In our exploration of Reiki symbols, we come to the fourth, and in many ways, most powerful one: Dai Ko Myo, the Master Symbol. This article will discuss its meaning and uses, plus the different ways to draw it. Of course, no online post can replace full Reiki training, which is to say that this piece is meant to supplement full instruction, and to highlight the stunning beauty of this symbol.
By way of credentials, my name is Lillie and I’m a Boston Reiki practitioner who has completed Usui, Kundalini, and Holy Fire Reiki trainings to the Master level, and works in-person with numerous clients. The information in this post (as with my other writing, such as “How Many Reiki Sessions Are Needed?”) is gathered from hands-on experience and learning.
The Master Symbol
Dai Ko Myo is known as the Master Symbol in Reiki, because it is learned during Usui Level 3 or Master or Teacher training. It is the fourth symbol in the series taught by Mikao Usui, and comes after the Power Symbol, Cho Ku Rei, the Harmony Symbol, Sei Hei Ki, and the Distance Healing symbol, Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen. It is sometimes followed by another Master symbol (outside of the Usui system): the Raku Reiki symbol, or Completion and Grounding Symbol.
Dai Ko Myo Meaning and Use
What does Dai Ko Myo mean? In Japanese “Dai” translates to “Big” or “Great,” “Ko” roughly translates to “Shining,” and “Myo” to “Light shining forth.” Put together, the full translation is approximately: “Great shining light” or “Luminous enlightenment” — like the white aura of the 7th chakra’s colors.
This meaning fits, because Dai Ko Myo is about connecting with the brightness of higher universal energy. This symbol is used to tap into the healing, wisdom, and power of that energy greater than ourselves and of the human world. Reiki is not religiously affiliated, so you may interpret this spiritual life-force in the way which intuitively makes sense to you, as it pertains to chakra balancing and general healing and happiness..
How to Draw Dai Ko Myo
There are three main ways to draw Dai Ko Myo, as shown by my illustrations in this article. The first is pictured in my first drawing here, and features curved lines (like parentheses) in the middle character, and boxes with a sideways “V” the “Z” at the bottom.
The second way to draw it is shown above, and has straight lines radiating like the sun in the middle, instead of the curved lines, plus perpendicular lines forming boxes at the bottom. Research suggests that the latter is the more correct to Usui’s intentions, but my training was with the former, so it has a heart connection for me.
Tibetan Dumo Symbol
The third way to draw it is VERY different from the Usui Japanese methods, because it’s the Tibetan Dai Ko Myo Master Symbol version, also known as the Dumo symbol. It is pictured above and is lovely: almost like a lightning bolt zapping into an energy spiral. This is very fitting for the symbol’s meaning of channeling universal life-force energy.
In this Tibetan version, the zig-zag represents “universal fire” (or spiritual energy) or Kundalini, moving upwards to connect with the divine. One translation is: “Take us back to universal spirt,” which has a resonance with the Japanese version it its connecting the user or receiver with the vibrance beyond our human and earthly ways.
Dai Ko Myo, in Sum
I hope you’ve enjoyed this reflection on the Dai Ko Myo Reiki Master Symbol, and relish the beauty of the drawings of it. If you’ve used or experienced this symbol, do share your thoughts and questions in the comment section below!
The author and artist, Lillie Marshall, is a National Board Certified Teacher of English who has been a public school educator since 2003, and an experienced Reiki practitioner since 2018. All art on this site is original and hand-drawn by Lillie. She launched DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoons in 2020, building upon the success of her other two sites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009) and TeachingTraveling.com (founded 2010). Subscribe to Lillie’s monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media to stay connected!