12/21/2018 Frans Stiene and Anya van Til

​In simple terms, Shugyo means to cultivate. The system of Reiki is exactly the same: it is a system about cultivating.
But what are we cultivating? We are cultivating our own inner great bright light, our true self.
Thus we can say that the essence of both Shugyo and the system of Reiki is about cultivating, laying bare, our true self, our essence.
But let’s explore Shugyo and see how it relates even more to the system of Reiki.

修行 Shugyo – an act done with body, mind, speech to lay bare your innate nature
According to the Dictionary of Buddhism, it also means to keep the precepts.

Shu 修 discipline, conduct oneself well, to master, contemplation, to practice repeatedly.

Gyo 行 journey, connect, act, to practice, exercises aimed to lay bare your true nature, to walk, to continue, move.

But if we explore the iconography of the kanji of Shugyo, we also can discover a deeper metaphoric meaning of how to conduct or master oneself and what the journey is about.
So let’s take a look at the kanji of 

Shu 修
In the character Shu we witness a human being holding a stick. The three strokes represent the hairs of a broom. Above that is a character representing a hand holding or using something. So we have “a person dusting something”.
However, the holding hand has 4 additional meanings:
End or completion
Shackles (ignorance and delusion)
Again and again

Integrating these definitions brings us to an understanding of Shu as this:
“The practice of accepting and embracing one’s completion in each moment while being willing to endlessly practice meditation as the dusting off one’s constantly stirring ignorance and delusion.“
– Andrew Shugyo Bonnici

Gyo 行
Here we see two footprints, left and right. In this way we see the ”walk” or “journey” part. But we also see the crossing of horizontal and vertical lines representing crossroads. Every crossroad is a moment of decision making; we decide which way to go so that we can keep on walking.
“Thus “gyo” can be understood as making a passionate decision to wakefully practice the journey of our life moment by moment for each moment is not only the crossroads of our whole life, but also the crossroads of life and death”
Andrew Shugyo Bonnici

Think about that for a moment. Doesn’t this resemble the Reiki precepts?
Embracing one’s completion – being true to your being/showing compassion to yourself and others (True/Buddha Nature). 
Being willing to endlessly practice (meditation) – work hard/be honest/be grateful. 
Dusting off one’s constantly stirring ignorance and delusion – do not anger and do not worry.

There also is a definition of Shugyo which reads like this:
“Shugyo leads to the refinement and deepening of our humanness, the compassionate integration of our personality, and the embodied unification of self, others and nature as a Whole…. Shugyo leads the practitioner toward serenity, confidence in oneself, trust in this only moment, compassion toward self and others and a deep awareness of one’s meaningful place in the infinite Universe….Thus, Shugyo is a Way of Endless Life Integration.”
– Andrew Shugyo Bonnici

Such a definition takes the ordinary understanding of the practice of the system of Reiki as a healing modality and expands it to unlimited width. Practicing the system of Reiki as a “Way of Endless Life Integration” inspires us to instantly and undoubtedly uncover our Light and to shine bright, as we are the expression of the infinite Universe.

Shugyo is a practice which does not have beginning or end. One could say it is an endless evolutionary process. This endless evolutionary progress can be seen within the kanji of Reiki as well. Within this kanji we see boiling water (cooking rice) rising up as steam and falling down as the rain again. This process is nothing different from the the circle of life itself. It is ongoing, with no beginning and end.

Thus both shugyo and Reiki point toward the beginningless and endless process of change/crossroads where we have to adapt to the situation/form in order to be able to move on. How do we move on? We make decisions to be true to our true self, which in itself is observing the precepts.

When we see that the system of Reiki, just like Shugyo, has no beginning and no end, then we set ourselves free of hope and fear. Hope that we will attain something, fear that we might fail.

The practice itself is in everything; this is why we have the word “today” within the precepts. From a Japanese perspective, “today” really means that in every action we do today we embody the precepts. Hence, in each moment, our practice is in everything. By looking at it from this point, life becomes Shugyo, life becomes Reiki.

Shugyo is a different way of practice from what we do in the west. Often in the west we are like a small little bird which is being fed by its mum; the bird opens its mouth and gets fed. Often we are being told what to do, what to believe in, and how to do it etc… But in reality Shugyo is taking your own steps. Like a grown up bird who is going to gather its own food, it is exploring, searching and eating. It is investigating, contemplating, and integrating. So we can say that Shugyo is our daily life. Shyugo is therefore applying the precepts in our daily life, in all we do; it is living a life of compassion for ourselves and others.

Thus through Shugyo we learn how to polish ourselves, and through this polishing we can learn how to embody the precepts in our daily life. This in turn will help you to deal with all the difficult issues which we come across in our daily life. Or in other words, through endless practice we start to keep the precepts in our mind during everything we do, no matter if it is walking, working, talking, sleeping etc… 

This is Shugyo; this is practicing the system of Reiki.

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