James Deacon's...... Reiki Pages..............................
(formerly: All Energy-Therapies Web)

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Copyright © 2002/5 James Deacon

The Reiki symbols (shirushi in Japanese) have been the source of great interest and much discussion over the years.

It is a common belief, amongst many western lineage Reiki practitioners, that Usui Sensei originally 'discovered' the four Reiki symbols in Buddhist texts - and that he re-experienced them (in 'bubbles of light') and received understanding of their true significance, in his visionary experience on Mt. Kurama.

However, in one of Takata-sensei's recorded talks, she tells the 'Story of Reiki'. In the recording, she clearly states that Usui-sensei discovered a formula for accessing healing in the Buddhist texts, there is no mention of him finding the Reiki symbols in the texts.
She also states that on the last day of his meditative fast, Usui-sensei saw a vision of millions of multi-coloured bubbles; then he saw a great white light; and then he saw appearing before him: "what he had studied in the Sanscrit" in glowing, golden, Sanscrit letters.

In this telling of 'Story of Reiki', Takata-sensei makes no mention of the four Reiki symbols per se - in bubbles of light or otherwise. Rather, she states that Usui-sensei saw Sanscrit text - a vision of a piece of text he had read in a Sanscrit sutra.

Recently, some sources have claimed that, initially, Usui Sensei did not use symbols in the Reiki system - that they were in fact something he added at a later date, out of the need to incorporate an effective focussing method to assist those students who were experiencing difficulty in feeling, and differentiating between, certain aspects of the Reiki 'energy'[1].

(In fact, the way that many people tell it, we might be forgiven for believing that one day Usui Sensei just plucked four symbols out of the air at random to use as the first 'Reiki add-ons' !)

However, in a discussion (in 2002) with a Reiki Master from Japan, we were talking about this issue of the introduction of the symbols, and the version of the story he shared, seems to put things in a slightly different perspective.

As we are all aware, ongoing research seems to continually reveal new information as to the history and nature of 'original' Reiki.

Current understanding is that originally (- rather than being a purely therapeutic modality,) Usui Sensei's system was essentially a spiritual-philosophical system (incorporating certain Buddhist and Shinto elements) - a system 'for the improvement of body and soul' - that is, a system primarily focussing on self-development, but one which also incorporated a self-healing element.

If this was indeed the case, then 'Reiki', as it came to be understood in the West (i.e. as essentially a purely therapeutic modality), would seem to be a natural 'outgrowth' from this original spiritual-philosophical system.'

Now, according to the Reiki Master Jiro Kozuki, when it came to incorporating symbols into the therapeutic element of his teachings, it was not so much a case of Usui Sensei creating four new symbols - nor, for that matter, importing symbols from outside sources -but rather, selecting four symbols which were already a feature of his spiritual-philosophical system, and assigning them new significance as 'keys' (or as NLP terminology puts it: 'Resource Anchors') to assist focus of intent as part of the evolving 'therapeutic modality' aspect of the system.

The 'Power' Symbol

The 'Power Symbol' and its 'secret Shinto jumon'

The 'Mental-Emotional Healing' Symbol

Various different forms of Symbol 2

The 'Distant' Symbol

Various different forms of Symbol 3

The 'Master' Symbol

The Master Symbol part 2 - The Reiki symbol that (supposedly) never was...

Various different forms of Symbol 4

The Reiki Symbols - Unsubstantiated Associations

'Training Wheels' or Essential, Deeper 'Spiritual Tools'?

The Symbols from a Japanese Buddhist Perspective

The Kurama Kokyo Sect and the Reiki Symbols

The Choku Rei Trail - the terms 'Choku Rei', 'Dai Ko Myo'
and 'Reiki' in Japanese 'New Religions

More on the Reiki symbols...


Reiki Pages


reiki books and music

reiki books and music

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Disclaimer: The contents of this site is for general information only. James Deacon does not necessarily endorse the methodology, techniques or philosophy of individual modalities detailed herein, and accepts no liability for the use or misuse of any practice or exercise on this site, or ones linked to this site.