The Book of Genesis relates that, following the death of Sarah, Abraham remarried and fathered more children:
To the sons of the concubines that Abraham had, he gave gifts. He sent them away from Isaac, his son, while he was still alive. He sent them eastward to the Land of the East. (Genesis 25:6)
This passage has led some to claim that Eastern religious practices and healing methods are based on the ancient teachings of Abraham–the “gifts” that he sent to “the Land of the East.”
However, the Genesis passage clearly states that Abraham wanted to send his younger sons “away from Isaac.” As Isaac was the inheritor of his holy mission to spread the knowledge of the One God, Abraham sent away his foreign sons–who practiced idolatry–to prevent them from influencing Isaac.
Even if the spiritual practices of the East do indeed originate with the sons of Abraham–which is highly doubtful–they are contaminated with idolatry and are considered spiritually impure. As noted earlier, mixing anything that is spiritually impure with that which is spiritually pure has negative results and can be seriously harmful, both physically and spiritually.
This is not to say that there is no wisdom in foreign spiritual practices. Indeed, it is true that everything in this world–including evil–would not exist if it did not have a spark of “holiness” trapped within it from which it draws life energy. It is our mission in this world to liberate these fallen sparks scattered throughout reality, especially in the garb of impure spiritual practices.
The sages teach, “Believe wisdom from a non-Jewish source, [but] do not believe Torah from a non-Jewish source.” The wisdom of which the sages speak refers to the holy sparks of truth that are trapped in the secular arts, the sciences, and foreign spiritual practices and philosophies. Of course, before the wisdom can be believed, the holy sparks must be liberated from their shells of impurity. All “belief” must concur with the belief in the One God of Israel and His Torah. Liberating the sparks involves identifying the true source of the trapped wisdom. That true source is the Torah.
The Torah is a complete way of life. “Do not believe Torah from a non-Jewish source,” means that there is no true way of life, for any people or individual, other than that of the Torah. The Torah of Israel, which is the blueprint of all creation, contains the full, rectified way of life for a Jew, based on 613 commandments, and for non-Jews, based on 7 commandments. The sparks of wisdom present in non-Jewish sources must be taken under the wings of the faith of Israel; they must return to their true source–the Torah.
The names of all foreign practices and philosophies refer to their would-be “Torah.” As such, it is forbidden to adopt such a name, even in an apparently Jewish context. As mentioned above, one must not practice or even speak of Jewish reiki, Jewish yoga, Jewish tai chi, or the like. A name carries a special power and is a source of confusion. This is most dangerous and is strictly forbidden, because linking the Torah to a name rooted in idol worship or even in secular philosophy, turns its power to evil. As noted earlier, only harm can come from such “mixing.”
Taking symbols or images from these sources is also extremely dangerous. For example, the Japanese symbols in reiki are definitely tools of idol worship and should not be used. A symbol is like a name; it carries with it impure energy. It is not like a point or spark of wisdom that may be liberated and converted completely to Judaism.