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Threshold Notes -- Rumours Concerning The Reiki 4th Symbol

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Last Updated: July 9, 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.

Some time after I took Komyo Reiki training with Hyakuten I learned that Mrs. Yamaguchi did not teach the 4th symbol.  Apparently she had not learned this from her uncle, Wasaburo Sugano, the person who gave her permission to teach.  This should have been part of her first step into Shinpiden training.  So because of this, there is some concern that Hayashi did not teach this symbol either.  

However, we do know that Mrs. Takata taught this symbol, as did an earlier student of Hayashi, Mr. Tatsumi.  (He trained with Hayashi from 1927 to 1931 at the Hayashi clinic in Shinano Machi district, Tokyo.)  In fact Tatsumi had received large copies of all 4 symbols during his training, each with Hayashi’s hanko or stamp on it.  (You can see tracings of these symbols at my “Traditional Reiki Symbols page.)  And we know from the Usui student, the lay nun called Tenon-in, that Usui Sensei did teach the 4th symbol in his Nidan or Kaidan Gata classes.  So the reason for Mrs. Yamaguchi not learning this symbol remains a mystery, and thus the reason it did not become part of her 2000 Reiki system known as Jikkiden Reiki.

It should also be noted that the URR Gakkai did not teach this symbol either.  I had first learned this in 1998 when one of my Japanese students, a former Tokyo native named Shia Fleming (her last name is from her marriage to a Canadian), returned from a recent visit to Tokyo and had for the 2nd time visited the home of the URR Gakkai president. Mrs. Koyama for a Reiki treatment.  Koyama-sensei was not well so Shiya received a treatment from her daughter, a member of the Gakkai executive.  When asked about the 4th symbol, her daughter explained that they did not use that symbol. 

When Shiya told me this, I assumed it meant that the symbol itself was not drawn, or that it’s energy was simply intended.  (A year or so later at URRI 1999,Mr. Doi said that the Gakkai does not teach the symbols, they teach only the kotodama.)   I knew the symbol was a common set of kanji used in some Japanese spiritual practices – Shiya had shown me it in a prayer book. But the fact that the Koyama daughter knew of it seemed to suggest to me that it was known to be used by others like Usui or Hayashi. 

Some years later, after the URRI conferences, Mr. Hiroshi Doi (a former Gakkai member and the Gendai Reiki originator) revealed that the Gakkai did not teach the 4th symbol, although he does include it in his Gendai Reiki teachings.  Upon reflection, it seems obvious that both Hyakuten Inamoto and Hiroshi Doi added the 4th symbol to their respective systems from Western or Takata teachings originally brought to Japan in 1992 by Fran k Arjava Petter.

So if you come across rumours about whether the 4th symbol was part of Reiki or Usui’s teachings, at least you now have a better idea of where this began, and the current understanding about Hayashi’s original teaching of it.

Here are links to some of the web pages mentioned in this Note:
- Dave King's Experiences With Tatsumi      -
The Traditional Reiki Symbols  
Shiya's First Visit to Mrs. Koyama     
Richard (Rick) Rivard

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

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