The Five Life Precepts - Principles to Live by

The main objective of Reiki is not only to heal illness, but it also amplifies innate abilities, balances the spirit, makes the body healthy, and so helps to achieve happiness.  The Reiki Principles called Gokai in Japanese are the main tool for transformation besides the hands-on healing.  The Precepts are known as 'The secret method of inviting happiness'.  These 5 Principles always starts 'Just for Today' or 'For Today Only', which should be considered the 6th Precept and infact perhaps the most important of all the Precepts, bringing us into the 'Now'.  You may see the Principles written in many different ways, but they all mean the same thing. Your intent is what is really important.  The Precepts were not the original Precepts, small changes were made for them to be suitable for everyone.


For Today Only

Do not anger

Do not worry

Be humble

Be true to your way and your being

Be compassionate to yourself and others


These may look simple but there is a much deeper meaning to these Life Principles. The Following were said to be Usui's original Principles


Do not bear anger - For anger is illusion

Do not be worried - Fear is a distraction

Be true to your way and your being

Show compassion to yourself and others because this is the centre of Buddahood


The 5 Life Principles Translated into Japanese

(as explained by Frank Arjava Petter)


For Today Only

Kyo Daki Wa


Don't get Angry

O Ka Ru Na


Don't Worry

Shinpai Su Na (worry not)


Be Grateful

Kansha Shite (the 't' is silent)


Work Hard

Gou(w) Hage Me


Be Nice To Humans

Hito Ni Shin Set Suni (Humans to Nice to)


(Changes in Translation)


If we look a little deeper at The 5 Precepts of the system of Reiki we will see that they were not intended to be understood as a rigid set of rules.  They are an appeal for us to thoroughly scrutinize our own behaviours and give up senseless habits.  The Precepts are meant to provoke and stimulate us into thinking more about our life.  And they are Koans, spiritual riddles, like the Zen masters have used for centuries in order to help students put the rational mind which always wants to control everything down to the last detail, but actually knows very little about life, in its place. 


For Today only - Is about living in the 'Now', for this is all we have for certain, is moments of 'Here and Now'.  All choices are made 'Now' in this very moment and it is only ever this moment that is really truly important.  So let go of the past, it's gone and you can't change it and don't worry about the future it hasn't happened yet and it may not.  Live in the 'Now'.


Do Not Anger

The first principle deals with the power of aggression, the vital life force that has its home in the root chakra.  Mikao Usui would say “Don’t get angy!” When properly understood this message can open up a vast source of power.  Anger is the way in which aggressive energy expresses itself when it is short-circuited, meaning that it is independent of constructive action.  When we feel anger, we should try to understand this feeling and clarify the reason for which the higher self has sent this powerful energy to the body and mind at this exact moment in our life.  Then we should determine how this power can be meaningfully translated into actions.  Anger or annoyance usually stops as soon as the hidden intention of the energy that triggered it, is turned into a meaningful action.  Then the underlying need experiences fulfilment.


A helpful aid in this process is the Reiki Gassho meditation, which was rediscovered in Mikao Usui’s writings and has a special connection with the practical application of the Precepts. Every moment spent in a meditative state is naturally time well spent.  However, the deeper-reaching effects and spiritual experiences can only likely be expected after practicing daily for at least 30 minutes on a regular basis.


In this deep spiritual healing process, it is enormously important to discover the actual cause of the anger.  We should reflect upon what we truly fear – since fear is always connected with anger – and which (perhaps suppressed and unloved) parts of our own personality have risen more intensely into our conscious mind through what we have experienced. 


When you work with this life principle, it can heal you and develop your root chakra.  The power of this energy centre is enormous and the challenges great.  Summarized into one question, it says


“Would you like to continue to be angry and complain about others – or do you want to energetically get to work on turning the truth, beauty, and goodness in this world into reality and thereby let the divine work through you to your best knowledge and conscience?


This life principle can set the power free upon which the subsequent life principles depend in order to function for us.

Do Not Worry - Worries Can Be Harmonised, Just Like Anger

In a certain respect, worries are similar to anger.  Meditation, contemplation, intuition, conversations can all help us find the actual, real and personal reasons for the worry.  This allows us to translate the basic energy caught in the worries and fears into constructive, meaningful actions, which will ultimately free us.


Worries show that an aspect (usually unconscious) of a human being, feels it is losing control over significant things often necessary to survival.  In other words: The subconscious mind believes that things could soon become quite dangerous, painful, or somehow uncomfortable, and doesn’t know how to remedy this situation at the moment.  Then we feel worried.  But we can solve this problem when we know exactly what we fear.  In most cases, in the light of consciousness the cause of the fear turns out to be unreal or can be dissolved with a little bit of effort.  So we can look in the dark corner and notice that no monster is lurking there, effectively defend ourselves, negotiate, or positively influence the situation in some way.  We all have our own answers, we just need to search ourselves for them.


Reiki can help us in a particularly effective way when we direct our attention to the worries, giving ourselves 3 to 5 minutes of Reiki at each of the 6 lower main Chakras.  While doing this, the hands should not touch the body but remain at a distance of one or two handbreadths from the body.  As a result, Reiki can more easily reach the respective energy centres.


The Precepts are dealing with the power of fear.  If we take a closer look at fear, we can see that it is just a guardian, but many people make it the ruler of their lives.  When fear is put in its proper perspective, the power of the root chakra is no longer suppressed.  Its energy becomes available to us on our personal path.  Fear tells us: “Stay where you are! Don’t move! Make yourself smaller than you actually are!”  Reiki tells us: “Recognise your strengths! Get up and walk your path in your own way"!  Set a good example for others, especially those who are weaker, and help them find their personal path.


Working with this heals important areas of the 2nd and 3rd Chakras.


Be Humble - Being humble and grateful connects you to the rest of creation

Being Humble and grateful means recognition of everything that is given to us, no matter how small or large it is.  Nothing that life gives us is a foregone conclusion.  

When we are thankful and humble, we acknowledge the greatness of the creative force.  We also acknowledge the divine spark of its power, which lives within every human being and lets our heart-beat, allowing the body and mind to live.


Being humble and grateful creates basic trust.  Gratitude sharpens the sense for understanding divine influences.  In the Chakra theory, this effect can be associated with the sixth chakra at the centre of the forehead.  This life principle helps us avoid ending up in isolation.  Only those who are conscious of the connectivity of all life can truly perceive the divine.  No matter who we are, where we come from, and how things are going for us at this moment – we can call upon the grace of the creative force, use whatever is necessary, and start improving our situation.  We should be attentive, and give thanks for what we receive.  If we accept this from our hearts, we will understand that the right things will always come to us at the right time.


Be Honest in your Work - Work hard with your Reiki practices

Working on ourselves helps us overcome stubborn resistance and become familiar with our own powers.  A spiritual calling can actually only be translated into reality by means of quite difficult, long-term work.  But no-one said that this work shouldn’t be fun and personally meaningful.


Work in the spiritual sense is primarily and foremost work on ourselves.  Only when we do it in the proper way – and incessantly – can we increasingly open up to our divine self.  It is important to make genuine rest and relaxation possible through this hard work on ourselves.  In this fast paced world of ours, people are finding it more and more difficult to find the time to simply relax and have fun.


Here, hard work means making the serious effort to walk the path of the divine, in the here and now and not just twice weekly at a meditation class for two hours. This healing path naturally also includes relaxation.  Yin and Yang can be found everywhere – even here.  Sometimes this is also written as 'Be true to your way and your being'


This life principle reminds us to truly get involved in life, not waste our time.  There is nothing wrong with having hobbies, spending time with friends.  Yet, it is important not to let ourselves go too much.  Our time on Earth is precious since we can only learn and translate certain things into reality here on this Planet.


Be Compassionate to Yourself and Others - The Challenge of Practicing Spiritual Love

Treating each other lovingly is perhaps the hardest challenge of all.  Why?  True spiritual love wants the best for everyone involved – not the well-meant but ultimately superficial adaptation of behaviour.  Treating each other lovingly can mean a smile or hug at the right moment, a good word or deed carried out with heart and understanding.  But love can also be the determination, clarity, and strength of holding people back from running headlong into disaster until they can come to their senses and calmly make a genuine decision for their future path.


Spiritual teachers are often called upon to prove their love for their students by showing them their blocks and shadows, their self-abnegation (The setting aside of self-interest for the sake of others or for a belief or principle) and lack of love – and what can be used to heal these obstacles so that the path to the light opens up.  They do not always appear to be “nice” to their students in this process – sometimes even quite unpleasant.  However, only those who truly love will take a risk for someone else’s benefit.  And this risk also includes possibilities such as not being liked at times.


This life principle calls upon us to recognise and honour the divine in others.  When we perceive the creative force in everything and learn to respect its workings, we can take one step further and recognise ourselves in the many mirrors and feel the flame of life within ourselves.  We all belong together since we are all ultimately in the same boat.  Time and again, we should reflect upon what this means and understand it on a more profound level.