are a few Controversies, as with any spiritual type of mechanism
that gains so many believers and followers. Reiki is no exception.
From the research to document Dr. Usui's existence, to the requirement
of an initiation by a Reiki Master to practice this healing form,
Reiki has still survived. In addition, the pricing requirements
have now come under fire and many Masters who are part of the
Usui lineage have decided to abandon some of the Alliance restrictions
I've already tried to explain the controversy about Dr. Usui
and how the legend of Reiki was altered when it was brought to
the U.S. As we continue, I'll try also to explain the additional
controversies in as much objectivity as I can. But please remember
I am a Reiki Master of the Usui system, initiated by a Reiki
Master who can trace her Reiki heritage to Takata. Just so you
know, I received my Reiki I and II certification directly from
Rev. Beth Gray. And I received my Reiki Master certification
from Rev. Wilma Donald, in Northern Virginia who can trace her
lineage to Takata.
Reiki Master Certification and Lineage
The controversy over the initiations is that they must be
performed by a certified initiated Master. To me, this isn't
an issue, why would you want someone who read a book and believes
they have the knowledge and experience to train others from that
limited experience? As I've mentioned in some of the other articles
in this section, anyone can hang out a shingle and claim knowledge
they didn't earn. As such these people may not have the full
knowledge or experience needed to teach a method of spiritual
Someone who hasn't been through a traditionalists class may
not understand the underlying spiritual connection of Mind/Body/Spirit
and the Reiki practice of healing. I think some of the new healing
methods that call themselves "Reiki" is a good example
of this. Those that teach the use of a tool is important to enhance
Divine energy for instance. The tradionalist would ask, what
are you enhancing? Divine energy by it's very nature is the most
"powerful" energy in the universe. How can you enhance
something that's already the "All" or "Everything"?
Critics of Certification are often those who don't see a
value in traditional learning, or who believe they can read a
book and hang out a shingle to charge money and make a living.
Would you want to go to the ER and have a physician treat you
when they haven't learned through a proven source of medicine,
been certified and licensed to practice medicine? Then why would
you accept less from a spiritual healer?
Probably the biggest complaint about traditional Reiki is
the defined cost for classes.
The traditional cost list looks like this:
Level 1 Reiki - $250
Level 2 Reiki - $500
Level 3 Reiki - $10,000
The historical view begins with Takata. She explained the
fee was a means of weeding out those who were looking for a method
of power over others, and would ensure that those who truly heard
the calling of spirit would achieve the Master level. Thus maintaining
the validity of the healing art.
The story as it was told to me by Rev. Beth Gray, is that
Dr. Usui began the practice of paying a fee for training. When
he freely shared his training offering free sessions and teaching
for free, he noticed the value of and respect for the healing
was diminished. When he charged a fee, both the sessions and
training were highly valued and respected. Consequently their
effectiveness and reverence were also retained.
When you have Takata Masters like William Rand saying: The idea of charging $10,000 for Reiki Mastership was started
by Mrs. Takata in 1970. It is not part of the Usui tradition.
It is also known that she charged this fee to some, but not all
of those she initiated. She initiated several for free and others
for a much lower fee. Phyllis Furumoto, Mrs. Takata's granddaughter
was initiated as a Reiki Master and paid no fee at all! It is
not necessary to charge $10,000 for Reiki Mastership. Furthermore,
experience has demonstrated that the amount paid has no effect
on the quality of the Reiki initiation one receives. The Center
charges fees that are reasonable as it is felt that high fees
place an unnecessary restriction on the development of Reiki
at a time when we need as many Reiki Masters and practitioners
The water gets muddied. Now I don't agree with William Rand.
How Takata implemented her fee structure is based on opinion.
All of us have made special arrangements with people and not
shared what those arrangements are be they monetary or otherwise.
I don't really care that she didn't charge her grand daughter.
Come on..really? Phyllis is her grand daughter for heavens sakes!
Beth Gray explained in her classes that Takata lived with
her during her training. She didn't pay rent to Beth. It was
the other way around. Beth provided room and board for Takata,
and for the privilege of hosting her Master in her house for
daily training and communication. I don't think it's fair for
one Reiki Master to assume they know or understand all the details
of what transpired between Takata and her other Masters. If you
have reasons for changing the fees for your organization, that
make a case for that. Leave the personal judgements of others
out of the reasoning.
I think it's important to remember that some of the criticisms
don't take the context of training into account. Let me explain.
Shiki Ryoho Reiki is the official site for the Office Of
The Grand Master. On their site they say this about Reiki Classes:
In the beginning, the masters most likely did not teach
Reiki in the way we know today. Students came daily to be with
their master and to practice. This is emphasized again in the
story of Hawayo Takata as she learned from Chuijiro Hayashi.
It is thought that when he came to visit Hawayo Takata, they
needed to begin to teach in a different way because the circumstances
were different. Eventually, the First and Second Degree classes
emerged as separate time frames in which a portion of the teaching
was passed on to the student.
The concept of attending training on a daily basis isn't
unusual for a spiritual modality. Spending years in the presence
of your Master allowed the teacher to see the commitment of the
student on a daily basis. It provided the student with not only
a larger classroom for learning, it added to the understanding
of the method or teachings through hands on interaction and experience.
Imagine what this type of training would cost if added up overtime.
Today we are in a world of instant gratification. Where everything
is instantly at your fingertips and we want it NOW. Adding the
digital age we live in today only exacerbates this perspective.
But from the mentality of "instant gratification" we
often take things that are very important for granted. We don't
acknowledge or sometime even realize the value of something,
until it's gone. Creating a throw away society isn't beneficial
to the long lasting perspective and impact of a spiritual practice.
I remember a story from a neighbor where I grew up about
the value of "things". He and his wife had redecorated
their kitchen and replaced the refrigerator. There was nothing
wrong with the fridge, it simply didn't fit into the decor of
their kitchen. He put it outside on the curb and put a sign on
it "FREE". He thought someone who needed it would pick
it up and he wouldn't have to lug it to the scrap yard. They
would get something they needed, he would feel good about that
and they would save his back. The fridge sat on the curb for
several days with no interest. He took the sign down and replaced
it with one that said "$50". Within an hour he had
someone knocking on his door asking about the fridge. The lesson
he said; if you value something, so will others.
This is the idea behind the traditional fee structure. Most people
understand the value of the level 1 and 2 classes. Some may not
like it, but it's not too extreme to get a lot of comments of
disdain. Compared to certification classes in other professions,
these fees are pretty reasonable. Ask any certified IT Security
Analyst how much they paid for their certification. Trust me
$500 is cheap in comparison.
The level that gets the greatest controversy is the Master's
fee. At $10k it's a pretty hefty sum. But consider the fee charged
for similar certifications. This is a certification for a Master,
who will teach others, and who will be teaching others to teach.
So compare it to similar professionals. My best example is a
Minister who will teach, guide and counsel others. Who will teach
others to be Ministers. Take a look at the fee structure for
University Seminary degrees. At the time of this writing,
the 2012/2013 tuition is $10,006.00 minimum. Add to that additional
fees for auditing a course, changing a degree program, or optional
fees for meals and dorms and you can reach way over $10k for
a similar academic standing.
You get what you pay for, that's true. But you also receive
a valued and prestigious degree for a life long profession. If
you look at the Master's program in this context, the fee for
the highest level of training is commiserate with other institutions
for similar practices. Now if you say a Reiki Master isn't going
to perform weddings or counseling services. I say no, they provide
healing sessions and they most certainly do provide counseling.
If you'd like to understand more about what's expected of
a Reiki Master, I suggest reading my series on What's
a Spiritual Expert on Springwolf Reflections.
The Initiation or Attunement Ritual
Now the ritualistic controversy. Recent detractors have complained
that this energy is there in the Divine collective available
for all and anyone who wants to connect to it. Yes that's true,
but as with all things in the Divine collective, a person needs
to learn how to use the energy offered to them. You wouldn't
go to a person who just bought their first deck of Tarot cards
for a reading on an issue that will change your life. You would
want to seek out someone who has had some type of formal training
and experience. Someone who can connect to the Divine realms
with ease and provide accurate information.
For me, that's basically what the Reiki classes are all about.
They are a structured method of passing on knowledge and experience
to the student. The initiation process is a ritual where the
student is making a serious commitment to the Divine collective
that "Yes I am ready to receive this energy and use it for
the betterment of all concerned." It's a handshake between
the student and God. So what if it's done in a ritualistic fashion,
what meaningful spiritual commitment isn't done in similar fashion?
Even a marriage ceremony is a commitment before God between two
people. So is the ceremony of Reiki initiations.
The 1st and 2nd Level Attunements
The next controversy comes with the definition and purpose
of the Reiki I and II attunements, or initiations. In Reiki I
a student will receive 3 attunements, to prepare them and open
them to 50% of the Reiki energy. In Reiki II, the 3 attunements
finish the process and prepare the student to receive 100% of
the Reiki energy. In Reiki III, the final initiation treatment,
prepares the new Master to call upon additional energy, sort
of a boasting of the Reiki energy when called upon.
Now the detractors again point to the need for such attunements.
Any one who is open to the Divine energy can call upon it and
use it for positive intent. That's true. But it goes back to
intent. The main intent of the attunement is for the student
to officially make an open commitment to the Divine that they
are here, ready willing and able to offer their physical, and
spiritual bodies for the service of others. Now, if you asked
God to send you light and healing for your sick dog, you would
indeed receive the energy. And as you progressed with your private
method of healing, the energy level you could accept through
your body would also grow.
It isn't coincidence that channels start out slow and as
they progress with their knowledge and understanding so does
their level of receiving. But the universe knows how much energy
each person can handle within their being. Not until they are
ready to with stand additional energy will it be sent or received
by a person. The best example I can give is this. If I were to
met a person on the street who just admitted to having their
first psychic experience yesterday and wanted to do more. I'm
not going to hand them a cassette tape and plaque and say "Ok
you're ready to trance channel now". For one, they don't
know how, they don't know the steps to take, and they're physically
not ready for the instance level of energy sent through the body
during a trance state. There is a reason for being in trance.
It's not for the privacy of the client. It's for the health of
So each attunement prepares the Reiki channel to open to
the Divine Energy at intervals, allowing a little more energy
to pass through with each attunement. This protects the channel,
and allows them to build up to receiving additional energy with
each practice and with each attunement.
The Reiki Symbols
Reiki and the use of symbols began from it's origins in the
use of the Reiki II symbols and the exclusive master's symbol.
These symbols are not kanji nor can they be historically traced
to specific calligraphy from the Orient. They most certainly
are not Tibetan symbols as some western writers have claimed.
Instead, they are combinations of symbology that have been established
into Reiki to promote focus and concentration of the Reiki Channel
to their healing recipient.
Dr. Usui's creation of the Reiki System is no doubt based
in his own cultural beliefs, hands-on methods that had long been
used by Jesus Christ, Hindus, and probably Tibetan Monks. But
Reiki is not nor has it ever been a Tibetan system alone. Historically
we can only trace Reiki back to Dr. Usui himself. While there
are many stories about the system being older, we truly cannot
prove that beyond doubt. There just simply isn't substantial
proof beyond this. Dr. Usui was a Tendai Buddhist so one might
assume he acquired this knowledge through study of Buddhist documents.
But what those documents are, or where they are is unknown. So
the most we can for certain, is that Dr. Usui created the Reiki
system utilized today.
A great deal is made of the 4 symbols utilized in traditional
Reiki. Three of these are taught during Reiki II, and the fourth
is the Master's Symbol which is guarded as a sacred item to Reiki
practitioners. But the symbols themselves do not contain any
more "power" or energy than a sigil used in magikal
practices has. The energy of a symbol is held within the Reiki
Channel them self. The symbols are merely triggers to assist
the channel in opening to Divine energy and utilizing that within
the specific purpose designed.
Think of it this way, when you sit before your computer there
are certain things you do to 'turn on' the system. Perhaps you
enter a start up password, perhaps you have a specific set of
procedures you go through to get started with the task at hand.
Each of things you do, begins a process within your consciousness
to prepare your thoughts, your ideas, your concentration for
the work you are about to undertake. The Reiki symbols basically
do the same thing, preparing your psyche for the Divine Healing
work you about to embark on.
These symbols are the keys that focus energy for the improvement
of body and soul. They were intended to bring about a true holistic
approach to mind, body, spirit and bringing about true balance
and harmony within the physical and spiritual bodies. Dr. Usui
really did know what he was doing when he shared these symbols.
Many traditional practitioners believe these symbols are
not to be shared with those who have not undergone a traditional
Reiki training program and specifically a Reiki attunement.
The Reiki Secrecy
Well now you're getting into a more personal area of the
Reiki Controversies. For this, you may want to review my personal
view of Reiki from a Traditional Master.