people still incorrectly state that 'Reiki' translates as 'universal
energy' - and it must be said that the other common translation:
'Spiritual energy', while perhaps moving far more in the right
direction is, it seems, still not quite correct...
writing the single word 'Reiki' we use the two kanji which in
isolation represent two separate words: Rei,
respectively - though Reiki is not 'Rei Ki'...
are many words in Japanese that may be described as ‘ki-words’ -
compound-words formed by adding the kanji for ‘ki’  to the kanji
for another word.
if we attempt to understand such compound-words by simply translating
and combining the meanings of the two individual original
words, this will not necessarily give us an
translation of the compound-word itself.
meaning of the whole is greater than (& often quite different
the meaning of the parts”
a loose, general guide, the meaning of a word
written with a
specific kanji-pair is ultimately (if often
on / derived
synthesis of the meanings of the individual kanji
example, if we take the single word tenki :
a stand-alone, the individual word ten signifies
sky. The word ki is of course
most commonly translated
as spirit, energy (or feeling).
if in an attempt to arrive at the meaning of the single word tenki,
we simply combine the meanings of the two other words ten and ki, we
would end up with something like :
“Heaven Energy” (as opposed to Earth Energy)?
fact, tenki simply means: Weather.
us now look at several other “ki-words”
is the case with 'tenki' (and also 'Reiki'), it is important to
remember that each of the following, although written using two
kanji, are in fact single,
complete words in their own right.
['blood ki' ] actually means:
Konki ['root ki'] means:
['flat (or even) ki' ] means:
calmness (also indifference)
ki ['foundation ki'] means:
ones health - being in good spirits
Ninki ['person ki'] means:
['positive ki', ('Yang' ki)] means:
Inki ['negative ki', ('Yin' ki) ] means:
Kuki ['sky ki']
Reiki  '[cold
And in some ki words,
the ki kanji does
not actually add anything to the meaning of the other
it simply speaks to the dynamic aspect of the whole
['steam ki'] means:
steam or vapour
['brave ki'] means:
Jiki ['magnet (also
porcelain) ki' ] means:
- And so it is that, just as in the examples given
above, simply combining the literal meanings of the two individual
words whose kanji are paired to form the separate individual word
'Reiki’, will not really give us a truly accurate understanding of the
single word 'Reiki' itself.
research would suggest that Reiki - as the term is
used in the
name Usui Reiki Ryoho - more immediately translates
‘spirit’ or 'spiritual'; thus Usui Reiki Ryoho
most clearly as: Usui's spiritual healing-method
while it would be perhaps somewhat incorrect to deny that, at least
on a very simplistic level, the single word Reiki still carries with
it a sense of 'spiritual energy', it can, amongst other things, also
be understood to mean:
- and, quite importantly, I feel:
(i.e. the emanation of spirit around the body) 
the term Reiki is used in the name Usui
there is not necessarily any direct reference to ‘energy’
this context, the ki part of the compound would
simply seem to
speak to the dynamic - the effect of spirit in
[ADDITIONAL NOTE - for purposes of clarification
Some people seem to be confused about this article.
article is about some of the possible translations of the Japanese
word 'Reiki' itself into English, rather than about our personal
subjective (and I do not use this word in a derogatory sense) interpretations of the word.
We all have – and rightly so – our
own personal, soul-level, experienced-based understandings of what
Reiki (in the sense of the 'phenomenon' at the heart of the Reiki
Ryoho system) means to us.
The article is not intended to demean such
profound personal realisation in any way.]
 I am of course here
referring to the 'ki' kanji as used in writing
the word Reiki.
Perhaps somewhat confusingly, there
are actually somewhere in the region of 35-40 Japanese words pronounced
However these are all written using different kanji,
and have different
the same 'Rei' kanji as in our 'Reiki'
'Usui Reiki Ryoho' can also have the connotation: 'Usui Aura-healing