Levels of Reiki
The classification of Reiki into levels is a constant source of discussion among Reiki Masters. Opinions vary greatly as to which is the best way to divide up the learning process. Traditionally there were three levels of Reiki.
1. Beginner's level, now called First Degree
2. Advanced level, now called Second Degree
3. Reiki Master, still called Third Degree in some associations.
There have been three Grand Masters: Dr. Mikao Usui, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi and Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who introduced it to the west. Mrs. Takata did not appoint a successor although there are quite a few who claim to have been secretly appointed or who claim lineage by blood lines.
Since her death the various groups and associations have created many systems in an effort to improve the training and classification of Reiki practitioners. Some systems designate three levels and some as many as ten. We are sure all these groups have good intentions and are sincere in their efforts to present Reiki well.
The First Degree is the original seminar during which one receives Reiki energy for life. The student receives four initiations spread over two days or three nights. This is obviously the most important part of the seminar and is what makes the First Degree the most important level of Reiki. For a Reiki practitioner, nothing can be more important than being initiated to Reiki energy for life.
Besides the initiations, the student is given talks on all the subjects covered in this book. They are taken though the science and metaphysics of Reiki with plenty of case histories to back up the theory.
They are also taught how to give self-treatments, to treat animals and plants, and to treat others in both crisis and chronic situations. Interspersed with this are practical sessions wherein the students are given the opportunity to put things into practice and experience the Reiki firsthand.
Informative and enjoyable, the First Degree workshop lasts a minimum of 10 hours. There are no examinations or tests because there is little to learn or know. There is really no need to give a lot of explanation because what really counts is the receiving of Reiki and using it by placing your hands on the body. Many Reiki Masters adhere to this philosophy and teach very little in their workshops choosing to focus primarily on practical application.
Nevertheless, the Reiki Network has found that in this day and age people are more likely to utilize a technique if they receive a good explanation of its dynamics. Otherwise evidence indicates that students often don't end up using it to its fullest capacity. For example, we have met Reiki practitioners who did not understand the concept of regular self-treats as a form of preventative medicine.
As a result, all Reiki Masters who are members of the Reiki Network give a required minimum amount of theoretical training. The format of this training and the other aspects of the workshop can vary according to the background of the Reiki Master and the culture they are teaching in.