A Question for you about the Reiki Precepts and Hands-on Healing

Bronwen and Frans Stiene Articles, English 20 Comments


What a great response to our last question about the Reiki precepts, so many interesting and tasty answers.

One thing which is becoming clear is that many say that the precepts are one of the most, if not THE most, important element within the system of Reiki. When we speak of elements, we are discussing the five main elements to the system of Reiki.
So here is our next question for you, also related to the Reiki precepts…

Do you think you will be able to embody the precepts (so no more anger or worry, and maintaining being humble, honest and compassionate) by only practicing hands-on healing on yourself?

When we use the term embody we are meaning that you can be in this state throughout the whole day, not just for a focused period of perhaps a few minutes or an hour for example.

Comments 20

  1. Avatar of Elly

    No way! The deep, profound, marvelous calm and inner silence that descend when doing a Reiki self-healing hands-on session is such a gift, so incredibly humbling. It certainly helps immeasurably in providing a solid grounding for the day. But its effects will inevitably dissipate without the reinforcement of the other elements (plus continued focused self-healing) as the day goes on.

  2. Avatar of Tim

    At the moment I don’t think I’m at the right place in my path to be able to do this.  But I do think it will be possible sometime in the future and I hope that I will get there someday.  The precepts are a path to the great bright light of Reiki, when healing we become one with the Reiki, so you at that time embody the precepts.  The self healing also helps to clear out any problems that you have with embodying the precepts at the same time.  So I think that eventually your connection (through practice) becomes stronger and stronger so that you just can’t help embodying the precepts for longer each time, and eventually it will last a whole day.  However, I will just continuing along the path and be thankful for the gift of Reiki.

  3. Avatar of Kim

    Absolutely!!  I can totally see myself radiating energy love at all times – and there is no way you can worry OR come to anger when in such a state.

  4. Avatar of Janet Dobbs

    Tricky question Frans & Bronwen! Hands on healing alone is what is practiced in most western Reiki schools. The precepts are mentioned but no one seems to teach how to actually go deeper with them other than just saying them. So from that point of view I say no way can one go deeper into the whole system of Reiki. A self healing treatment will help us and it feels so good but that is just one part of the system.

    The question is if we/I think we can embody the precepts by practicing hands on healing on ourselves. I feel that each part of the system of Reiki needs the other…. For me my meditation practices (that include the precepts) is the key for my practice. when I work with the precepts and meditations my hands on healing sessions are better if you will. If I am working with the DKM then my work with the precepts is affected and in turn my hands on healing is also affected.

    For me, I have found that the more I work with my practices that include all 5 of the elements of Reiki, the better day I have. A good day for me is when I am better able to live the Reiki precepts. So I practice, like many of us, and I learn and I keep trying to go deeper. This is an exciting way of life. Not an easy way but worth the effort.

    To answer your question, Of course I can embody the precepts if I practice hands on healing, but only if I am also working with the whole system of Reiki. I can not embody the precepts if I only practice hands on healing on my self or others. That is the reason that I first came to your Shinpiden class back in 2007. I knew there was something more to Reiki. There just had to be. Something in my practice was lacking. I wanted to know what Usui taught his students and why the heck did it take so long to go from one level to the next. I have those answers now and then some.

    Now back to my meditation practice, because I am far from being able to live the precepts throughout the day. 🙂

  5. Avatar of Susan

    I think that hands on self treatment can take you quite deeply into the life of the precepts and the living of reiki. I have seen many people transformed. The thing is they spent many hours in the day self treating. It was not just one or two hours a day. They tended to be people who had lost their employment due to physical or mental illness and had the time and determination to move forward. Their lives had ended but their new lives were found. All with level one reiki. Their perspective on life changed. They filled with hope and negativity and victim thinking were replaced with compassion and hope. Level one can be more powerful than dkm. The diciding factor is the level one student and the reiki.

  6. Avatar of Lance

    I think this is undoubtably possible.

    In Japan there are many “ways”, and all of them may lead practitioners to merge with the Great Bright Light of true nature through practices as diverse as archery, swordsplay, tea ceremony, calligraphy, silent meditation, and complex esoteric ritual.  There are zen stories of individuals awakening with very little formal instruction and guidance, when they possesed exceptional focus, resolve, and dedication.

    When we practice hands on healing, where is our awareness?  Are we aware of ki moving through us?  Can we regard that ki with curiosity, wonder, love, and devotin?  If we follow that flow of energetic sensation back to its source, where does it lead, and what is its source?  Can we open up to that mystery infinitely, and let it take us deeper and deeper through the doorways leading within?

    Hands on healing can be as much a meditation as sitting in seiza in gassho.  What would prevent us from being profoundly absorbed in the flow of Reiki, what would prevent us from becoming Reiki, during hands on treatment.  When we rest in what we really are, all the precepts are fulfilled spontaneously, effortlessly, automatically.

    One of my yoga teachers once commented to me that the best method of meditation is the one that you have faith in and practice.

    My regard,

  7. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi All,
    Some great comments as usual.
    Yes we can see hands on healing as a meditation but who is honestly still teaching it this way, not that many. Most people learn hands on healing on themselves and hop into bed, do a bit of hands on and fall a sleep. Lets face it, who sits down like in a meditation and does 30 min hands on healing on him/herself everyday?
    And most of the time we are also not taught to be aware of where the reiki is going or coming from or what to do with our thoughts while we do hands on healing.

    It becomes more and more apparent that hands on healing is a for of meditation when we also start to incorporate the other elements within the system of Reiki, what Janet talks about in her comment. (meditating on the symbols/mantras, meditating on the precepts, meditations like hatsurei ho and practicing/receiving the reiju/attunement)

    Hands on healing on yourself is also a tool or method which means that one day we can let go of the tool/method. At this point in the teachings you start to feel the reiki flowing through your whole being, the energy is moving and going places all by just setting your intent. No need to place your hands on yourself to trigger healing. This is how we need to evolve within the system of Reiki. Step by step, deeper and deeper, and one day we can be the great bright light and there is no need for the tools/method, just be.
    Linda Arigi wrote a nice article about this progress for our newsletter a couple of years ago, see link:

    Yes there are many Zen stories about sudden awakenings but most of the time these stories are about the awakenings and not about the years and years of personal practice and dedication this person has done to achieve this awakening.

  8. Avatar of Elizabeth A. King, MA, DCH, Gendei Reiki Shihan

    I feel that it is important and necessary to do the combination of Reiki practices—hands on healing for the self, for others (including our animal kingdom children, the Earth herself), and techniques such as Hatsurei Ho, Meditation on the Kotadama and the symbols, and meditation to connect to the Universal Creator(s) we honor and worship.  Just hands on is not enough. Living the Precepts each day, working each day to bring the spiritual essence of the Precepts stronger into our being so that we gradually become that Spiritual Reiki practitioner/Teacher.  I strive each day to follow the precepts and I intertwine my Reiki spiritual practices with Gongyo and Chanting morning and evening, for myself, my family, my community, and for peace and abundance for our Mother Earth and all those who dwell on and within her.

  9. Avatar of Lance

    Hey Frans,

    some further thoughts:

    I’ve read that Ms. Takata told her students to “Do Reiki, do Reiki, do Reiki!”  Although she herself was practicing some techniques that she didn’t pass on to her students, she was encouraging them to have a strong personal practice as a foundation for their work.  You suggested in your last post that many people practicing hands on healing are only doing so for a few minutes before sleep, and this may be the case.  However your initial question was if someone practicing just hands on healing could realize and embody the gokai, not if someone with a haphazard practice would progress more slowly than someone with a disciplined and regular practice (which seems self evident).

    I think the brevity of most Reiki training programs is one of the main issues here, as students aren’t given the opportunity to develop faith in their own abilities and the chance to gain familiarity with the practices so that they can relax into them and feel them from the inside.  For this reason students go home from a weekend Reiki training with low confidence in the method and their ability to use it. When teaching Reiki, I prefer to meet with my students weekly over a prolonged period of time, encouraging regular practice between sessions, and curiosity and wonder towards the process that is unfolding within them.  Students make a similar commitment regularly when practicing a martial art.  I’d again assert that someone can become the Great Bright Light, as you describe, if they’re practicing hands on healing regularly, with internal awareness and curiosity, and gauging their progress against the gokai.

    The dharma talk that stuck with me the most from sitting a Rinzai Zen Osseshin several years ago focused on the story of a man who was visiting a shrine near a waterfall, and had a spontaneous epiphany on the nature of impermanence while watching the bubbles from the waterfall rise to the surface and burst.  Deeply moved, he locked himself into a room, and in three days achieved Kensho.  The Roshi’s point was that when your vow, your true desire to awaken ripens and becomes all-consuming, Kensho is near at hand.
    My regard,
    And apologies for the shotty editing in my previous post,

  10. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Lance,
    I do agree with you that if we would practice hands on healing as a meditation form we would be able to embody the precepts, not easy but it can be done. As you say we need faith, devotion, perseverance and the intent to embody the precepts or gain enlightenment. I think this is another element which is not often taught, when the intent of enlightenment is not there then it is very hard to achieve. So most of the time we practice hands on healing not as a form of meditation and we also have not the right intent when we do hands on healing. But this can change if more and more teachers teach the system from a more meditative perspective.
    Ongoing support is so important, guiding your students on the path, but again we can only do this if we have and are traveling this path ourselves. If we as teachers don’t go deeper within our own true nature then it becomes very hard to guide others, it will be like the famous saying: the blind leading the blind.
    My editing is always terrible as well, so no problem 🙂

  11. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  12. Avatar of Elly

    Hi Frans and all! To answer your question, to me, the deepest form of healing is to reconnect with all that is. It is when we feel ourselves to be separate from all that is that we need healing, restoring ourselves into the whole. “I versus everything else” is the only true disease.

  13. Avatar of Paula

    Thank you for all the interesting perspectives on this question.  IF we view the practice of reiki as more than the hands on practice, then we would have to say, “No.”  It is a cumulative effect.  But I can say that during the ten years that I was pretty exclusively treating others and myself, with the precepts Gokai in the background but not used on a moment by moment basis, I did not find the dynamic, active life that is in my hands and my “innerds”  now.  What I can say from observation of students coming into this system with no prior Reiki training—they seem to jump in and arrive at places of inner reflection and balance that took me much longer to achieve in my old HANDS ON practice.  So, I’m with Janet, it is the fullness of the system of Reiki that brings us into embodying the full force of Reiki.  My only wish is that I had the gift of the system when I first started with Reiki back in the age of the dinosaur!

  14. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Ely,
    Thanks for your great answer, love the:  ““I versus everything else” is the only true disease”.
    We can do some hands on healing on our knee and it feels better or the pain is gone but I can still be a bastard :-). But if we heal our anger, worry, fear, and are more humble, honest and compassionate then we will also see the pain in our knee from a very different angle. Think this is why it states in the Reiki Ryoho Hikkei:
    “If your spirit is healthy and conformed to the truth [precepts], body will get healthy naturally”.
    By looking at this we can also start to see that the system of Reiki is so much more then hands on healing, and that we need to incorporate all the other elements for our personal spiritual journey as well.

  15. Avatar of Chris Smith

    I have to admit, I rarely practice hands-on healing.  I like these lines by Thich Nhat Hanh:
    “Let us walk in such a way that every step can bring us stability, freedom, healing, and transformation. In order for each step to be solid, to be free, to be healing, to be nourishing, we need the energy of mindfulness and concentration.”

    Every moment works toward stability and healing, not just when we assume certain specific positions with hands or bodies.

  16. Avatar of Lance

    Hey everyone.

    Frans, I agree that it is necessary to constantly work on deepening ourselves and our practice in order to be effective teachers and in integrity as practitioners.  As previously mentioned, I think that one of the big stumbling blocks to new students realizing the potency of Reiki is that the system (in it’s various manifestations)  is that it tends to be taught in condensed day long or weekend workshops rather then taught over a prolonged period of time as is done in the martial arts, or when studying ballet, or ritual magic in a lodge setting, ect.   

    I think that the greatest form of healing is the cessation of isolation through direct realization of how radically interconnected we all are.

    Ely, if I’ve injured my knee, and I’ve been practicing hands on healing for an hour a day for months or years, it’s likely that I’ve had the opportunity to gain greater insight into the nature of ki, myself, the healing process, and physical reality.  I’d say that various “physical” inner disciplines such as yoga, Chi Gung, devotional dance, ritual, and hands on healing create a wonderful venue for experiencing the body itself as Great Bright Light, when practiced with attention, devotion, and discipline.

    Chris, I think that some regular practice makes it more likely that a person can actualize what you’re saying moment by moment.  My improvisational dance or music making is probably more free and expressive if I’ve practiced dance and music with discipline. 


  17. Avatar of Don


    This is an interesting question. I don’t claim to answer for anyone else. All I know is that my daily interaction in the outer world has an effect on my ability to follow the precepts at all times. I find when I teach many consecutive weekend classes, I feel quite in tune with them but when in the outer world, I pick up those feelings from those around me and sometime those feelings get the better of me. I sincerely believe in the very effectiveness of Reiki and its precepts and aim to have them become a constant presence in my life, hopefully before I leave this plane.

    So, I just try my best to follow them and realise that like the definition of a Reiki Master is: I am not yet a spiritually adept but am trying hard to get there.

    In Light & Love,

  18. Avatar of Allison

        May I just comment on what Chris Smith had to say, about ” Let us walk in such a way….”, well it made me realise just how far I have to go on my path of Reiki. What a wonderful comment Chris. And thank you frans for this wonderful site and for all your comments that give me so much food for thought.
    Love and blessings to all x

  19. Avatar of seema

    Hi Frans,
    just read your comment
    “We can do some hands on healing on our knee and it feels better or the pain is gone but I can still be a bastard :-). “

    You teach in a direct manner , its not easy to do so this way in subject like Reiki , I am not saying because of the verbiage , its like you tell what you are going to say , then say it , and then again you tell what you “said” 🙂
    its becomes more from just” teaching” to “learning”
    thanks for making it so simple yet interesting and profound 🙂

  20. Avatar of Sally Barnes

    I believe I show myself compassion with hands on healing. I know I am compassionate to others during the day. I think hands on healing on others is the icing on the cake for showing compassion to others.  🌞

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *