Reiki is a healing art evolved from Eastern visions of what our universe is and how it functions. Today, in the West, we grow master teachers, who, like their patients and students, have rushed up the ranks through an “instant” Reiki system of weekend seminars, offering little, if any, foundation in Eastern thinking, and who are continuing to churn the master-making machinery.

Is Reiki a valid complementary healing modality? Yes.

Are there honest, serious master teachers? Yes.

However, qualified Reiki masters are rare, and the responsibility of learning to navigate the legitimate Reiki path belongs to the student. Note: This is the opinion of the author Youngbear Roth (citation below) and it’s the REASON WHY I (Santosha) created this website to help people learn a more genuine Reiki practice: Evolving with Reiki.

I (Roth) believe that background knowledge in Eastern disciplines and concepts is a prerequisite for both a genuine master teacher and for serious students who wish to achieve a deep, committed Reiki practice. The truly qualified master teachers have accomplished a change in their world view that is all encompassing, and a student using a solid background in Eastern philosophical and spiritual views is more likely to recognize this quality in a prospective master teacher.

Attaining a stage of authentic personal change in any Eastern discipline along The Path demands that a seeker prepare for a five to ten year journey of intense intellectual study, and another five to ten years of actual practice: in all, approximately twenty years of mental, emotional, and spiritual practice precedes an actual change in awareness – and changing one’s awareness, the perspectives that guide one’s life, is the first step along The Path.

Eastern traditions:

Because a strong historical case can be made that modern Reiki is a rediscovery by Mikao Usui Sensei of an ancient Tibetan practice known as Medicine Buddha, I (Roth) will sketch a few Medicine Buddha basics, seeking a credible foundation, from an Eastern viewpoint, speaking to contemporary Reiki practice.

Tibetan medicine is rooted in India’s Buddhist system, taught as early as the sixth century BCE. From the Buddhist mind-set, physical disease is a dynamic, energetic manifestation of mental, social, and spiritual disorder.

Buddhism is a directed contemplative or meditation practice on the universal level of “correct living” and involves tapping into mental, social, and spiritual healing energy as it peels away layers hidden behind the diseased physical manifestation. Essentially, these are the identical attitudes taught in today’s genuine Reiki practice.

Within this Indian Buddhist foundation, the Tibetans broadened their healing practices adding various treatments and medications. The Tibetan Buddhists created a healing system, called Medicine Buddha: respecting spiritual contemplation, meditation, intuitive mystical healing methods – including hands-on energy manipulation – all coalescing as a healing system based on the Buddhist precepts of “right perception” and “right action”, and of health being a harmonious balance between humankind’s integral relationship connecting our physical, mental, spiritual, and natural worlds as various manifestations of one energy or life force. The intent of Medicine Buddha practice is to manifest one’s natural energetic potential.

Healing through the Medicine Buddha takes place via a series of empowerments designed to awaken the innate healing energy that lies within. Practicing the Medicine Buddha meditation, and receiving empowerments from a qualified Buddhist meditation master, go hand in hand for both the healer and patient. In modern Reiki, the Reiki master imparts empowerment to the patient or student or fellow healer in levels called “attunements.” Attunements open the subject to their innate energy potential in stages.

Barely scratching the surface then, we have sketched a case for the historical development of today’s Reiki by visiting the sixth century Buddhist teachings of the Tibetan Medicine Buddha:

1. Medicine Buddha involves a laying-on of hands similar to Reiki.

2. The ability to perform Medicine Buddha healing is transmitted to the student through an empowerment given by the teacher, similar to a Reiki attunement.

3. The views and attitudes of Medicine Buddha practice closely parallel the system now known as Reiki.

A Twenty-year, three-day seminar:

Reiki is composed of two Japanese characters. The top character, “rei,” is defined as “spirit.” The bottom character “ki,” is defined as “energy.” It is fair to say that the term “reiki” means “spirit energy” or “life force.” However, if I contemplate these words in the Western sense, I cannot grasp their true meanings. It is imperative for the Western student of Reiki to understand that they are embarking on a journey to a place in our comprehension where we come into direct contact with, and are changed by, the dynamics of language.

Learning to use everyday Western terms in an Eastern sense, to conceptualize in a “Reiki” style, is key to understanding how Reiki healing succeeds. Without this knowledge of the difference between Eastern and Western concepts of energy or life force, we can be given the tools of the energy healing profession but will not possess the ability to take instruction on utilizing them; the nomenclature, esoteric symbols, meditation instruction, and information coming to us through meditation practice will be misinterpreted.

After our three-day Reiki seminar, we will frame our certificates and open our notebooks. But we will encounter symbols and meditation instructions through our Western conceptions of what the Eastern symbols and instructions are offering us. The symbols, mantras, and instructions are meant to communicate aspects of life force energy in the Reiki sense, in the Eastern sense – but we have no idea what that means!

Curious to learn more about a Genuine Reiki Practice? Chat with Santosha today or sign-up immediately!


Namaste (My energy and your energy, honored as one energy.)


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Article Source:

Roth, Y. (2007, October 18). Walking The Long Path – The Art of Genuine Reiki Practice. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from­The-­Long-­Path-­-­-­The-­Art-­of-­Genuine-­Reiki-­Practice