Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Isn't it weird how sometimes Reiki 1 is offered on its own and sometimes it's with Reiki 2? Why is that? Which one's better?
Here are some ideas on both methods!
Reiki 1 & 2 Together
When Reiki 1 & 2 are offered together, it's called the Hayashi method. Unlike its founder, Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi taught Reiki 1 & 2 together. He was one of Usui's students who had his own Reiki clinic in Tokyo. Hayashi is best known for creating the Hayashi Healing Guide (which details hand placements for specific conditions in case Byosen scanning is unsuccessful). Hayashi wanted to increase the value his students received when he was traveling and teaching Reiki. He taught Shoden and Okuden (Reiki 1 & 2) together in a 5-day seminar. Each day included 2-3 hours of instruction and a Reiju (attunement).
And now, some Reiki Master Teachers still offer both levels together to increase value and save time. It's often easier for students to commit to doing both levels together than trying to arrange another time to reconvene for Reiki 2. The learning required for each level can be as short as 5 hours so you can definitely learn both levels in a weekend!
Some people point out that the manual we use holds the knowledge for Reiki 1 and 2 and say it's only logical that the whole book be taught at once.
In my experience as a teacher, many Reiki 1 students are eager to get going on Reiki 2 concepts too! They want to learn the symbols as soon as possible, receive their second attunement, and begin using Reiki energy at a higher level. They sometimes feel a greater sense of accomplishment from completing multiple levels of training.
If you're excited about Reiki and want to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible, this is a great option for you!
Separating Reiki 1 & 2
Mikao Usui was the founder of the Usui Reiki Ryoho (the Usui Reiki Healing Method, or in its longer form, the Shin-Shin Kai-Zen Usui Reiki Ryoho or Usui Reiki Treatment Method for Improvement of Body and Mind). He taught each level of Reiki on its own. Initially, he would hold students' hands to transfer the ability to give Reiki individually, but this took a long time. So he created the Reiju kai- attunement methods- to make it quicker to train others in Reiki. He also created techniques like Gassho, Byosen-scanning, Reiki-ho, Gyoshi-ho, Enkaku Chiryo, etc to share with his students to help them learn Reiki. He "once said that he wished to 'release this method to the public for everyone's benefit'"(-The Reiki Sourcebook) so he worked to develop methods to make it easier to share and teach Reiki.
Some modern Reiki Master Teachers still prefer to offer Shoden (Reiki 1) on its own. They believe it takes time to integrate the Reiki energy and that it's important to learn to use it through practice before adding to it. A Reiki practitioner can only take in as much Reiki as they are ready for. So if both levels are offered in a weekend, these teachers question whether or not students can be fully ready and open to receiving the advancement of Reiki 2.
The words Shoden and Okuden mean you are a student of Reiki 1 (and 2)- they do not denote the completion of the level. Some teachers feel this means that it's more important to take time in learning and embrace each level fully before moving on to the next level. They point out that it's not about achievement or completion- it's about taking time to fully familiarize yourself with the Reiki energy, how it feels within you, and what it's like to share Reiki on each level.
If you want to take your time in progressing and develop your connection to Reiki at each level as much as possible, it might be better to learn each level separately.
All in all, it's up to you! There isn't necessarily a right or wrong answer but these are some points to consider. You know yourself best and the timing that you need to take it all in. Well, and of course, it also depends on what's available in your area.
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Reiki the Healing Touch, First and Second Degree Manual by William Lee Rand
The Reiki Sourcebook by Bronwen and Frans Stiene