Reiki Comes To The West
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