Reiki Origin

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   Reiki History
Reiki Intro
    Brief Intro REIKI ancient healing method was believed to have formed and spread through Tibet, China and India thousands of years ago. Dr.Mikao Usui rediscovered it over one hundred years ago, a Japanese Christian Theologian researching ancient manuscript texts containing healing symbols from a Tibetan Zen Monastery. Dr. Usui had spent many years on a quest for the secret of the healing knowledge by studying religions and searching the ancient writings in quest to discover how the Ancients healed the sick. When he found the ancient symbols of healing of Sanskrit writings at the small Zen monastery, he did not know how to use them.  He knew that he had the symbols but not yet the power of healing. He went to a holy mountain top top in Japan for several week meditation experience and at the end of which he received enlightenment mystical vision key of healing. He came down from the mountain and spent the rest of his life practicing and teaching what we now know as the powerful Energy of REIKI today. This gift is an extraordinary vision from which the Usui System of Natural Healing was born.




The Origins of the Usui System of Natural Healing is named after its founder, Dr Mikao Usui (pronounced Mi-ka-om-i  U-sue-ee). Many experts told the story of Dr. Usui somewhat differently, yet the historical fragments collected through time blend comprehensibly.  Dr. Usui had somewhat privacy amongst friends and family thus making some of his life difficult to track. He was believed to be a man of world travel, scholar, philosopher and very brilliant. Dr. Usui was physically healthy, warm, humble, and never flaunted.  His knowledge of medicine, psychology, and metaphysics along with spiritual theology showed his adversity and courage in the face of diversity.  Dr. Usui also had good political contacts and influences of Japan, which assisted his travels both inside and outside his homeland. His universal understanding made his delivery of knowledge contendable within various cultures. From easterners and westerners understanding, his background and supportive interest derived from both Christianity and his eastern counterparts he was most likely a spiritualist. People who do his kind of work were called "Rei Jyutu Ka" which means, "people who have spiritual skill."His life long habits of studying and cultivating information on healing help bring Reiki as we know it today.


Dr. Usui was borned Southern Japan of 1862. In his younger age, he was thought to have a business failure. This business crisis brought him to a mystical experience to healing thus departing the material world. His true calling begins late last century as a monk, then assumed to be president of a college Doshisha University in Kyoto Japan.  


While teaching at college, a student asked Dr Usui how can one facilitated the healing miracles. Usui had no answer realizing he may accept on blind faith of his scholar upbringing and sought after more hands on after realizing he cannot demonstrate healing and went on a new mission to find the ways.


The question had planted a seed and before the year was out, Dr Usui resigned from the College and set on a pilgrimage out on his destined life path to answer that question.  Dr Usui quest was to learn the secret of ancient healing so that he might help others. His journey took him to many countries and for many years he attempted to trace the same footsteps as Jesus and Buddha. � And explored countries of different practices to study the many practices


There were rumors Dr. Usui applied for visa for America to take a boat/train to enter as a student at University of Chicago however there are no records. Most feel that that story of him visiting Amercia was fabricated in order to warmed up to Americans during prewar times to enroll Reiki interest back in early 1900�s. Its true he may have studied philosophy and religion in his travels where he took advantage of the resources to study Christianity,  Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and of course Buddhism. When he came into Buddhism he found a passage where it said that Buddha healed by laying on the hands as well as the blind, tuberculosis, and also leprosy similar to other religions. When he found this out he said "I should further my studies in Buddhism and to find out whether Buddha has left any kind of a formula for the healing art." While Dr. Usui studied with Buddhists and fellow Japanese he realize that there were identical teachings in Japan thus following his instinct to explore physical healing to his familiar traditional medicine and find the ancient formula that was lost.


During his journey when Dr Usui visited many different Buddhist Sects from the largest to smallest ones in Tokyo by requesting he speak to the highest monk of temples. Dr. Usui sat with the other monks in hours of conversations and meditation.  Because all temples kept their own practice and artifacts anonymous, he would carefully research records. He would also ask the same questions to all of the different sects if they could perform the miracles that Buddha performed - could they heal the body. Dr Usui finally went to a Zen Monastery in Kyoto, he asked the same question of a small elderly Monk "Do Zen monks and priests know how to heal the body?" and the monk answered "Not anymore". Dr Usui was puzzled by this answer "What do you mean not anymore?" The Zen Monk explained that they have been concentrating so heavily on healing the spirit they had forgotten how to heal the body.


At this time Usui got discouraged and through up his hands as an exhaustive search end. The Old monk reminded Usui in the Zen way that there is really no end of and end but a beginning so when one door closes another opens. The monk felt that if Dr Usui's destiny were to rediscover how Master Buddha had healed the body, it would unfold before him. In fact the monk insist to support his invested research so Dr Usui asked if he might stay and study at the Zen monastery. He was accepted in open arms because all people who desire mastery were accepted in their quest at the temple.


It took many years learning to read the sacred books in their original language. It was the old monk at the temple who inspired him to continue to dig deeper to study days on end and nights. Dr. Usui recognize the Zen practice and chanting of Sutras is stronger than ever and was not lost. "After all, Buddha was a Hindu, and therefore" he said "I should study the Sanskrit. And if I study the Sanskrit, there may be something in Sanskrit taken notes by the Buddha's disciples, because Buddha had many, many disciples, and that's how the scriptures were written." Dr Usui learned Chinese and eventually original ancient Sanskrit. After several years gone by of heavy research and mediation at the monastery, he found ancient Sanskrit writings from India (or perhaps Tibet) which was assumed preserve at one of temples historical artifacts. 


The visual appearance of the sacred characters where shamonic in nature, a combination of Japanese and Kanji that commonly expressed ancient Japanese Buddhist. Yet the character and symbol expressions had many meanings shaped possibly from early Shintoism (also known as Shinto).  Actually theses writings are the old Buddhist expression of Qigong teaching, Life Energy from its original sense. Many ancient teachings dating back thousands of years ago entertained expression of energy in ancient calligraphy writings down to latter expression of Zen.


During Dr. Usui studies, he felt he had master it. Nothing hard, but very simple. He had now believed to found the information he had been looking for, yet it was only a formula; And yes it was in the Indian sutras, written in Sanskrit that he discovered a formula for contacting a higher power that could bestow how the early Buddha custom possibly practiced healing.  Mysteriously speaking, simply knowing the formula did not give him the ability or understanding to heal or use these symbols. After more study, he felt he had come to an understanding and that to go further required deep meditation. The writings and symbols had an arousing spiritual expression. He talked to the monk about this. It was decided that all he could do now was to follow the practices in the formula.


He declared to those at the monastery his intention to fast and meditate for 21 days at a nearby mountain and that if he did not come back they should come and get his dead body. And so, with that farewell, he left, and he said, "I shall go on three weeks meditation without food - only water. So he picked the water up and he climbed up in the mountains. His travel led him to the top of the holy mountain of Kori-yama.


On his arrival at the mountain top, he found a stream that was close to water and therefore he sat under a big pine tree and started meditation.  Before he sat down, he realized he had no timepiece or calendar, and so how was he going to know twenty-one days? So he gathered twenty-one small rocks or stones and then piled it in front of him. And then his water jug and he knew where to get more water if this ran out. And then he started his meditation, and so he said, "This is the first day." And then he threw one rock away. And that's how he counted his days. During this time he read the Sutras, sang and meditated. where he fasted, meditated in prayer and contemplation. He was committed to follow the directions of the formula for 21 days on order to attain a high altered state of consciousness and be empowered with healing energy. Nothing unusual happened until the last day of dawned he was about to witness a cosmic experience. On the 20th day he threw away the last stone saying "Well, this is it, either I get the answer tonight or I do not".


In the night on the horizon he could see a ball of light coming towards him. When he saw a shining light moving towards him with great speed, he thought he should jump aside to avoid being strike by the impact. As he looked at the light he realized that the light had consciousness and that it was communicating with him. He realized the light had the healing power he was looking for and if he was to receive what the light had to offer, he must allow the light to strike him. However, he felt that the light was so powerful that if it did strike him, it might kill him.  He was given the opportunity to decide. Would he risk death to obtain the knowledge for which he had searched so long. He decided the ability to heal the sick would be of such great value that it would be worth risking death to receive it and learn the ritual.


In the moment, when he was revealed by the beam of light, it struck him in the forehead knocking him unconscious. And he said the colored lights danced in front of him and then went to the left and when that went he saw another streak of light this time he said "the color of another rainbow and then went through the right. Rising out of his physical body, he was exhilarated by beautiful bubbles rising of light filled with many colors. In each of the colored bubbles were symbols that clarified his learning to perform Reiki. While each bubble slowly rise, it would visually reveal the sacred symbols, expressed the sounds and meaning behind. As he contemplated and witnessed each symbol, he received an attunement for that symbol and knowledge on its use. This experienced reinforced all from his past studies at the temple. He finally decipher the meaning of these symbols as a language medium. This vivid and colorful imagination translated into mystical visionary experience


Then a powerful voice came to him. These are the keys to healing; learn them, do not forget them and do not allow them to be lost. Dr. Usui responded to the voice, I have the keys to healing; I will not forget them and will not allow them to be lost. In this way, he was self-initiated into the use of the Reiki healing power of what we know today.


When he returned to normal consciousness from the meditative state, he collect his senses and picked up his belongings to head down the mountain where the sun was standing high in the sky. After this experience, a new course events began to take place miraculously.  These are known as the first four miracles.  He felt full of strength and energy and began to climb down the mountain and was from this moment on, able to heal. First in his rush to head down the mountain, he severely stubbed and tore his toe. He held it with his hands his toe and noticed great amount of heat generated.  Soon after only a few minutes, the bleeding stopped and the pain disappeared. Since he was hungry, he stopped at a rustic inn at the base of the hill and ordered a large Japanese breakfast. The innkeeper warned him not to eat such a large meal after fasting. Dr Usui was able to eat it all without the least of consequences. The granddaughter of the innkeeper had a bad toothache, from which she had been suffering for several days. Dr Usui laid his hands on her swollen face and after a while the swelling started to subside and the pain eased. She ran to her grandfather and told him that his guest was no ordinary monk. Later, as he returned to the monastery, he healed his old friend, the monk companion who was ill from severe arthritis.  This miraculous healing took place while placed his hands on the monk while in conversation of the mystic occurrences at the mountaintop.  The monks arthritis pain went away.


In Dr. Usui returned to the monastery, he began to regather thoughts of the four miraculous occurrences. He proceed fourth reflection and planning with the Bishop through prayer and mediation in the rooms of the Zen monastery. After some time in the monastery, he developed precepts.  In this new plan he traveled around the countryside from village to village. 


In each village he stood in a public place during the bright day holding aloft a lit torch.  When people told him he didn't need a torch in daylight, he answered was he was looking for the few who are interested in improving themselves.  In this way he traveled around teaching and healing, working both with the spiritual healing as well as physical healing.


Dr. Usui then resolved himself to heal the beggars of the Tokyo slums and assist those less fortunate. This project involved seven years of compromising situation where he himself lived in low class of villagers.  He then noticed people whom he had helped previously. They were out in the slums again. Puzzled, he inquired as to why. They informed him that it was easier to beg than to work. This shocked Dr. Usui into the realization that his help in healing these people and helping to find them jobs had not been appreciated, and in essence, had been taken for granted.  He further realized that without some kind of (money) exchange, the people would not fully appreciate his efforts of healing and assisting them, thus the monetary exchange for Reiki was created which this revelation holds true even today.  Dr. Usui also came two grips about not just focusing on the healing of body as he pursued in his early studies, but also to include the mind, emotions and spirit.


Dr Usui left the slums and while returning to the monastery as he walked along he was greeted in Spirit by the teachers who had greeted him on Kori-yama. They bestowed upon him understanding of two very important elements: healing of the Spirit and the responsibility of the healee in the healing process. Dr Usui had realized that he had done the reverse of the Buddhists by concentrating on healing the body and not the mental, emotional and Spirit. He decided to abandon his sought out ways and he was at this time given the Spiritual Principles of Reiki by the Teachers in Spirit.


Just for Today Do not worry, Accept

Just for today, do not anger.

Honor your parents, teachers and elders

Earn your living honestly

Show gratitude to all living things.


Dr. Usui believed to taught Reiki for the first time (about 1920) close to his life�s end.  Usui�s travels and teaching continued to Hokkaido in the north of the southern province.  And on his travels, he acquired 16 disciples of young men who traveled with him. During Dr Usui�s travels he met Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, a Naval Commander in the Naval Reserve.  He came from a well educated and well to do family. He met Dr. Usui in the marketplace holding a lit torch announcing his lecture at a nearby temple. To become a Reiki Practitioner in that time one had to be accepted by the masters in the Reiki organization, and second had to promise to use Reiki daily and volunteer some hours to practice Reiki regularly in the clinic.


Dr. Hayashi was very impressed with the sincerity and conviction of Dr. Usui.  When asked by Usui to accompany him in his travels, Dr. Hayashi agreed.  And they traveled around teaching and healing. Dr. Usui was becoming well known for his healing abilities and was often invited to local cities to speak and do healing work. After a while, Dr. Usui wanted Dr. Hayashi take responsibility for preserving and passing on Reiki. After Dr. Usui passed on, Dr. Hayashi became the leader of Reiki. Dr Usui practiced and taught Reiki throughout Japan for the remainder of his life.  The Reiki Clinic was open to accept new patients and thus after the earthquake in Tokyo, many people got sick as well as injured thus making their efforts available to the community.


Before Dr. Usui's life transition, rumor goes that he gave the Master attunement to both Dr Chujiro Hayashi and the sixteen disciples that trailed with him on his journeys. (Recent accounts believed numbers far exceed 16).  Dr. Usui died outside of Tokyo in 1926 from either a stroke or cerebral apoplexy and there is still a memorial standing for him at Saihoji Temple (Buddhist) in the Toyotama (district of Tokyo). The memorial inscription describes the life and work of Usui Sensei.


When Dr. Hayashi opened his new clinic in Tokyo near the Imperial Palace, it consisted of eight beds in a large room, two practitioners per patient.  One would treat the head and the other would be on the right treating the stomach area, then both would treat the patient's back.  The practitioners all worked here doing healings.  They would also go to the homes of sick people for house calls.


Dr. Hayashi developed the practice of treatment by using specific hand placements over the body.  Being of a military background, and therefore organized, Dr. Hayashi would have preferred a systematized method of treatment and attunement.  In addition an organized method of hand placements allows for full coverage of the body and organs.  Up to this point, the Usui system of healing consisted of the energy itself, the symbols, the attunement process and the Reiki ideals. Dr Hayashi went on to develop the Usui System of Healing. During his management of the Reiki clinic in Tokyo, he kept detailed records of the treatments given. He used this information to create the standard hand positions, as well as the system of three segments and their initiation procedures.  He broke down Reiki training and initiations into what we know as first, second and third degree Reiki. However, it was assume that Usui originally created the three degrees or ranks of Reiki which he called Shoden (First Teaching), Okuden (Inner Teaching), and Shinpiden (Mystery Teaching).


Prior to World War II, it was clear that Japan would enter the war.  Being a Reserve Officer, Dr. Hayashi knew he would be recalled to duty.  In addition he wished to pass leadership over to his two children but the two children had no interest in Reiki. So Dr. Hayahsi taught Mrs. Takata (perhaps because she would not be in Japan and therefore relatively safe and able to continue the practice).  After some more time it was nearing when World War II would start, the part in Europe already having begun. In order to make sure Reiki would be preserved and not lost ever again, he decided to pass the complete teachings on to two women: his wife and Hawayo Takata as a Grand master. He chose Mrs. Takata because she was a Japanese Hawaiian and she had American citizenship. Besides, Dr. Hayashi appeared to Mrs. Takata in a dream asking her to come to Japan.  She did this and found Dr. Hayashi having his Naval Uniform out of storage and fretful.  With the coming war he knew it was a matter of time before the Navy would call him out of retirement and he would be asked to perform actions he was not capable of doing due to his spiritual development.  He gathered all the Reiki Masters to announced Mrs. Takata to be the leader of Reiki. Prior to his death in 1941, he initiated a total of 13 students as masters.


Contrary to what the popular story is, and what many believe, he did not become Usui�s successor after his passing 1926. Because of this trip to Hawaii from 1937-38, prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Habour, Dr. Hayashi was asked by the Japanese Military to give them information about warehouses and military targets in Honolulu. When Hayashi refused to reveal this information, he was labelled a traitor. Because this would bring dishonor to his family name, ostracizing them from Japanese Society, rumors are he might have performed seppuku (ritual suicide), which is not uncommon for Japanize make "self-disembowelment" rituals as a service of true honor. Yet, it's not proven if this ever really happen. He died on May 11, 1940 with Honour.  Mrs. Takata would be the last Master Dr. Hayashi would ever teach. 


Mrs. Hawayo Takata (1900-1980), is believed to have initiated at least 22 Reiki masters, since then Reiki has spread throughout the world.


It was once thought that Reiki disappeared in Japan and only practice in the states after the war.  Yet, Reiki in Japan was still salvaged after WW2 as Master Dr. Hayashi�s wife had continued to carry on the practice, but in a low profile.  In Japan you need a licensed to do healing so his wife Chie Hayashi made it private invitation only which is why Reiki was once thought to disappear in the region. After she retired only a few of her students also continued practicing. As her last survivor student Chyoko Yamguchi was active in the 90s so Reiki was restored and ongoing today, but on lower popularity. America was much more promotional to Reiki and had its biggest debut during the 70�s and 80�s New Age movement while westerners warmed up to accepting more eastern thought as a way of life.

 Hawayo Takata Biography

Mrs. Hawayo Takata (the 3rd Grandmaster of Usui) was born in Hawaii, on Kauai, on Christmas Eve 1900 of Japanese descent from parents who where sugar cane workers.  As a child, her formal education ended at second grade. She became a house servant for one of the Hawaii's plantations. She ends up marring the plantation accountant and bared two children in a traditional oriental lifestyle. But by the age of 31 she was widowed and responsibility of raising two children. Soon her parents also fell upon her frail shoulders.


The burden began to break her health and eventually need gall bladder surgery. At that time, she could only trust medical attention in her homeland. In the 1930's she went to Japan to care for her health and also visit her family there for a relative funeral.  For 50 dollars, she traveled by an old cattle boat overseas with her two children. When she arrived, she became very sick and too weak for an operation.


She end up actually spending 6 months at the Tokyo clinic in poor health. During one day in the hospital, she was lying on the operating table, about to undergo the operation, when the voice spoke to her again and again, telling her that the operation was unnecessary. Eventually she jumped off the operating table asking the doctor about the other methods of treatment and he said "Yes maybe the operation isn't necessary but they may take months or years to heal you." He told her about Dr Hayashi's Reiki clinic where he had a sister who had been cured of dysentery at his clinic. The doctor suggested to Mrs. Takata that she talk with his sister to look into this non-surgical method.  The sister brought Mrs. Takata to the Dr Hayashi's Reiki clinic and her treatments there began. Once there, she was applied Reiki daily by two practitioners and, after four months, she had won back her health completely.


Hawayo Takata became a pupil of Dr Hayashi's for a year and was attuned to Reiki I and 2 and then returned to Hawaii with her daughters. After Mrs. Takata became well she wanted to learn this for herself.  However Dr. Hayashi was not willing to teach her because she was a foreigner and a female.  Through the good graces of her doctor, Mrs. Takata was able to pursued Dr. Hayashi to train her in Reiki.  This training took a year and brought her to what we would now call Reiki Level II (she could do everything but train other practitioners). After this year she returned to Hawaii.  In Hawaii she also learned the lesson of having the recipient perceive value in receiving treatments.  She treated a neighbor but did not charge, this neighbor did not value the treatments and did not become well.  She treated another relative and this time charged, and this relative did stay well.  Thus the tradition of charging for Reiki treatment was reinforced.


In November 1936 Dr. Hayashi came to Hawaii for a speaking tour to promote Reiki.  During this time he trained Mrs. Takata to teach Reiki, thus making her what we now would call a Reiki Master.  As he left Hawaii he asked her to come to see him when he summoned her.


She established a Reiki clinic in Hawaii, which was very prosperous. In 1938 Dr Hayashi went to Hawaii to help her with the clinic and initiated Takata as a Reiki Master. She was the 13th and last Reiki Master Dr Hayashi initiated. On Dr  Hayashi's death in 1941, she succeeded him as Grand Master. She lived and healed in Hawaii for many years, but she first began to train Reiki Masters when she was in her seventies. She made her transition on 11th day, December 1980. Between 1970 and 1980 Mrs. Takata initiated 22 known Reiki Masters in Japan, Hawaii, Canada and the United States of America.


Mrs. Takata's 22 Known Masters

George Araki, Dorothy Baba, Ursula Baylow, Rick Bockner, Patricia Bowling, Barbara Brown, Fran Brown, Phyllis Furumoto, Beth Gray, John Gray, Iris Ishikuro, Harry Kuboi, Ethel  Lombardi, Barbara McCullough, Mary McFadyen, Paul Mitchell, Bethel Phaigh, Shinobu Saito, Virginia Samdahl, Wanja Twan, Barbara Weber Ray, Kay Yamashita.


Takata had not formally named her granddaughter Phyllis Furomoto as Grand Master at the time of her death. There was some battle among the 22 masters concluding with three masters declaring themselves Grand Master. Phyllis Furomoto was given the title of Grand Master by the Reiki Alliance (a collection of Reiki masters that was formed after Mrs.Takata died to ensure the continuation of Reiki). Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii and continued using and teaching Reiki.  Eventually she moved to California, using and teaching Reiki there as well.  She did not teach other masters until 1975, and before her own death in 1980.


Phyllis Furomoto continued involvement in the Reiki Alliance since the beginning formation of the alliance of 1981 . The Reiki Alliance has been the primary source of Reiki instructions in the United States. Members feel this organization builds an quality control to preserve and protect the Reiki teachings.  This system is still being taught of what we know as Usui Shiki Ryoho translating to Usui System of Natural Healing. Other minority groups have also spin-off from Usui system such as the International Center for Reiki Training where they see Reiki as an evolving program of new techniques and further enhancements.


Now after the passing of these masters, Reiki continues to flourish. It is an enormous blessing to be able to use Reiki. If Reiki can continue to grow, it will touch the human heart and society.  It will heal not only disease, but also the entire earth.  In thanks to Dr. Usui for making the global difference in his persistence of rediscovering this sacred energy.


Time frame:

Southern Japan of 1862 Usui was born

Usui taught Reiki for the first time (about 1922)

Usui died near Tokyo in 1926

Dr Hayashi Learned Reiki 1925 and died 1941

Political friction WW2 1939 through 1945

Mrs. Hawayo Takata (1900-1980)  She learned Reiki in 1935 did not teach other masters until 1975, and before her own death in 1980

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