HISTORY OF REIKI
Dr. Mikao Usui was born in Japan in the mid 1800’s. As he was growing up, he heard many stories about Buddha. He was impressed with Buddha’s quest for enlightenment. He was fascinated by Buddha’s desire to help others and the unusual metaphysical abilities he received after achieving this state of enlightenment. He also noted that Buddha was said to heal physical illness, and many of Buddha’s disciples acquired these healing abilities by following his teachings.
Dr. Usui looked at the people around him and saw that there were many who were unable to lead happy, productive lives because they were sick or had physical disabilities. Feeling compassion for them, he wondered if it would be possible to acquire the ability to heal in the same way Buddha had done. After much thought, Dr. Usui concluded if this healing was done in the past, then it was possible now. With this thought, he set out on a quest to learn the secret of healing.
He started talking to Buddhist teachers and priests, asking if they knew how to heal the sick. After many questions, Dr. Usui was unable to find anyone that could help him with the answers he sought.
Dr. Usui traveled throughout Japan, studying at Buddhist temples and asking questions about healing. They all had the same answer. They stated that they used to know how to heal the body, but this information was lost long ago when they began focusing on healing only the spirit. He was allowed to study their Sacred Writings at each temple, and occasionally would find something about the healing and copy it into this notebook.
During his travel, he became friends with the Abbot of a Zen monastery and was invited to stay and study. The Abbot had an interest in healing the physical body and encouraged Dr. Usui in his quest. Dr. Usui learned Chinese and eventually even Sanskrit so that he could read the ancient and sacred writings in their original language.
His quest eventually took him to the Holy mountain of Kori-Yama where he fasted and meditated for 21 days (this number is significant to you later). As each day passed, Dr. Usui would lay out a single stone in front of him so that he knew how much time had passed. The days and nights passed and nothing happened. He was beginning to wonder if what he was seeking could be found, but he continued his meditations. On the 21st day, he lay the last of his stones out in front of him. He thought about just leaving when he admonished himself saying the full 21 days were not yet over. He closed his eyes and began to meditate. Soon a very bright light was racing toward him. This was a very powerful light! He opened his eyes and for a moment did not know what to do, for he felt that if this light were to strike him, it just might kill him! But, he felt this was the healing knowledge he had been questing for. So he closed his eyes, the light still coming at him. The light struck him on the forehead with such a powerful force, it knocked him unconscious. In this state he saw beautiful bubbles of light filled with colors and symbols. As he received these symbols, he received an attunement for each one and the knowledge of it’s purpose. This is how Dr. Usui was initiated into Reiki.
Afterward he was so excited that he ran down the mountain. Part way down, he stubbed his toe. It started to bleed and Dr. Usui, newly empowered with the Reiki energy, grabbed his toe and held it for several minutes. When he let go, his toe had healed! When he reached the bottom of the mountain, he stopped at a food stand and ordered a huge meal. The proprietor told him it would not be wise to eat such a heavy meal after such a long fast. Dr. Usui ate the meal and did not suffer at all.
Dr. Usui stopped at the monastery to meditate on his new found discovery and to decide what to do next. His decision was to go to the Beggar’s Quarters in Kyoto. He healed all who came to him, but realized after a few years that some of them returned. So, he asked they to tell him why. He found that for those who returned, the responsibility of being health, employed, and raising families was more than they wanted to deal with.
This is when Dr. Usui decided that healing the spirit was just as important as healing the physical body. He also felt that by giving the Reiki free to them, he was further impressing upon them the beggar pattern of life.
He not only realized how important it was for a person to want and ask for a healing, but also how important it was for an exchange of energy to take place. From that night on, he insisted for the exchange to take place with every one of his patients. This is why and how Dr. Usui put together his Five Ethical Principles of Reiki.
Shortly before his death, he passed on the responsibility of carrying on the Reiki healing and teachings to his friend and associate, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi. Dr. Hayashi founded the first Reiki clinic in Tokyo.
Shortly after this a woman named Mrs. Takata came to Tokyo from Hawaii to have surgery. While on the table preparing to go in for surgery, she heard the voice of her late husband telling her she did not need to have the surgery. Mrs. Takata spoke with a nurse and she told her of the Reiki clinic.
Mrs. Takata underwent Reiki treatments for several months and was cured of her illnesses. Shortly thereafter, before Dr. Hayashi’s death, he made her a Reiki Master. Just before Mrs. Takata’s death, she made thirteen Reiki Masters in the United States. That is how Reiki came to be in the United States, and to this we say “Thank you, Mrs. Takata!”.
According to Phyllis Furumoto, the Reiki Grand Master, Dr. Usui did not find information specifically about Reiki in the Sanskrit Sutras, but simply a formula for contacting a higher power. While it is not known for certain in which Sutra Dr. Usui found this formula, it may have been the Sutra on the Buddha of Healing. This Sutra was later translated into English.
No written records are known to exist of Dr. Usui’s experiences. All current information and the history of Reiki come from Mrs. Takata, passed on orally to her students.