History of Reiki
The Usui System of Natural Healing
Reiki is a generic word in Japan, and is used to describe any type of healing work based on life force energy. 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 Shiki Ryoho. It is a type of Reiki.
Since neither Dr. Usui nor Dr. Hayashi left written instruction about Reiki, 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.
The ancient healing method of Reiki was re-discovered in the middle of the 18th by Dr. Mikao Usui, who was also responsible for its revival. Dr. Mikao Usui was the Principal of a christian seminar in Kyoto, Japan. One day, some students asked him about the healing methods used by Jesus christ and whether he would be able to carry out such a healing for them. Usui was stunned and unable to answer these questions. On that day Usui resigned his position and determined to find the answers of this mystery.
His journey led him to America, where he attended the university of Chicago and became a doctor of theology. However, he could not find a satisfactory answer in christian writing and not having found one in chinese scripts either, he travelled to North India, where he studied the holy writings. He later returned to Japan, where he discovered some sanskrit formulas and symbols in old Buddhist sutras which seemed to hold the answer to his questions.
Realizing that he had found the key to the healing, then he began to mediate and cause to the conclusion that he should proceed to a sacred mountain about 17 miles from kyoto, mount Koriyama and commence a 21 day fast and meditation in the hope of gaining contact with the level of consciusness the sanskrit symbols had been written on in order to determine the truth of their contents. He came to a specific spot facing east, and gathered up a pile of 21 stones which would be his calender. On the 21st day he saw a flicker of light appear. It began to more very rapidly toward him. It became bigger and bigger and finally hit him in the middle of the forehead. Usui thought he was dead. However, he was alive but had merely lost his consciousness. He was in an euphoric state. He was millions and millions of rainbow bubbles, soon they became white glowing bubbles each one containing a three-dimensional sanskrit character in gold and he said, ”Yes, I remember.”
Dr. Mikao Usui left mount Koriyama knowing how to heal as Buddha and Jesus had healed, walking down the mountain he experienced what is traditionally known as four miracles.
First, he stubbed his toe walking. His palms turned hot and the torn toe was healed.
Next, he reached a home that several travellers at the foot of the mountains, and ordered cold rice and cold tea, a full meal, not wise after twenty-one days fasting on water, but eat it without discomfort.
Third, the girl serving the meal was afficted with toothache and placing his palms on her Jaw, he healed her pain.
Last, when he reached the monastery at Kyoto, the abbot was in bed with arthritis, Usui healed the monk. Thus was the birth of usui system of Reiki.
He then took the method into the slums of Kyoto. He lived there for several years doing healings on the town beggars. After healing each of these people, he asked that the person start a new life, but he found the same people returning to the streets to beg. He became discouraged to find that the beggars he had healed were still begging instead of making an honest living and he left the slums. Many of the beggars were angry that their physical bodies had been healed which no longer would allow them to make their way as beggars. These free healings only addressed the physical and ignored the healing of their minds and spirits.
Usui also discovered two very important factors:
One, that a person should ask for healing and two, that there should be an exchange of energy for the healer’s time. (Exchange of energy & variety of forms).
Then, he began to teach Reiki throughout Japan. It was also at this time that the purpose of the symbols he had experienced in his vision became clear. He would use them to atune people so that they could take teachers, young men who would join line in his travels. During this time he met Chujiro Hayashi, a retired naval officer still on reserve status. Hayashi received his Reiki Master’s training from Usui in 1925 and became Usui’s successor. Usui made 16 or 18 Reiki Masters before his death in 1930. Hayashi trained teams of Reiki practitioners, both men and women, including 16 Masters in his lifetime. He opened a healing clinic in Tokoyo where healers worked in groups on people who lived at the clinic during their time of healing. It was to Chujiro Hayashi’s Shina No Machi clinic that Hawayo Takata, the next important figure in the Reiki story, came for healing in 1935.
Takata, who was a resident of Hawaii, was in Japan visiting her family. She had been scheduled for surgery for gall bladder disease, but had heard a voice tell her the night before surgery, “The operation is not necessary.” She heard it again on the operating table while being prepared for the anesthetic, and getting up from it, asked the surgeon if there was another way for her to heal. The doctor told her of Hayashi’s clinic and she was taken there the next day.
Takata lived at the clinic and was completely healed in body, mind and spirit in four months. She asked to be trained in Reiki but at first was refused because Hayashi was not in favor of Reiki leaving Japan at that time. Eventually he relented and Takata received her Reiki I training in Spring 1936. She joined the teams of healers at the clinic and received her Reiki II in 1937. After living in Japan for two years, Takata returned to Hawaii.
In 1938, Hayashi visited Takata in Hawaii where they went on a lecture tour together. It was at this time, February 22, 1938, that Takata received her Mastership from Hayashi. He announced that Takata was to be his successor and instructed her not to give Reiki attunements away without charge. He also told her that when he summoned her, she was to go to Japan immediately. In 1941, Takata awoke one morning to see a vision of Hayashi standing at the foot of her bed. She knew this was the summons that she was expecting, and took the next available boat to Japan.
When she arrived at the clinic in Japan, Hayashi and other Reiki Masters were present. He announced to them that there was a great war coming and that the clinic would be closed. He was concerned that Reiki would be lost altogether, and therefore, wanted a foreigner, Takata, to be his successor. Hayashi knew that he would be called to service since he was a navel reserve officer and he decided to accept his own death instead. On May 10, 1941, in the presence of his students, Chujiro Hayashi stopped his own heart from beating and died. The war he had predicted was World War II. The clinic was taken over during the occupation and Reiki was no longer available in Japan.
Takata was the means by which Reiki survived. She brought it to Hawaii, then to the mainland United States, and finally to Canada and Europe. She trained hundreds of people in the Reiki healing system before her death at the age of eighty on December 11, 1980. Many times she would train members of the family of a seriously ill person if they were not strong enough to take it themselves. Her students were not allowed to take notes, and her instruction on healing positions varied from time to time. The trainings themselves were not identical from student to student, which may account for the variants in Reiki treatments today.