motto, they system and its founder.
Precepts in our Daily Life
It is almost impossible to keep focused on these five precepts 100% of the time. Therefore it must not be considered a ‘sin’ when the practitioner is unsuccessful in following each one of them. Buddhist through offers the idea that when a precept is ‘broken’ focus can be placed on forgiveness and kindness towards oneself. This contemplation brings the practitioner full circle back to the original precepts finding the focus, once more, on compassion and the five precepts.
I have had many students from different cultural backgrounds and many of them translated the precepts into their own languages. I’ve heard the precepts in Polish, German, French, Afrikaans, and more. If you have translated the precepts into your own language, please share it with the group.
Another question I receive from time to time is: ‘Is there not a way to have he precepts more positive and in the form of an affirmation?’ Some people don’t like to use ‘don’t’ in the precepts. Affirmations are always in the present, mostly they start with ‘I’ or ‘I am’, affirmations are also always positive. I thought about it long and hard and this is what I came up with:
I am gentle and calm
I am humble and grateful
I focus on spiritual development
I am compassionate to myself and others.
Sources: Personal research and “The Reiki Sourcebook” by Bronwen & Frans Stiene