Karuna Reiki is not a substitute for traditional Reiki. In fact it is taught only to level two practitioners of Usui Reiki and the Karuna Reiki mastership is given only to Usui Reiki masters.
Karuna is a Sanskrit word and is used in Hinduism, Buddhism and Zen. It is translated to mean any action that is taken to diminish the suffering of others and could also be translated as “compassionate action”. When individuals experience enlightenment, they report that all beings are known as one. Therefore, it is natural to extend compassionate action or Karuna to everyone without distinction because we are all one. As we help others and aid them in their healing process, all beings benefit. Because of the oneness of all beings, it is understood that Karuna is not only extended to others out of love, but also because it is an entirely logical thing to do. In the same way that you would want to heal your own wounds, you would also want the wounds of others to heal. It is also stated in the Buddhist literature that Karuna must be accompanied by parjna or wisdom in order to have the right effect.
Karuna is the motivating quality of all enlightened beings who are working to end suffering on Earth. They continually send an unlimited amount of healing energy and guidance to us, but not all are receptive to it. As you develop Karuna in yourself, not only are you helping others, but you also become more receptive to the Karuna that is being sent by all enlightened beings. Thus your healing is quickened as well.
Karuna Reiki opens you to work more closely with all enlightened beings. This includes those enlightened ones who are physically present as well as those in spirit. Karuna is an important concept in most spiritual systems. Buddhism considers it a prerequisite for Satori or Enlightenment. Karuna is compassion and as we develop it we find ourselves more in tune with the universe. Healing comes naturally. We see oneness in all of creation.
Karuna Reiki is a system of Reiki that was created by Reiki Master William Lee Rand as a result of his extensive work and research with healing methods. During his many years of practice he came across various systems and symbols that were being used by healers. He studied the systems and worked with the energy levels of the different healing symbols and incorporated the ones he found to have the best energy and formulated an attunement process by which one could access these symbols and use them in healing. He called the new system Karuna Reiki. The method of healing is the same as in Usui Reiki with the additional use of Karuna Reiki symbols.
In his own words
I did not originally intend to create a new system of Reiki, but starting about 1989, I began being given non-Usui Reiki symbols and attunement techniques which were claimed to have benefit. I filed these symbols away along with the attunement processes that were included with some of them and also began experimenting with some of them. After a number of years, I had quite a collection and many of my students began asking me about these “additional symbols” and wanting to know if they should use them. In the winter of 1993, I gathered together a number of my best students, many of whom were spiritually sensitive, to experiment with the additional symbols, try them out and decide which were the most useful. We asked for guidance and through this process came up with a set of symbols that seemed to have the best energy. We also experimented with an attunement process to go with them. Later I was guided in the further development of the attunement process and this eventually evolved into a new system of Reiki. Throughout the process, I prayed for help from the Higher Power and asked that I be connected to a healing energy that would be of greater benefit. I did not channel any of these symbols myself. They came from other Reiki masters. In 1995, I was guided to more clearly define the system and to name it Karuna Reiki which can be defined as the Reiki of Compassion. While some of the symbols in Karuna Reiki are the same as those used by other schools and systems, because the attunements are different and the intention is different, the energies that are connected to Karuna Reiki are unique to the system.
There is a definite difference to the feel of both the energies. Karuna feels softer and more enveloping but the healing is deeper with a combination of both systems. There is a faster and more concrete spiritual growth which I think is the ultimate purpose of any holistic healing system.
There is also more self growth as energy blocks surface and clamour for attention! As we deal with these and clear them off with healing we experience many changes in ourselves and life situations. We are forced to look more deeply at issues that are causing stagnation in our development and work more diligently at cleansing and healing with faster and more concrete results. Working with issues of self growth is not always comfortable but with Karuna Reiki we are able to look at ourselves with compassion and see clearly what we need to clear off and what to bring into our lives. By incorporating Karuna Reiki with Traditional or Usui Reiki we are that much more empowered. And I think that right now we need all the help we can get!