Courses and Services
of Reiki were created in July 1999
Created and designed by
Ed Bacon, Reiki Master/Teacher
© Copyright 2000. All rights reserved.
The History and Origin
The origin of Reiki
can be traced back to ancient Tibet, thousands of years ago.
This technique was rediscovered in the late 1800's - early 1900's
by Dr. Mikao Usui of Japan.
The tradition of Reiki
was an oral one, and was passed on by master to master and student
to student by word of mouth. The story most likely has been dramatically
embellished by each storyteller over the years to emphasize the
wonder and beauty of the legend of Dr. Usui. The following story
is the one that was told to me when I was first attuned to Reiki
I some years ago. Back then most Reiki teachers were passing
this story, or some variation of it on to their students. It
was and still is a good story, however some of it is true, some
of it is not. Over the years new information has surfaced about
the origins of Reiki, Dr. Usui's background and education, hand
positions, etc., and has served to correct some of the mistakes
and misinformation of the Western traditions of Reiki. The following
is the story of how Dr. Mikao Usui discovered Reiki as handed
down by Hayawo Takata. Much of this story has been termed as
In the year of 1822
in the city of Kyoto, Japan, Dr. Mikao Usui, ( a Christian Minister),
was giving a sermon. After the service two seminary students
asked him to explain how Jesus did the miracles of healing, and
furthermore, whether or not he could perform those same miracles.
Dr. Usui was not able to give the students an answer of yes.
He felt that he understood the Bible intellectually, but he did
not understand how Jesus healed.
This marked the beginning
of Dr. Usui's lifelong quest to uncover the source of ancient
healing techniques. He left Japan, came to America and studied
at the University of Chicago. During his stay in the United States
he earned a Doctorate degree in Theology. He searched the scriptures
to try and uncover the secret of how Jesus and his disciples
healed the sick and performed miracles, but he did not find the
answers he sought during his time in the United States.
Upon his return to
Japan, it occurred to Dr. Usui that the Buddha had performed
the same type of miracles as Jesus. He too had healed the sick
and had a great control of energy. He channeled the power of
God and the Universe. Dr Usui began asking the different Buddhist
sects if they could perform the miracles that Buddha performed.
Could they heal the body? The Buddhists felt that healing of
the Spirit and healing of the body was not always directly connected.
They concentrated on the Spirit, and not the body. They left
the healing of the body up to those in the healing arts.
Finally, Dr. Usui
went to a Zen monastery. He asked the same question of the head
monk. "Do the Zen know how to heal the body?" The monk
explained that they were concentrating heavily on healing of
the Spirit, and there just was not time to teach the physical
healing of the body.
Dr Usui requested
that he be admitted to the Zen monastery so that he could study
the Buddhist scriptures, the sutras, in search of the key to
healing. He was admitted, and so began his study.
Dr. Usui first studied
the Japanese translations of the Buddhist scriptures but did
not find the explanation he sought. Then he learned Chinese so
that a wider range of Buddhist writings were available to him,
but still without success.
He was guided, through
his meditations, to learn Sanskrit so that he could read the
original Buddhist writings and have access to those writings
that had never been translated into another language. After mastering
the language of the Sanskrit he began reading the teachings of
the Tibetan Buddhistic Sect. From those writings Dr. Usui discovered
what he felt to be the keys to healing. Dr Usui found the symbols,
formulas, and description of how Buddha healed.
And so, at the end
of his long search Dr. Usui had found what he sought......but
not quite. Although he believed he had uncovered the knowledge,
he still did not have the power to heal. He discussed this with
his old friend the monk, and they meditated upon the path to
take. They were told that Dr. Usui should go to a designated
place upon the holy Mount Kuri Yama. There he was to fast for
twenty-one days and meditate, to seek the power to heal. During
this time he would receive enlightenment and Spiritual clarity.
Dr. Usui climbed Kuri
Yama to a certain level and found a place that faced east. Since
he had no calender, he gathered twenty-one small stones and placed
them before him. Every morning he awakened before the sun rose
and would throw away one of the twenty-one stones to keep count
of the days.
Each day he meditated
and fasted. On the twenty-first day, Dr. Usui awakened to a darkened
morning. It was like a new moon day, when no light shone in the
heavens before the breaking of the dawn. When he awakened he
could not even see his hand in front of his face. He found his
way to his meditation spot and picked up the last stone. Dr.
Usui prayed before throwing the last stone off the side of the
mountain. He asked God for confirmation of his findings and asked
to be given the enlightenment of how to use it.
As he threw the stone
off the side of the mountain, a light appeared far off in the
east. It began getting brighter and coming closer to him. It
frightened him and he wanted to run away. He thought to himself,
"You have searched for years and years, and you have meditated
and fasted for twenty-one days. You have asked for enlightenment
and confirmation, and now you want to run away from it?"
So Dr. Usui quieted his intellect and said "No, if that
light is for me, I accept the enlightenment!"
The light became very
bright and streamed across the heavens and hit him directly in
his third eye! For a moment he thought he had died and ascended
into heaven, because he had never before been in such a euphoric
state. He saw many, many bubbles in all the colors of the rainbow.
Then came the powerful bright white light, followed by golden
Sanskrit letters..................the secret formula of the Universal
Life Force and how to contact it! They came to him one by one,
commanding him to memorize and preserve them. Finally the bubbles,
the light and the Sanskrit letters had come and gone. Dr. Usui
felt rested, and full of life and energy.
Dr. Usui jumped to
his feet. He wanted to hurry back and tell the monk of his exciting
news! In his rush he stubbed his toe on a rock. He reached down
to comfort the pain and to stop the bleeding. He found that the
pain and the bleeding quit very rapidly! He realized that something
was different about the energy in his hands........................they
had become very hot! After healing his toe, Dr. Usui continued
his pilgrimage down the mountain.
Soon he began to feel
hungry, so he stopped at a home that served travelers and ordered
cold rice and cold tea. In a few moments a Japanese girl with
a bandage wrapped around her jaw brought Dr. Usui his meal. She
told Dr. Usui that her tooth had been aching for days. Encouraged
by his own phenomenal pain relief Dr. Usui asked, "May I
give you a healing?" She accepted his offer gladly. He put
his hands around her jaw and within a short period of time the
pain and swelling started going down. She was very happy and
went to tell her father!
Dr. Usui ate his meal
and then went to pay the Papa-san. He reached into his pocket
to get some coins, but the Papa-san said, "Thank you, sir
monk, but I cannot accept the money. You have rendered unto my
daughter a service for which I do not have the money to pay.
Please accept the food in exchange for the healing services that
you have rendered." And Dr. Usui accepted the food in exchange
for his services as a healing channel.
Upon returning to
Kyoto, he went to tell his friend the monk what had happened.
He asked for advice on what he should do, now that he had received
the keys and the energy of healing. He wanted to learn more about
it's use and how to develop it. Dr. Usui was directed by the
monk to meditate on this.
From his meditation,
Dr. Usui was guided to go to the beggar kingdom in Tokyo. This
kingdom was controlled by a beggar king. So Dr. Usui went to
see the beggar king and asked if he might live there to heal
the sick and the afflicted. The beggar king admitted him, but
did not believe Dr. Usui would succeed in healing the beggars.
For the next seven
years Dr. Usui worked on healing the sick in beggar kingdom.
He worked from daylight to dark, healing the young and old alike,
and saw many beautiful results take place! He began to understand
how Reiki flowed through him into the healee, and how the body
One afternoon Dr.
Usui took a walk to the edge of the beggar kingdom. He saw a
young beggar who looked familiar. Dr. Usui asked if the beggar
knew him, and the beggar said, "Of course, Dr. Usui! I know
you! Do you not remember me? I am one of the first beggars that
Dr. Usui said, "I
healed you and you are still a beggar?" The beggar looked
back at him and said, "Oh, Dr. Usui, yes! And I did just
what you told me! I went out to the temple to receive a new name.
I went into society and began dealing with my Karma, doing just
what you told me to do. I even got a job and soon married! But,
it was too much responsibility. So, I decided that I would rather
be a beggar. That way I wouldn't even have to be responsible
Dr, Usui was greatly
upset, and thought "What a terrible thing I have done! Perhaps
the churches were right,...........................the physical
is not enough..............the Spiritual has to also be healed!
Never again will Reiki be given away! Always there will have
to be an exchange of energy!" He decided to immediately
leave the beggar kingdom.
As he walked back
to the monastery, Dr. Usui was greeted in Spirit, by the teachers
who had greeted him on Kuri Yama. At this time he was given the
Five Spiritual Principals of Reiki by the Teachers. These five
principals created significant changes in the subsequent healings
of Dr. Usui. He realized that he had been giving healing away
without requiring the healee to take any responsibility whatsoever!
Also, there had not been an exchange of energy for the services
rendered. The new teaching provided Spiritual concepts to be
integrated with the physical aspect of the Reiki energy.
Dr. Usui got a torch
and lit it, and went walking in Kyoto. He was stopped and asked
why he was carrying a lit torch in the middle of the day with
the sun shining so brightly? He replied that he was searching
for people with a heart full of love and with enlightened hearts,
but who are sad and sorrowful and do not know the true light.
He invited the people to come and hear about Reiki. In this way
he started teaching Reiki throughout Japan, and gathered a following
of sixteen teachers. It was during these travels that Dr. Usui
met Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, a Naval Commander in the Naval Reserve.
Dr. Hayashi 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. 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 made his
transition about 1893, after asking Dr. Chujiro Hayashi to see
that the Reiki teachings were preserved.
Dr. Hayashi continued
in Dr. Usui's tradition, traveling, teaching, and dedicating
his life to Reiki. He opened a 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 patients back. The practitioners all worked here doing healings.
They would also go to the homes of sick people for house calls.
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. He trained two Japanese women. One of
these teachers stayed in Japan; the other, Mrs. Hawayo Takata
of Hawaii, was made a Reiki Master in 1938, prior to Dr. Hayashi's
death. Dr. Hayashi passed on Tuesday, May 10, 1940. This was
just prior to World War II and it was clear that Japan would
enter the war. Being a Reserve Officer, Dr. Hayashi knew he would
be recalled to duty and therefore become responsible for killing
many people. This he did not want to do, and so determined to
end his life. In addition he wished to, and did, pass leadership
over to Reiki to Mrs. Takata.Mrs. Takata was instrumental in
spreading the teachings of Reiki to the United States and Canada.
A More Accurate History
of Reiki and Mikao Usui
Mikao Gyoho, is the
founder of the system of natural healing referred to as Reiki.
He took the last name of Usui when he received the Gift of Reiki.
He was born on August 15th, 1865, in the village of Yago, which
is in the Yamgata district of the Gifu prefecture in southern
Japan. Mikao took the last name of "Usui " when he
became a teacher, a sensei, of his natural healing system. Other
genealogical information known about the origins of this man
is currently limited to what is written on his memorial stone,
located at the Saihoji Temple in the Toyotama district of Tokyo.
The inscription upon the stone is written in Old Japanese and
was translated into Modern Japanese by Masano Kobayashi, and
then into English by Frank Arjava Petter , author of "Reiki
Fire " and Sapporo Petter. The information is as follows:
"His ancestor's name is Tsunetane Chiba. His father's name
was Uzaemon. His mother's family name was Kawaai. " Also
on the stone was this information: "Dr. Usui had a wife
named Sadakko; her maiden name was Suzuki. They had a son and
a daughter. The son, Fuji Usui took over the family business
after Dr. Usui's passing. " It is not known what the family
business was. It is known that his son did not take over the
Reiki organization that Dr. Mikao Usui started. Mikao Usui passed
away on March 9th, 1926, of a fatal stroke at the age of 61.
The story of Reiki that has come out of Japan in recent years
begins with Dr. Usui's failed business. We do not know what that
business was, only that it failed. While this failure left him
in great debt, it also left him with a great desire for something
more than just material gain.
On Dr. Usui's memorial stone is carved the following statement:
"One day he went to Mount Kurama on a 21-day retreat to
fast and meditate. At the end of this period he suddenly felt
the great Reiki energy at the top of his head, which led to the
Reiki healing system. " This would give credibility to this
part of Takata's history.
According to his memorial stone: "He opened a clinic in
Harajuku, Aoyama, Tokyo in April of 1921. He not only gave treatments
to countless patients, some of whom had come from far and wide,
but he also hosted workshops to spread his knowledge. "
There is no mention of healing the beggars and then opening up
a "for-pay" clinic or school.
What is mentioned on the memorial stone and what might be the
roots of Takata's history claiming that Dr. Usui first gave Reiki
away to the beggars, are these statements: "In September
of 1923, the devastating Kanto earthquake struck Tokyo. Thousands
were killed, injured, or became sick in its aftermath. Dr. Usui
grieved for his people, but he also took Reiki to the devastated
city and used its healing powers on the surviving victims. "
His fame as a healer having spread, Dr. Usui's clinic overflowed
with people wanting treatments and training. He opened another
clinic in Tokyo in February of 1924. Invitations to other areas
to teach and treat poured in. Dr. Usui traveled and taught throughout
Japan. During his stay in Fukuyama, he suffered a fatal stroke.
This was March 9th, 1926. His memorial stone states that he taught
Reiki to over 2000 people and yet he taught for only five years!