The History of Reiki


The Origins of Reiki Healing is shrouded in mystery, it originated about 5 thousand years ago in the area of Tibet and China. However it was Dr.Mikao Usui who rediscovered it in the last century. There are some misunderstandings about "The Legend of Reiki". Throughout my own research on the internet and with books and my own intuition, I have come to the understanding that Reiki healing is part of something bigger, it was meant to be a way of life.


"The Legend of Reiki"
R eiki is an ancient healing art which was rediscovered in the late 19th century by a Japanese Buddhist Monk named Dr. Mikao Usui. Dr. Usui was the head master of, or a teacher at, in Kyoto, Japan. One day, one or several of his senior students came to him and asked if he believed the Bible to be literally true. When he replied that he did, they became very excited and asked him to perform a miracle similar to the ones that Jesus had done. "These things and greater you shall also do," was the verse they called upon in challenging him. When he was unable to comply with their request, Dr. Usui decided that his was blind faith and he went on a quest for the spiritual connection written about in the bible.


After resigning from the school in Kyoto, he decided to go to the United States, in search of the answers he sought. In America, he chose to study at the University of Chicago, which contains one of the top religious schools in the world. He spent between three and seven years engaged in his studies, before realizing that the answers were not there to be found.
Disillusioned, he began to study other religious scriptures and eventually concentrated on the Buddhist sutras, having heard that the Buddha had performed miracles long before Jesus. He decided to return to Japan, and began to search through the many Buddhist temples in hopes of finding the knowledge about how to heal like Buddha and Jesus did. In each monastery, the monks told him the same thing, "We concentrate on healing the spirit now and although we realize that we once knew how to heal the body, we no longer do." Finally, Dr. Usui met an abbot (the leader of a monastery) who was fascinated by his quest and invited him to stay and pursue his studies. Dr. Usui did so, first studying the sutras in Japanese, then in Chinese and finally in their original Sanskrit where he found the "keys" he was looking for, the symbols.
By this time the learned scholar was wise enough to know that the symbols were not enough. He needed a way to tap into the energy which they represented, so he returned to the abbot for advice. After reflecting on it, it was decided that Dr. Usui would go to a sacred mountain a few miles outside of Kyoto, to fast and meditate for twenty-one days with the expectation that he would receive empowerment and instruction on using the symbols.


When he arrived at the top of the mountain, he collected a pile of twenty-one small stones to keep track of the days. Each morning when he arose, he would throw one off the mountainside and begin meditating. On the last day of his retreat, Dr. Usui rose early and sat in darkness wondering if it had all been for nothing. He then took his final stone and cast it off the mountain. Just as he did so, a light appeared off in the distance moving rapidly towards him. He realized that it would strike him if he did not run, but decided to stand his ground as he remembered the years he had spent on his search leading up to this moment of climax.
The light stuck him in the third eye, right in the middle of his forehead. As it did so he saw and experienced the energy and the colors of the universal rays. Soon these were washed away by intense white light and he began to see huge bubbles floating before his eyes, each containing one of the Reiki symbols. As a bubble would come into his view, he would be instructed in the energy represented by the symbol, and how it could be used. When the information was committed to memory, the next bubble would come. There were four bubbles in all, each containing a separate symbol. In this way, Dr. Usui received full instruction on healing with Reiki energy.
When he awoke immersed in the bright light of day, he completely remembered all that had transpired when the light struck his forehead and immediately took off down the mountain, excited and energized by his experience. As he ran, he accidentally stubbed his toe on some rocks. Instinctually he reached down and placed his hands around it. As he did so he felt a considerable amount of warmth, and shortly thereafter the pain and swelling were gone.


As he continued down the mountainside, he came to a restaurant and seated himself at a table. An old man came to take his order and, seeing Dr. Usui's condition, could tell that he was a monk who had been meditating up on the mountain. Anyone familiar with fasting knows that it takes a day or longer to reacclimate the body to normal levels and types of food. Eating a large meal after fasting can do severe damage and even result in death. For this reason, the restaurant owner was reluctant to bring Dr. Usui the big meal he requested.
Dr. Usui, however, was insistent that he be served what he had ordered, and so the elderly gentleman prepared it and had his granddaughter bring it out to him. As this young lady presented him with his food, Dr. Usui noticed that she was in a great deal of pain from an infected tooth. He then asked if she would like to be healed and placed his hands over her cheeks. The level of pain and swelling immediately went down, and before long the area was completely healed. In gratitude Dr. Usui was not charged for the meal, which he ate in earnest with no ill effects.


When Dr. Usui returned to the monastery to speak with the abbot about how to use his new gift, he learned that the abbot was suffering from great arthritic pain. Immediately he told him of what had occurred in the days since they had last spoken. He then asked the abbot if he would like him to heal his arthritis, and promptly did so. The abbot was greatly impressed, and the two men decided to meditate on what should be done with Dr. Usui's new found ability and knowledge.
From this period of reflection, Dr. Usui felt strongly that he should go serve the most needy, those in the local slums. The slums were a very unsafe place, even for a holy man, and the beggars were banded together into a social hierarchy for their mutual protection and support. When he arrived in the slums, Dr. Usui sought out the leader and presented his offer of healing. In exchange for three bowls of rice a day, he agreed to heal the beggars so that they could return to the temple, get new names, and proceed to lead a normal life of health and abundance.


His request was granted and he immediately went to work. After a couple of years, he began to recognize what he felt were familiar faces. One day he walked up to one of the familiar looking beggars and asked if they had met before. "Of course," the young man replied, "you healed me over a year ago." When Dr. Usui asked why the man had returned to the slums after being healed, the man responded that he had done exactly as he was told to do. He had gone to the temple, received a new name and began living a responsible life. He went on to explain how difficult it was to earn a living and live responsibly, and how it was simply easier and preferable to be a beggar.


Dr. Usui found the young man's words very disheartening and discouraging, and soon found many others who had also returned to the slums for much the same reason. In a state of disillusionment, he left the slums, returned to the monastery, and retreated into a time of reflection and meditation.
He soon realized that, although he had been successful in healing the beggars, he had only done so on the physical level. He had continued to allow them to be beggars by placing no value on his service of healing. At this time he added what would later come to be called the Five Principles of Reiki to the Usui Reiki System of Natural Healing.


Next he began to travel throughout Japan, teaching his healing system and empowering others to use it. When he arrived in a town where he didn't know anyone, he would walk through its busiest streets carrying a lighted torch to gather attention. Anyone who asked why he was carrying a torch in the middle of the day would get invited to a meeting that evening where, he said, they would truly learn about light. At the meeting, he would give the history of Reiki, and describe his experiences with the energy. He would then attune whoever wanted to learn how to heal with it.


It wasn't long before he developed a large following of students. At some point in the 1920's, he met the man who would become his principle benefactor and assist him by financing a series of clinics in Japan where people could go to be healed with Reiki, and where documented records could be kept on the client's progress. This benefactor was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, a retired navel officer. Upon the transition of Dr. Usui, Dr. Hayashi continued on with the work of spreading Reiki and documenting its effectiveness.


The clinic that Dr. Hayashi worked in personally was located in Tokyo. Because of its location and the fact that Dr. Hayashi came from a very prominent family, it attracted clients from the highest ranks of Japanese society, including the royal family. It was into this clinic that a young woman, who would someday be the sole bearer of the Reiki torch, entered in the Fall of 1935.


Hawayo Takata was born into a poor, partially Japanese family in Hawaii. Her life included many struggles up to the Fall of 1935 including her husband's death at the young age of thirty-five and severe stress and physical problems which came after it. It was nearing the end of Summer in 1935 when her doctor informed her that she would need surgery for an abdominal condition. Family circumstances warranted a trip to Japan, and while there she sought the surgery she needed at a local hospital in Tokyo.


While the preparations were being made, and she rested on the operating table, a curious thing happened. A voice came to her saying, "Operation not necessary." She looked around and saw no one, and the voice repeated itself. Then the voice said, "Ask the head surgeon." When she did so, he informed her of the other treatment methods available, including Reiki.


The rest, as they say, is history. During her stay at Dr. Hayashi's clinic, she was amazed at how effective the Reiki treatments were and repeatedly asked to be allowed to become a practitioner. Such a position was hardly a woman's place in the Japan of that era, so she was always flatly turned down. The fact that she was not Japanese certainly didn't help her case. Eventually Takata was intiated and had left in 1936 being a full Reiki Master, he had intiated hundreds until she passed away.

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