An Introduction to the Reiki Precepts (Gokai)

Reiki Precepts

Reiki Precepts

Reiki precepts are well-known in the community of Reiki practitioners. Sometimes they are called “Reiki Rules” or “Reiki Guidelines”. The precepts (traditionaly known as Gokai) are both an integral and important part of overall practice of Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki. Gokai can be meditated with, contemplated upon, used as a daily affirmation, or as an anchor for further spiritual growth. It can be passed onto your friends, family and Reiki clients, and it can be used in a blessing ceremony, too.

In this article, I will present you tips and tutorials for few basic and not so basic practices with the Reiki Gokai – it will fit both those who just want to practice Reiki healing, and for those who treat Reiki as a path of spritual growth. But I start with explaining what the precepts are – just in case someone missed it while attending Reiki class :).


Reiki Precepts – Explained

There are five Reiki precepts. It’s OK to call them “guidelines”, too. But they are definitely not rules that must be obeyed in order for Reiki to work. Reiki precepts are meant to be contemplated upon and used as guidelines for your daily life – what they represent should be integrated into your daily life. Among few different versions, this one sounds the most accurate:

Traditional Reiki Precepts

Traditional Reiki Precepts

Just for today,

  1. Do not get angry
  2. Do not worry
  3. Be grateful for your blessings
  4. Work towards your own growth
  5. Show compassion to all living beings

You may encounter different forms and even sequence of these precepts, but their core remain the same in most part.

Still, I would be very careful with differences like “Just for today honor your parents” – which isn’t really that traditiona; and I would definitely avoid the version like “just for today honor your Reiki master” which is kind a creepy :). Another problem is related to the fifth precept – it mainly refers to your personal growth spiritual work, and not to “make money honesty”.

Mikao Usui, the creator of Reiki, created these precepts to help his students walk the right path in their life. As you can see, these precepts are universal and they do not refer to any religion or ideology. Everyone can use these precepts, even non-practitioners, and everyone can benefit from these guidelines, too. They help us see into what direction Reiki practice leads us – in addition, working with these precepts can help us heal our life more and more over time.

Some people believe that there are two levels of these precepts. On one level, the precepts can be used by anyone as guidelines. But there’s also a second, deeper spiritual level that affects those who are initiated into Reiki practice, and on this level the precepts in their original japanese form work as a spiritual mantra that affects the practitioner spiritually.

The full version of the precepts goes like this:

The secret method of inviting blessings, the spiritual medicine of many illnesses.
Do not get angry
Do not worry
Be grateful for your blessings
Show compassion to all living beings
Work towards your own growth
Mornings and evenings sit in the gassho position and repeat these words out loud and in your heart.
For the improvement of mind and body.
Usui Spiritual Healing Method,
The founder, Mikao Usui.

As you can see with the foreword and backword, Usui intended for the guidelines to be an integral part of Reiki method, to be integrated into the daily life of every Reiki practitioner.

If you’re a Reiki practitioner, pass these precepts to your clients, family and friends and help them understand how anyone can work with these precepts – some of the techniques posted below can be used by anyone, even people who are not initiated into Reiki practice.

There are different ways to interpret the Gokai. A whole book could be written on the subject. If you wish, it’s good to read the following books:

And study these works in order to understand the basics of the principles. Then, you can actually study the precepts yourself and find your own meanings and interpretations. Below you can read few of my own thoughts about the precepts.

  1. The first precept often refers to anger and negative emotions. It tells us to understand the difference between two types of anger: the destructive anger is one. It may have different sources, hidden deep inside our heart and soul. Our task is to find the source of the anger and heal it, so that destructive anger won’t destroy anything any more. Another type of anger is the teaching anger. It appears when we feel uncomfortable with something or someone, and it’s a messager to the world and ourselves that for some reason deep inside, we are not in harmony with what we are facing. To distinct the angers is the first step. Then, healing begins, so that we can actually heal the destructive anger, and learn to express our true feelings and emotions when we feel the teaching anger.
  2. The second precept points us to worries and problems that we face in our life. It helps us learn the difference between things we can change and things we cannot change. It tells us to practice Reiki, as regular practice helps us find solutions, or simple helps us get rid of the problem by further healing of our life.
  3. The third precept helps us integrate gratitude in our life. Gratitude is very important – and we all have something to be grateful for, whether it’s something very small or very big. Deeply spiritual people are very grateful people. This precept tells us to be grateful for all our blessings, but also, once we become happy with the gifts of the Universe, we also learn to enjoy giving to others.
  4. The fourth precept teaches us many different things. First, it tells us try to improve yourself each and every day. It doesn’t mean you should do spirtiual stuff. It tells you to do anything that makes you a better person – and sometimes finding your passion or the job you love can help you deal with a lot of problems and become a better person. So it’s not just about meditation. Also, this precept helps us resurface our hidden talents – once they are rediscovered, our life becomes easier.
  5. The fifth precept tells us to show compassion to every living being – to all that exists. It helps us learn to work for the benefit of others; to love people and animals and plants; to find harmony with nature and to understand that in reality, we are all connected.

Those are the few of my personal thoughts. In order to understand the precept better and in relevance to your own life, you should work with these precepts. Below I share few ideas of basic practices.

Reiki Precepts as Affirmations

The basic practice with the Reiki Precepts include repetition of these precepts each morning and each evening. Traditionally, these precepts should be repeated three times in the morning and three times in the evening. You can simple repeat them, and they will act like Reiki affirmations: with time your bahavior will change to fit these guidelines, but you may also recall unpleasant memories or emotions or beliefs that require healing before your life can change for better.

If you wish, you can expand this practice further: when you repeat the precepts in the morning, plan your day in accordance with the guidelines. Avoid worries and anger, plan to do something good for someone or something, plan some personal development practice and repeat things you’re grateful for in the coming day.

In the evening, repeat the precepts and think the day over – analyze if you got angry or worried, offer gratitutde for the things you’re grateful for, and think over what kind of progress you have made on the path of personal development that day.

Meditation and Contemplation with Reiki Precepts

If you wish, you can focus on a more advanced practice of contemplation upon the precepts. In this practice, you chose one of the precepts to work with on the specific day. And you use this precept as an anchor, and as a starting point for analysis of your own life. There are two ways to do so:

  • A simple western style practice – find a quiet place. It may be a place outside, by the lake or in the forest, or it can be a place inside your home, in a comfortable armchair with a good cup of tea by your side.
  • A more “traditional” practice – light a candle, burn an incense and sit down in lotus or seiza position. Breath gently, relax your mind and body.

The point here is to make sure you feel good, safe and comfortable, and that your envoirnment supports the meditative state of mind. When this is accomplished, begin working with the precept.

To do so, pick up the precept and begin to analyze your life in the light of this precept. For example, if you work with the first precept, then you can contemplate anger in your life. Recall all the memories of anger, practice forgiveness to yourself, for getting angry, and forgiveness to others for making you angry or being angry at you. Think about the things that make you angry, and recall the memories when you got angry for the first time. Don’t fight with the emotions and thoughts. Just let them be, observe them and relax into them. This will help you release the emotional pain, and such meditation with the Reiki precepts will prove to be very beneficial.

Very often, when we realize the first memory that shaped our negative behavior, this makes us release this behavior and heal ourselves. And often, when we suffer from unpleasant emotions, recalling the first memory we had with such emotions helps us heal ourselves, as well. Contemplating upon the precepts, even if such a basic practice, helps us recall things and free ourselves from that which is unconscious.

Working with Reiki precepts is an important tool for self-healing on both emotional and spiritual level. If you haven’t been working with the precepts before, it may be a good time to start – and it will benefit your own life.

Do you work with Reiki precepts on a regular basis? What techniques or methods do you apply? Have you noticed the precepts improving your life?

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