A Deeper Understanding of the Reiki Precepts

The Reiki Precepts - A Deeper Understanding

Although there are variations to the Reiki Precepts, their intention remains the same. “Just for Today” invites us to step in to the present moment where we have an opportunity to change our future.

When we are fully present we are able to come back to Divine Mind where all is well. The divine aspect of each person is perfect in health, abundance, relationships and all things. There is no sickness, and all is well. When we see ourselves and others as healthy and well, and hold that vision, we encourage the Universe to make it our reality. 

These precepts work on a deeper level than the consciousness, and as we recite them daily, they begin to become our way of being in the world. They invoke the mystic art of happiness and the miraculous medicine to heal all illness.

I first trained in Reiki in 1998 under Zetta Michaels, in Byron Bay. At that time there was not much known about the true history of Reiki, other than the westernised story as told my Mrs Hawaya Takata, after WW2, which was designed to give greater acceptance of Reiki to the Western World. Mrs Takata said that Mikao Usui was Dean of a Christian University called Doshishua University in Kyoto in Japan and had also travelled and studied in Chicago. She also stated that she was the Grand Master of Reiki and the last remaining Reiki Master alive after WW2. This story turned out to be false as people like Frank Arjava Petter, William Lee Rand and Walter Lubeck searched for the roots of Reiki back in 1997, and eventually a new story emerged of Sensei Mikao Usui, a humble man, who was a Buddhist who had never travelled to Chicago, let alone been the Dean of a Christian University.

When I first heard the new story I was heartbroken that Mrs Takata had lied, but later realised that it was my ego that was judging her actions, and had she not westernised the story, most of us would never have heard of this strange and somewhat mystical healing art known as Usui
Reiki Shiki Ryoho, let alone have this gift to heal and change our lives. I have been doing Reiki now for more than 22 years, and its magic has transformed every aspect of my life, and given me the basis to help thousands of my family, friends and clients to heal and open their minds
and hearts to the infinite possibilities that Reiki offers in our lives, with the teachings and wisdom that the energy itself brings with its daily use.

The Reiki precepts have a depth that many take for granted, but as we unpack them, we can use out daily practice to connect us to the wisdom of the Universe and our own Soul.

Just for Today, I let go of anger,
Just for Today, I let go of worry,
Just for Today, I count my many blessings,
Just for Today, I do my work honestly,
Just for Today, I will be kind to my neighbour, and every living thing.
(Note: every living thing includes YOU. Be kind to YOU!

These are the Reiki Ideals used by Reiki masters in Japan. It was provided by a Japanese Reiki master, Toshitaka Mochizuki in conjunction with his Reiki book, “Iyashi No Te” (Healing Hands). The following is a line for line translation starting from the right.

The secret art of inviting happiness
The miraculous medicine of all diseases
Just for today, do not anger
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude
Devote yourself to your work. Be kind to people.

Every morning and evening, join your hands in prayer.
Pray these words to your heart
and chant these words with your mouth

Usui Reiki Treatment for the improvement of body and mind
The founder
Usui Mikao

The Japanese Form

The Source of Usui Reiki Ryoho Principles (Five Precepts)

Usui Sensei, the founder of Usui Reiki Ryoho, created the Reiki Principles or so-called Five Precepts based on the phrase in the opening page of a book “Kenzen-no-genri” or “The
Principle of Soundness” written by Dr. Suzuki Bizan, and published on December 28, in the 3rd year of Taisho (1914).

The phrase titled “A Path to Soundness” reads:
“Today only (kyo dake wa)
Be not angry (ikarazu)
Be not fearful (osorezu)
With honesty (shojiki ni)
Perform diligently your duty (shokumu ni hagemi)
Be kind to others (hitoni shinsetsu ni)”
By Suzuki Bizan

招福の秘法 — SHOFUKU NO HIHO — Mystic art to invite happiness
萬病の霊薬 — MANBYO NO REIYAKU — Miraculous medicine to heal all diseases

In Japan it is traditionally believed that the mystical powers dwell in words.

This concept called “Kotodama”. which is a combination of the two words means:
“Koto” – word and “dama” – soul or spirit. The words we say have significant power,  “we create as we speak“.

Ancient Japanese people believed that the words were like “Kami” (Divine Being) or a deity. They believed “everything one speaks will become real”, so we must be mindful of the power our words have on the Universe and all who inhabit our world.

Day by day, we seed words of Gokai (Reiki Principles) into our life, so that it can influences our mind, soul, body and environment. By chanting aloud the energy of the words manifests in the world.

In 2017 I trained in Komyo ReikiDo with Japanese Monk Hayakuten Inamoto, who shed more light on the Precepts as more than just words to recite when doing Reiki, but as a way of life. Here he recites the Precepts in Japanese.

Let us now discuss each of Precepts in more depth. Firstly, let’s break them down and discuss them from a human and realistic perspective, but then we will look at the Buddhist perspective to see if we can get a better understanding, perhaps more in line with that of the Founder, Mikao Usui.

Just for today, I will let go of anger

As  Clinical and 5-PATH Hypnotherapist I understand that all our emotions are good. They are there to help us take better better care of ourselves, therefore they have an important purpose.

Let us look at these precepts adding a modern twist, as much has been learned in the past 100+ years since Mikao Usui introduced the the Precepts to us.

Anger means “this isn’t fair” so it’s purpose is to help us right a wrong and make things fairer, or to stand up for ourselves or others if necessary. If this is not possible, then forgiveness is the path we must travel if we want to be free of the hold that anger, bitterness and resentment have over us.

Although anger serves an important purpose, it is actually one of the most destructive emotions on the heart, for in the act of “getting angry”, whether we express the emotion or hold it in, the act of becoming angry itself can reduce the pumping efficiency of the heart by 5% to 7%, which can cause a heart attack in vulnerable people.

When we are extremely emotional, we also find that we have less access to the prefrontal lobes of the brain, so are therefore more likely to say and do things we later regret.

Through the work of Dr Masaru Emoto in his studies on water molecules, we also know that negative emotions affect water cells, including those in our own bodies, which make up 70% to 90% of the human being, depending on age and other factors. So getting angry is bad for the person we are angry with, but its also bad for us. What we put out does in fact come back tenfold!

Just for today, I will let go of worry

Worry, anxiety and fear mean “I don’t feel safe”, therefore the need of the subconscious is to feel safe. Anxiety is one of the main things I deal with as a hypnotherapist. Worry and fear are also lower frequency emotions that cause us to go into fight, flight or freeze and reduce our access to the thinking brain, so that we are unable to see a way forward. Feeling safe is one our primal needs, so this must be attended to, however constant worrying when there is now way of knowing what you don’t know, in fact is no more than a waste of our energy.

When we realise that fear is an illusion, and a misuse of the imagination, it begins to lose its power over us. We have over 60,000 thoughts every day. The majority of these thoughts are worrying about the past and the future. As we come back into “Just for today”, we realise that in THIS moment, we are safe and all is well. If we take life one moment, one minute, one hour, one day at a time, we realise that most of the things we worried about never happened, and we can trust that whatever life throws at us, we will deal with.

Just for today, I will count my many blessings

Be grateful, count your blessings, focus on having an attitude of gratitude and you will change your life. When we give thanks for all we already have, it opens the doorway for wmore joy in our lives. When we add another dimension, we can look at the Law if Attraction knowing that our primary frequency that we vibrate to attracts other things to us which are in alignment with our own vibrational frequency. Through the work of David Hawkins, we find that Gratitude has a frequency of 540, which is even higher than love. As we raise our own vibration through gratitude, we are then able to positively affect more people and this higher vibration alone helps us heal ourselves and others.

As we use gratitude in our daily lives, it gives us the ability to transcend all difficulties and use even our most painful experiences as stepping stone to grow our soul. Gratitude can transform a devastating disaster into a powerful lesson and way to heal. It opens our hearts to look for the positives and therefore see everything as an opportunity to overcome, heal and transcend any problem into a tool for our own growth and evolution.

Just for today I will do my work honestly

This precept does not just mean being honest and not cheating others, but choosing how you earn your living in a moral and honest way, harming none. It also refers to how we live our lives. Our work is everything, from how we care for ourselves and our families, washing and cleaning our homes, cooking our meals and all the mundane things we do in our daily lives, it is our duty to ourselves and others to do it well. This precept also includes our Spiritual work. If you are going to meditate, do it with all your heart. If you are going to do a Reiki treatment on yourself or another, do it with intention and to the best of your ability. You are cheating no-one but yourself by skimming the surface or not being fully present.

When we do our work honestly, we are simply being fully present in the moment, doing the best we can with what we have, and therefore honouring our own soul and all those we come in contact with, in our daily lives. Doing our work honestly means being honest and honourable in everything we do.

Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbour and every living thing

This is a universal commandment, which has been taught by every Spiritual leader on the planet, from Jesus, to Buddha. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. What we put our comes back tenfold, as stated previously.

If every person treated others with loving kindness and compassion, there would be no wars, no separation. This precept also invites us to remember that every living thing includes us, for we are not separate from each other, but an extension of each other.

As we begin to look for similarities, rather than differences, we realise that we are all like the limbs of a tree. What affects one, affects all of us. As we use loving kindness and compassion we raise the vibrational frequency of humankind and of the planet, to effect healing, simply by being in the presence of this loving energy.

Emotions, Consciousness and Frequency

In his book Power VS Force, Dr David Hawkins muscle tested over 2,000 people to calibrate the vibrational frequency of different emotions. Every emotion has a frequency, and can either expand our energy or contract it.

All of the Reiki Precepts are aligned with the energy and frequency of Reiki, which is LOVE. When we are vibrating at the frequency of love or above, according to Hawkins, we can positively affect up to 750,000 people, simply by being in their presence. This is one of the reasons Reiki has such a profound impact on the lives of practitioners and those we work with in our daily lives and healings.

as we continue to do our daily Precepts and self-treatments, we raise our vibration and come into a healthier way of being.

Buddhist Mindset and Vipassana

Lastly I would like to introduce the idea of the Buddhist mindset as a way of looking at the Reiki Precepts from not just the Western viewpoint.

I might also say that although we know Mikao Usui was not a Christian, he may not have actually been a Buddhist. He was most likely a spiritualist and psychic. People who do his kind of work were called “Rei Jyutu Ka” which means, “people who have spiritual skill.” It was during his activities as a spiritualist that he rediscovered Reiki on Kurama-yama, a sacred mountain outside Kyoto. 

This being said, let us keep an open mind and look at the Buddhist practices and see how they can also relate.

Many years ago I attended a Vipassana 10 Day Meditation Retreat, where we would meditate for 10 hours a day commencing at 4.30am and finishing around 9.30pm each day. During that time, we were not allowed to speak to the other students as it was an internal practice, guided by a teacher and also taught from recordings by SN Goenka, a Burmese Buddhist, who is credited with bringing back the meditation techniques of the Buddha.

During our 10 day Retreat we spent days simply focusing our attention on following the breath, as it goes in, and as it goes out, and on the area below the nose. Then we would send our attention all the way down the body, the front and back, down to the feet, then bring it back up again to the crown. This was a tedious task at first, as we were instructed to simply observe the sensations in the body without reacting. This included cramping, itches, pains in the back, knees, legs and various other parts of the body. At first it seemed an impossible task – observe but do not react! The as we passed our attention over the previously uncomfortable area of the body, we would notice that the itch or pain had disappeared. The Buddha spent years doing this!

On day 5 my mind was still. There were no more judgements or thoughts, only full presence. There was no more “monkey mind”, and I “got it”. I understood that the Buddha was trying to teach as that “as within, so without”, “as above, so below”. If we could sit without moving or reacting to the internal discomfort, we could become the observer of our own thoughts and the external world, without reacting. This is the essence of the teaching.

I had a mystical experience that took me back to another similar experience I had had 10 years before while teaching a Reiki Master’s Workshop with 11 students and there was a huge amount of energy flowing through all of us. On the Saturday Night while I meditated, I went into the light, and I was the light. There was no separation and I could see other balls of coloured energy and light, and I know they were other souls. I watched as the light shone through all of them and I had a knowing that they were part of the light, and so was I. How could we feel less than perfect if this was our true nature. We are all one with the light, we are all one. As I remembered that previous experience all those years ago, I was once again transported back into the light, and gained deeper knowledge from the experience, which allowed me to use Reiki, self-hypnosis, meditation and nutrition to heal my bone cancer, even though oncology said it could not be done.

 Mikao Usui may have been a Buddhist. Although we can never completely know his true intentions in choosing to use these beautiful Reiki Precepts, we can say that his instruction for us to recite them morning and night was to infuse the essence of walking the middle path and no longer reacting to the waves of emotion that come and go like the waves of the ocean or the breath. As we become the observer we become the thinker of the thoughts, rather than the thoughts themselves, and we find it easier to respond to life rather than react. When we add the Precepts to our healing work, the energy of our intention is also infused into the energy field of our client/patient, to have an even greater healing effect on the body, mind and soul.

Just for Today, I let go of anger,
Just for Today, I let go of worry,
Just for Today, I count my many blessings,
Just for Today, I do my work honestly,
Just for Today, I will be kind to my neighbour, and every living thing
(Note: every living thing includes YOU. Be kind to YOU!)

In reciting the Reiki Precepts daily, they are absorbed into our energy field and our consciousness, to effect positive change in us as Reiki Channels and all those we share our lives with. Our Precepts then becomes a part of our practice and our way of life, undoing negative programs from our early years and opening us up to the magic that is everywhere.

 Our precepts bring us back to inner peace and wholeness. As we heal others, we are healed.

May the healing light of Reiki and these Precepts bring you truth, inner peace and freedom from limitation, to open up to a world of unlimited potential and possibilities.


Carol Macrae