It can be confusing for students when they read about the wide range of Reiki courses now available especially on the internet to choose one that is best for them.
Where Does Reiki Come From?
No-one knows for sure where Reiki came from; most people attribute it to Dr Mikao Usui who developed a system of healing which he practiced and taught after his mystical experience on Mt Kurama.
After being introduced to the West, Usui’s system of natural healing has evolved over time and current practices are now more organised and structured than the simple, intuitive method introduced by Dr Usui.
Some of what is classed as “traditional” Reiki can actually be attributed to Mrs Takata who introduced Reiki to the West and who added her own stamp on the system she was originally taught. To consider traditional Reiki, it is also helpful to compare Reiki with the spiritual practices Dr Usui taught in his day.
Because as well as Reiki, Dr Usui taught a spiritual practice, a form of Buddhist Dhamma which is separate from Reiki itself.
Reiki was a subsidiary in a way to these practices. Reiki was actually devised by Dr Usui as a type of ‘paramedic’ discipline to be used by the Japanese Armed Forces. Dr Usui’s spiritual teachings came from a lifetime’s work but Reiki type healing was in fact only taught during the last few months of Dr Usui’s life.
Dr Usui’s Reiki
Dr Usui’s spiritual practices were taught from person to person and tailored for the individual. These spiritual teachings are not a major feature of Reiki although Reiki offers itself as a spiritual discipline.
Dr Usui described his spiritual teachings as “a method to achieve personal perfection” and the most important teaching before anything else was taught was meditation. These teachings were given over a period of time, often many years, depending on the student’s spiritual needs and ability. No certificates or medals were awarded. This was a personal journey, the rewards for the individual alone! These teachings were separate from Reiki.
The system of Reiki as it was originally taught consisted basically of five Elements:
Gokai (Reiki Principles or the Code of practice for Reiki practioners)
For today only: do not anger, do not worry, be humble, be honest in your work, be compassionate with yourself and others
Kokyou Ho (Breathing methods)
Involving meditation and exercises that help develop your relationship with Earth energy
Tenohira (Structured hand healing)
Learning to heal self and others physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually
Jumon and Shirushi
(mantras and symbols)
Reiju (giving or receiving of spiritual blessings)
The student receiving attunement from a Reiki Master that connects them to their true nature and provides them with the energy they need to progress on their spiritual journey
Symbols and Initiations
The traditional system of Reiki includes the three levels of Reiki (as taught by Hawayo Takata) or four levels (as taught in the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai); three symbols are taught in level 2 and one symbol is taught at level 3. Traditional Reiki Initiations are divided into four initiations for level 1, three initiations for level 2 and one initiation at the Master/Teacher level.
Dr Usui did not use symbols himself. He developed the ‘symbols’ later to help his students focus. As Reiki has been passed down from Master to student, new forms of Reiki have developed.