Attunements or not attunements?

Attunements are recreations of recreations in the modern Reiki. In the original Reiki system, there was no such thing. A simple Reiju blessing was performed which was non-physical.


Hayashi Chujiro was a student of Mikao Usui and was also a member of the Usui Reiki Ryaho Gakkai. He broke away from it in 1931 to create his own clinic.

Hawayo Takata studied with Hayashi Chujiro from 1936 to 1938 and thereafter took the teachings to the West.

In the West, what is called an attunement today might be one of a multitude of different versions. There are in fact so many being taught that no one really is sure what the ‘original’ is. Most are recreations of recreations of recreations... Some practitioners have added more symbols to the attunements; others extend the process to include extra movements and unending repetition, link individual attunements to chakras (from the Indian tradition) or include the playing of singing bowls etc.

These improvisations promote a disregard for the mystical process of reiju/attunement leaving it open for more distortions.

Despite the numerous different versions of Western attunements, there are also general similarities among them.

  • all use mantras and symbols
  • each level has a slightly altered attunement

These elements denote a distinctly different ritual to the physical Reiju taught by Mikao Usui.

These similarities among Western Attunements, coupled with their dissimilarity to Mikao Usui’s Reiju, suggest that the ‘attunements’ have all come from one source – Hayashi Chujiro via his student Hawayo Takata.

The origins of the Western attunement are further supported by their similarity to the ‘attunement ‘taught by two Japanese students of Hayashi Chujiro. One is Tatsumi, who taught a simpler, non-elaborate attunement. The other is Yamaguchi Chiyoko. Both Tatsumi and Yamaguchi used symbols and mantras and altered the ‘attunement’ for each level (though Yamaguchi Chiyoko does not use symbol four in her ‘attunement)’. Therefore, the ‘attunement’ process can be traced back Hayashi Chujiro.

It is not known whether Mikao Usui taught Hayashi this ritual or if Hayashi created it himself. Japanese practitioners today say that the West practices Hayashi’s Reiki, not Usui’s teachings. It is possible that Hayashi took physical Reiju and adapted it to fit in with his idea of teaching students over a short period of time. This is in contrast to the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai who repeat a physical Reiju at each meeting.

Hayashi may have believed that he made the Reiju more ‘powerful’ by including the symbols and mantras in the process. This, therefore, might have justified giving students their certificates at the end of the five-day training without the obligation of any ongoing meetings, tutoring or repeated performing of Reiju.

Hayashi’s teaching method is very much a forerunner to the Western style of teaching where there is no continuity of study with the teacher. It is also representative of the concept that symbols add more ‘power’ to your Reiki practice. In the traditional Japanese system, mantras and symbols are not considered to be ‘powerful’ but simply aid in the understanding of energy.

There have been suggestions that Hayashi was actually unaware of the exact workings of the Reiju since he only studied with Mikao Usui for a limited period of 10 months and therefore created his own ritual that is called an ‘attunement’ today. Toshitaka Mochizuki states in his book Iyashi No Te (Healing Hands 1995) that Hayashi was one of 19 teachers appointed by Mikao Usui before he died.

We can therefore say that Chujiro Hayashi didn’t follow Mikao Usui’s teachings but created his own together with Hawayo Takata, he even changed the Reiki Gakkai which is a very elusive group of teachers and practitioners in Japan, so we need to look very closely at Chujiro Hayashi as Mikao Usui’s teachings changed after his death and more so after world war two. After a few years and after Chujiro Hayashi’s suicide, the original teachings came back into focus. Reiju was performed not ‘attunements’ so it was a non-physical blessing.

We all have Reiki within us, some don’t recognise it and ‘attunements’ won’t make that happen, only the person involved will feel the wonder of Reiki, by being true to themselves. No one can make a person ‘feel’, there are all sorts of ‘extras’ that are said will make Reiki more powerful such as symbols etc

There really isn’t. Reiki is all enlightenment and wonderful, no one needs to make a system more ‘powerful’ that is a human trait, simplicity is the key.

When we look at the name of Reiju, what does it mean? Ju means letting go of the ‘I’ letting go of the ‘you’. No ‘giver’ no ‘receiver’

Rei has many Japanese translations but for me, it is giver of light, light within, graceful, solid, blessing and so on.

So in my opinion, Reiju is a blessing which can be shared at any time on anyone, remember no ‘giver’ no receiver’, no ‘ego’ no ‘power’.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Therapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Corsham SN13
Written by Jenny Newman, Connect With Reiki Reiki master/Teacher
Corsham SN13

Jenny Newman is a graduate teacher of the International House of Reiki and has been teaching for 25 years. Jenny continues to study every year with her teacher Frans Steine, and through this study and research, she has gone to a very deep level within the system of Reiki, teaching the ancient and traditional Japanese perspective.

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