Mt. Kurama Memoir

by Karen Olson Leonard, Ph.D.

Reading articles about Mt. Kurama and Dr. Usui, in the Fall 1997 "Reiki News" ("Discovering the Roots of Reiki" by William Rand and Laurelle Shanti Gaia and "Reiki, Who's in Charge?" by Frank Arjava Petter) planted seeds in my mind that would later connect me to the deep roots of Reiki.

While in Japan two years later as a member of The New York Pops orchestra, I found myself experiencing vibrant and fragrant air that was full of energy and the scent of ancient cedar trees. I remembered the vivid description in "Reiki News" of Mt. Kurama, north of Kyoto, which is where Dr. Usui spent time looking for guidance and was given the Reiki symbols. I would be alone for this journey, trusting Reiki to be my guide. Being by myself afforded me the peaceful freedom to deeply experience the immeasurable aesthetic treasures of Mt. Kurama that words seem unable to describe.

On this amazing day, at the sacred tree near the top of the mountain, I met a Japanese family that invited me to join them. They were full of light, happiness and joy. Even though only one of the group of three adults and one child spoke a few English words, we managed to communicate beyond words. I asked if they had heard of Reiki and learned that the two women were Reiki Masters! We stopped at each small mountainside temple and pagoda and chanted, sang, and performed various rituals. It was such a joyous trip, singing, dancing, clapping and chanting together down the mountainside.

On the way down the mountain, the sun (light) was setting and shone on us very powerfully. Later, a full moon (love) was shining brightly in the gray sky. After a session of chanting, snow drizzled on us. It was quite phenomenal because it was not snowing anywhere else and it did not continue. One of my companions motioned to the sky and indicated that it was a symbol of the universe coming down to us on earth (power). The symbol of water as purification was also present as you could hear the mountain stream siphoned through the troughs placed high above the shrines, in addition to the frequent pools that were created for washing hands and drinking.

As we continued to travel down the mountain, the ritual of ringing a large gong while offering prayers reverberated throughout the forest. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for cherished memories and hope to find ways to share the energy from Mt. Kurama that will always be with me. The beauty of nature gave all of my senses bursts of powerful energy that invited invigorating life changes. The presence of the Reiki symbols could be experienced in the air, water, sun and moon that "spoke" a language that was beyond the limits of words. They communicated a deep sense of peace, love, balance, hope, joy and beauty. By being in the presence of this breathtaking beauty, I felt a sense of wonderment at somehow being a part of this balanced plan of nature.

The power of the beauty vibrated and affected me like the strongest Reiki session that had no ending. The memories themselves recreate the experience and reconnect me to the powerful life-force energy of Reiki. At Mt. Kurama, the symbols were deeply felt on an emotional level, with a sense of peace and power penetrating beyond the limits of time or place. I felt as if I had truly experienced the origins of the Reiki symbols within the nature and energy there.

It is my hope that everyone could experience the beauty and power of Mt. Kurama. It seems that everyone who experiences Reiki energy actually shares the spirit and essence of this special place. In order to increase this energetic connection to the roots of Reiki, one could use the distant symbol to connect with the beauty of Mt. Kurama and experience its essence. Perhaps this is the original and genuine virtual experience.