A Note on Symbolism

It is a commonly believed that Usui Sensei 'discovered' the Reiki symbols in Buddhist texts - and that he experienced an epiphany about their true significance in his visionary experience on Mt. Kurama.

However, in one of Takata-sensei's recorded talks she clearly states that while Usui-sensei discovered a technique for accessing healing energy in the Buddhist texts, she does not indicate that he found the Reiki symbols in those texts.

She did state that on the last day of his meditative fast, Usui-sensei saw a vision of millions of multi-coloured bubbles followed by a great white light; and finally, there appeared before him: "what he had studied in the Sanscrit" in glowing, golden, Sanscrit letters. Still, she makes no mention of the four Reiki symbols. Some sources now claim Usui Sensei did not use symbols in the original Reiki system and that they were added later to incorporate an effective focussing method to assist those students who were experiencing difficulty in feeling, and differentiating between, certain aspects of the Reiki 'energy'.

However, the story shared by a Reiki Master from Japan puts things in a slightly different perspective. Research continues to reveal new information regarding the history and nature of 'original' Reiki. Current conventional wisdom indicates that Usui Sensei's original system was spiritual-philosophical in nature, incorporating certain Buddhist and Shinto elements. It is a system for improving body and soul, including a self-healing element.

If this is the case, then Reiki as a purely therapeutic system would seem to be a natural 'outgrowth' from this original spiritual-philosophical system. 'According to the Reiki Master Jiro Kozuki, incorporating symbols into the therapeutic Reiki system was not so much a case of Usui Sensei creating four new symbols, but selecting four symbols which were already a feature of his spiritual-philosophical system, and assigning them new significance as 'keys' to assist in the focusing of intent as part of the therapeutic aspect of the system.