The Reiki Digest is a free publication - You can help keep it that way (and enjoy great discounts) by patronizing our carefully selected advertisers! Thanks for your support!

Heal Your Life 468x60

Thursday, March 05, 2009

What does it mean to be a master?

What does it mean to be a Reiki Master? Or any other kind of master, for that matter. Is there even such a thing as mastery?

The question came to mind for us when we read the requirements for membership in a new Reiki organization, Shibumi. The group specifies the terminology that its members may use, and "Reiki Master" is not one of the accepted terms:

"The term Reiki Master is not utilized by Shibumi members due to the understanding that one does not master Reiki (spiritual energy)."

But is that the case only with Reiki? Or can anything be truly mastered? If nothing can be mastered, then when, if ever, is it appropriate to use the term "master"? 

It's true that "Reiki Master" can be a somewhat nebulous term, since there is no standardization or regulation. The quickest, cheapest way to call yourself a certified Reiki Master is to go to your computer, design a certificate with your name on it and print it out. Or if you don't want to print your own, you can buy a Reiki Master certificate online for as little as a few dollars. That won't get you any training or experience, but no one can stop you from calling yourself a Reiki Master. If you'd rather take it seriously enough to get a certificate from a Reiki teacher, you can spend anywhere from a few hours to several years, and anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $10,000 (or equivalent) for your training. As we search the world for news about Reiki each week, we see more and more ads for online attunements, training, and certification, so you might not even have to leave your home to get a certificate. Of course, there are also ads for cheap online bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D.s as well, but that doesn't make them a substitute for studying at a university.

Having studied for a year myself to become a Reiki Master in one lineage, and then followed up with training in two other lineages, one of which is that of the founders of Shibumi, I admit that I wish the term hadn't been devalued by eBay certificates and online attunements. But for me, the certificate and the title aren't really the point. It's what I did to earn them that really matters. Being a Reiki Master, or a university graduate, isn't about a piece of paper. It's what you do with it that counts.

I was taught that in the traditional Japanese lineages of Reiki, earning a certificate didn't mean a student had completed a particular level. Rather, it meant that you've begun working at that level. I began working with Reiki at the master level several years ago, and I don't expect I'll ever reach the point where I mark that task as "done" and file it away. Reiki is a practice: for me, an everyday practice that will never be completed. Of course, I also feel that way about writing, yoga, qigong, cooking, or any other practice. 

In my first Reiki Master program, the reading list included a book on the subject: Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard, an aikido practitioner. I've lost track of the number of times I've read it, and recommend it to you. Leonard sees mastery as an ongoing journey, not a fait accompli -- or as we Americans say, mission accomplished.

Reiki Masters, teachers, students, and practitioners of the world, what do you think? Add your comments to this post on our web site (just click on the word "comments") or email them to


Blogger Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC said...

When I first became a Reiki Master in 1997 the title was one that was respected by many in the community as well as outside, and there were not many of us.

Not long after I completed my Master training, I was in Chi Gung class where I was among 50 other students, and our very respected instructor singled me out and introduced me as the sole Reiki Master present. He spoke briefly about the practice of Reiki, and BOWED to me! As a relatively new Reiki Master I was stunned to be accorded such respect.

One year later Reiki had gained in popularity, and with popularity there was a definite downgrade in the quality of instruction offered by some teachers.

Two years later the term "Reki Master" had begun to be a term of derision, denoting someone who was "New Age" and foo-foo, and not well trained or grounded in energy healing.

Myself, I prefer the term "Reiki Master Teacher" as more aptly describing my role. I tell my students that no one masters Reiki, rather one is mastered by it.

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC

4:56 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home