The Reiki Levels Explained

Writer:    Richard (Rick) Rivard

Most Reiki Masters now offer the complete Reiki training program in 3 or 4 steps. 

The first step is called First Degree Reiki, Rei ki Level I or just Rei ki I. The student is attuned or aligned to the Reiki energy and taught various hand positions for administering Reiki. The student may receive from 1 to 4 attunements, depending on the style of Rei ki being taught. In Japan, this level is called Shoden.

The second step is called Second Degree Reiki, Rei ki Level II or just Rei ki II. The first 3 Rei ki symbols and their use are taught and the student receives another attunement, or up to 3 attunements (one for each symbol), depending on the style of Rei ki being taught. After this, the symbols can be used to increase the strength of the Rei ki energy, deal with mental and emotional issues, and to send Rei ki at a distance. Some instructors teach additional symbols as part of the curriculum. In Japan, this level is called Okuden, and has two parts to it. In the original Japanese system you would not be offered this level of training unless you could exhibit certain energy sensing skills.

The final step may be taught as one process (as was originally introduced into the West) or may be split into 2 parts (the original Dr. Hayashi approach and the way Japanese masters continue to teach). The first part is called Rei ki III, Rei ki 3(a), Advanced Rei ki Training, or the Practitioner Level (as in Japan). It includes the Usui Master symbol and its use, and another attunement. Again, some instructors teach additional symbols as part of the style of Rei ki. In Japan this level is called Shinpiden and is divided into practitioner and teacher level. In the original society it is not offered to many students.

The second part is called Rei ki Master, Rei ki Teacher, Rei ki III / Master or just Rei ki III. Here the student is taught how to give Rei ki attunements and how to teach Rei ki. Some instructors require an apprenticeship period to allow time to practice and integrate the teaching process. Others offer detailed documentation, ongoing support, and co-teaching of initial classes to guide and encourage the new Reiki teacher.  In the original society, essentially at this level you were allowed to have your own students within the Reiki society. 

In the West, all of the above may include additional Rei ki techniques and instruction in complementary healing practices, depending on the master/teacher. Some teachers offer ongoing Rei ki exchanges or Reiki circles where Reiki can be shared amongst practitioners and introduced to newcomers. Please verify what you will be taught at each level, and the support you can expect, especially if you are moving between Reiki Masters. 

Note: In much of the teachings that have come from the far east, "Master" has been a term that many have used to refer to someone who is an enlightened teacher. 

However, in the title "Rei ki Master", the term "Master" comes from the Japanese word "sensei" which can be translated into English as "teacher", "master" (as in school master) or "doctor" (as in PH. D.). "Sensei" literally can translate to "one who comes before" and is typically used by the student in deference to the teacher. "Reiki Master" was the term first used for the teacher when Reiki was brought out of Japan in the late 1930's, and it seemed to stick (for whatever reason). Therefore Reiki Master means a "teacher or instructor of Reiki".

A Reiki Master simply has the knowledge and capability to transfer the ability to use Rei ki to a student. As in any other disciplines, teaching ability, spiritual growth and knowledge differ from teacher to teacher, and are usually determined by their own life and occupational experiences. Also, some teachers focus more on teaching while others focus more on healing. 

 Writer:    Richard (Rick) Rivard