A question for you about the Reiki Precepts

Bronwen and Frans StieneArticles, English 43 Comments


In one way or another in all Reiki courses the Reiki precepts are taught or shown.

We would like to hear what you think about the precepts and why they exist within the system of Reiki?

Within the system of Reiki are they your side dish, main meal, dessert, snack, cocktail or some other form of nourishment?

Please add your answers to the comment section below.

Mind you, you don’t have to use food analogies, but you are welcome to if you wish:-).

For Today Only:
Do not Anger
Do not worry 
Be Humble
Be Honest in your Work 
Be Compassionate to Yourself and Others

Comments 43

  1. Avatar of Chris Smith

    “Main meal”  I find the study of the precepts both fascinating and rewarding since living a lifestyle based on those precepts allows everything else to flow into place.

  2. Avatar of James Wells

    For me, the five precepts (gokai) are the core of reiki.  Many wonderful hand-on healing methods exist, many ceremonies of remembering our connection to something sacred exist, many form of meditation exist; however, the hands-on part of a reiki practice is done through the lens of the five precepts, reiju is offered through the lens of the five precepts, and hatsurei ho is done through the lens of the five precepts.  Whenever I teach a reiki class, especially at first level, I say, “This page is the heart and soul of reiki.  If you get nothing else out of this course except these, you’ll be off to a good life” or words to that effect.

  3. Avatar of Janet Dobbs

    Oh yummy! What a concept to compare the precepts to food. Kind of like the air we breathe. We need these elements to live and survive. Same with the precepts. I would say that it would depend on the moment. I would have them for every meal, snack, beverage, desert, soup, salad….. Sometimes I savor every bite. Sometimes I rush and gulp but am reminded to slow down and enjoy and savor. One precept or one part of a precept or all of the precepts need to be part of each moment of our day. Here’s to good health or healthy eating. 🙂

  4. Avatar of Grace

    When we truely understand the precepts, we are on the path to DKM.  If one’s goal is to become DKM, one must and will develop an understanding and intergration of the precepts into one’s core.  Precepts are the system of reiki.

  5. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  6. Avatar of Anya van Til

    I have learnt from Frans and backed it up in my practice that DKM=precepts=focus on yourself. You don’t need to change husbands, jobs or exotic countries to become happy. All you need is to “clean up your mind” practicing the system of reiki.  And the state of bliss that you come to experience is to me the Dessert! Tiramisu, or the Austrian Apple Strudel, white truffle, Gelato, etc… NB: I’m a doomed sweet tooth.

  7. Avatar of Elly

    James put it very well. The precepts are the heart and soul of Reiki. Living the precepts should be the goal of every practitioner. It is only through the precepts that one can hope to become Reiki, to fully realize Usui Founder’s vision. (And happy birthday, Usui-sensei!) They are the discipline of Reiki, the path, the Way, the lights along the path that enable us to see the Way. The concept of the “main meal” captures that. Thanks for another great post!

  8. Avatar of Mary Murray

    I like that saying that the precepts are the heart and soul of reiki, just imagine if everyone lived by these precepts what a wonderful world it would be.
    I know I have found peace and self love following the reiki precepts.
    It is a wonderful journey unlocking the different layers as you go deeper into your reiki practise.

  9. Avatar of Kris Azzarello

    Main meal.  The Precepts are the pillar of my practice and everything flows from them;  meditation, chanting of the jumon, self-treatment and treatment of others and reiju all flow from the Precepts.  Contemplating the Precepts contiually brings greater depth to the rest of my practice.

    thank you.

  10. Avatar of Scott

    For me, the precepts are the serving plate on which the other elements of the system of Reiki are served on.  The precepts support all the other elements.  At the same time all the elements are interrelated, so it is difficult separate them into different parts of a meal.

  11. Avatar of Katherine Wakefield

    Working with the precepts daily, help us to find spiritual mental mindfulness balance. And going with the food analogy and putting these two topic together here is my personal angle:
    We need our food to be balanced as well. I have had candida for three years and my intestinal flora is now coming into balance from really examining what I eat and I have found that my food choices need to be balanced as well. For me too many sugars and carbs set me into an itching fit. Candida is the natural occurring yeast in the stomach but when the yeast gets out of balance from a weak immune system (for me stress triggered it) lots of disorders can come along with it. So first, I cut all forms of breads and sugars out of my diet and I lost 15 pounds I really didn’t need to lose on my already thin frame. I am now on a raw foods diet with protein and probiotics eating three meals and two healthy snacks a day to get the weight back. I am getting the flora back into balance and I am happy to say that I can now eat whole wheat pasta and a cookie or two a day and not itch. My emotions have stabilized as well. So going within to our intestinal flora we need to be balanced and mindful what we put into our bodies. Some people eat when they are stressed, some don’t eat – so we need to look at the food we are or are not putting into our bodies and run through the first two precepts and see what choices we are making and why, being honest, humble and compassionate with ourselves because it is the only body we get (this time around).

  12. Avatar of Anya van Til

    Having read all the comments people leave, I have given this question a second thought.  What i think now is: Precepts are just Precepts. We understand them differently according to where we are on our Way. Someone in the beginning of the reiki journey would think that precepts are a salad, or a side dish, as they (precepts) do not look so important at first sight. And as Shoden student you think that you will get symbols and mantras and they will make you “powerful”… But i guess someone who has become the Precepts will have a completely different understanding of them.

  13. Avatar of Susan Vander Burght

    The five precepts are the very foundation of Reiki.  Without awareness of each one, we cannot fully integrate Reiki practice into our lives.  Tthey are so simple!  Simplicity itself is the building block upon which all else follows.  What I find so powerful about living the precepts is that they literally pinpoint when I am wrong.  And I fail every day!  Understanding the precepts aids me in recognizing when my ego is coming into play, or if I’m allowing anger or misplaced emotion to rule.  The five precepts remain a steadying hand for navigating the waters of existence.

  14. Avatar of Colin Powell

    The Gokai (Five Principles) are indeed the foundation of the practice of Usui Reiki Ryoho. They are a very rich food and we need to take our time with them, not rushing on to the next course (pun intended!). After all, we don’t want to get indigestion, do we? 🙂

  15. Avatar of Christina Natichioni

    I would say I think of the Precepts more like a recipe.  I always keep the ingredients on hand and make up a new batch every day, much like the many recipies that I just know how to make, like the chocolate chip cookie recipe that I make; I know everything that I need to put in it and the right amounts to get the desired results.  I don’t really have to think about it any more as I just “know” what and how much to put in.  Much like a recipe though I may run short on an ingredient now and then and have to remind myself to stock up on that.

  16. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi All,
    Great to see these wonderful answers and viewpoints.
    The dictionary states that precepts are: A rule or principle prescribing a particular course of thought or action.  With the origins of the word meaning to instruct or guide.
    Better have my breakfast now, yummy!

  17. Avatar of wild

    I use the precepts as a guide [reminder about away] to construct the reality I live in each day. They remind me that how I interpret the world is my choice and that I can create/interpret my world from the point of me + other or from all.

  18. Avatar of wild
  19. Avatar of Virginia

    I’ve always loved cooking, so your analogy of Reiki System with the food seems entirely appropriate to what Reiki means in my life:
    Food as Reiki involve all the senses, plan, create, prepare, taste, share, (including washing dishes), and I enjoy the same with each of the Reiki precepts. For me each Reiki session is a real spiritual food. Namasté.

  20. Avatar of Nicole

    I think the precepts are the ingredients. The better quality the ingredients the more nourishing the meal. The more time and care I put into ensuring the ingredients I choose are right for my being the more nourished I am. The more time and care I put into integrating the precepts into my life the more enriched is my reiki experience. I reckon that is the theory and the fun is in the practice and in trying live the practice I can see the very positive benefits of a reiki way of life.

  21. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi All,
    Your creative Reiki cooking has been amazing, yummy!
    Here is one of my favorite quotes about precepts from a great book called Not Always So.

    When you observe the precepts without trying to observe the precepts, that is true observation of the precepts.
    Not Always So – Shunryu Suzuki

  22. Avatar of Joseph Moon

    I really like that one Frans.

    The precepts of Mikao Usui’s system of Reiki, I have found, are not just thoughts to ponder but a way of being that unfolds as one enters it.  In “practicing” them rather than just holding them sacred, we find them to be more onion like with many layers of experience that fall away again as we go deeper.  When you feel you have found the center continued practice reveals that you have not.  You may really like the place where you have arrived, but to dwell there or tarry too long finds us not as far along the path as we could be.  Yes, we are free to take as long as we like to find our way…stop and smell the roses so to speak. But the cost of this dalliance is expressed by this quote
    “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” … Anais Nin

    It is attachment which binds us to a particular reality.  The precepts guide us onward… simply!

  23. Avatar of Joe Moon
  24. Avatar of Elly
  25. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi All,
    Great to see all these wonderful comments about the precepts, thank you.
    Here is another questions what we can ask ourselves when we look at the precepts.
    Who gets angry?
    Who gets worried?
    The answer is of course, “I” get angry, “I” get worried.
    The precepts are therefore also saying that we need to let go of the “I’ (ego), when we let go of the “I” then there is no “I” who can get angry or worried.
    Of course this is not that easy, this is why Mikao Usui also introduced the meditations, hands on healing, symbols/mantras and the reiju/attunements to help us to realize the precepts.

  26. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    I also feel that the precepts show us what the outcome of the system of Reiki is. The outcome of the system is not about having hot hands, seeing beings, feeling energy or whatever but about having no more anger, worry etc. This really means inner happiness. This also means that we can check for ourselves how we are doing with our personal practice within the system of Reiki. This is why being honest is so important, we need to honestly check and see how we are dealing with our anger, worry, fear, humbleness and compassion.
    So for me the precepts are not just instructing me how to do hands on healing, my meditations, working with the symbols/mantras and the reiju/attunement but also showing me what the outcome of the journey is.
    What a wonderful journey!

  27. Avatar of Elly
  28. Avatar of Rebecca Holton

    Coming a little late to this discussion so I’ll just add my few thoughts.
    I think the Precepts define the system of Reiki in that they describe a path. If Reiki is to have any use as a spiritual practice then it must work as a spiritual practice and therefore have a defined path with associated practices. This is where the Precepts fit – they define the path. There’s any number of starting points, and there’s tools in the path to work with those starting points, develop grounding by working in a physical and practical way, with our concept of the present and how that relates to the past and future, if it does at all.

    Working in meditation on our anger and worry helps us to understand what now is, what’s doing the working and how our “I” relates to anger and worry – what are they? Are they part of our “I” – how do they relate to time?

    I think the most useful thing for me with the Precepts has been allowing the path to sit in front of me so that I can see a beautiful description of a Way. There is a defined starting point (wherever I am right now) a destination (DKM) and lots of things to help me work with that path – hands on healing, symbols, mantra, meditation, Reiju etc…

    When I think about the Precepts I come back to a mantra that can also be used in the same way because it describes the same thing – a beautiful spritual path walked internally by meditators. It’s the mantra from the Heart Sutra. It’s much shorter than the Precepts and I find it very beautiful in many different ways. This is how the Precepts work for me.

  29. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Rebecca,
    Well said, the precepts are also a path. Lets face it, we can only truly be compassionate when we have let go of the anger and worry. They show us what to work on and in which way.

    For me the precepts are also nothing different then the DKM (level III symbol and mantra) which literally means the Great Bright Light. It is only in the state of the Great Bright Light that we fully start to embody the precepts.
    So for me I see that both DKM and the precepts are one and the same, one is a symbolic representation (DKM) of your true nature and the other one describes your true nature in words (the precepts). There are so many hidden layers to discover within the system of Reiki, I think Mikao Usui was a very clever man who had reached a very deep level of attainment.

  30. Avatar of Myriam

    We all love to “do” Reiki.  But to do Reiki, we must “be” the Reiki. 
    The Precepts are a Spiritual guideline to living in alignment with our true Self.
    When we are in alignment and integrity with Source energy, we are
    unbounded consciousness where everything is possible.
    When I let go of anger and worry, I am in direct communication with
    All That Is. I am pure awareness and I am creator. I am causal and I express
    through the art of Reiki.  My life is guided by the Precepts and I have expanded
    on this with spiritual practice.

  31. Avatar of Evine

    Reiki (Inspired by Budhism), led me to read about Theravada budhism . That is where i found out the similarities with the symbols and DKM . The process of applying and living the symbols is similar to being “Mindfull/Aware”. To be mindfull/aware, I need to be honest. To be” honest”, I need to meditate , To meditate means I get rid of duality, and become aware of my oneness with ALL and NOTHING. Awareness and wisdom help keep me on the right path, and when I stumble on the path of righteousness, that is when compassion / lack of anger / worry,  or attachment to what has happened ( or might happen again), will put me back on track, heading closer and closer to enlightenment.  DKM.  (Maybe by my next life time??!:) )

  32. Avatar of frans stiene

    Hi Evine,
    I agree with you that we need to be honest in our personal practice. Honestly assessing how often we practice and honestly assessing how we are dealing with our own anger, worry, fear etc. I think we also need to be very honest as teachers, I have heard some teachers say that they do not need to practice anymore or that they are in the state of mind of the precepts or whatever, this of course is not really being honest, we can always go deeper, in fact as a teacher we have an obligation to our students to always take our own practice deeper. What a wonderful journey!

  33. Avatar of Evine

    Hi Frans, I sure agree that a teacher has an important obligation to his students, and can not teach what he dosent practice, in fact he should explain to the student/s that he is only that far .. in his own journey and that learning never ends. We are all learners. Some have reached that far, some have reached further , and some are just starting.  And quite often it is the student, who also teaches the teacher.  ….a very humbling enriching lesson. 
    P.S. i think your website is brill and everso interesting. It also helps learning about different aspects/ideas from other fellow Reiki practitioners. Thank you for that and hoping to manage a wee refresher course and say Hello, when u come along to UK .  !

  34. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    So right Evine, we are all learners. This is why as teachers we still need to have our own teachers. I always learn so much from the students, even that I call them a student from my perspective however, I see it that we are sharers, we share the journey together, holding hands with each other on the journey of becoming the precepts.  Would be nice to catch up in the UK.

  35. Avatar of kathi richards

    So at first when I read the question I got hungry. Then I pondered it as I read through all of the perfect responses. I thought about my day, this very moment and how I was feeling, about a situation. Before reading this I was responding to something without thinking about the precepts at that moment. I asked for help in dealing with the problem. And of course, the answer appeared. The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. The precepts, Reiki, are the nourishment along the way. namaste

  36. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi All,
    Found another quote from Shunryu Suzuki about the precepts:

    My master Kishizawa-roshi used to say that we had to have a vow or aim to accomplish. The aim we have may not be perfect, but even so it is necessary for us to have it, it is like the precepts. Even though it is almost impossible to observe them, we must have them. Without an aim or the precepts we cannot be good Buddhists, we cannot actualize our way.
    Shunryu Suzuki

  37. Avatar of MARGIT PEACHEY

    It has taken me many years to be able to actualize the precepts.  What seemed so simple was in fact one of the hardest challenges of my life.  When you examine the layers of what the precepts mean and how those layers flow into evey aspect of your daily life, it becomes an awesome process of change.  Every morning I would wake up and think, for example “today I will not be angry or impatient”.  Of course the minute I stepped out the door a test would be thrown in my path.  As though the universe was saying “Ok, see how you go with this!”
    Too often, not so well.  Over time, repeating before my daily meditations the precepts,  gradually the changes started happening. The power of the precepts have helped me through some difficulties that otherwise would have beaten me down.  No longer the roller coater ride of mental anguish, emotions, moods, reactions to people and situations etc. Now a new calmness and ability to consider has crept into my thinking.  I’m not saying the transformation is complete or perfect, but hey, I’ve come a long way from where I began.  This has to be a most positive learning path to be on.

  38. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Bronwen brought home an interesting book, by Thich Nhat Hanh, the other day, called Zen Keys. The introduction is by Philip Kapleau in which he state this:

    <start> There is one more area in which the untrained, ego-dominated mind plays thief to man, and this is in terms of energy. The fatigue that grips many of us at the end of the workday is not a natural tiredness, but the product of a day filled with wasted thought and feelings of anxiety and worry, not to speak of anger and resentment openly expressed or inwardly held. These negative mental states probably do more to sap energy than anything else. In contrast, the trained Zen person moves through his daily round aware and alert. The task in hand receives its due share of energy, but none is wasted in anxiety, fantasy, or smoldering resentment. Even at the end of a full day’s work his store of energy is not exhausted. <end>

    Looking forward to reading the rest of the book

  39. Avatar of Lisa Harrigan

    I love coming here, it always inspires my thinking, it helps me out of my box. Making sure I keep expanding my roasting pan. 😉
    I have always looked at the Precepts as something to work towards, that ultimate dinner that nourishes the soul. We dream about it, we aim for it, we work to make it happen, but the definition shifts as our needs shift (one day I want chocolate, tomorrow lobster), so it is an ideal not a physical meal that we are creating.
    And as long as I’m around, I’ll keeping working towards it, because just the reaching, working, planning for it, makes me a better person. And that is one of the reasons I came to Reiki in the first place, was it was all about the Whole Person, not just a quick physical laying of hands and healed.

  40. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Lisa,
    Glad to hear you like coming here 🙂 We try to do our best with articles and questions and make the website interactive.
    Thanks for visiting and your input.

  41. Avatar of Ad Seelt

    Today, I do not anger,  although I sometimes realise that I dó get angry from time to time when encountering injustice (or what I believe to be that) my basic attitude is a positive one.
    Today, I do not worry, though daily stuff isn’t always looking positive or cheerfull, I realise that it is my stuff and I bring it to myself to teach me to live better, overcome negative aspects and turn it into positive teachings.
    Today, I am grateful, for being here, me, and alive. And seeing all these beautiful things and beings around me.
    Today, I show compassion to me and others. That is sometimes difficult, because that means feeling you are worth everything you are and can be. When I went to school, that was the first thing you were cut off from, but I getting there…about others, it is sometimes hard to not judge or label one who is aggressive or injust to others. But realising that they, both ‘perpetrator and victim’ choose their lives as well and have a choice to also be compassionate makes it easier.
    Today I practice this diligently, there is not a day going by without at least thinking about it.
    It is basic food, it is what I need to live a life dedicated to make this world a better place, wether I’m aware of it or not. Because sometimes at the end of the day I realise, I just did.

  42. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  43. Avatar of boudewijn lutgerink

    Although I never had an active roman-christian upbringing I had a deep fascination for the lord’s prayer as a child.
    Reading the precepts and thinking about them I find that they remind of “Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”.
    Living according to the precepts brings a bit of heaven to Earth.

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