It was interesting to write about Reiki levels since I noticed that some people learn Reiki in 3 levels and others in 4 levels. I think there is no right or wrong as far you learn what you need to learn. I believe the more you practice, the better. Mikao Usui, the Reiki founder, used to emphasize that it is also important to focus on developing yourself as a person (body, mind & spirit). Writing this article made me notice that in Japan, to learn Reiki takes time. Learning Reiki does not have an end, but it is the beginning of our journey to discover our inner-self.
The teaching of Reiki is divided into levels. Nowadays we have two types of guidelines on Reiki levels:
(1) –Shoden - Level 1, Okuden - Level 2, Shinpiden - Level 3 /Master
(2) – Level 1 (Shoden); Level 2 (Okuden - Zenki e Okuden Koko); Level 3A (Shinpiden) or Level 3; Level 3B (Gokukaiden) or Level 4.
In the West, Reiki was brought by Hawayo Takata. In her education system Reiki has 3 levels: Level I, Level II and Master according to the article published by Marianne Streich in the edition of Reiki News Magazine.
Takata used to teach Level I for 3-4 sessions at night that last an average of 2 hours but could last up to 4 hours. She did not have a prepared text, so the content and duration of the course could vary. She started explaining about the Universal energy and the history of Usui sensei in parts. Then, she started to teach and demonstrate precisely the hand positions to her students when applying Reiki. She also explained about the 5 principles of Reiki until her students understood because she did not allow her students to take notes. She talked about various diseases and how to treat them. Takata sensei used to emphasized to her students the importance of self-treatment.
At Level II or Distance Healing, she taught the 3 symbols and how to send Reiki remotely. Takata sensei considered the symbols sacred and after students practiced writing, she used to burn all used papers.
At the Master level she taught the 4 initiations / attunements for Level I and 1-2 initiations / attunements for Level II. The student also received a new Master symbol. The focus at this level was to learn how to teach initiations.
Levels of Reiki - Tradicional Japanese
The Japanese Reiki system Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai is divided into several levels. According to the research made by Frank Arjava Petter in Japan, the teaching of Reiki is divided as follow:
The sixth grade, called Shoden, is the lowest (equivalent to our Level 1 in the West). The Shoden level is divided into Loku-To (6 degree), Go-To (5 degree), Yon-To (4 degree) and San-To (3 degree). In order for the student to move to the next level, he/she needed to meet with his teacher several times a month until he was able to move on to the next degree. During the meetings they repeated the five principles of Reiki, recited and sang the wakas (short Japanese poems). The student had to listen to the lectures and do Joshin Kokyuho breathing exercises, practice the Rei Ji method and receive the transmission of energy called Rei Ju.
The next level is Okuden (equivalent to our Level 2) which is divided into two parts: Okuden-Zenki (first half) and Okuden-Koko (second half). Symbols are taught in the first half. In the second half, distance healing and mental/emotional healing were taught.
The next level is Shinpiden (Level 3 -only passed to a few students chosen by Reiki sensei). Once the student received the Shipiden level he was allowed to treat others professionally. He could also be the sensei's assistant. Only someone who completed Shinpiden could become his assistant (Shihan-Kaku). When the sensei considered it appropriate, the student was then allowed to make his own meetings and have students. The student then becomes Shihan who means teacher, but it also means a feeling of authority, role model for others, moral strength and wisdom.
*Gokukaiden (Level 4) is the last level that has been added by some lines of Reiki (Hiroshi Doi). The student learns to do the initiations / attunements and to instruct how to use Reiki for people who want to learn.
Hiroshi Doi - (Gendai Reiki Ho) - Level I, Level II, Level III and Level IV -Mastership Training. (book: "A Modern Reiki Method fo Healing"- Hiroshi Doi)
William Lee Rand - (Usui/Tibetan system) - Reiki I, Reiki II, Reiki III - ART (Advanced Reiki Training) and Reiki IV- Master Teacher
In Brazil, when I did Reiki levels 1 and 2 with Claudete França and Thales França (A.B.R.) they divide the teaching of Reiki in 4 levels:
The first level (1st Degree) is the main level. The attunemend will harmonize the energetic body of the recipient and it will awake the inherent REIKI energy that was dormant. You learn, through a specific technique (by the help of your hands), to activate Vital Energy in yourself and in others, in order to dissolve the causes of tensions, blockages and diseases. The awakened energy will be absorbed where it is most needed at that very moment, for example: by the body, by the emotions, by the feeling, by the intellect, by the creativity, by the intuition.
The second level (2nd Degree) is the level that has advanced applications for those who want to know more about REIKI, because, at this level, the focus is on mental healing with repercussions on the physical and etheric body, as well as distance healing. Here Reiki will work directly on the causal plane.
The third level A (3rd Grade A) enables us to use a special energy, which leads to self-growth, self-transformation and being a Master of himself. This graduation includes a high power energy activation level, also for energy balance, healing, integration and enlightenment. The 3rd. Level A is for personal use, for crowds and to work the planet. This graduation is designed mainly for those who wish to go deeper into the technique of Cosmic Energy, without having acquired a certificate, or qualifying as a Reiki Master. The course is completed, receiving the total and original power of the Reiki of the 3rd. Level B.
The third level B (3rd Degree B) is the Master Level, where you learn to initiate people at Levels I, II and III (A and B), and to teach Reiki courses.
If you are confused with so many lineages and senseis I will leave this graphic that might help to understand better how Reiki branched.
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Peace, Namastê 🙏✨
Técnica de Reiki do Dr. Hayashi - Frank Arjava Petter, Tadao Ymaguchi e Chujiro Hayashi