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Wisdom from Zen: Hakuin’s Butter Meditation

Article by Gregory Peters

Meditation is a powerful technique for increasing our connection to the healing currents of energy that flow through all of existence. With the core teachings of Mikao Usui we have a unique blend of techniques that show similarities to other traditions from history, for example the Qi-Gong energy work of Daoism, Zen Buddhist meditation, and even some of the kundalini energy work explored in such diverse traditions as Hindu Kriya Yoga.

Today, Reiki is thriving and there is an abundance of teachings, traditions, techniques, theory and more that explore this rich, vibrant healing community that has spanned the globe (and some may say, the universe!). Reiki has indeed grown by leaps and bounds, which is a testament to the system as a living and growing life that continues to evolve, change, and adapt. In many ways Reiki is helping to evolve the life wave of the planet itself, and as Reiki practitioners we are linked in an unbroken chain of initiates that are conscious agents of this life force.

Hakuin Ekaku was a highly influential Buddhist monk of the Rinzai Zen tradition. Living in the 1700s, he became famous for his discussions of post-Satori work and for helping to revive the Rinzai tradition, with the restoration of its now famous koans taking prominence again in the transmission and teaching of these spiritual and philosophical principles.

In his spiritual autobiography Wild Ivy, Hakuin discusses his working with several traditions and masters, and how he would encounter students who seemed to be falling sick from nervous disorders. Hakuin himself went though an intense period of sickness, and would refer to it as the “Zen sickness”. Some of the symptoms included lack of appetite, inability to concentrate, pale complexion, and overall restlessness and inability to sleep.

In seeking out a cure for this sickness, Hakuin encountered an old wise man, possibly a Taoist, Master Hakuyu, who diagnosed the condition as an imbalance in the body and mind of the elements. In order to address this imbalance he taught Hakuin a healing meditation practice that would re-balance the energy of the body and mind, and bring it back into alignment with the elements. With such balance restored, the mind and body would again return to a state of optimum health, energy, and mental clarity.

Hakuin would call this method the Butter Meditation. It is a powerful, yet simple, visualization that we Reiki practitioners can incorporate into our practice. The technique as described by Hakuin:

“Imagine a lump of soft butter, pure in color and fragrance and the size and shape of a duck egg, is suddenly placed on the top of your head. As it begins to slowly melt, it imparts an exquisite sensation, moistening and saturating your head within and without. It continues to ooze down, moistening your shoulders, elbows, and chest; permeating lungs, diaphragm, liver, stomach and bowels; moving down the spine through the hips, pelvis and buttocks.”

This alone is an incredibly powerful and healing meditation that we can easily incorporate into daily practice. However, as Reiki practitioners we can enhance this visualization, for our own self-healing sessions as well as for enhancing Reiki healing on others.

Here is one suggestion:

Visualize Dai Ko Myo in a sphere of white light above your head. See this melt, exactly like the lump of butter, slowly dripping down and saturating your entire body as before. Feel the warmth of Dai Ko Myo being absorbed through your skin, glistening with healing warm radiance. Repeat with the other Reiki symbols, in the order of Cho Ku Rei, Sei Hei Ki, and Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen. With each symbol, repeat the process of seeing and feeling it melt all over your body, and seeping inside your skin, infusing your blood with the radiant healing warmth. Feel each symbol dissolving into you, warming your blood and infusing your entire body with healing.

You can then seal the entire meditation by tracing Raku in the air, with a feeling like sealing a package – although in this case, the package is yourself or the person you are performing this Reiki healing on. You have hermetically sealed the healing energy, so that it will continue to work its way throughout the body and do its healing work.

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Gregory Peters
Gregory Peters

Gregory Peters is an Usui Ryoho Reiki Master and Teacher, Esoteric author and traveler. He has over 20 years of experience in Western and Eastern metaphysical systems, and enjoys traveling to sacred sites around the world, exploring spiritual practices from many cultures and traditions.
You can connect with him on Twitter @gpeters418 and Instagram www.instagram.com/ophidianvibrations

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