It can be loosely translated to mean 'Rei' - God's power, meeting 'ki' - my power.
Contrary to what you read on the Web, these are not Japanese symbols but Chinese Characters which the Japanese have incorporated in their written language and given Japanese sounds.
The founder of Reiki, Dr. Mikao Usui, "was born in 1865 in the Yamagata district of Gifu prefecture in a village called Yago. It is thought that he entered a Tendai Buddhist school on or near Mt. Kurama at age four. He also studied kiko, the Japanese version of qigong, which is a health and healing discipline based on the development and use of life energy. The young Usui found that these healing methods required the practitioner to build up and then deplete his own life energy when giving treatments. He wondered if it were possible to do healing work without depleting one's own energy." He traveled to Europe and China to do further study but did not find what he was looking for. Finally, he participated in a 21 days retreat on Mt. Kurama, a training course called Lotus of Repentance sponsored by the Tenday Buddhist Temple located on this mountain. During this training he experienced an enlightenment which lead him to develop Reiki. (Manual: Reiki Level One by Brian Aldworth)
There are many conflicting opinions on the Web concerning Reiki. Some consider it the work of the Devil while others go so far as to consider Christ a Reiki Master. Actually, the truth lies somewhere in between.
Reiki is fundamentally based on the reality that "A human being is an energy field or an energy system". This energy is not only outside a person but also inside the person. (Barbara K, Cull-Wilby, PhD, RN) Today this is substantiated by Science which sees a human being immersed in a sea of energy, both visible and invisible (Zero Point Energy). The practitioner of Reiki is able to channel through his hands this life sustaining energy for healing purposes. This has also been substantiated by science able to detect the level of electromagnetic energy emanating from the hands of a practitioner. Here we face a fundamental question: Is this energy created or uncreated? It is created but since there is no such a thing as nature without the presence, power, wisdom and love of God, it is ultimately God's healing energy. A Christian practitioner has stated is thus: "Reiki is guided by the Higher Intelligence that sustains and balances all life on this planet. It is an intelligent energy of love and wholeness. It understands the cause of problems and what healing is necessary. The Reiki energy has a wisdom of its own, healing and balancing all aspects of a person's mind, body, emotions and spirit." (Kathy McConnell)
Reiki attunement is a process of passing on the ability to heal to the student by regularizing his her her energy field. During this ceremony of Reiki symbols are use which presents a problem for Christians.
The very first symbol seen in the animation is "Cho Ku Rei" aka "Reiki Power Symbol". I signifies the power of the universe. "Being attuned to Reiki gives one the ability to easily access the Reiki (Universal Life Force) energy, for the purpose of healing a person or situation." In the Eastern perspective this universal life force is unnamed and ultimately points to a non-personal TAO or whatever you may call the ultimate reality. In the Christian perspective, "God is not identified with the Life-principle understood as the Spirit or basic energy of the cosmos, but is that love which is absolutely different from the world, and yet creatively present in everything, and leading human beings to salvation." (Pontifical Council: Holy See document on "New Age")
Brian Aldworth, a Christian teacher of Reiki has this to say: "It's funny, but whenever I gave a traditional attunement I always had a slight uneasiness and I put it to not being completely familiar with the ritual of attunement even though I've done more than 50 attunements. Yet when I did the Christian attunement I felt completely at peace: the prayer I said over both the students flowed out of me and the invocation I made with each symbol was completely spontaneous." This fits in very well with the words of St. Paul who calls "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God". (1 Co 1:24) The primary symbols Brian uses is the Cross draped with a white cloth the Chirho (Symbol of Christ) and the invocation of the name of Jesus. It seems that this life giving energy is available both to Christians and non-Christians but there is quite a difference to what or to whom they attribute this energy.
And now to our fundamental question. Was Christ a Reiki master? Yes and No. The method he used many times was the laying on of hands which is also the practice of Reiki. Further, Christ asked for a minimum of faith: "Do you believe I can do this? " (Mt 9:28) The answer was either already known to Jesus by their actions or directly asked by Jesus. Insofar as he was a human being the energies of creation were available to him but he was also the Son of God in a human nature, therefore his power transcends the human energy field. The signs and wonder he performed were instantaneous while for Reiki practitioners healing is a slow process taking hours, days and even weeks. He did not have to learn how to heal because he had an intuitive knowledge of this. Although He prayed to the Father, He did not pray for healing guidance because as the Son of God by nature he was the power and wisdom of Creation. Everything was created in him, with him and for him. His healing were designed to heal the whole person including the forgiveness of sins.
Christian Reiki Points of Reverence
1. "The practitioner does not heal the receiver. The Reiki energy assists in the receiver's own body innate healing ability to promote healing at all levels, - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual."
2. He does not heal as Jesus did because Jesus was both the source and channel of healing power.
3. The Reiki healer cannot promise a cure for a particular disease or promise particular results. This does not mean that near-miraculous results can't happen because God is free to heal as He wills.
4. As a general rule, since prayer is involved in Reiki healing, a Christian should only go to a Christian Reiki healer in order not to give the impression that one religion is as good as another.