by William Lee Rand
When Dr. Usui taught the Reiki symbols, he asked all students to keep them private, showing them only to other students who also learned them in a Reiki class or if one is a teacher, showing them only to students taking the Reiki II or master training. This is what Mrs. Takata taught and it's also what is taught by the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai in Japan. Thousands of Reiki students have been taught the symbols in this way and have promised to keep the symbols private.
The private use of the symbols was maintained for a long time, but in the mid-90's one author published them in a Reiki book. Since that time others have published them and it is now very easy for non-Reiki students to find the Reiki symbols by doing a simple search on the internet. In addition, several of the Reiki symbols were used by other religious or spiritual groups in Japan and other Asian countries and are not exclusive to Usui Reiki.
Since the symbols can be found so easily, and since they are not exclusive to Usui Reiki, some have wondered if it is still important for Reiki students to keep the symbols private. I've wondered the same thing and have spoken with other long time Reiki teachers about this and also meditated on it. Here is what I've realized.
It is still important to keep the symbols private. There are many reasons for this. First of all, Dr. Usui asked that they be kept private. And thousands of Reiki students have promised to do so. A promise concerning something as significant as the Reiki symbols is important to keep. The symbols represent a connection to the Reiki energy and if one has made a promise to keep them private, it is important to keep it. To break that promise would be unethical and create discord in ones integrity. This alone is reason enough to keep them private, but this discord would also create a disruption in the flow of the energy that one experiences in the use of the symbols, thus weakening the energy the Reiki symbols provide. Furthermore, since this is not just a promise to your Reiki teacher or to Dr. Usui, but to the source of Reiki, breaking that promise would not only weaken the strength of the symbols, but of ones Reiki energy in general.
The Reiki symbols were asked to be kept private for a reason. And it was not to limit the healing energy to just a few, but to preserve the purity and strength of the healing energy the Reiki symbols provide. The symbols have no power in themselves. Their power comes from the lineage and the transmission of healing energy from teacher to student that is passed on with the attunement. This special energy becomes attached to the symbols through this process. By keeping the Reiki symbols private, and only giving them to students in a Reiki class that includes the attunement process, the power of the symbols remain pure.
By making the symbols public, it opens the door to the possibility that the Reiki symbols could be used by those not strongly connected with the Usui lineage or not part it at all, thus connecting a debased form of healing energy to the Reiki symbols. This would weaken the system and create a debased branch of Reiki that would spread through those that taught it.
And even though some of the Reiki symbols are used by other spiritual systems, this is no reason for Reiki students not to keep the symbols private. After all, the other spiritual systems have their own use and meaning for these symbols which is somewhat different than their use in Usui Reiki. Those who use them in the other spiritual systems may not know they are part of Usui Reiki and of course if they haven't taken Usui Reiki, wouldn't have the same connection with the symbols.
As you can see, there is an ethical issue and also an issue of preserving the strength of the Usui system that makes it important to keep the symbols private.