Saved message From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Anjana Khilnani) Date: Thu, Mar 16, 2000, 8:20am (EST+10:30) To: email@example.com (Tracy) Subject: History of Reiki.
Let me narrate the story of Reiki as told by Mrs. Takata who brought
Reiki to the West. The story is only based on Takata's account and
should be assimilated as only that. In reality, Reiki is more than 2500
years old, and may have been re-discovered by Usui Mikao who named this
healing energy as Reiki. But the story by Takata makes an interesting
reading : -
History of Reiki , or Usui Shiki Ryoho: The Usui System of Natural Healing.
Reiki is a
generic word in Japan, and is used to describe many types of healing and spiritual work. It is not
exclusive to the system of healing based on Dr. Usui's method. The system of healing that evolved
from Dr.Usui's method is called the Usui System of Natural Healing or Usui ShikiRyoho. Since no
written Reiki information from Dr. Usui or Dr. Hayashi has been found, the only source of
information on the Usui System of Reiki comes from the verbal instruction Mrs. Takata passed on to
her students.The Usui System of Natural Healing has evolved over time. In its current state, it is
much more organized and structured than the simple, flexible, intuitive method practiced by Dr. Usui.
The following is a description of the evolution of the Usui System of Reiki.During his mystical
experience on Mt. Kori-yama, Dr. Usui received the ability to do Reiki treatments, the Reiki
symbols and the ability to pass Reiki on to others. Later he added the Reiki Ideals and the idea that
one needs to receive compensation for a treatment. Dr. Hayashiadded the standard hand positions,
the three degrees and their attunement processes. Mrs. Takata added the fee structure previously
mentioned. The required waiting periods between classes were added by several of Mrs. Takata's
Masters after she passed on. After Mrs. Takata's transition, a few teachers began making changes in
the way they taught Reiki. Most of the changes were beneficial, and included the addition of
knowledge and healing skills the teachers hadlearned from other systems or had acquired from inner
guidance. However, some changes were restrictive, making it more difficult for students to progress.
Some introduced their own symbols and calling it a new version of Reiki and charging additional
money. Often, the fact that they hadmodified the Usui system was not mentioned and when their
students became teachers, they began teaching what they thought was pure Usui Reiki when in fact
it was not. In this way, many varieties of Reiki have developed with some thinking they have the only
authentic version ofReiki when actually what they are teaching is a modified form.
As mentioned above, all current information about the history of Reiki
and its founder, Dr. Mikao Usui, originate from the story Mrs. Takata
passed on orally to her students. According to this story, Reiki was
something Dr. Usui had rediscovered and therefore, it must have existed
before. No written records are known to exist about Dr. Usui's
Speculation based on knowledge of other ancient healing systems has led
to a plausible hypothesis that may shed some light on the pre-Usui
origins of Reiki. There is a Tibetan Buddhist healing technique called
the Medicine Buddha. It involves the laying-on of hands similar to
Reiki. The ability to do Medicine Buddha healing is transmitted to the
student through an empowerment given by the teacher similar to a Reiki
attunement. There are other spiritual lineages in Tibetan Buddhism
involving the transmission of ability or value through empowerments.
Since Tibetan Buddhism is the only form of Buddhism that uses
empowerments, it is likely that the Reiki Dr. Usui rediscovered was
formerly a Tibetan technique that had been lost. It is known that a
spiritual lineage of this type may stop due to the failure of the
teacher to pass it on. The lineage may then resume hundreds or thousands
of years later when a monk or spiritual seeker receives instruction and
empowerment during a mystical experience. Perhaps this is what happened
to Dr. Usui. Perhaps he had been a Reiki Master in a past life and this
gave him the determination to seek the healing power again. Perhaps the
lineage had come to an end only to be started again when Dr. Usui's
Reiki was reactivated during his mystical experience.
The Development of Usui Reiki
The following three passages trace the story of Reiki through
biographies of its founding teachers as told by Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who
brought Reiki to the West.
Dr. Mikao Usui
Dr. Mikao Usui was born in Japan in the mid-nineteenth century. As he
was growing up, he heard stories about the Buddha. He was impressed with
the Buddha's quest for enlightenment, even though the Buddha, having
been born into extreme wealth, did not lack any material need or
pleasure. Dr. Usui was fascinated by both the Buddha's desire to help
others and the unusual metaphysical abilities he received after
achieving enlightenment. He also noted that the Buddha was said to be
able to heal physical illness and that many of the Buddha's disciples
acquired 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 so
often or had physical disabilities. Feeling compassion for them, he
wondered if it would be possible to acquire the ability to heal physical
illness in the same way the Buddha had done. After pondering this
question for some time, he came to the conclusion that if this kind of
healing was possible in the past, then it must still be possible. If
only one could learn how. With this thought in mind, he set out on a
quest, determined to learn the secret of healing so that he might help
He began talking to Buddhist teachers and priests, asking if they knew
how to heal the sick. Apparently, the ability to heal the body was
either held as a secret Buddhist technique by a few spiritual groups or
had been lost through disuse. Consequently Dr. Usui was unable to find
anyone that could heal the sick.
Dr. Usui traveled throughout Japan, studying at Buddhist temples and
asking questions about healing. The priests and head monks he talked to
always 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. They stated that the spiritual side
was more important and that was why they focused only on this part.
Thus, they had lost the ability to heal the physical. He was allowed to
study the sacred writings at each temple and occasionally he would find
something about healing and would copy the information into his
During his travels, he became friends with the abbot of a Zen monastery
and was invited to stay and study. The abbot also had an interest in
physical healing and encouraged Usui in his quest. Wanting to read the
sacred books in their original language, Dr. Usui learned Chinese and
eventually Sanskrit. It was in the Indian sutras, that he discovered a
formula for contacting a higher power that could bestow healing. Dr.
Usui had now found the information he had been looking for, yet it was
only a formula; simply knowing the formula did not give him the ability
or understanding to heal. He talked to the abbot about this. It was
decided that all he could do now was to follow the practices in the
formula. So he traveled to the holy mountain of Kori-yama where he
fasted, meditated, and followed the directions in the formula for
On the mountain, he set out twenty-one stones in front of him and each
day he threw away a stone. On the twenty first day, after tossing away
the last stone and still not having received the healing power, he stood
up. It was night, the darkest part of the night, just before dawn.
As he looked out toward the horizon wondering what to do next, he saw a
point of light coming toward him. 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 was told 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 healing ability 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.
The beam struck him in the forehead, knocking him unconscious. Rising
out of his physical body, he was shown beautiful bubbles of light filled
with colors. In the bubbles were symbols. As he contemplated each
symbol, he received an attunement for that symbol and knowledge on its
use. In this way, he was initiated into the use of the Reiki healing
Dr. Usui practiced and taught Reiki throughout Japan for the remainder
of his life. Before his transition around 1930, he gave the Master
attunement to sixteen teachers one of whom was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi.
Dr. Chujiro Hayashi
Dr. Hayashi was a retired naval officer. He received the Reiki Master
initiation from Dr. Usui about 1925 at the age of 47. Before Dr. Usui
died, he asked Dr. Hayashi to accept the responsibility of preserving
Reiki so that it would not be lost as it had been in the past. Dr.
Hayashi accepted this responsibility.
Up to this point, the Usui system of healing consisted of the energy
itself, the symbols, the attunement process and the Reiki ideals. This
was what Dr. Usui had received during his mystical experience on Mt.
Kori-yama. Dr. Hayashi went on to develop the Usui system of healing. He
opened a Reiki clinic in Tokyo and kept detailed records of the
treatments given. He used this information to create the standard hand
positions, the system of three degrees and their initiation procedures.
Dr. Hayashi sensed a great war coming, and knew that most of the men
would be called. In order to make sure Reiki would be preserved, he
decided to pass the complete teachings on to two women: his wife and
Hawayo Takata was born at dawn on December 24th, 1900, on the island of
Kauai, Hawaii. Her parents were Japanese immigrants and her father
worked in the sugar cane fields. She worked very hard as she was growing
up. She eventually married the bookkeeper of the plantation where she
was employed. His name was Saichi Takata and they had two daughters. In
October of 1930, Saichi died at the age of thirty-four leaving Mrs.
Takata to raise their two children.
In order to provide for her family, she had to work very hard with
little rest. After five years she developed severe abdominal pain, a
lung condition and had a nervous breakdown.
Soon after this, one of her sisters died and it was the responsibility
of Hawayo to travel to Japan where her parents had moved to deliver the
news. She also felt she could receive help for her health in Japan.
She took a steamship and was accompanied by her sister-in-law. After
informing her parents of the death of her sister, she entered a
hospital. It was found that she had a tumor, gallstones and
appendicitis. After resting several weeks, she was ready for the needed
On the operating table, just before the surgery was to begin, Hawayo
heard a voice. The voice said, "The operation is not necessary. The
operation is not necessary." She had never heard a voice speak to her
like this before. She wondered what it meant. The voice repeated the
message a third time even louder. She knew she was wide awake and had
not imagined the voice. It was so unusual, yet so compelling that she
decided to ask the doctor. She got off the operating table, pulled out
her I V's, wrapped a sheet around herself and asked to speak to the
When the doctor finally came, she asked if he knew of any other way that
her problems could be helped. The doctor knew of Dr. Hayashi's Reiki
clinic and told Hawayo about it. This was something she wanted to try.
At the Reiki clinic, she began receiving treatments. She had never heard
of Reiki before and did not know what it was. Using their Reiki hands
the practitioners could sense what was wrong with Mrs. Takata. Their
diagnosis very closely matched the doctor's at the hospital. This
impressed her and gave her confidence in what they were doing.
Two Reiki practitioners would treat her each day. The heat from their
hands was so strong that she thought they were using some kind of
equipment. She looked around, but saw none. Seeing the large sleeves of
the Japanese kimono one of the practitioners was wearing, she thought
she had found the location of the equipment. She grabbed the sleeves,
but found nothing. The startled practitioner wanted to know what she was
doing and when she explained, he began to laugh. Then he told her about
Reiki and how it worked.
Mrs. Takata received daily treatments and got progressively better. In
four months, she was completely healed. Impressed with the results, she
wanted to learn Reiki. However, it was explained that Reiki was Japanese
and that it was intended to stay in Japan. It could not be taught to an
Mrs. Takata talked to the surgeon at the hospital and convinced him to
ask Dr. Hayashi to allow her to learn Reiki. Since Dr. Hayashi wanted to
teach Reiki to another woman besides his wife, and since Mrs. Takata was
so persistent, he decided that she should be the one. In the Spring of
1936, Mrs. Takata received First Degree Reiki. She worked with Dr.
Hayashi for one year and then received Second Degree Reiki.
Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii in 1937. She was soon followed by Dr.
Hayashi and his daughter who came to help establish Reiki in Hawaii. In
the Winter of 1938, Dr. Hayashi initiated Hawayo Takata as a Reiki
Master. She was the thirteenth and last Reiki Master Dr. Hayashi
Between 1970 and her transition on December 11, 1980, Mrs. Takata
initiated twenty-two Reiki Masters. Since
Mrs. Takata experienced transition, Reiki has spread rapidly. It is now
practiced throughout the world.