Do We Really Create A Karmic Debt ....
...when sharing Reiki with others?
I guess it all depends on your point of view.
Initially, as a Usui Shiki Ryoho – Takata styled beginning student I had no point of reference other than what my
Reiki Master taught me and what I read in Fran Brown’s book Living Reiki: Takata’s Teachings.
We read from our manuals that Usui-Sensei was a beggar in the slums of Tokyo, and that he spent seven years healing the sick. After a repeat encounter with a ‘healed’ beggar the story goes he was upset and declared “never again will Reiki be given away – always there will be an exchange of energy”.
I have no idea who the author was that wrote the story I just quoted was a the type written photocopy which didn't attribute who wrote it. In addition to the five Reiki principles we were given two additional precepts: 1) the client need d to ask for Reiki 2) there must be an exchange of energy for services.
As a newbie I wanted to practice Reiki on everyone and everything. Which then made me wonder about precept #1 – the person had to ask. Humm, did that mean I had to wait until they found out I was a Reiki practitioner and then ask me for Reiki. Or did it mean I should somehow work it into casual conversation that I’m a Reiki practitioner and if you would like any I’m here to help. Most times I didn’t say anything as I felt the situation awkward and uncomfortable.
Next was the idea of ‘energy exchange and the creation of a karmic debt’. Holy smack – I didn’t want to do that one either.
It so happened that around the same time I learned Reiki, I became curious about Usui-sensei’s path and what lead him to create his Usui Reiki Ryoho energy system and explore his spirituality. A basic book on Buddhism whet my appetite for more. The more I read the more these two added on precepts really started to bother me.
After connecting with some Reiki folks on the West coast via the internet, I discovered they didn’t have these two added on precepts and so I joyfully tossed them away.
Personally, the Law of Karma (cause & effect) has been tossed around so much does anybody really understand what means? I wonder if it got mixed up with the Christian concept of “you reap what you sow.”
At its root Karma comes from Hindu philosophy – to act. In Sanskrit karma means "volitional action that is undertaken deliberately or knowingly." http://hinduism.about.com/od/basics/a/karma.htm
Just like in the whole healing system called Ayurveda with the three doshas: Kapha, Vata and Pitta there are three aspects to Karma.
“According to the ways of life chosen by a person, his karma can be classified into three kinds. The satvik karma, which is without attachment, selfless and for the benefit of others; the rajasik karma, which is selfish where the focus is on gains for oneself; and the tamasik karma, which is undertaken without heed to consequences, and is supremely selfish and savage.” (ibid)
From my limited understanding of Buddhism, the Greater Vehicle form or Mahayana feels the same way.
…”the intention behind one’s actions is considered of such importance in the Mahayana, all practice is undertaken for the benefit of others.” (The Crystal and the way of Light, Teachings of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu pg 49)
I believe the Japanese styles of Buddhism also follow this train of thought and I would like to think Usui-Sensei felt this way too. I doubt very strongly if Usui waited to be asked by those injured in the September 1923 Kanto earthquake if they needed help or if he was concerned about an energy exchange. We know Usui-Sensei helped because it is written on his memorial stone in the Saihoji temple in the Suginami district of Tokyo.
Therefore, to get back to the original question “Do we really create a Karmic debt when doing Reiki with others” – I’d have to state unequivocally No. No, Karmic debt is involved if our motivation is to benefit others. As per the Hindu definition quoted above “satvik karma, which is without attachment, selfless and for the benefit of others”.
I wonder if the Buddhist term Bodhisattva is derived from the Hindu satvik?
For instance, Avalokit(a)-svara who is an compassionate attendant acolyte of the Amitabha Buddha. Then we have the Goddess of Compassion Guan (Kwan or Kuan) Yin.
While in Japan Senju Kannon is the 1000 armed bodhisattva and her kanji is familiar to Reiki Chuden - Level 2 students.
Nov 9, 2013 revised Feb 2023