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Reiki & Other Healing Modalities

Introduction
Traditional Reiki
Non-Usui, New Age and Channeled Styles
How to Learn and Practise Reiki
Distance vs In Person
Philosophy or Religion
Other Forms of Healing
Personal Experience and Opinion
      Background
      Reiki Jin Kei Do
      Karuna Ki
      Distance Attunements

Last Updated: 8 May 2020 

Introduction

Reiki is supposedly a rediscovery of healing methods found in Sutras. These were reintrepreted in terms of Buddhism. Reiki is what could be described as a form of white magic and in the West is embedded in the New Age culture, although more on the periphery of the Buddhist tradition in Japan. Reiki claims not to be a religion but a philosophy or practice although it fits in better with some religions than others. 

Traditional Reiki

Reiki is a system of healing created by Mikao Usui in Japan in the 1920s. A number of Reiki Masters existed in the East in parallel to it being brought to the USA by Hawayo Takata, known as Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki, from which the Western Reiki tradition developed. Takata was taught by Chujiro Hayashi, who committed suicide in 1940. Takata mispresented herself as the sole heir of Usui Reiki tradition in the USA and cause controversy by charging her 22 advanced students a large sum to take the level 3 or 'Reiki Master' level. Takata created a narrative about Usui being a Christian minister presumably in order to avoid persecution in the US and to reach a wider American market and acceptance. Whilst many Reiki styles have emerged from Western Usui Reiki since the 1970s, Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki (Eastern Reiki) has experienced significant growth in the west, primarily because of well known Reiki practitioners, such as Frank Arjava Petter and William Rand, actually visiting Japan in the late 1990s, whereupon they discovered a Reiki tradition they never even knew existed. A number of books have since been published on the subject, including Reiki Fire and The Hayashi Reiki Manual by Petter and An Evidence Based History of Reiki by Rand. 

Non-Usui, New Age and Channeled Styles

Chakra theory was incorporated into Western Reiki in the 1980s. In the last decade or so, a large number of Reiki styles have emerged, although arguably they are 'channelled' hands-on healing systems and having no direct connection with what is commonly termed 'Usui Reiki'. Usui Reiki itself was in a sense a channeled style, so all forms of Reiki are channeled in one way or another, the difference in classification being that more modern Non-Usui styles tend to have been more recently channeled.

Within the wider spectrum of non-traditional forms of Reiki, the founders of certain systems or leading proponents have positioned their Reiki styles in a ‘progression’ structure, based on what they perceived as minimum requirements, with their own Reiki styles being deemed ‘more advanced’, usually with Usui Reiki Level 3 at the start. Examples include Tera Mai and Karuna Reiki, and other Reiki styles that have spun off (been plagiarised from?) from Karuna Reiki including Karuna and Karuna Ki. Karuna styles of Reiki are clearly not a traditional form of Reiki, even though they may incorporate traditional Usui Reiki at its core. Lightarian Reiki is another example, which has prerequisites of Reiki Level 3 and Karuna Reiki for prospective students.

Another such progression structure that has in recent years gained some popularity within the non-traditional Reiki community is known as ‘Reiki Grandmaster’. This comprises Levels 5 to 20, and consists of a number of styles of Reiki or Reiki-style symbols presented in a hierarchical order for learning. Levels 1 to 3 are considered to be Usui Reiki Levels 1 to 3. Level 4 is considered to be (all 3 levels of) Karuna Ki. This has no doubt helped to market Karuna Ki to a wider audience and thus presumably all ‘Reiki Grandmaster’ teachers will teach Karuna Ki. Information on the origins of the ‘Reiki Grandmaster’ programme tends to be vague in nature. It should also be noted that there are no titles and concepts of ‘Master’ and ‘Grandmaster’ in traditional Japanese Reiki. The title ‘Grandmaster’ was never used by Hawayo Takata, although she introduced the term ‘Master’ to describe Level 3, possibly to justify her requisite fees. 

How to Learn and Practise Reiki

Part of Reiki's popularity is perhaps down to its ease of practice, which does not necessarily require a large degree of concentration to perform, primarily just using hand placement in Level 1. Symbols are added from Level 2 onwards, which are easy enough to memorise. They are used for mental focus, to impart intention, as a kind of neuro-association, in that the practitioner becomes familiar with the meaning of the symbols, how they are drawn, and what the words are, and this intention gets activated in some manner when they are used during practice. This is akin to performing a magic spell or white magic in some form. The use of symbols is optional.

Part of the 'training' is receiving an 'attunement' or 'empowerment' from a Reiki 'Master', which requires no effort on behalf of the student other than to be relaxing and willing to receive it. This is like a Reiki session but more permanent and long lasting, and Reiki practitioners often claim it is used to raise your vibrational level to activate your energetic system to allow your body to act as a channel for that type of energy. Attunements can be removed if required but it is nearly unheard of that anyone actually wants this performed.

Formal Reiki training is a course that may rely heavily on a manual but nevertheless it is in person instruction, where you are show the hand positions and guided through the various procedures.

Distance training usually involves a distance attunement (described below) followed by receipt of a manual which one is left to figure out with little or no support. Some styles do not rely on symbols or particular hand positions at all and the manual may often be just a few pages long and fairly worthless, but experienced practitioners will more of less know what to do anyway.

Initially, Reiki training in between Level attunements takes the form of Reiki self-treatment and a series of meditation exercises. Self-treatment also forms part of daily Reiki discipline going forwards. This is part of the philosophy of helping yourself before you can help others. It is also a good way to practice and to improve your wellbeing in the short term, although one will need to practice on others in person to memorise and familiarise oneself with the hand positions.

Many Reiki practitioners find it hard to make a living solely from practising Reiki and many learn other types of treatment, therapy or skills to lead classes with to ensure they have enough clients each day. The Reiki market is oversaturated because of its popularity and the sense that it is 'non-essential' but perhaps does not work on the body in the same way as other treatments. 

Philosophy or Religion

Reiki is supposedly a philosophy rather than a religion, according to many Western practitioners, however I suspect this is a rather biased view. Most practitioners seem to be of a New Age disposition or Wiccan, although there is perhaps no reason why a monotheist could not practice Reiki. It is of Buddhist origin and incorporates Buddhist and Shinto elements, so whether it can really claim to be purely a philosophy is debatable. It would be more accurate to say it was a spiritual practice, which traditionally in Japan has been used for spiritual development. However, given the beliefs of universal energy and so forth, which have no evidence to back them up, then it could be classed as a spiritual belief system at the very least. This is ironic because giving and receiving treatments requires no beliefs at all but the two seem to be tied together. 

Distance vs In Person

Reiki, as with other healing modalities, are claimed to be able to be practised either in person or remotely. The same claims are made for attunements. Reiki presumably works on multiple levels and in multiple ways, via the hands in a person's 'energy field' and/or through a mind to mind or nervous system to nervous system connection, possibly not a million miles away from information exchange as in applied kinesiology or sending 'instructions' on how the nervous system can better operate to increase blood circulation. No one really knows what it works, and those that claim to know are speculating or just believing what they have read and been told without question. I suspect it does not work how we think it works. Virtually all Reiki branches claim that universal energy existings and is channeled through Reiki practice and presents this as a fact.

Distance attunements can delivered in a number of ways (metaphorically) - live; timed for a future agreed time (set at the time of sending then the recipient doesn't receive it until that time); set for a future time at the time most suited by the receiver's unconscious (might be when they are relaxing in the sofa or in bed asleep etc.); or they can be delivered by 'Qi Ball', which is a fanciful way of 'encapsulating' the attunement in a wrapper then sends it to the person whereby the recipient asks to receive it in order to actually feel they are receiving it and for it to do anything. Distance treatments can be similar peformed in the above manners, usually they are timed.

Please see the Reiki Attunements page for more information. 

Other Forms of Healing

Other popular forms of hands on healing are Bio-Energy Healing and Quantum Touch. These can both be learnt from a book although courses are available, Bio-Energy Healing being particularly expensive.

Csongor Daniel is a well known Bio-Energy Healing practitioner who has authored two excellent books on the subject. Bio-Energy Healing works on the basis of removing energy blockages by removing energy and shaking it off with the hands, as well as pushing energy into body parts that are deficient. It can also remove bad energy and replace with good energy. Energy input may come from the practitioner or from the ambient surroundings, however, Daniel believes that the more you practice the better your own bioenergy field becomes. Bio-Energy Healing includes various exercises to build up your feeling of energy in the hands and awareness of others bio-energy fields. It incorporates Chakra theory.

Quantum Touch (QT) draws on ambient energy from the ground, channelling it up through the legs in a spiralling motion, then up the spine and to the top of the head, then directing it down the arms out of the palms of the hands to the recipient. It some ways it is similar to Reiki, however, it relies on continuous visualisation and specific breathing patterns to perform. It also incorporates Chakra theory. The basic QT procedure seems in my opinion to be a simplified form of Israel Regardie's Golden Dawn Middle Pillar exercise, and was likely heavily influenced by it, and took on its own direction.

Medical Qigong is a form of energy healing from China. It involves the practitioner sending Qi energy directly from the practitioner's own reserve of Qi to the recipient. This is possible because the practitioner practices Qigong daily to build up his reserves of Qi. It is therefore claimed to be more effective, as the 'energy' is in the form our body directly uses (if it does indeed exist) rather than a universal or higher vibration energy that can only be used by our bodies in certain ways. During treatment, the practitioner also performs certain Qigong moves. It is not really something you can practice on yourself although the Qigong moves are used to build up Qi so if you wanted to increase your own wellbeing then you would just stick to performing Qigong. There is no reason why you could not also do something like Tai Chi Chuan or Yoga for this end. Medical Qigong is not really something you can learn from a book because of the postures involved and would require training.

Shamanic healing is another form of healing practice. It's roots lie in the Ecuadorian Amazon, however many different styles exist today in the West that claim to be Shamanic and are in most cases watered down Shamanic practices combined with Reiki. Two authentic Shamanic healing traditions I am aware of are Ama Deus, for which there is now an official US training organisation, and Kurikindi's Amazonian Shamanism. Ama Deus was first popularised by Kathleen Milner in the West in her book 'Tera, My Journey Home' (2004). Ama Deus Reiki attunements are available, however Ama Deus has no connection with Reiki and this is little more than 'Ama Deus' flavoured Reiki using Ama Deus symbols, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Reiki is perhaps more popular than all of the above as it requires less effort on behalf of the practitioner to learn and to practice, which perhaps resonates better with the West. For those who are infirmed or unable to practice other healing styles for physical limitations, Reiki may be a suitable starting point for healing modalities. 

Personal Experience and Opinion 

Background

I had a few spiritual healing sessions back in the early 90s, from a practitioner in Camden Market, which I felt very good after, and a few times from my then girlfriend which were ok. I also gave my girlfriend a few spiritual healing sessions myself most of which were successful although on one occasion whilst she reported feeling good afterwards I felt completely exhausted and mentally 'out of it', which at the time we put down to me using my own reserve of energy rather than channeling it from the surroundings.

In the late noughties I became friends with Quantum Touch practitioner in Canada and had a dozen sessions or so, all performed remotely, which felt very good. I also tried distance sessions from two practitioners in the early tens, involving Reiki, QT and Bio-Energy Healing, remotely, all of which I found beneficial.I also had a few in person Quantum Touch sessions from a local practitioner which were also good. In the above sessions my body would feel warmer and the limbs slightly tingly, with an overall increase in relaxation and wellbeing. Generally the effects of these sessions lasted strongly for the rest of the day and were felt mildly the day after.

I did wonder whether there was an element of placebo effect occurring with the distance sessions and I agreed with my Canadian friend not to tell me when she was going to do it, and when I reported back to her, she claimed that the dates and times matched up, although a sceptic might argue that she would say that! One time I was agreed to have a QT session remotely from another practitioner, and I felt what I thought was a session very strongly and thanked for her it, and she informed me that she hadn't done it yet! She did the session two days later and it felt near identical. That has only happened once.

After learning Reiki myself in 2014, I have practised distance sessions on myself and family members and friends, who I agreed broadly when I would do it but not the exact day, and informed them shortly afterwards of the time and date, and in all cases they either felt it very strongly or reported feeling more relaxed and warm. This may of course be a coincidence but I believe that it does seem to work, albeit I give much better sessions in person (which may also be the placebo effect). However, either way, if the other person claims to feel better and I feel more relaxed when performing it, and enjoy it, then why not! My father thought it was all nonsense especially distance healing, but after I did it one time in the same manner as described above, he was a convert. I have noticed that over the years I feel less from self-treatment, and it usually requires longer sessions to feel noticeable benefit from it, although it is still a relaxing practice and good to focus on your own wellbeing.

My brother was a loose Christian in the mid 1990s and went to see a Reiki practitioner at a GP surgery on the NHS, and reported that he felt weird afterwards and did not like it, and did not go back. I believe he was excessively spiritually sensitive at the time, as I was, when I first became a Christian. Whilst he is still loosely a Christian now, I have since learnt Reiki myself and practised on him, and he said he felt great afterwards, as did other members of my family, with no negative effects at all.

I have practised self-treatment, distance healing on family members, in person Reiki sessions and have performed 15 minute Kundalini Reiki Level 1 attunements on these same family members and they reported most noticeable effect from the attunements, being significantly better than the in person Reiki sessions of longer duration. Otherwise they felt that the in person treatments were very good but felt much less if anything from the distant treatments after some repeated sessions. Of my family members my father still feels the distance treatments the most, he reports feeling more relaxed and slightly less tired afterwards. When I first practised Reiki on my brother, I attuned his joggers/tracksuit bottoms, and gave them to him and he said when he touched them he felt an instant boost and felt full of energy afterwards and could not believe the difference. There has over a period of years been a period of adjustment so now he feels the Reiki less than before but still feels it. When I do self-treatment, after the first few years, I do not feel so much at all, and have to do the self-treatment for longer periods to really notice anything, and then it feels more of a meditative exercise which I find relaxing. 

Reiki Jin Kei Do

I initially learnt Reiki Jin Kei Do (a.k.a. Reiki JKD or RJKD), on account of an Usui Reiki Master friend's recommendation, who suggested I buy Steve Gooch's book 'Reiki Jin Kei Do: The Reiki Way of Compassion and Wisdom'. I also thought it sounded cool, a bit like Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do. I later found out that my friend had no direct experience of it, but she recommended it solely based on reading the book as she thought it sounded interesting.

Lineage

Examining the RJKD lineage, we only have the testimony of the current head of the lineage Ranga Premaratna to rely on. RJKD claims that the Venerable Takeuchi was one of the students of Chujiro Hayashi, and the only student of Hayashi's who was taught the Buddho meditation, as it is claimed no other student showed an interest in it. However, no living student of Hayashi's had any knowledge of Takeuchi, and no photograph of him exists.

Takeuchi is claimed to have taught The Venerable Seiji Takamori (1907-1992) who, after his initial training with Takamori, travelled to India, Nepal and Tibet to find the origins of Reiki and it is claimed discovered the Buddho system, the claimed precursor to modern Reiki, including its symbols, amongst a lineage of monks living isolated in the Himalayas. This was only handed down to Ranga Premaratna, he claims. Takamori is now deceased so it would appear that the only persons that can corroborate this version of events are in a non-specified remote location in the Himalayas. RJKD claims that Buddho was revealed to a recluse monk whilst in a deep meditative state by the deity Avalokiteshvara, who used his knowledge of Ayurveda and Yoga to develop it, and became an oral tradition thereafter, sometimes communicated by mind terma. RJKD claims that it was the Buddho meditation that Usui was performing on Mount Kurama when I received the gift of Reiki, which was only taught to Hayashi who did not teach it to anyone except Takeuchi.

Only two crude drawings of Takamori exists, one (and possibly both) drawn by Premaratna, and Premaratna claims Takamori did not want details of his life in Japan and the USA to be disclosed because of a desire for privacy and that it was not important, which some might argue is not only unrealistic in the modern era with its desire for transparency, but also rather convenient if the tale was fictitious. If it is true, then to me it comes across as slightly egotistical. Sightings of an elderly Japanese man occurred around the time he went to see Premaratna, accounts of which vary as to in what capacity he was there, some claiming they saw him attend a Reiki course.

In the RJKD Level 1 Manual, Premaratna refers to Takata's lineage as Western Lineage, and RJKD, passed down by Seiji Takamori, as the Eastern Lineage. This manual is from the mid-noughties. There is no mention of what is commonly known as the Eastern Lineage, i.e. Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki and other styles in Japan that existed since the passing of Hayashi, and still exist today. From the description, Premaratna seems to be suggesting that Reiki only had two lineage heads after Hayashi, namely Takata and Takeuchi, Western and Eastern Lineages respectively, i.e. that Hayashi only passed down his complete system to 2 students; one of whom is world famous and helped to popularise Reiki in the West, and the other, who there is no historical record of his existence, was given the Buddho meditation by Hayashi, and only had one student, Takamori, who left Japan never to return to his master and who went on to develop the full RJKD and Buddho system.

Whilst not explicitly stated, the manual's wording would imply that no one else was taught to this high level in Japan and that it died out in Japan. This was the common belief amongst Western Reiki practitioners up until the late 90s, and many today still hold the same misconceptions about Takata, the same misinformation she spread at the time, because they haven't read very widely or just regurgitate the same things they were taught slavishly without engaging their brains.

If Premaratna was relying on what he was taught from his original Reiki training in the 1980s, and was not told about the Japanese Reiki lineages in Japan by Takamori, then it is possible he never heard about it until around the time Steve Gooch wrote his book to attempt to position RJKD within the now known Eastern Tradition, and failed to have his instructors update their manuals since. However, if RJKD was developed in the USA, or at least outside of Japan, then such a claimed history would make sense given the misinformation widely believed by the Reiki community at the time about Takata.

If Premaratna had know about the Eastern Lineage that we know of today and referred only to RJKD as the Eastern Lineage, then one could assume he was either trying to over-simplify Reiki history, not unlike some of the other rather over-simplified content but more compassion themed content of the manuals, or he was trying to suggest that RJKD was the true Eastern Lineage and that the existing Japanese Reiki culture was either not the true one or not worth mentioning, or that it was being bundled together with the Western Lineage and Takata, as distinct from RJKD, which would be ironic given that RJKD was only ever known taught or known about in the USA, regardless of its origins, whereas a continuous tradition of Reiki in Japan was not considered 'Eastern' enough.

Steve Gooch does a good job of trying to elaborate on the lineage more in his book Reiki Jin Kei Do: The Way of Compassion and Wisdom (2012), however he has little information to go on with RJKD and the claimed founders, and tries to fit that information into known historical facts about the Eastern Lineage with multiple stages of speculation, in order to form a narrative that supports the claimed history of RJKD, the end result being technically possible but with nothing solid to back it up and extremely unlikely. If he had been looking at it objectively I doubt he would stretched the theories to the limit. It is the least convincing part of his book which otherwise is fairly reasonable at describing RJKD without going into details about techniques etc.

So there are two possibilities. On the one hand we have a rather fanciful story regarding lineage and origins, with little or no information about 2 of the key players, or even if one of them existed, and on the other we have the notion that it is a recently created new age form of Usui Reiki combined with a simplified form of Qi Gong and Tai Chi.

I personally don't care where a style has evolved from, any style has to be evaluated on its own merits, and the claims of founders of any style are often to be taken with a pinch of salt. I do of course have the utmost respect for the work of founders of these styles in their development, but do not put teachers on a pedestal. Founders of other Reiki styles from the 1980s have made bold and outlandish claims that are regarded sceptically by many people within the Reiki community, and we have no background of their state of mental health.

I might compare it with William Cheung's Traditional Wing Chun. He was one of the students of Yip Man, and himself taught Bruce Lee for a period of time. Cheung claims to be the sole heir to Traditional Wing Chun and that all other students of Yip Man were taught a different style that he calls 'Modified Wing Chun', a style deliberately inefficient and lacking in mobility compared to the more circular footwork and 50/50 stance of 'Traditional Wing Chun'. This may of course be completely true. However, many outside of William Cheung's Academy in the Wing Chun community take the story with a pinch of salt and seem to believe that he wanted to create his own style of Wing Chun, to better capitalise on his greater height and build, and that it actually is less effective with persons of shorter height and smaller build.

Concept & Practice

RJKD emphasises the compassion side of Reiki, and professes to be a more complete Usui Reiki system and way of life, as opposed to other styles of Usui Reiki. The implication from the RJKD literature is that it contains 'lost' exercises and meditations. These include a series of Qigong and Tai Chi Chuan-like exercises now known as Buddho-Enersense (a name that still makes me cringe slightly), in addition to normal Usui Reiki practice using the 3 symbols. The 3 symbols are drawn slightly differently to other Usui Reiki styles. The symbols are also used slightly differently, in that as well as saying the name of the symbols 3 times after drawing it, each symbol is also drawn 3 times by the practitioner, so the mantra is said 9 times, and one uses the anticlockwise Cho Ku Rei, the power symbol, 3 times after using any of the other symbols, to empower it, e.g. Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen x 3 followed by anticlockwise Cho Ku Rei x 3. Also when drawing a clockwise 'release' Cho Ku Rei x3, it is immediately followed by the anti-clockwise version x3. I have read there is one other modern Usui offshoot style that has the same procedure, which predated the modern revealing of RJKD by the lineage head Ranga Premaratna. Traditional Usui Reiki Shiki Ryoho differs in practice with regards to symbols in that the practitioner or student may focus on one symbol only per session, or perhaps only one symbol for weeks at a time, to focus the mind, rather than a mixture of symbols in short succession like with many modern Reiki styles.

I found the RJKD documentation to name drop new age concepts almost as mind or eye candy to impress or tell the reader what they wanted to read, but without adequate detail or explanation behind it, so of limited value. This is not uncommon in the new age community and it gives RJKD a bit of a Western new age flavour. For instance, a diagram of the Nadi system of meridians and energy centres is provided but with no specific information appended and too small to make out what any of it means. If I was wanting to learn acupuncture, for instance, and was given one illegible drawing, it would not help. The recommending reading list is pitifully small and unconvincing and rather new age in nature. This may however be a manual and training issue rather than an issue with the style itself in terms of problems communicating what it is and how it works. RJKD it is claimed was taught to the current lineage head in 1990, at a time when chakra theory was already incorporated into many Western Reiki styles a decade prior. Had RJKD been taught in the West earlier, or even in the 70s, before Takata taught Level 3, it would have been hugely more convincing. RJKD whilst explaining the location of chakras and the aura doesn't appear to do much with the chakras besides define a set of hand positions that attends to all the chakras, and circular movements of the hands (at all hand positions not just chakra points). To me it feels like a bit of an add on rather than something intrinsic to the core system.

I also felt that after reading more about Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki (USRR) there were elements missing from RJKD, such as pronounciations for each of the 3 Kotodama, which are different from how they are spelled. These according to USRR can be used in addition to drawing the symbols or even in place of them. These sounds are vibrated in a similar way to Yoga. Several meditations are included at each RJKD stage, however, compared with URSS, there are far more meditations and energy exercises for the pracising student in the latter. RJKD seems to have dispensed with many of these, assuming the founder was aware of them of the in the first place, presumably in the name of promoting the concept of compassion. The BuddhoEnersense movements and breathing exercises, whilst all very good, seem very similar if not identical in places to Tai Chi Yang Style footwork and hand movements. The lineage head probably believes they predate Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong, however there is no evidence to support this. There is also a rich library of information about USRR in comparison with RJKD where information is only available in the manuals.

In terms of the attunements, these I felt were very good and I felt great afterwards. For Stage 1, I had 2 attunements on one day and the following 2 attunements a week later, each attunement lasting about 15 minutes. I practised on my American friend who recommended RJKD, and we did a few Reiki exchanges and she found it to be very beneficial as did her husband. I have since used it on myself and family members with good results, although as stated above, I feel the effects less on myself now than I once did.

One aspect of Reiki progression that differs with RJKD compared with more traditional Usui Reiki is that one cannot simply take Level 3 some months or a year after Level 2, one has to do an additional module in Buddho-Enersense Level 1. The idea behind this is presumably because Buddho-Enersense is viewed as an intrinsic part of the overall RJKD system and its practice makes you better at doing Reiki, which is most likely true, so you need some grounding in the basics of Buddho-Enersense before you can do Reiki Level 3. I think if you could demonstrate some ability in either Tai Chi or Qigong, this should be enough, but besides that, it would be better if the two disciplines were not tied to each other in this manner. There is no reason why one could not practice Buddho Level 1 from the outset. So it seems a little arbitrary to me. Evidently doing an extra course before Reiki Stage 3 will incur further cost.

I also don't believe this is the best way to learn Buddho-Enersense, or indeed Tai Chi or Qigong. If I wanted to learn Tai Chi, I would not spend a day at a workshop doing Tai Chi with an instructor, but would go to weekly or biweekly evening classes over a period of months to allow me time for the information to sink in and for the body to familiarise itself with it, practising the first few moves over and over and building up by adding more each time, and being corrected multiple times over a period of time. If you try to learn it all in one day, then it is much easier to forget shortly afterwards, and you then are left to your own devices to repeat the entire sequences at home without supervision, albeit with the help of an instruction manual and notes. It is not the same thing as having someone there in person correct you, even if your instructor agrees to review your moves as a one off a month later. This will help clear up some issues but it needs to be done over a period of time. Weekly classes are perhaps not so practical for the instructor if you want to have a system that is split into 3 distinct levels, and taught in the same way as a Reiki class, but I think it ought to be considered to be taught differently. If one considers the cost of a Buddho-Enersense class, yes there is the Buddho meditation and empowerment, but regarding the remainder focussing on breathing and movements, I could attend a large number of weekly Qigong classes for the same money and learn far more, and likely be able to practice it more accurately and thus with greater benefit.

Overall I think RJKD is quite good, if more expensive than Usui Reiki classes in comparison, but I feel uncomfortable with the lineage claims and would probably recommend someone try Usui Reiki Shiki Ryoho instead as I believe there a wider knowledge base available, and more to it, and additionally take up Qi Gong and/or Tai Chi classes from a master who practices Qi Gong full time, where there is a proven heritage. 

Karuna Ki

I also received attunements in person from a local teacher of Karuna Ki in person. She was also an experienced practitioner and teacher of Usui Reiki. I did not have my Reiki Level 3 so according to Karuna Ki's manual I should have had the attunements in separate sessions. However the practitioner said it was adequate to do them in two sittings, which were performed at her house with half an hour in between. The attunements felt very strong. I chose Karuna Ki by accident as my memory had failed me and thought it was enrolling in Karuna Reiki. I had read a great deal on what practitioners believed to be the most 'powerful' forms of Reiki, and Lightarian Reiki requires Karuna Reiki as a prerequisite, the implication being that Karuna Reiki was more powerful than Usui Reiki. Some Lightarian Practitioners, including the Lightarian Institute itself, informed me later that Karuna Ki was an adequate alternative. I had not spend much time practising the meditations or mudras but I did practice it on myself and family members and whilst I enjoyed it, I did not notice a substantial difference from RJKD, nor did the recipients, although that might come more with time of working with the symbols. It is possible that it was down to the way the attunements were performed or the quality of Karuna Ki attunements in general. Karuna Ki was devised by a former student of Karuna Reiki, Vincent Amador. However I still preferred it overall to Reiki Jin Kei Do, which it uses a base for added Reiki symbols and themes. 

Distance Attunements

I have received various attunements from practitioners on the internet, a list too long to mention. I will discuss a few below.

Kundalini Reiki by Ole Gabrielsen was the first Reiki style I took via distance attunement, from Sandra Ditta Herman in West London, who insisted it was done remotely even though I offered to drive there for each attunement. I was sceptical and slightly nervous. Each of the 3 attunements, performed a week or two apart, felt extremely strong, more so than any other attunement I have had before or since, so far. However in terms of actual practice, after the initial period after these attunements, they did not feel as powerful to practice as they once were.

Gabrielsen has historically offered some of his attunements in version numbers, offering existing practitioners to option to 'upgrade' to the latest 'version' of the 'energy' each time. Gabrielsen tweaks some of his attunements and for the loyal fans is a good way of getting return business. The version numbers are what appears to be years, increasing by one each time in most cases, but it seems that more than one version comes out each year so the 'year' of the Reiki version is way ahead of the current year. I tried a Kundalini Reiki 'upgrade' from 2014 to 2020 and didn't notice much difference at all if any, which was the opinion of Herman when I asked her about these version numbers. However, some claim they can feel a big difference.

I have since had a number of attunements and treatments with Ole Gabrielsen remotely, and whilst I didn't feel that much after the attunements or indeed the treatments, I did feel that the Reiki styles were effective in practice. It may be that his styles are quite similar in energetic terms, coming from a common source, and that once you have had a few attunements in this 'flavour', you wont' feel subsequent attunements for other styles from that same founder so much, even if the ability to practice any such new styles is not lessened as a result. Anyway, of all his styles I tried, I felt that Full Spectrum Light was my favourite of all of his styles, which feels thicker in some manner and more akin to Seichim. Several others were reasonably close so I tend to use a mixture of styles when I practice.

Ole Gabrielsen has written a short free e-book on creating your own attunements entitled Mastering Self Attunements which basically works on the principle of meditating on a certain sensation that you can generate or visualise in your mind or body and then embed it into an attunement or otherwise type of mental trigger.

I tried Cosmic Kundalini Reiki, Vajra Tummo Reiki (VTR) and Ayurveda Reiki attunements as I was wanting to explore other Ayurveda and Kundalini inspired forms of Reiki, possibly as a short cut to obtaining the benefits of Kundalini Meditation, which was in hindsight rather unrealistic. Comparing all 3 with Kundalini Reiki, I marginally preferred Cosmic Kundalini Reiki by Tawan Chester (provided by Craig MacLennon) the most, despite the over the top name. I don't believe there is any risk at all of Kundalini Syndrome through practising any of these types of Reiki.

I have also tried various forms of Seichim/Sekhem, e.g. Ka Shen Sekhem and All Love, Seichim Reiki, 7 Facet Seichim and Isis Seichim. I thought all of the above SKHM/Seichim attunements I took were all quite good, and different in their own ways. The one that stood out the most for me was Peter Chapman's Ka Shen Sekhem and All Love (Level 1), which is a combination of Sekhem and All Love, which felt quite similar to Ole Gabrielsen's Full Spectrum Light. KSS/AL has 7 levels. The introductory level is a self-attunement available for free.

Seichim was originally founded by Patrick Zeigler, whilst in Egypt (see my other 2 Reiki articles for more information), and perhaps somewhat arbitrarily defined as an 'Egyptian' energy, perhaps slightly different to Reiki as the energy is visualised as coming from above and also below at the same time. It was developed further together with a group of students, who as is often the way, went off to form their own personal styles, with no such thing as original Seichim as such remaining (although from memory I believe that 7 Facet Seichim, one of the earlier forms, is relatively close). Zeigler now practices a similar style he has called All Love, which is normally entrained through workshops that are held around the world, and does not use any of the original Seichim symbols nor any form of formal attunement, but relies on the group dynamic and Shenu related meditations. The workshop is in effect the attunement. I have not attended an All Love workshop. The process is described in Terea Parrott and Graham Cook's book 'Energy Works!: Initiation without a Master' (2006).

I also took Usui Shiki Ryoho Levels 1 to 3 attunements, with Caroline Todd and whilst the manuals provided were more akin to a new age form of Usui Reiki, they were still interesting to look into different types of techniques. I have obtained manuals from elsewhere that are more traditional in nature, that suited me better, and I have a large amount of books on Shiki Ryoho technique to study. I have enjoyed practising URSR. I may at some point take URSR attunements and courses in person, if I have the chance, which may or may not be necessary.

Two other styles I have been interested in for a few years are Lightarian Reiki and Diane Shewmaker's Sekhem-Seichim-Reiki (SSR), although I have no direct experience of them. Diane Shewmaker is the author of the book 'All Love: A Guidebook for Healing with Sekhem-Seichim-Reiki and SKHM' (2000) which features the Seichim Shenu on the cover.

Channeled Reiki styles can make various grandiose claims for what their intended usage is, however, I have found so far that in energetic terms there feels like there are only very subtle differences, and that it likely more just comes down to personal intention when using them. I personally tend to take any claims about them with a pinch of salt.



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