Reiki Masters and Monster Egos
Sometimes I feel like if I see another Reiki Master referring to themselves as a “Reiki Grandmaster”, I’m going to scream. This made-up title, which seems to be especially popular amongst Reiki Masters in India, smacks of ego, and was never used by Mikao Usui. Rather, he was referred to as “Usui sensei”, the Japanese word for “teacher”. Even when he was asked directly if, as the founder of the Reiki system of healing, he could be called a “Grandmaster”, he rejected it. It was Hawayo Takata who first used the term “Grandmaster”, bestowing this lofty title upon herself. This was when she was also touting herself as the ONLY Reiki Master in the world, whilst fully aware that this was false claim. But I digress…
To be honest, the title of “Master” has always been one that I have been uncomfortable in using. I graciously accept it when my Japanese students refer to me as “Chantal sensei”, but when my non-Japanese students refer to me as their “Master”, I always correct them by telling them that I am their teacher. When my Chinese students refer to me as “Master”, I have a lot of fun with it, telling them with a straight face that “If I am truly your Master, we should follow the tradition: clean my home, do all menial tasks for me, and prove your worth”. It usually takes a couple of seconds before they realise that I am joking, and then we have a good laugh over it.
I understand that for the sake of clarity, the term “Reiki Master” continues to be used outside Japan to indicate that a person is qualified to teach Reiki. However, Reiki Masters should remember that this title does not make them “special”. It is merely a description of being qualified to teach. True mastery comes through years of practise, it doesn’t just happen because the word “Master” is given on a certificate.
And how about the title “Reiki Master Teacher”? There is lots of confusion around this title as well. A Reiki Master Teacher is a Reiki Master who also teaches Reiki Mastership. Not all Reiki Masters teach Reiki Mastership. I’ve been teaching Mastership since 1998, so I am qualified to use this title. However, there are many (especially in the US) who use this title because they figure, “Well, I’m a Reiki Master, and I teach, so I guess that makes me a Master Teacher”. Nope.
I DO use the title of “Reiki Master Teacher” on my website and in promotionial materials, so that prospective clients and students can clearly understand my qualifications, although I do not give myself any title on my business cards. However, whenever someone askes me what I do for a living, I always reply, “I’m a healer” (and it’s taken many years for me to be comfortable even just saying that!). If they’re interested, they’ll ask what type of healing, and then I’ll say something about Reiki, being a Reiki teacher etc.
But the title of “Grandmaster”… I just can’t. Quite simply, I don’t trust anyone that uses such a grossly inflated title for themselves. In my opinion, this is a title for egomaniacs, and that certainly isn’t something that should go hand-in-hand with Reiki, or any other healing or spiritual practise. However, I would be interested in hearing from any “Grandmasters” out there who would like to give reasons justifying their use of a title that even Mikao Usui rejected.