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- Five, Four, or only Three?

[Copyright 2012 James Deacon]

Generally, the majority of Reiki practitioners speak of the “Five Principles”
– and the Japanese term most commonly used to refer to the Principles: 'gokai' [
gokai kanji], reflects this.

(The 'go-' [go] part of the term means: 'five'.)

However, some people have suggested that in reality there are only four Principles.
Other people have suggested that there are only three.

Those who view the Principles as being only four in number claim that what we commonly think of as the third and fourth Principles should be read as one single statement – something along the lines of:
“Do your work with appreciation”.

Those who consider the Principles to be only three in number claim that, in addition to combining the third and fourth Principles, we should also read what we commonly think of as the first and second Principles as one single statement, along the lines of:
“Just for today, anger not, worry not.” *

Certainly, the now-ubiquitous Japanese phrasing of the Principles - commonly prefaced with the words: “shōfuku no hihō, nanbyō no reiyaku” ("the secret method of inviting blessings, the spiritual medicine of many illnesses”) could indeed allow for such possibilities.

However, there is another, somewhat differently-phrased Japanese version of the Reiki Principles, dating from 1927, which most certainly does not.

In the inscription on the Memorial Monument which stands to the side of the Usui family tomb in the graveyard at the Saihoji Temple, Tokyo, the Reiki Principles are described in a way which unequivocally identifies them as being five in number.**



The Five Reiki Principles as described on the Usui Memorial


*  These individuals claim that the three statements: “Just for today, anger not, worry not. Do your work with appreciation. Be kind to people.” should be referred to as gainen [gainen kanji] i.e. 'concepts', rather than as kai [kai kanji] - principles, precepts, admonitions, or remonstrances.

** The Memorial inscription also clearly uses the term gokai to refer to the Principles.

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