Dr. Mikao Usui

Dr. Usui’s Original Hand Positions

Usui Shiki Ryoho is the most common form of Reiki in the world. This was Reiki in the Hayashi-Takata line. The 12 positions that Takata taught (varies slightly from system to system) are the set that most practitioners know. You can find them here: Hand Positions ~ Healing Others.

Hands on Healing is the common element to all versions of Reiki. In Japanese this is called “Te-ate” (pronounced “tay-ah-tay”). It would appear in Hayashi’s practices that he had several sets of hand positions at different points in the development of his interpretation of Reiki.

Hayashi Reiki Ryoho appears to have had 7 positions initially. It is a powerful set and follows the large intestine meridian in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It also appears that the set that Mrs. Takata taught was the one used for group treatment with several practitioners in Hayashi’s clinic.

It would appear that Usui either used Reiji and treated where indicated, or used a set of 5 hand positions and then used Reiji. Reiji is the ability of the Reiki practitioner to allow their hands to move or be drawn to the area of that body that needs healing.

Mrs. Takata also taught this technique of Reiji, teaching that we must notice the sensations in the hands and let them move. This happens as the hands become more sensitive with practice and as intuition develops. (Read how to do it here: Reiji-Ho and Chiryo.)

Reiji and Byosen Reikian-ho (focused healing method) were skills that were expected to be developed at Shoden (level I) before Okuden (level II) would be offered to the student.

Usui’s five position set is based solidly on Traditional Chinese Medicine. The head and thorax are the 5 positions treated followed by Reiji. The body is considered to be the head and torso, and all major meridians pass through the head, thus by treating the head all areas of the body and mind are treated.

Here are the five positions:

Have the person sit. They are not laying down. These 5 positions were held for about 5 to 6 minutes each.

  • 1. Zento-bu

This position is at the top forward part of the head. It is specifically at the hairline. You can use the technique of Nentatsu-ho to aid in the healing by using affirmations while you use this position.

  • 2. Sokuto-bu

This is the standard hand position on the side of the head. The hands are on the sides of the head (i.e., one hand on either side).

  • 3. Koutou-bu

This position is where both of the hands are placed on the upper part of the back of the head. This is the area between the base of the skull (bulb) and the top of the head.

  • 4. Enzui-bu

In this position, both hands are placed on the bulb of the head. This area is the occiputal area commonly taught in Takata’s teaching.

  • 5. Toucho-bu

In this position, both hands are placed on the top of the head.

After these 5 are performed for about 5 minutes each (or as needed) you follow this by performing Byosen Reikian ho (focused scanning healing technique) or Reiji. Using Byosen or Reiji guides you to know where to treat next for focused healing

For my sources seeRecommended Reading

A Brief History of Reiki

Reiki (ray-key) is a natural healing technique that makes use of the laying-on of hands. Thought to have originated in Tibet thousands of years ago, Reiki was re-discovered by Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese Buddhist in the 1800’s. It was his purpose to find how Buddha healed the sick.

During his 10 year quest he studied the teachings of Christ, and the sacred literature of Japan, China, India, and Tibet. At the end of his quest the complete system of Reiki came to him during a mystical experience on the Holy Mountain of Kuriyama in Japan.

Mikao Usui initiated sixteen masters, one of whom was Chujiro Hayashi.

At the age of 47 Dr. Hayashi received Reiki teacher training from Usui Sensei. For about ten years he ran a Reiki clinic. During those ten years he came up with a more complicated set of hand positions and divided the Reiki training into three levels or degrees.

Hayashi initiated thirteen masters, one of whom was Mrs Takata. After being healed from serious conditions in Dr. Hayashi’s clinic, Mrs. Takata decided to learn Reiki. She spent at least a year working for Dr. Hayashi in his clinic before receiving the second-degree training. In 1938, she received her teacher training from Dr. Hayashi.

Hawayo Takata features prominantly in Reiki history as the master who brought Reiki to the western world. She lived in Hawaii and before her death in the 1970’s, taught 22 Reiki masters. Most of the Reiki that we know and love in the western world comes through the Takata lineage.

For my sources seeRecommended Reading

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

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.

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

Dr Usui Explains

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Explanation Of Instruction For The Public
~by Founder of Usui Reiki Ryoho, Mikao Usui

It is an old custom to teach a method to only my descendants, for keeping a wealth within a family. Especially, the modern societies we live in wish to share happiness of coexistence and co-prosperity. So I don’t allow my family to keep the method to ourselves.

My Usui Reiki Ryoho is an original, there is nothing like this in the world. So I would like to release this method to the public for everyone’s benefit and hope for everyone’s happiness. My Reiki Ryoho is an original method based on intuitive power in the universe. By this power, the body gets healthy and enhances happiness of life and peaceful mind. Nowadays people need improvement and reconstruction inside and outside of life, so the reason for releasing my method to the public is to help people with illness of body and mind.

~exerpted from the Usui Reiki Hikkei – Usui Sensei’s original handbook
© Universal Copyright 1999, 2000 Richard Rivard – please share freely

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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