The Reiki Principles

Traditional Reiki Hanko

Traditional Reiki Hanko

Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Precepts

Reiki is a Japanese word translated as “Universal Life Energy” by Hawayo Takata.
She brought the possibility of a relationship with this energy to us through Usui Shiki Ryoho, a healing system founded by Mikao Usui in the early part of the 1900’s. In 1973 Hawayo Takata, a Hawaiian woman of Japanese decent, was the only Reiki Master of the Usui Shiki Ryoho system in the world and was considered to be its Grand Master. She was also the first person to bring Usui Reiki to the United States after becoming a Master in 1938, teaching the system at the University of Hawaii.

Takata trained 21 Reiki Masters before her death in 1980. One of those Masters was Rev. Beth Gray, who was my first Reiki teacher for Reiki I and II. I have been a practicing Reiki Healer since 1989. I became a Reiki Master Channel in 1996.

Because of the evolution of Reiki around the world, some good and some not so good, the Principles given to all Reiki students has evolved and changed over time. Some call the Principles a Motto. A Motto is a short sentence or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals guiding an individual. Where as a Principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning. For the traditional Usui Reiki Channel, the Principles are a guiding force in our every day life, it is a fundamental truth within the Reiki healing system. So I’m not real fond of calling the Principles, a “motto”.

Some say the differences between the Principles found in Reiki today were initiated by Takata herself. Saying she provided a different set of Principles to each of her Reiki Masters. Others say the initial 21 Masters changed the Principles they used to something they felt was more appropriate or that they felt more connected to, and some say the slight variations were designed to make the Principles more acceptable to Americans. Either way the variations have created a Lineage based set of Principles from modern practitioners back through their Master teachers, to their masters and so on to Takata and Mikao Usui. Once can almost trace their Reiki lineage by knowing which set of Principles were associated with which one of the Takata Masters.

But the Principles have also been altered by individuals who have taken the title “Reiki Master” without traditional training. Now I’m the first to admit there’s many ways of doing things, there’s really no right or wrong path when it comes to personal belief or practice. But when you claim to practice, be a master of and teach the foundation of a healing system called Reiki, I think you should be able to back your claims up to the official source.  Otherwise you’re really not teaching or mastering Reiki.

I’ve seen many Reiki sites over the decades and it seems many that aren’t traditional systems, try to degrade other systems with comments like “no foundation in truth or history”, “overly stern” or “too structured and confusing” methods and alike. To me this is an attempt for the site and professed teacher to degrade the Usui Shiki Ryoho system and build up their version of a hands on healing system. They can call it whatever they want, and I’m sure it’s a beneficial healing method. But the moment they add “Reiki” to their healing version, they are teaching and sharing a watered down system of the healing art and trying to build off the Usui Shiki Ryoho history and success. That doesn’t sit well with me for many reasons.

Karma for one. Misinformation, self ego and pride to claim to be a “Reiki” Master when the title hasn’t really been earned. And sadly the person who made the initial claim is passing that negative energy onto the students they teach, who propagate the negativity and false claim. That brings us to the topic at hand, the Reiki Precepts or Principles.

Beth Gray and her husband John Gray were both my teachers. They both taught me what they called the  5 Reiki Principles and they went like this:
Just for today…
I will give thanks for my many blessings.
I will not worry.
I will not be angry.
I will do my work honestly.
I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.

The Reiki Alliance is the Official Usui Shiki Ryoho oversight body for Reiki. On their website, the Alliance calls the Principles The Precepts and they are a little different from what I was taught by the Grays:
Just for today, do not worry
Just for today, do not anger
Honor your parents, teachers, and elders
Earn your living honestly
Show gratitude to every living thing.

And here are some other Principles I have found doing a quick internet search. Most of these are listed as The Reiki Motto.

Just for today, I will Let go of anger,
Just for today, I will Let go of worry,
Just for today, I will Live an attitude of gratitude,
Just for today, I will Be fair and honest with myself,
Just for today, I will Walk with love toward all.

Just for today, I will not anger.
Just for today, I will let go of worry.
Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings.
Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.
Just for today, I will honor my teachers.

Just For Today:
I release angry thoughts and feelings
I release thoughts of worry
I’m grateful for my many blessings
I practice expanding my consciousness
I’m gentle with all beings including myself

It’s important for us to remember that words have energy and how you recite a motto or set of principles creates its own form of energy. I read on one Reiki site that the “do not” words in the precepts is too demanding and is somehow less self empowering. The “reiki master’ of this site re-wrote the principles to proclaim the release of these thoughts and feelings. And then stated by doing this, the individual healer is empowering themselves and freeing their energy.

Now think about this for a moment and you may understand why I have issues with non-Traditional “Reiki” systems.
“Do not worry” or “Will not worry” vs “I release worry”. Now to me the first two statements are setting a pattern of thought that worry is not necessary at all. If you never allow worry into your life, then you never have anything to release. You never open a door or a gap that allows these forms of energy into your Mind/Body/Soul. Remember what we think creates how we feel and how we relate to the world around us. So which is more empowering? If you Do not anger, or if you tell yourself I will not anger, then you never allow that negative energy into your day in the first place. That negativity can’t impact you, you can’t pass it on to the cashier at the store, or guy in the next car sitting in traffic and especially not to your client who has come to you for healing.

If you can teach your mind to develop this peaceful pattern of thought, then you have nothing that needs to be released. And when you do have those unexpected moments and become angry or worried, and you release these emotions, where does all that negative energy go? Because energy doesn’t die. Modern physics has proven that. It all goes somewhere in the ethereal universe. When you let go of this negativity, where does it go?

Sadly there’s nothing in these alternative precepts that provide an answer to that question. So if you’re releasing negative energy without directing its future existence in some way, as a professed Master Healer you’re sending out your negative energy into the world to be absorbed by Mother Earth, by other living things, by a community, a group and so on and you will impact their day. To me that’s not an example of the Mastery of energy and how it works.

This is why I think traditional ‘structured’ training is necessary. Alternative methods leave out a lot of information, concepts and perspectives of energy, how we connect to it, and share it. Those gaping holes create confusion, miss the mark on how healing works and how we help our clients, and ourselves, change the patterns within the individual Mind/Body/Spirit connection that helps cause disease and ailments in the first place. If you don’t understand this, then you don’t understand what real Reiki is.

If you’re interested in Reiki, stick with the Precepts given by the Reiki Alliance, or feel free to adopt the Gray’s version. But remember that what we say, think and do, creates our day, week, and life. Make sure you fully understand the energy, benefits and consequences of a Motto, set of Principles or Precepts before you begin a practice of affirming your foundation of truth.

Additional Reading:

© Springwolfs Hanko

© 2016 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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