History of Reiki

The Evolution of Reiki

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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. Kurama, 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. Hayashi added the standard hand positions, the three drees and the attunement processses.
  • Mrs. Takata added the fee structure.
  • 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 had learned from other systems or had acquired from inner guidance.

However, some changes were restrictive, making it more difficult for students to progress. Some took the Third Degree and divided it into several small parts, calling each new part a new Degree and charging additional money.

Often, the fact that  the Usui system had been modified 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 of Reiki when actually what they are teaching is a modified form.

For my sources see: Recommended Reading

Reiki Comes To The West

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Hawayo Takata and Dr. Hayashi

Hawayo Takata was born at dawn on December 24, 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 2 daughters.

In October of 1930, Saichi died at the age of 34 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 operation.

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, wrapped a sheet around herself and asked to speak to the doctor. When the doctor finally come, she asked if he knew of any other way that her problems could be helped. The koctor 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 heart 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 outsider.

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 initiated. She, in turn, initiated 22 Reiki Masters before her transition in 1980. That list can be found here.

For my sources see: Recommended Reading

The Original Twenty Two

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Between 1970 and her transition on December 11, 1980, Mrs. Takata initiated 22 Reiki Masters. This is the list she gave to her sister before she passed through transition.

  1. George Araki
  2. Barbara McCullough
  3. Beth Grey
  4. Ursula Baylow
  5. Paul Mitchell
  6. Iris Ishikura
  7. Fran Brown
  8. Barbara Weber Ray
  9. Ethel Lombardi
  10. Wanja Twan
  11. Virginia Samdahl
  12. Phyllis Lei Furumoto
  13. Dorothy Baba
  14. Mary McFaden
  15. John Gray
  16. Rick Bockner
  17. Bethel Phaigh
  18. Harry Kuboi
  19. Patricia Ewing
  20. Shinobu Saito
  21. Kay Yamashita
  22. Barbara Brown

The original 22 teachers have taught others. In the decade since Mrs. Takata experienced transition, Reiki has spread rapidly in the West. It is now practiced throughout North and South America, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and other parts of the world. There are now (at the time of this writing) an estimated 50,000 Reiki Masters with as many as 1,000,000 people practicing Reiki throughout the world.

Every Reiki Master should be able to trace their lineage back through time to the original Reiki Master, Dr. Usui Sensei.

About Dr. Chujiro Hayashi

imagen44Dr. Chujiro Hayashi was a retired naval officer. He received the Reiki Master initiation from Dr. Usui about 1925 at the age of 47.

Hayashi is often considered to be Usui’s chief disciple and the second Grand Master of Reiki history. He played a major role in the transmission of Reiki out of Japan and for turning it into a less mystical practice.

Up to this point, the Usui sysbem of healing consisted of the energy itself, the symbols, the attunement process and the Reiki ideals. This was what Dr. Usui had receoved during his mystical experience on Mt. Kurama.

Dr. Hayashi went on to develop the Usui system of healing. He opened  a Reiki clinic called the Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai 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.

In 1940, Hayashi performed seppuku rather than join the war.

For my sources see: Recommended Reading and wikipedia

Brief Bio of Dr Usui

usui-old-photoMikao Usui, born in 1865, discovered Reiki during a retreat on Mt Kurama in 1914.

It’s believed he developed this system of healing based on a formula he found in ancient Sanskrit Buddhist sutras. Following the formula he went into the mountains and fasted and meditated for 21 days. On the last day he had a vision, which completed his system. Some say that during his vision he received the Reiki symbols that are part of the system. Others say he got the symbols before hand from the Temple where he studied. In either case, the system he developed became an effective tool for healing.

Usui Sensei spent the rest of his life sharing his Reiki system and trained many others how to teach it. Before his death in 1926 he had set up a group called the Usui Shiki Ryoho in Tokyo to continue on with the practice after his death. Through this group many teachers have been trained in Japan.

For my sources see: Recommended Reading

The History of Reiki

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Dr. Mikao Usui, or Usui Sensei as he is called by his students in Japan, is the founder of the Usui System of Reiki. He was born August 15, 1865 in the village of Yago in the Yamagata district of Gifu prefecture, Japan.

It is thought that he entered a Tendai Buddhist school on or near Mt. Kurama (horse saddle mountain) at age four. He also studied kiko, the Japanese version of qigong, which is a health and healing discipline based on the development and use of life energy.

The young Usui found that these healing methods required the practitioner to build up and then deplete his own life energy when giving treatments. He wondered if it were possible to do healing work without depleting one’s own energy. He went on to study in Japan, China and Europe and ended up spontaneously receiving Reiki during a meditation practice on Mt. Kurama.

Usui Sensei had an avid interest in learning and worked hard at his studies. He traveled to Europe and China to further his education. His curriculum included medicine, psychology, and religion as well as fortune telling, which Asians have long consedered to be a worthy skill.

It is thought that he was from a wealthy family, as in Japan only the wealthy could afford to send their children to school. Eventually he became the secretary to Pei Gotoushin, head of the department of health and welfare who later became the Mayor of Tokyo. The connections Usui Sensei made at this job helped him to become a successful businessman. Usui Sensei was also a member of the Rei Jyutu Ka, a metaphysical group dedicated to developing psychic abilities.

In 1914 Usui’s personal and business life was failing. As a sensitive spiritualist, Usui Sensei had spent much time meditating at power spots on Mt. Kurama where he had received his early Buddhist training. So he decided to travel to this holy mountain, where he enrolled in Isyu Guo, a 21 day training course sponsored by the Tendai Buddhist Temple located there. We do not know for certain what he was required to do during this trasining, but it is likely that fasting, meditation, chanting, and prayers were part of the practice.

In addition, we know there is a small waterfall on Mt. Kurama where even today people go to meditate. This meditation involves standing under the waterfall and allowing the waters to strike and flow over the top of the head, a practice which is said to activate the crown chakra.

Japanese Reiki Masters think that Usui Sensei may have used this meditation as part of his practice. In any case, it was during the Isyu Guo training that the great Reiki energy entered his crown chakra. This greatly enhanced his healing abilities and he realized he had received a wonderful new gift – the ability to give healing to others without depleting his own energy!

For my sources see: Recommended Reading

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