There are three degrees, taught traditionally. Some schools teach 4 and some as many as seven degrees or levels. The following descriptions are one way of describing the four levels of Reiki.
First Degree Reiki:
This is the beginning level. The training includes powerful and sacred First Degree activating initiations, information on the history of Reiki, a discussion of the various Reiki associations, and ways of applying this unique science. Specific hand positions covering the head, front and back of the body, and their corresponding physical, mental, emotional and spiritual significance are extensively covered. Instructions are given on how to utilize Reiki with family, friends, plants, animals, food and water. The benefits of using Reiki in a group are discussed and an actual group treatment is experienced.
Second Degree Reiki:
This is available to those who have completed the First Degree, have continuously been using it for a few months and want to pursue a higher more powerful level. It includes a powerful, sacred Second Degree initiation, which attunes you to dynamic, multi-dimensional energy keys or symbols. These sacred symbols allow you to access many different levels or dimensions of energy. A discussion of the symbols and their origins as well as their precise usage is given. Specific techniques of absentee healing, personal transformation and healing mental/emotional disorders are also presented.
Third Degree Reiki:
This level is for personal mastery, personal growth, transformation and increased enlightenment. It is available to those students who have been continuously working with Second Degree Reiki and feel ready for the next level. Psychic surgery and the making of crystal grids are taught at this stage to enable the learner to remove energy blocks. Students are also taught how to make an Energy Grid which brings in more light and love to the planet and sends continuous Reiki treatments as well as a procedure to remove particularly difficult energy blocks.
Master or Teacher Level Reiki:
This is for those students who wish to teach Reiki. It is necessary that a continuous use of Reiki and a prerequisite of Third Degree for Personal Mastery be completed before applying for the Master/Teacher level. In this level, one is taught how to do attunements, which open the recipient to receive greater amounts of Reiki energy. These attunements are not initiatory, but are designed to help you access more energy when giving hands-on or absentee treatments.
This level requires a deep commitment to the integrity of the system and the integration of Reiki as a lifestyle. It gives you the complete science for activating First, Second, Third and Master/ Teacher degrees (including complete teaching notes for each degree). It contains advanced techniques in energy activation, balance, direction and modulation for healing, transformation, integration and inner-illumination. It is not just a step up in energy, it is a way of being. The Master/Teacher level is available only upon request and interview.
Why would a Reiki Master choose to teach more than three levels? The answer we have found most often is that there is so much wonderful information to pass on to the Master candidate. Rather than having the Master student apprentice for a year to learn the complete system, some teachers have chosen to add additional levels to the teaching. Specific lengths of time between classes are usually required to allow the energy to incorporate within the person and giving them a set amount of time to practice what they have learned.
There are ranks and levels within the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai's system of Reiho. Ranks are based on the student's ability to channel the energy and their adeptness or proficiency in performing the techniques. A student will go from proficiency rank 6 ('the beginning level' or First Degree) where the student learns hand-on and other Shoden techniques; through fifth and fourth. It is not until the student attains the third proficiency rank that Okuden (or Second Degree) techniques (including symbols and later distance healing) are offered. It can take a student as long as 10 years before Okuden is attained because it is based on the amount of energy channeled and the success rate with clients. In other words the student must have fully mastered the rank before new levels are offered.
• Proficiency Rank 6—Shoden Level ('beginning teachings'),
• Proficiency Rank 5,
• Proficiency Rank 4,
• Proficiency Rank 3—Okuden Zenki, Okuden Koeki and Shinpiden Levels,
• Proficiency Rank 2—Usui's Rank,
• Proficiency Rank 1—Unachieved to date.
Usui Sensei placed himself at Proficiency Rank 2, leaving Rank 1 for someone who would surpass his own ability. This gesture was to encourage his pupils to work hard in all aspects of Reiho, especially spiritual growth. To date no member of the Gakkai has achieved Usui's level of ability.
There are four levels taught in the Gakkai, Shoden ('beginning teachings' or First Degree), Okuden Zenki ('highest or secret level', first term or Second Degree), Okuden Koeki ('highest or secret level', latter term or personal mastery) and Shinpiden ('God's secret method' teacher training or Master). At each level additional techniques are given. The spiritual aspect with techniques for personal growth and enlightenment are taught in all levels of Reiho. Reiho is seen as a method or path to reaching higher levels of spiritual consciousness with healing being a 'by-product' that occurs from connecting to the 'True-self'. When a student has mastered Okuden Koeki and the collective Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai Shinpiden feel the student is ready or able, they may vote for the student to receive Shinpiden (teacher training). However it must be noted that currently there are only 6 Shinpiden in the whole Gakkai. Precisely how a student is chosen to receive training or when Shinpiden is actually taught is not known.
A school of Reiho taught by Kyozou Ogawa offers six levels. The highest level available is Okuden Koeki or level 1. When one takes Shinpiden or teacher training they learn to teach the information and techniques, and do the attunements for all six levels of Reiho. Following are the levels taught:
• Level 6: Dai Loku Tou - Shoden Level ('Beginning teachings'),
• Level 5: Dai Go Tou - Shoden Level,
• Level 4: Dai Yon Tou - Shoden Level,
• Level 3: Dai San Tou - Shoden Level,
• Level 2: Okuden Zenki - Okuden First Term,
• Level 1: Okuden Koeki - Okuden Latter Term ('Highest or secret level') and
• Teaching Level: Shinpiden - ('God's secret method').