Date: Wed Sep 22 2021 00:00:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
By David Herron
Some question why this is so. In other energy healing modalities, there are teachers and students as well, but the training is rarely given by an attunement ceremony. Instead, the typical training is instruction on managing an energy flow and holding states of being. In some cases, the students are expected to learn from material in a book.
With Reiki, we have a sacred attunement ceremony that looks similar to a Buddhist empowerment/initiation ceremony. Why is it that in Reiki the students are required to be attuned by a Teacher?
The reason for this traditionally given to us from Mrs. Takata has to do with the source of Reiki. Reiki came to Usui as the Reiki symbols appearing in his mind. And the symbols were given to him as having specific purposes: Physical healing, Emotional healing, and Reiki Mastership. The attunement process is a way of passing an energetic pattern (the symbol) from Reiki Teacher to Reiki Student, and it is that energetic pattern that makes Reiki what it is.
Again, that is the story given to us by Mrs. Takata. Any of us who have taught Reiki know that the Attunement process is a powerful spiritual ceremony.
Recent discoveries about the history of Reiki symbols indicate that the similarity to a Buddhist empowerment/initiation ceremony is not coincidental. Instead, Dr. Usui seems to have been studying esoteric Buddhism when he went on his meditation retreat. The temple on Mt. Kurama, where he performed that retreat, has all the Reiki symbols painted on its walls (and more).
In other words, the Reiki Master is performing a similar role to the Buddhist Lama's who perform empowerment ceremonies. The model is that the Lama or Reiki Master is passing on an imprint of a symbolic association to a source of energy. That makes the Reiki attunement an initiation of a sort, and a sacred ceremony, which should be treated with the appropriate respect.
Any of us who have taken training in other energy healing modalities are aware that the subtle energies are available to anybody. Access to subtle energy is an innate human ability. Giving healing with subtle energies is as simple as a mother rubbing her child's booboo to make the pain go away.
Since access to subtle energies is an innate human ability, why must Reiki practitioners be attuned to Reiki symbols? We've already answered that, partly. The Reiki symbols are connected with a source of energy. The real question, for which there isn't a good answer, is where did that source of energy come from.
In the Buddhist empowerment/initiation ceremonies, the energy source involved is described as a primordial innate thing. It's always there, for everyone, in other words.
Perhaps the same is true for Reiki? Or, perhaps not. As I noted when discussing Reiki symbols, in the book The Big Book of Reiki Symbols the authors name a guardian deity of Reiki, Dainichi Nyorai. If such a being exists, it matches an impression I've had when teaching Reiki classes. Namely, that during the attunement ceremony, there is the presence of Tibetan Lama's from thousands of years ago. Maybe that's a real thing, or maybe that's my mind playing tricks on myself.
The practical thing I did when teaching Reiki was to have students perform a small experiment. Prior to the attunement, I led them through a simple practice of accessing subtle energy from beneath their feet, and channeling it through their hands. Then after the attunement, I asked them to compare the energy flow from Reiki to the flow they'd experienced previously. For every student, the energy was significantly increased.
While we cannot point definitively at what that difference is, something happens as a result of being attuned to Reiki by a Reiki Master.