How to Chant Reiki Mantras and Symbols

Buddhist Mala for Chanting Practice.

Buddhist Mala for Chanting Practice (Source:

Chanting Reiki mantras – have you ever heard of this practice? It is not that common in the “western style” of Reiki, and there is little proof that it is a traditional practice used by Mikao Usui, the creator of Reiki. Nevertheless, it is possible to chant the Reiki symbols and benefit from this practice. In this article, I will explain why and how this practice works, where can we find its roots, and in a practical way I will teach you how to chant the Reiki symbols.

I’ve discussed this subject earlier in an article about chanting the first Reiki symbol, CKR. But today, I expand these thoughts further.


A Bit of History

The basic practices of Reiki, in my opinion, include self-treatments and contemplation upon the Five Reiki Principles (called Reiki Gokai). Beyond that there are many more advanced practices such as Reiki breathing meditations. One of such more advanced practices is the practice of chanting the Reiki symbols – their mantras or jumons, to be more accurate. Is this practice traditional? Opinions on this matter differs – some people believe that yes, chanting Reiki symbols is traditional and Mikao Usui, the creator of Reiki, practiced this himself. Other people believe that it’s a modern addition to the practice, created because chanting is a common practice in the schools of Shingon and Tendai – the buddhist schools of thought in Japan.

Mikao Usui is believed to walk the path of the Pure Land Buddhism and at the same time, he was familiar with the esoteric schools of Shingon and Tendai. In both of these schools of Buddhism, symbols and mantras are used as a tools of achieving enlightenment, preceded by spiritual harmony and inner peace. Based on this fact, and based on the proofs that Usui was familiar with both Shingon and Tendai, authors such as Walter Lubeck, Mark Hosak, Bronwen and Frans Stiene consider that is is very possible that Usui used his own symbols and mantras in a form of chanting meditation.

But let’s say this: what we know for a fact is that Shingon and Tendai both use symbols and mantras for their spiritual practices. Whether Usui did so for the four Reiki symbols is a matter of discussion.

As a Practical Matter of Fact…

We may spend hours, weeks and months discussing the traditional aspects of the chanting of Reiki symbols. But there is a different thing to consider. No matter the history, the fact remains the same: chanting Reiki mantras and symbols actually works. It means that if you chant any of the symbols, this process of chanting gives the practitioner and his surrounding some specific effects. Actually, I’m writing a book on the subject right now. In short, follow my thoughts:

  • Each of the Reiki symbols gives some specific effects. Personally, I categorize these effects into two primary categories: the modern effects of here and now, which focus on using symbols on food, or in Reiki treatments, or creating places of power through the symbols; and the traditional, spiritual effects.
  • These spiritual effects are based on the understanding that the four Reiki symbols work on specific energies and states of mind. Bronwen and Frans Stiene explain that the first two symbols work with Earth and Heaven Ki, and the last two symbols shape the states of mind necessary for achieving enlightenment.
  • To do so, all four symbols affect specific areas of our life – that of our physical reality, of our emotions and feelings, beliefs and spiritual soul.
  • And they do so every single time we active these symbols through practice, whether we do the CKR on our food, or we sit in a middle of the forest chanting the DKM with a mala in our hands.

Thus, any time you use a Reiki symbol, its power heals you. The first Reiki symbol often heals that which is related to physical reality – diet, financial issues, physical health. These are the “side effects” of working with the element of Yin, the Earth Ki. The second symbol heals that which is related to our mind – emotions, feelings, beliefs, habits. These are the side effects of working with the element of Yang, the Heaven Ki. The third symbol heals that which is related to your sense of spiritual connection with the surrounding reality and with our inner nature. And the fourth symbol leads to integration of the first three symbols in order to achieve the state of unity and harmony, and thus open the gate for enlightenment.

Reiki Chants – The Practice Itself

Most people use Reiki symbols only from time to time. As the symbol is activated few times a week or even few times a month, it doesn’t posses enough strength to heal us as it should be. Thus, after you complete the second degree of Reiki workshop and you got your “attunemenets”, you need to start working with the symbols. You can visualize the symbols in a form of meditation for 15-30 minutes per day, or you can stare at the painting of the symbol for 15-30 minutes per day.

And you can chant the symbol at least 108 times a day. The practice of chanting the symbol draws a lot of Reiki energy into you and into the area in which you are present – the room, the house etc. Further on, the practice influence the surroundings and all living beings around – from animals to people. Over time, the place you’re practicing in can be filled and energized by the spiritual energies of the symbol (or the symbols). This further supports the process of self-healing and spiritual growth of the Reiki practitioner.

Thus, the practice of chanting brings great benefits for all living beings. And in itself, it is a very simple practice to learn.

The Practical Tutorial – Chanting Reiki Mantras – Meditation

You may practice this technique outside, surrounded by lakes, trees and Mother Nature in general, or you can practice this technique inside, in an appropriate temple, or even in your own house or flat (or room). You can practice it just like that, with no “props”, or you can light some candles and burn an incense. The choice is yours. The practice itself does not require any additional props or tools but your own mind and body. But there’s one object that may be necessary – it’s a buddhist prayer beads called “mala” that is made of 108 normal beads and one 109th bead called the Guru’s Bead, or the “Stupa”. You can buy such mala on Amazon (aff), or in different Buddhist shops or even make one yourself.

An Example of Mala

An Example of Mala – here, encircling an incense stand.

Over time, the mala becomes a sacred object in your hands.

The Hara is your abdomen :).

Chanting Meditation Practice

  1. Sit down and relax. Choose the symbol you’re going to work with. If you wish, you may say the intention before the practice: I offer this practice to the benefit of all living beings.
  2. Perform the introduction practice. Do the Kenyoku Ho, then put your hands in Gassho mudra, open yourself for the flow of Reiki and focus on your Hara – speak, whisper or think of an intention that you’re about to begin the chanting of the Reiki symbol.
  3. Take a mala to one of your hands.
  4. Use the middle of your hand to draw a Reiki symbol in the air in front of you.
  5. Speak the name of the symbol – its jumon or mantra – three times to activate the symbol. From now on, until the end of this meditation session, you should try to keep the image of the symbol in front of you mind’s eye. If you wish, you can meditate in front of the symbol’s painting.
  6. Chant the symbol’s jumon:
    1. Breath in – slowly and gently. Breathe with your Diaphragm.
    2. As you breath out, chant the jumon in syllabes, for example: Cho-Ku-Rei. Try to vibrate the sound of the jumon.
    3. Breath in – slowly and gently. Breathe with your Diaphragm.
    4. As you breath out, chant the jumon in syllabes, for example: Cho-Ku-Rei. Try to vibrate the sound of the jumon.
    5. (…)
  7. Repeat the step 6th until you’ve reached 108, 216 or 324 repetitions.
  8. Ground yourself:
    1. Focus on your Hara.
    2. Focus on the center of Earth, or at least the ground below you.
    3. Focus on your Hara.

You’re done.

If you work with a mala, then remember – you should not cross over the 109th bead – when you reach the final 108th bead, you just turn around and count the beads all the way back until you reach the 1st bead. Then you turn around again. This way, you will never cross through the 109th bead. In some modern beliefs it is said that strong energy is colleced in the 109th bead this way. But the more traditional buddhist approach makes the 109th bead purely symbol. The fact you never cross it and never count it as a normal bead symbolizes the infinity of the spiritual practice.

Also, some people suggest that when you count on mala, you count 108 beads merely as 100 repetitions – just in case your mind slips and lose the focus on the mantra.

More Tips for Chanting Reiki Symbols

Be aware that working with Reiki symbols leads to spiritual healing – as you work with chanting (or similar techniques), be sure to experience changes in your life, memories to resurface and aspects of your life to remake and heal. This is a normal process.

If you wish to hear how the chanting sounds like, please check the recording below.It’s part one of the collection of Reiki chants I have available in a form of MP3 files here.

Purchase Reiki Chants

If you wish, you may play the recording in the background and chant along, or just listen to the chanting of the symbols. For as long as it remains on YouTube, it’s a Reiki free mantra recording :).

It is important to remember that the symbols create a whole. You should work out well the first symbol first. Thus, you should chant and meditate with the CKR symbol for at least six months before you proceed to working with the SHK. Then, work with the SHK for the next six months at least, and then with the HS for at least six months, and finally with the DKM symbol for at least six months. I suggest this approach, because the number actually seems to matter.

The first symbol builds the foundation for your further practice, while the second symbol heals that which holds you back on the path of spiritual growth. The third symbol shapes your mind in order to open the gates of spiritual development, and the fourth symbol integrates the first three symbols so you can actually walk through this gate of spiritual development. Generally, the simplest goal is to work with the given symbol for as long as it takes to repeat it at least 10 thousand times.

You may grab a piece of paper and note down the number of repetitions you’ve made so that you know when you reach 10000 repeatitions. When you practice at least 4-5 days a week, 10 thousand repetitions of the mantra should take about 5-7 months to complete. A more advanced practice suggest to repeat each of the mantras 100 thousand times.

While the primary practice itself, as described above, requires some preparations (like a room, or optional candles and useful malas), the chanting of the symbols can be practiced on daily basis as a form of “instant healing aid”. Personally, I often chant the symbols as I wash the dishes, or sit in a car (as a passager), or generally have things to do that do not require my conscious awareness at the moment. Also, whenever I’m in trouble, I consider the practice of chanting a useful one. For example, when I’m scared or worried, I chant the first symbol to ground myself and calm down, then the chanting of the SHK follows so I can heal the source of my worries and fears.

Personally I begun the practice of chanting far earlier in my life with the suggestions of my Reiki teacher, who developed this practice by himself before anyone wrote about it in English books. As a practicing Buddhist he already had experience with chanting the spiritual mantras. My own first experiences with chanting of mantras focused on intense work with the famous Om Mani Padme Hum, which was quite beneficial on my own Buddhist path.

If you wish to learn more about the Reiki symbols, additional information can be found in the following books:

  • The Reiki Sourcebook – a comprehensive guide to Reiki reviewed on Reiki Paths.
  • Japanese Art of Reiki (aff) a book that explores the traditional approach to Reiki from a Japanese perspective.
  • The Big Book of Reiki Symbols(aff) – a huge book that explores the sources and roots of the four Reiki symbols. Provides a lot of historical and theoretical insights into the world of Buddhism, Shinto and Taoism, with many practical tutorials and exercises.

For me, the chanting of Reiki symbols proved that these symbols are not a weak addition to the Reiki system, but are, in reality, an important element of the path. And they’re a powerful tools of self-healing and spiritual growth that benefit those who wish to actually heal themselves spiritually. I hope that this article will benefit you, the reader, as well. If you ever start the practice of chanting, or you did so already, please share your thoughts about such chanting in the comments below.

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Comments and Discussion

Be sure to add your own comment, feedback, opinion and/or suggestion :).

  1. I have a feeling that I was guided to this page(all the sudden). I shall try this now. Thanks.

    by Sajana / April 23rd 2015