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Threshold Notes -- Is Reiki Master Just an Attunement?

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Last Updated: April 30, 2014         RETURN TO THRESHOLD NOTES iNDEX

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This Note is one of a series where I give my ideas on aspects of Reiki and/or energy work. The pages are intended to give some "food for thought" and some are only my viewpoint. While a number of facts may be included, you should decide for yourself how much (if any) of the content feels right to you.

Recently a person emailed me to compliment me on my article on the validity of distant Reiki attunements.  It seems he had just discovered what I and fellow Reiki masters around the world had experienced back in the mid 1990’s, that they do indeed work.  What I found interesting was his comment that he felt the attunement now made him a Reiki Master.  I find this fascinating as I have come across more and more people who refer to their level of training as having simply received a certain Reiki attunement.

URR Gakkai Style Reiju created by Hiroshi Doi bullet URR Gakkai Style Reiju/Attunement

Now for the most part, I do understand that these people often mean that they have completed a certain level of Reiki training.  But I wonder where that thought first began, the idea of referring to a Reiki level this way, as just an attunement?  Would they be surprised to discover that in the original Reiki society (the URR Gakkai) that each attunement at each level was, and still is, exactly the same ceremony, with no symbols used whatsoever?  Certainly symbols, or rather just their kotodama (mantra) are taught in certain parts of the URR Gakkai training, but attunements (called “denju” or “reiju”) are simply given to a person each time he or she works with their teacher; hence the reason Mrs. Takata gave 4 attunements over her 4 day / 2 hour a day class. (Hayashi and some Gakkai Shihan actually taught over 5 days, thus giving 5 reiju.)  In the Gakkai members also receive reiju at the opening of each monthly branch meeting. It seems it was “Dr.” Hayashi (actually a retired navy captain) was the person who began to incorporate symbols into 3 separate attunements in his Chuuden class (similar to Reiki 2), giving one symbol per attunement per day, over 3 days. 

And still more confusing to me are the other people like this fellow I mentioned above, who seem to think that a level is simply the process of receiving an attunement, with no training whatsoever.  In the case of this person’s “master level” I wondered if he felt he now had much more healing or teaching power and ability than those not at master level.  Or was it just the title he was searching for?  I wondered as well as to how he would now set out to teach others, since that is what being a Reiki Master implies?  Would he just get information from the internet or a book and then piece it all together?  Is he going to receive some kind of support from the person who attuned him at this level when he comes across students who have difficulty with their Reiki or even with just the attunement.  For example, what if their student can’t feel the attunement?  Many people turn to the free attunements since some cannot afford Reiki training in their area.  Others are just curious or in a way, rebellious in their thinking.  I’ve found that very few Reiki Masters actually teach Reiki and/or give healings as their main or only source of income.  For most it is simply a sideline or part time hobby.  And of course many people assume that all Reiki Masters must be making a fantastic income from their training, which of course is not the truth.

URR Gakkai certifcates of Fumio Ogaa Senseibullet URR Gakkai Style Certificates  of Fumio Ogawa sensei 1942-43

The fellow mentioned above had also felt he didn’t need to be certified.  And of course this is quite true, assuming that you aren’t taking your practice out to the general public as a business, whether as a healer or as a teacher.  Originally in the URR Gakkai, students did receive a type of certificate, and at one time even Hayashi gave these out (We were shown one example at Mrs. Yamaguchi URRI 2000 presentation.)  But this wasn’t always the case in both schools.  Mrs. Takata instead asked Hayashi to sign a notarized document giving her permission to teach.  Then she began the western practice of giving out a certificate for each level taught. So, in our times potential students are used to seeing some proof of training from their teachers.  Add to this the fact that more and more people wish to know that their teacher has received a certain amount of training and has some experience under his or her belt, and usually the teacher’s own certificates received can offer some proof to this.  These days there are just too many masters to choose from who have this proof.  So it is often a good idea to get a certificate from your teacher.  Certainly the various Reiki societies require these to attain membership, as do any local municipalities who approve of Reiki as a business in their area..  Granted, a certificate alone does not ensure competence and experience. 
Here are links to some of the web pages mentioned in this Note:

- Distant Attunements      - The URR Gakkai        Origin of the Reiki Attunement
- Traditional URR Gakkai certificates     
- My Reiki Certificates

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Richard (Rick) Rivard

If you have comments or suggestions, Contact Me.   I will try to answer them all.

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