In the Usui Reiki tradition there are three degrees of training and attunement. Each has a western and an eastern title by which they may be referred. Not all students of Reiki choose to be attuned to the Shinpiden or Master level. There are those who feel most comfortable at the Shoden or Introductory level and never move beyond it. It is important to recognise that there is no best or correct way beyond finding what feels best for the individual. This applies to the time between attunements as well. Some students take years while others take weeks and months between the levels. To each their own.
The first level of Reiki is referred to as Shoden in the Japanese tradition (translates to “Beginner Teachings”) or the First Degree/Introductory in the Western tradition. This level introduces the student to Reiki energy and the ways they can connect with it to aid self-discovery and healing, as well as to help and support others. Whether the student learns about the chakras or the three diamonds will depend upon the lineage of their teacher, though it is important to note that neither is wrong.
The second level of Reiki is referred to as Okuden in the Japanese tradition (translates to “Hidden or Inner Teachings”) or the Second Degree/Practitioner in the Western tradition. This stage of training introduces names and mantras of three of the Usui Reiki symbols. Students are taught the how and why of using each of these symbols and their resonant energies to further their range as a healer for self and others. Depending on the teacher, students are further encouraged to work intuitively with the energies they are channeling when offering healing. Students are supported in practicing as therapists at this stage, learning about insuring their practice and how to keep appropriate records of their patients’ visits, etc.
The third level of Reiki is referred to as Shinpiden in the Japanese tradition (translates to “Mystery Teachings”) or the Third Degree/Master in the Western tradition. Students at this level of training are taught the names and mantras of the Master symbols. The western tradition further distinguishes between Master-Practitioner and Master-Teacher. Those training for the latter are taught the attunement process, and are often given ideas of how they may organise courses for passing on the teachings.
It is important to note that while Reiki is often viewed as a therapy, most individuals who receive training in Reiki find that it inevitably takes on a spiritual aspect. Those who go on to the final degree of training consistently describe it as a lifestyle, not just a degree of certification.