Symbol 1 and Cho-Ku-Rei

NOTE:The Reiki symbols have always been a controversial topic. Some believe in hiding them and shrouding them in darkness, to make them secret and sacred. Others splash them around in books and on the net with no regard, seemingly treating them like nothing special. Today I want to do a bit of both. I always treat the symbols as sacred tools. I don’t normally splash them around on the net. Even in my Reiki Manuals I only show the symbols once only in the Okuden (Level 2) manual and once in the Shinpiden Jumon and Shirushi (Master level Mantra and Symbol) manual. I don’t have the symbols on my therapy walls and I don’t encourage my students to put the symbols up in the therapy room. Then there are those who say that Shoden (Level 1) students should not be introduced to the symbols until they get to Okuden, while others have no problem with that. Personally I agree that Shoden students should not be introduced to the symbols, but my reason for that is that I prefer Shoden students to focus on what they have learned and for them to really work with what they have so they can build a good foundation. If you skip the foundation work and jump right into the advanced techniques how will you know that you are doing a good job of it? Especially if you are not sensitive to energy just yet. Shoden is there to build a foundation and to allow students to settle into the energy and to prepare them for the more metaphysical information that comes with Okuden.

Having said all that. The symbols are sacred tools, and they are as sacred as the minerals, plants, insects, birds, fish, animals and humans living on this sacred earth. Some will look at a tree and only see a tree, while some will look at a tree and see that this tree gives us the oxygen that we need for our survival, while some will look at the tree and know that the tree has medicinal qualities and that it not only gives us the life giving oxygen that we need, but it also produces medicine that can be applied or used in a certain way to promote healing. I ask that you all approach this page with reverence and acknowlege the sacredness of the information I’m about to share with you.

I know that there are members of this group who have only completed Shoden and even some members who have not been attuned to Reiki yet, but I believe that most members here have completed Okuden and/or Shinpiden. From speaking to many Reiki practitioners and teachers I realise that many do not feel comfortable with the symbols yet, or have difficulty remembering some of the symbols. And many don’t even know when and where to use some of the symbols. Practitioners tend to get stuck on Symbol 1 and Symbols 2 and they end up not using the rest of the symbols. I’m hoping to shed a bit of light on the symbols and to give you more reason to work with them. I have researched this symbol extensively and I hope to share some it with you.

Also see the article on Symbol 3 and Hon-Sha-Ze-Sho-Nen.

I ask that you take a moment to Gasshô and recite the precepts:


Symbol 1 and the mantra: 超空霊 (‘Cho Ku Rei’ or abreviated to CKR)

  • Western characteristic: Power
  • Japanese characteristic: Focus

The energy invoked with this mantra and symbol:

Earth energy, which is heavy, powerful and grounding. The first two mantras and symbols represent earth and heaven. This is a very Shintô concept. Man is said to be the connection between these two energies. The hara is stimulated, thus enabling the practitioner to strengthen the connection to Original Energy.

Using the mantra in conjunction with the symbol:

Chant the mantra three times while or after the symbol drawn. It is not necessary to use this symbol and mantra to activate the other symbols and mantras. This symbol can be drawn clockwise or counterclockwise. There is no polarity in Reiki and therefore the direction of the symbol is not important. Use your intuition when drawing the symbol.

Origin of the mantra and symbol:

It has been asserted that CKR and Symbol 1 have a Taoist origin but no verification has, of yet, been presented. An element of Symbol 1 has similarities to a symbol that is used in many global cultures. This element is commonly utilised as an expression for movement of energy. The first symbol, which is found inscribed on Temple walls, is usually written as a symbol of the earth element in Tendai cosmology, with its origins probably in Hotsuma symbology. The Hotsuma Tsutae, a controversial historical text, is not alone in using a derivation of Symbol 1. Here, the letter ‘wa’ is translated as an early Japanese letter for ‘earth’ and has a physical similarity to an element of Symbol 1. Copies of Hotsuma Tsutae have been stored in iwamuro (cave storage) in a Tendai temple at enryaku jihiei zan, Kôto (main Japanese Tendai Complex). These copies were given to Saichô (767 – 822), the founding priest of enryaku ji (the main Tendai temple on Hiei Zan, near Kyôto, Japan). Tendai priests were also known to give lectures on the Hotsuma Tsutae. If there were any link here it would be that Mikao Usui was a practicing Tendai Buddhist said to have trained in enryaku-ji.

Translation of the mantra:

There are various alternatives when translating the mantra CKR, depending on the kanji being used. Some translations of the mantra CKR derived from Japanese practitioners  are listed below:

  • Imperial order or command
  • Spirit that directly comes from the supreme existence
  • Supreme spiritual emptiness (void)

Some uses of the mantra and symbol:

  • Use the CKR and symbol 1 at the start of a healing session by drawing it on the palms of both hands. It will make the connections more powerful.
  • Use symbol 1 and CKR to focus power at each hand position and on any problem areas. You can also use gyoshi hô to visualise Symbol 1 in the area you are working in.
  • Draw symbol 1 and chant CKR over the person at the end of a healing session to seal and stabilise the healing.
  • If you need protection in a situation, gasshô to set the intent. Draw symbol 1 and chant CKR. Visualise or imagine the Symbol surrounding you.
  • Energise food and water before you eat or drink it, by drawing symbol 1 and chanting CKR over the food or drink.
  • Draw symbol 1 and chant CKR if you want to have focus during a meditation.
  • Draw symbol 1 and chant CKR on the shower head or tap – prior to taking a shower or a bath, so that the water is filled with Reiki as it cleanses you.
  • When you need to manifest something, gasshô to set the intent. Firmly keep an image of what you want to manifest in your mind’s eye, draw symbol 1 and chant CKR, draw another symbol 1 and chant CKR. Hold the image for a little while, sending Reiki. Remember, this will not bring you things that are not in accord with your higher-self and soul purpose.
  • Another way to manifest is to create a ‘symbol sandwich.’  Draw Symbol 1 and chant CKR then clearly visualise what you intend to manifest and follow this by another Symbol 1 and chant CKR, so that it is sandwiched between the two symbols. Now you can run the Reiki energy and focus on what you want to manifest. Remember this will not bring you things that are not in accord with your higher-self and soul purpose.
  • After cleansing crystals (with jakikiri jôka hô or any other preferred technique) use symbol 1 and chant CKR to empower them.
  • If you find your energy flagging, and have little time for a self-treatment, draw symbol 1 down your body and chant CKR.
  • Be creative…

How to draw the symbol symbol:

The symbol can be drawn clockwise or counter-clockwise. Use your intuition. There is no right or wrong way. Reiki cannot do harm.

Sources: Personal experience; Reiki Sourcebook