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Copyright 2005 James Deacon

They said I must wait at least two or three months before getting my level two attunement? Why? I heard some Reiki Masters will give you level two Reiki straight away after level one, even on the same day?

IMO, so many people (through no fault of their own) seem to have the understanding that it is the length of time you wait that is important - where in reality it is how actively you apply and develop your Reiki during that time.
Sadly, I've known some people who, after receiving the Level 1 attunement, essentially just 'kick back' and focus on the 'waiting' (albeit impatiently!) for 6-12 weeks - not even bothering to self treat, let alone treat others - before taking the Level 2.

Interesting isn't it, but while the concept of waiting about three months between I and 2 comes from Takata-sensei's teaching format, she herself spent about a year (1935-6) in intensive daily practice -working as an Intern at Hayashi-Sensei's clinic - before going on to take level 2
I feel that, in their enthusiasm, too many people see the progression through the levels as some kind of race. It is not.

I have a friend who took level one several years ago, and when I suggested a while back that he might wish to take 'the next step on the journey' and receive the level 2 attunement, his reply was essentially "Not until I've exhausted all the possibilities of Level 1 - ask me again in a decade or so."

And, when it comes to the issue of whether Teachers should even be offering Levels one and two 'back to back', I feel we should keep in mind the following:
In the Q&A section of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Hikkei, the question is asked:
"How can I receive the second degree (Okuden) - what does it involve?"
and Usui-sensei responds:
"Okuden consists of several methods - hatsu rei ho; patting, stroking and pressing hands; distance treatment; healing of habits/propensities; etc. We will give okuden to enthusiastic shoden students who bring good results, are of good character, and behave properly."

To me at least, this would seem to imply that the Teacher must allow time between levels in order to monitor and assess both the student's development and moral behaviour.

Did Mikao Usui work with the energies of the five elements? I have learnt that each of the fingers & thumbs are connected to a different elemental energy, so by using a specific finger you can choose which element to apply?

Usui Sensei would no doubt have been well acquainted with 'Godai' [Japanese Five-element] theory and the understanding that everything in the universe is perceived to be a manifestation of a particular balanced interplay of the five great elemental 'building blocks'.
[In Godai, Earth gives substance; Water holds things together; Fire heats or transforms; Wind/Air is responsible for movement; & Void/Sky/Ether connects with the creative source.]
But if what you are asking is, did he use - or for that matter, should we be looking at using - individual fingers to attempt to isolate and apply a particular elemental energy to ones self/client, then IMO, no.
IMO, contrary to what the developers of some modern reworkings of Reiki (including some supposed 'original' forms) seem to be intent on persuading us of, Reiki is not merely a 'mechanical' energy-therapy.
It is not about the practitioner consciously/willfully attempting to 'tweak' energy balance - as one learns to do in 'entry-level' chi kung healing practice, for example - by attempting to increase/decrease specific elemental energies.

I personally feel we tend to think too much about Reiki in terms of 'energy' (something that we have re-imported back into Japan).
Reiki is - to my mind - more 'Spiritual Phenomenon' than 'Energy manipulation'
Perhaps, rather than trying to 'add more - do more' we should simply be mindful of, as Takata-Sensei put it:
Getting out of the way and simply letting the Reiki happen.

I was shown a relaxation technique where you lie down with your arms and legs positioned so you form a five-pointed star shape and simply feel your energy moving round your body. Is this a Japanese Reiki Technique?

It is certainly not amongst the practices commonly considered Reiki techniques; however, what you describe is essentially the same as a basic taiso (exercise) practice which is used in another Japanese therapeutic modality, known as Seiki Jutsu.
In Seiki Jutsu and other Seiki-based arts, the position is named dainoji because lying in this position, you are not only forming a pentagram, but also the kanji character for the Japanese word dai meaning 'big', 'great' etc ( - as in DKM)

Lying in dainoji, you stretch then relax and breathe from the hara while becoming conscious of your body/energy
The breathing - which should be very relaxed and easy - alternates: in through the nose out through the mouth, then in through the mouth out through the nose, in through the nose out through the mouth, and so on.
Normally you would do this for up to 15 or 20 minutes at a time.

Some people say Reiki was created by Dr Usui, but other people say it was an ancient system of channeled healing?

IMO, while there are indeed many ancient healing systems using channeled energy, and the term Reiki had actually been used in a healing context some years before it became associated with Usui-sensei's healing method, it is certainly the case that the system stemming from Usui-sensei - the system we know as 'Reiki' or 'Reiki Ryoho' - with its own particular physical, symbolic and spiritual protocols, is a creation of the early 20thC.

The inspiration for Usui Reiki Ryoho may indeed have come from pre-existent sources, but the system itself is less than a century old.

OK, so Mikao Usui discovered Reiki meditating on Mt Kurama, but how did he learn how to do the attunements on people? Was he shown the instructions in his vision also? I have not seen this mentioned anywhere, does anyone actually know?

If you keep on looking, you might find someone claiming they know, but I don't think anyone knows for certain.
Firstly, we have to remember that as, far as we can tell, originally, Usui-sensei did not use the ritualised system of 'attunements' (or as they're more properly called: 'initiations' - denju in Japanese) that we have in 'Western Reiki', but rather used a form of reiju. The various modern examples of the reiju process we have now is also probably far more ritualised or formal than the one Usui-sensei used.
[Most of the modern versions of reiju are based on the version devised by Hiroshi Doi in an attempt to replicate the effect of the reiju supposedly used by the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai.]

There is no evidence to suggest that, as part of his 'Kurama experience', Usui-sensei received clear instruction on methods of conferring the Reiki ability on others.

However, we may assume that Usui-sensei would have been well aware that within Mikkyo Buddhism many forms of 'empowerments' or 'spiritual permissions' were used as a means of transferring 'potentials' or 'understandings' from ajari (teacher) to deshi (student). Also in his studies, it is likely that he had come into contact with various methods used by many of the other sects and healing groups which existed in Japan at the time.
In many such groups there existed the concept of sharing or passing on of an ability to others through 'initatorial process'.
It seems quite likely that such initiatorial practices could have influenced the development of Usui-sensei's own reiju.

It is said, for example, that Usui-sensei had connections with a group called the Oomoto-kyo, and that he was a part of the Shinto-influenced Reijutsu movement - both of which organisations made use of a variety of healing methods. Oomoto-kyo working in the main with a spiritual healing rite: the Miteshiro; and Reijutsu working with practices including 'laying-on-of-hands' and spiritual rituals. They also used initiatorial procedures for conferring these healing abilities on others.
It is also the quite possible that Usui-Sensei had received other forms of 'spiritual attunement' or kanjo, as well as instruction in forms of 'healing blessings' such as the kaji, as part of his spiritual quest.

Is it true some Japanese warriors used the Reiki DKM as a sign of protection when entering unfamiliar buildings, and some modernday Japanese businessmen still do this when going to important business deals?

Yes - and no.
There is indeed a common practice [handed down from the or warriors of old] in which one uses 'Dai Ko Myo' as a form of protection, not just on entering buildings, but in any situation where you feel you need protection or an advantage (including in tactical military situations or even business negotiations).
However, this use of 'Dai Ko Myo' has no direct Reiki connection. 

'Dai Ko Myo'
in this context (as used as a sign of protection) should not be confused with the symbol DKM as used in Reiki Ryoho.

It predates the origination of Usui-sensei's system by several centuries.
As mentioned elsewhere in this site, 'Dai Ko Myo', as distinct from its significance as a Reiki 'symbol', has symbolic importance in Japanese Buddhism. It can be seen to represent great 'Enlightened Nature' - Spiritual Radiance - and by extension, is considered by many to be a strong protective force, manifesting as 'great bright light' (or 'great shining light')

The practice employed by various warriors and others, involved the use of the phrase 'dai ko myo' – not in the sense of the Reiki symbol, but rather in the sense of a broader, more commonly used meaning of these words.

This protective practice  involves visualising yourself surrounded by an intense protective aura of 'great bright light' ['Dai Ko Myo']
(- or often 'White Light': Hakko - so the practice could also be spoken of as visualising the 'dai hakko myo' rather than the 'dai ko myo'

There is of course a similar practice commonly to be found in western spiritual/psychic traditions.

The term Dai Ko Myo has also often been used by the 'warrior priests' known as Yamabushi (or Yamafushi), to refer to yet another, far more esoteric, Buddhist symbol - one of great importance - though again, not one with Reiki-significance:
Dai Ko Myo or the 'Great Ko Myo' is another name for the 'Ko Myo Shingon' **- the 'Mantra of Light' (or, Enlightenment Mantra) - which, chanted or visualised, is considered to be a powerful charm of protection as it is believed to encompass the entire power of the Supreme Buddha Dainichi.

Yamabushi (and many others) have used the visualisation of the complex written form of this mantra as a form of protection, and illumination.

However, it must be understood that, while the name dai ko-myo can be applied to the Mantra of Light - the written form of this Mantra is not the three kanji familiar to Reiki practitioners as the Reiki DKM.
The Mantra itself does not even include the words 'dai ko myo'.


*In general usage, the Japanese words 'dai', 'ko', and 'myo' simply mean a great or intensely bright light - any bright light. (The phrase Dai Ko Myo has often appeared on advertizing for Flashlights!)
** Shingon in this context does not refer to the Shingon sect of Buddhism, but simply means 'true word'(i.e mantra)

Sometimes the Ko-myo Shingon is also referred to by the name Dai Ko-myo Shingon (Great Mantra of 'Light')

I was told you couldn't do Reiki without first having a "Reiki attunement", but surely we're all connected to the ULE [Universal Lifeforce Energy], anyone can channel it?

It is certainly possible to do channeled healing without a "Reiki attunement", but that doesn't mean what you are doing is 'Reiki'.
For example, in Therapeutic Touch (which I trained in before ever coming to Reiki) we also work with 'energy' channeled from Source - but this certainly isn't 'Reiki healing'.
IMO, Reiki [if we are to speak of this wonderful therapeutic phenomenon in terms of what is afterall the limited, modernday conceptualisation of ''energy' ] manifests as, for want of a better analogy, a very specific set of 'therapeutic frequencies'.
It is not just 'ULE' - some vague, all-encompassing 'blanket-coverage' energy, but rather, like everything else in existence - be it a pebble, a person, a non-corporeal 'spirit' or the nuclear reaction at the heart of a sun - what we term 'Reiki' is a unique manifestation of a very specific set of qualities existing within the omnipresent
Universal Lifeforce Energy.

Also, the Reiki ability is something very specific, not just 'channeled healing' ability in general.
Yes, Reiki involves the channeling of 'energy', but more than this, Reiki is a very particular way of interacting with that energy, involving a particular set of physiological, symbolic and Spiritual protocols.
As I believe John Harvey Gray put it, Reiki is something that is passed 'Hand to Hand' (i.e. by initiation/attunement) from one person to another - starting with Usui-sensei.
If it doesn't come to you in this way - no matter what you choose to call it - it isn't Reiki

In Diane Stein's book Essential Reiki she teaches something called the nontraditional dai ko mio symbol. Where does this come from?

This 'nontradtional' symbol is actually a version of a symbol known as Dumo, which has been modified to look more like the 'mystic spiral' found in western 'neo-pagan' traditions. The symbol Dumo (aka: the Tibetan Master Symbol) comes from Raku Kei - a Reiki style created by Arthur Robertson who claimed (though there has never been any proof) that Reiki originated in Tibet.

My teacher told me that Reiki comes from a form of shamanism combined with Shinto magic and that the symbols and their jumon all come specifically from Tantric Buddhism, is this true?

This is a rather nice, vague, statement, isn't it? I myself have heard something very similar from a couple of sources, but when I questioned them as to just which form of shamanism and which particular form of Shinto magical practice they were referring to, neither seemed to have the slightest idea.
As to the symbols and jumon: there is indeed a (loose) Buddhist connection - well at least to 3 of the 4 symbols - however, in the case of two out of these three, it is not specifically a Tantric Buddhist connection.
The phrase: Dai Ko Myo was used as a euphemism for Enlightnment in Japanese Buddhism before Tantric Buddhism came to Japan from China.
The 'Nen Shingon' (HSZSN) is also a general (rather than specifically Tantric) Buddhist 'mindfulness reminder' (though also interestingly used as part of some ninja magic jumon-spells!!)
It is generally accepted that the SHK symbol is probably derived from a shuji- character used as the 'spiritual emblem' of both the buddha Amida and the bodhisatva Senju Kanzeon - this 'spiritual emblem' is indeed a Tantric Buddhist symbol.
But then we come to the CKR. A couple of people have claimed it is a Tantric Buddhist symbol. [One, for example, claims he has seen it inscribed on statues of the Buddhist deity, Fudo Myo-o, though in my researches I have not found a single Fudo statue or image showing it] - many have passed on this claim without any attempt to verify it (as with many other 'new history' claims regarding Reiki).
In fact in all my researches of Buddhist imagery - be it in the Mikkyo (Japanese Tantric Buddhist) traditions or otherwise - while I have come across many spiral motifs, I have not seen anything approximating the actual CKR symbol - nor, for that matter, a symbol from which it can clearly be seen to have been derived.

What is the difference between being a Reiki Master and a Reiki Grand Master, and how do you become a Grand Master?

Though many would try to convince you otherwise, there is no such thing as a 'Reiki Grand Master'.
The term Reiki 'Grand Master' is something that came into use within Reiki Alliance circles, after Takata-sensei's death. It was initially used to denote the person considered to be Takata-sensei's successor (i.e. her granddaughter, Phyllis Furumoto) - the person recognised as being 'in charge' of Usui Shiki Ryoho.
For some, there was an inference that the 'Grand Master' had received something 'more' from Takata-sensei than the other masters (deeper 'lineage' secrets or such like)

Today, in Alliance circles, there are two people sharing the 'office' of Grand Master.

I have also seen some online Reiki practitioners who claim to be 'Grand Master' of this or that newly created 'brand' of Reiki. But this is purely an ego thing.

Remember, the term 'master' is actually a poor translation of the Japanese word 'sensei'. 'Teacher 'or 'instructor' would be a far better translation.

And just as the term 'Reiki Grand Master' is an ego thing, so - unfortunately - in many cases, the term 'Reiki Master' is also used in an ego-related sense.

There are no 'Grand Masters', and IMO, in the final analysis, neither are there any 'Reiki Masters' - only those who have been 'Mastered-by-Reiki'




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