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Copyright 2006 James Deacon

So, if I am not properly attuned to Reiki, I would be using my own ki for doing the treatment? Then, what happens when I do self healing; am I just channeling my own ki out from the hands and back into my body? Wouldn't feeling energised and replenised after healing self or others be a sign I am properly attuned, and so not using my own ki?

The common theory is that the point of self-treating (or treating a client for that matter) is to 'top up' the energy levels - but perhaps this is an oversimplification. Many treatments are not necessarily about replenishing energy but rather about unblocking or transforming energy; or balancing energy-flow.

Also, there is a big difference between adding energy into a person's system and energising a person's system

For either practitioner or client, feeling refreshed and energised after a treatment is not necessarily a sign that they have had their energies 'topped up'.

It is more commonly a sign that their existing energies have been mobilised: 'stirred up'. I.e. that sluggish elements of their inherent energy-flows have been altered to restore proper 'rates of flow', and that in fact they are actually accessing and using up pre-existent reserves of energy, rather than having extra 'energy-fuel' added from an outside source.

To use a more mainstream medical analogy - its a bit like a very listless patient who is given amphetamines - they will feel amazingly energised - but they have not been given 'energy' - their system has simply been stimulated to burn up energy they already have.

Where someone is not a clear channel for Reiki, but using their own energy in self-treating, rather than passing that energy round in a loop via the hands and back into themself, they are actually using some of their own vital life force energy as a catalist - to trigger the metabolizing of their more general, renewable, everyday energy-reserves.

Same goes for treating a client. Rather than the Reiki mobilising the client's energy / energising them, the practitioner is using up a small amount of their own vital life force energy to trigger the effect.

Why is it that Mrs Takata didn't allow her students to make notes about what she taught them?

It wasn't so much that she didn't allow written notes.

She discouraged students from note-taking during her classes [several people wrote up notes after the classes]- there is a big difference. [What she really didn't allow was written depiction of the symbols]

I believe the reason she discouraged in-class note-taking was in the main due to the fact that while concentrating on making notes about one thing, students often missed some other important points that Takata-sensei was sharing, and she would then have to repeat herself. The more this happened, the more it interrupted the dynamic of the course session.

I have been taught that each Reiki symbol has its own colour and should be visualised in that colour?

While several people do teach that each of the four symbols has its own colour, in my research I have not found any suggestion that, originally, the symbols were ever associated individually with specific colours.

This supposed colour-association seems to be yet another addition to the never-ending list of Western, New-Age 'add-ons' - elements which have been adopted-in to Reiki since the passing of Takata-sensei. (So much of what is today presented as Usui Shiki Ryoho was in fact never taught by Takata-sensei herself.)

To make matters worse, such adulterated forms of Reiki healing practice have also been imported into Japan, and many of these western add-ons have managed to find their way into various forms of 'Japanese' Reiki, where they are being passed on to students as though they had always been part of native Japanese practice.

In many instances where people currently allot colours to the symbols, it has a connection with the 'non-traditional' meanings/associations these people (or their teachers) have overlaid on the symbols - eg the erroneous belief that CKR is somehow connected with the Earth/the elemental earth energy, often leads folk to connect it with the colour green; and so on.

In traditional Japanese practice (whether Buddhist, Shinto or Omyodo[Taoist] -influenced), symbols of the kind used in Usui Reiki Ryoho would normally all be visualised in either gold or pure, colourless, bright light.

In specific cases, such symbols might be visualised in silver, or for 'talismanic' purposes, in red (many protective and healing amulets are written in red ink on yellow paper, and at a certain level, the Usui Reiki symbols can be placed on a par with such protective devices). It would be rare for such symbols to have their own individual colours.

People say if you try doing Reiki but you have not ever been attuned or initiated with Reiki, then you are really using up some of your own personal ki. How can this be? Wouldn't you have to learn ho to do this?

We are all constantly (though usually unconsciously) 'tapping into', interacting with and expending our own personal ki as part of the very process of living.
[There is a very specific term used to describe anyone does not do so, and that term is: dead]
Fortunately, most of the time our system is also capable of sufficiently replenishing our personal ki levels as a part of same natural process of living.

Every time we consciously focus on our breath, we are tapping into our personal ki - and while certain breathing rhythms (whether unconsciously occurring , or consciously activated) help us absorb external ki - thereby replenishing our levels of personal ki, other rhythms actually cause depletion and dispersal of our personal ki.

Some folk (i.e. those poetically referred to as either 'psychic vampires' or 'energy vampires') seem possessed of a natural ability to 'leech' personal energy from others;
and on the flip side of the coin, there are many from whom personal ki simply 'escapes' under certain circumstances.
Fortunately, in most cases this leakage is akin to an energetic 'slow puncture' and while debilitating, is not too serious - providing the episodes of leakage are not too frequent or long-lasting - thus giving the individual time to recover.

Throughout history, such 'bleeders' (especially those who have come to a realisation of what is happening and find their own ways to at least partially control it) have frequently become successful healers [successful healers-of-others that is, though commonly, over the long-term, to the detriment of their own health].

Even non-'bleeders' can (without any training) give of their own personal ki, if the desire or intent to do so is strong.

A common example of this is often seen in Reiki - where novice students find themselves tired or drained after giving treatment, simply because in their eagerness to achieve, they are trying too hard - not yet being comfortable with the concept of simply letting go and letting the Reiki happen - they feel the need to 'do', to push the energy - and in doing so are adding their own personal energy into the flow.

I haven't used Reiki for a little while and when I started again, it feels weaker. How can I make it strong again and if I don't use it for long periods of time, could it disappear completely?

Takata-sensei said that once you have the 'contact' with Reiki (i.e. have been initiated) the ability will stay with you always. However, she also explained that, in the same way that an unused muscle will atrophy, the Reiki ability can also weaken and fade considerably if it is not used regularly.

She said that the reason for the decrease in effectiveness was simply due to the student's "battery" having run down; and in order to recharge the battery - to restore the Reiki ability to 'full strength' - all you need to do is to start regularly self-treating again.
In a short time the energy will pick up, and when you feel a definite improvement, then you can begin treating other people again.

How do you pronounce the founder of Reiki's name: Mikao Usui?

Mikao = ME-COW [emphasis on the second syllable]
Usui = OO-Su-E [emphasis on the second and third syllables] 'OO' rhymes with 'You'. The 'u' in the second syllable is almost silent.
[This is a rough approximation - the best way to learn pronunciation is of course to hear someone else saying the words]
also, in Japanese you would put the surname first:

What part or action of the initiation process actually attunes / initiates the student - at what point in the ritual do they go from not being able to do Reiki to being able to do it?

The 'formal' or 'theoretical' answer would probably be "there is no one single part - yet the student can not truly be said to have been attuned until the initiation has been completed".
To use an analogy - the initiation process is essentially a 'recipe' - for argument's sake, lets say a recipe for apple pie:
Is there one point in the process when the collection of ingredients, and instructions as to what to do with them, actually manifest 'apple pie'. Is it perhaps the point when the dough is formed? Or when the apples are cut? When the pastry lid goes on? When the edges are crimped? When vent-holes are made in the pietop? When it goes in the oven? When it's cooked?

However, in my experience, there are actually several other factors to be taken into account:
the matter of 'intent' is an obvious one, and while intent may indeed play a part - I feel it is only a small part.[1]
obviously there is the matter of which actual initiation process is being used
and just how in touch the Initiator is with the process i.e. the degree to which they are actually performing the process on an energetic level, as opposed to simply going through the motions of the physical 'form' of the process

But I am of the growing opinion that it is in the main down to the particular individual who is actually being initiated, as to when they begin to manifest the ability to channel the Reiki Phenomenon (which is of course the only reliable way we can say for certain that the person is actually attuned / initiated.)

From experience, with different students the Reiki begins to flow (or, more properly, is perceived to begin to flow) at different stages in the procedure. With some it is early on in the process, with others it is later in the process - and then there are others still in whom the Reiki does not actually begin to flow at all during the process itself
[The first time you come across this it can be somewhat disconcerting - but generally the Reiki 'kicks in' within a few minutes]

Unlike pregnancy and death [you can't be 'a little bit pregnant' or 'a little bit dead' - you either are or you are not], in my experience, the ability to channel/manifest the Reiki Phenomenon is not something we can pin down to a specific point in time (i.e. one nanosecond you don't have the ability, the next you do).
All beings have the potential to channel 'external' energies of various kinds, in fact I would go so far as to say that all beings do actually channel 'external' energies (albeit unconsciously) - though the degree to which this ability is naturally active (and the nature of the particular energies channelled) varies greatly from one individual to another.
While a rare few may already manifest a natural level of channelling ability which is clearly perceptible, and there are also those in whom the ability is verging on the perceptible, in most people the ability is so low level as to be beyond the perception of all but the most energetically sensitive individuals.

In my experience, the initiation process incrementally builds on the pre-existent level of energetic channelling ability, gradually 'increasing the volume' as it were, as the procedure is worked through [and, also -to the extent that the Reiki Phenomenon is simply the channelling of energy (it is of course much more than this) - the process also 'tunes in'/'fine-tunes' the individual's channelling ability to the specific energetic frequencies we recognise as 'Reiki']

Thus, in a student in whom the natural ability was already verging on the 'audible', that ability may (possibly) reach a level where it becomes clearly perceptible at an earlier stage in the initiation process than would be the case with a student in whom the natural ability was less 'audible'.

If something actually attunes you to Reiki, then it actually will attune you to each level...As each level IS Reiki?

There is a famous Zen saying: "Do not confuse the finger pointing at the moon, with the moon itself" or in this case: "Do not confuse the 'levels' - and the tuition you receive at each one, with Reiki itself".
The levels are not Reiki.
The concept of 'levels' is simply a way of breaking up Reiki training (ie techniques, protocols, methodology, etc) into bitesize chunks, nothing more.
The four initiations ('attunement' will also do as a descriptive here) which are part of the 'Level 1' Reiki training course (Takata-sensei originally spoke of it simply as Introductory training) are what connect you with the phenomenon that is Reiki - i.e. they give you the ability (or if you prefer awaken the ability) to 'do' Reiki.
Actually, in my experience, the first of the four gives/awakens the ability, the following three deepen and 'set' the ability (providing they are done properly - when they are not, you'll soon know about it, the connection begins to fade, and in time the student complains about feeling depleted as they end up transmitting their own energy instead of Reiki)
What we call level 2 (Takata-sensei spoke of it simply as Intermediate training) is simply the next part of the tuition in Reiki practice.
The initiation given as part of the level 2 training course does not attune you to Reiki
- how could it?
You were already attuned to Reiki as part of your level 1 (Introductory training) course
At level 2, the initiation 'attunes' you to the symbols you will be working with at this level.
(And no, contrary to the modern, post-Takata, western New Age mumbo-jumbo spouted by many - and even adopted by some styles of Japanese Reiki - the symbols do not connect you to different 'energies' within Reiki.)
Likewise, 'Level 3' does not attune you to Reiki - but rather attunes you to/empowers your ability to work with, the symbol given at that level: the Master Symbol

Is Reiki really derived from Japanese Esoteric Buddhism?

It is indeed still a popular theme with some Reiki folk that Reiki originated in Mikkyo (Esoteric Japanese Buddhist) tradition. However there is no real evidence of this, and to be honest, most of those folk who would have us believe the theory, seem to have little understanding of what Mikkyo itself really entails.
One of the primary things that initially led folk to make a link between Reiki and Mikkyo is the fact that Kurama Yama, where Usui Sensei had his Reiki experience was, for several hundred years, strongly connected with the traditions of Mikkyo.
But to jump to the conclusion that because of this association, Reiki must therefore be derived from Mikkyo practice is, to my mind, simply clutching at straws. We shouldn't read too much into it. There is no real evidence. {As it is, Esoteric Japanese Buddhism has its own tradition of healing - kaji - and this bears no similarity to Reiki.]
While it is of course possible that Reiki - while not necessarily derived from Mikkyo practice - may have still picked up subtle influences from Mikkyo tradition, I am currently looking into the likelihood that if anything, rather than direct Mikkyo Buddhist links, Reiki has more in common with other pre-existant secular therapeutic practices such the various 'te-ate' or hand-healing practices used by independent healers, etc; and even with the esoteric practices of Shinto-based sects or 'new religions'.
Reiki (at least what we currently understand by the term Reiki) seems to have a lot directly in common with the Edo-period practice of seiki-jutsu / seiki-te-ate - which in the Taisho era underwent a spot of 'rebranding' and modernisation and re-emerged as: seiki ryoho (Vital Life Force Healing Method)
I still cannot help but feel that much of the socalled 'original Reiki' is simply re-imported Usui Shiki Ryoho ("Western Reiki") - reworked & 're-Buddhafied' - a revisionist reinvention with about as much historical validity as 'western' Reiki styles claiming Tibetan, Egyptian or Venusian origin...
I have seen little evidence to support the claims that what is now being presented as 'Japanese Reiki' is a separate stream of Reiki that has survived / evolved independently of Western Reiki. Most present-day 'Japanese' styles of Reiki are in fact based directly on Usui Shiki Ryoho which was initially reintroduced to Japan in the 1980's in the format most commonly now referred to as 'The Radiance Technique'.
For that matter, certainly many of the 'original' practices / techniques common to various present-day Japanese styles - the very things that supposedly make Japanese Reiki 'original - have actually been 'borrowed' from other therapies, and - in my opinion - have only been introduced into Japanese Reiki comparatively recently.

I read somewhere that Master Usui had a brother and sister, and also children of his own?

Usui-sensei married Sadako Suzuki and they had a son: Fuji (1908-1946), and a daughter: Toshiko (1913-1935). I believe Toshiko died without offspring; however Fuji, who was apparently a teacher for a time at Tokyo University (though this has yet to be varified) is said to have married and had a family. Mieko Mitsui, the person hailed as being responsible for rekindling an interest in Reiki into Japan, claimed to have tracked down members of Fuji's family but said they refused to talk to her.
It is also claimed that Usui-sensei had an older (?) sister, Tsuru, and not one but two brothers: Kuniji, who it is said was a policeman in Gifu prefecture (the area where Usui-sensei was born), and Sanyai - apparently a doctor with a practice either in, or somewhere near, Tokyo.

Is there a proper title for the person receiving a Reiki treatment? Should we call them the patient, recipient, client or what?

'Recipient' is a good, safe description. 'Client' is becoming very popular - but IMO it should only be used to indicate someone receiving treatment on a payment basis (whether cash or kind). Some practitioners apparently do use the term 'Patient' [but this always reminds me of hospitals, the 'sick-bed', and the smell of disinfectant!]. ('Patient' has its origin in pati the Latin for “to suffer”.)
Of course, while we - as practitioners - are giving the treatment we are not doing the healing - merely facilitating it. As the saying goes "all healing is self-healing".
The person receiving treatment is the one doing the healing (albeit with Reiki's help); so -and this is a radical thought I know - why not give the person who is receiving treatment their proper title:
'the Healer '

Is the expression "Usui Shiki Ryoho" a proper one? If 'Shiki' means method or system and 'Ryoho' healing method or therapy, why use both these words together: Usui Method Healing Method - why say it twice?

Its really all down to subtleties of language:
here, shiki (which is essentially a suffix to 'Usui') can also mean a 'form of expression' or a 'style'
And as you say, ryoho can be read as 'therapy' (a ryohoshi is a therapist)
Thus, Usui Shiki Ryoho can be read as: 'Usui-style Therapy'
So it's not really a case of saying the same thing twice

In Frank A Petter's book the Reiki Fire he mentions that Chujiro Hayashi died in 1941, I thought it was 1940?

Possibly just a 'typo'. We already knew from Takata-sensei - who was actually present at Hayashi-sensei's seppuku (suicide) - that the year was indeed 1940.
[Thinking about it, there are several 'confusions' in the Reiki Fire book, for example, Petter also claims Usui-sensei's first name was not Mikao, but Mikaomi, that he was born in 1862 (it was actually 1865), that he 'rediscovered' Reiki in the late 19th Century (we know it was in the early 20th century). Other 'confusions' include Petter's claims that the temple at Mt Kurama is part of the mikkyo sect (it isn't) and that Mikkyo has its roots in Tibetan Buddhism (it doesn't)...]







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