Base your practice on the Reiki precepts
It’s interesting that whereas in the Judaeo-Christian tradition we are given a list of things that we shouldn’t do: “thou shalt not kill” etc, in Buddhism, followers are given a list of precepts or rules to live by that seem to be framed in more of a positive way.
And in Mikao Usui’s system, he also provided his students with a simple, or apparently simple, set of precepts to follow, which seemed to be a way of distilling the essence of Tendai Buddhist principles into a form that anyone could understand. His five precepts have a long history, coming from a Tendai sect of Shugendo that Usui was in contact with, and this is what they are:
Just for today
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be honest in your dealings with people
Be compassionate to yourself and others
The most important precept
For me, the first phrase is the most important, the “just for today…”.
For me, this encapsulates all that follows it.
“Just for today” means being in a mindful state, fully engaged in the moment. If you are fully engaged with the present moment then you are in a state that is free from anger and worry, which are based on either dwelling on the past or imagining the future.
So “Just for today” means being in a state that is free from anger and free from worry. We don’t want to distract ourselves through fear and we can remind ourselves that all is illusion.
We can simply exist in the moment.
And in that mindful space, you have the room to be compassionate, compassionate and forgiving towards other people and compassionate and forgiving towards yourself, being mindful means being in a centred, nurturing space where you can embrace honesty (and being honest with yourself is as important as being honest towards others) a space where you can truly experience the many blessings that you have in your life.
It all stems from, “Just for today”.
The very heart of Usui’s system
These five precepts are at the very heart of Usui’s system and it was said that as much spiritual development could come through following the precepts as could come through carrying out the energy work.
So how can we work with the precepts?
Well we need to remind ourselves of them on a regular basis, and some people will say them out loud each day, perhaps as part of their routine of daily energy exercises and meditations. Maybe you could recite them in your head.
But it’s not enough to just know what they are: the precepts need to infiltrate themselves into our daily lives, our thoughts, feelings and our behaviour. And we can achieve this in a couple of ways…
Firstly, we can ponder a particular precept, examining it and how it might have affected our lives, had we lived our lives by that precept in the past. How would we have behaved in past situations, how would we have reacted differently, or dealt with people, if we had embodied that particular precept?
- What would we have felt, what would be have been thinking in different past situations if we were living that precept fully?
- How would things have gone differently or been better for us and maybe for other people?
- How would that precept have affected your relationships or your priorities?
Do some mental ‘re-runs’ of past events and see how they would have been different had you been following that precept.
Doing this can provide you with some useful insights into how a particular precept can make your life flow more smoothly.
Secondly, what you can do is to imagine some future situations or scenarios, events where, based on what you have discovered about your past, you can imagine things going differently in the future.
Bring to mind typical future events or scenes which would benefit from the use of that precept, and imagine yourself in that future situation, embodying that precept, and notice how that future event runs its course; notice the differences in the way that you think and feel, become aware of the ways that you are behaving and reacting differently, responding to people differently. Bring to mind clearly the new you who uses that precept as part of their daily life.
Click here: Rehearse your future life with that precept.
If you do this over a number of days, you will have a very clear idea of how the precepts could have changed past events in a positive way, and a solid understanding of how the precepts can be used by you in the future in different circumstances and events, how the precepts will work their way through your life, changing things for the better in many ways.
The precepts are something that we drip-feed into our daily lives, a work-in-progress where, over time, they become more and more a part of our basic blueprint.
We don’t have to be perfect, though: we don’t have to follow the precepts every waking moment and then beat ourselves up because we didn’t achieve that. We are allowed to be human, we are allowed to not be perfect, which is all about embodying compassion and forgiveness for ourselves.
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