Healing techniques for people and animals have been mentioned in various religious texts for thousands of years, although very few people can simply lay their hands upon another and bring about energies which encourage healing.
Dr. Mikao Usui was born in 1864 in Japan and was a student of scriptures and religious teachings. He had the idea that anyone on a very spiritual path should be able to gain the ability to bring about spontaneous healings. The diligence and dedication of Dr. Usui is now the reason that we are now able to understand and pass along the gift of Reiki to others.
Through his studies, he became well acquainted with the stories which recounted healings performed by religious leaders. This perplexed him and he quickly sought the counsel of a fellow religious scholar who encouraged Dr. Usui to take a retreat in order to discover the secret behind the healing arts.
Dr. Usui followed the advice of his friend and ascended a mountain near Kyoto, Japan. He fasted and meditated for 21 days. He marked the passage of time by throwing stones over a cliff every morning at dawn. On the morning of the 21st day, Dr. Usui was beginning to become frustrated with his situation.
As he was about to give up and leave, Dr. Usui was greeted by a religious vision which ultimately left him with the ability to transmit Reiki and also teach Reiki. The story follows that as Dr. Usui descended the mountain, he stubbed his toe. It began to bleed, but as he clutched the toe in his hand, the bleeding and pain stopped. This served as proof to him that he had gained the ability to transmit healing energies.
He stopped at an inn at the bottom of the mountain and ate a full meal. He noticed that the daughter of the innkeeper had a toothache and he asked if he may place his hands on her and see if he could help. The girl agreed and Dr. Usui was able to heal her toothache. Dr. Usui then went to the city of Kyoto.
There he practiced Reiki, giving it liberally to any who needed it, and many people who lived in the slums of Kyoto. Over time, Dr. Usui saw some people to whom he had previously given Reiki returning to the slums. He asked one of them why he returned after being healed. The man replied that he did not want to live a life of responsibility and that it was simply easier to live in the slums.
This led Dr. Usui to a realization that Reiki could only truly benefit those who could embrace a life of complete healing. He made a decision that those who wanted to partake in Reiki ought to be willing to make a mental commitment to healing as well as a physical commitment.
As a result, he developed the following principles:Just for today, I release all worry. Just for today, I release all anger.Just for today, I shall earn my living with integrity.Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.Just for today, I will give thanks for all my many blessings. Dr. Usui continued with his dedication toward healing people.
Eventually, he opened a clinic in Tokyo. While working in this clinic, he began teaching others how to gain access to the Reiki energies and how to teach Reiki to others.
One of Dr. Usui’s pupils was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi. Dr. Hayashi continued in the steps of Dr. Usui by opening a Reiki clinic which remained open until 1940. Dr. Hayashi is responsible for the formal aspects of Reiki which are taught today: namely the hand positions and the science-based practices held within Reiki. The fame and popularity of Dr. Hayashi’s clinic spread throughout Japan, and it was quite successful at bringing healing energies to many people.
Hawayo Takata was a Hawaiian woman of Japanese descent born in 1900. A multitude of misfortunes befell her after the death of her husband which ultimately led to the degradation of her physical health. Mrs. Takata traveled to Japan in search of a doctor who could perform an operation which was deemed necessary in order for her good health to return.
While in Japan, she felt strongly that the operation would be unnecessary, and she asked the doctor if he was aware of any kind of alternative treatments she could seek. He said he did know of one place, and referred Mrs. Takata to Dr. Hayashi’s clinic.
Mrs. Takata consulted Dr. Hayashi and quickly began receiving regular weekly treatments. Over a period of several weeks, her health improved drastically. She was amazed and asked Dr. Hayashi to teach her how to transmit Reiki energies to others. He agreed, with the stipulation that she work in his clinic for one year’s time. She agreed and Dr. Hayashi initiated Mrs. Takata into the first degree of Reiki.
After a year, Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii where she began to practice Reiki. Two years later, she invited Dr. Hayashi to come visit her in Hawaii so he could see her Reiki clinic which she started in Hawaii. He was pleased during his visit and decided to initiate Mrs. Takata into the second degree of Reiki. Upon Mrs. Takata’s completion of the next level, Dr. Hayashi returned to Japan where he continued to practice Reiki in his clinic. In 1940, with the threat of war pending, Dr. Hayashi summoned Mrs. Takata to return to Japan one last time.
While there, he explained that he had no desire to participate in a war, and would be passing on in order to avoid involvement. Before this event, he trained Mrs. Takata as a Reiki Master and gave her all the training necessary to pass on Reiki to other students. Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii where she continued to practice and also began teaching Level I and Level II Reiki students.
In the 1970’s, Mrs. Takata began training other Reiki Masters. Before her transition on December 11th, 1980, Mrs. Takata had trained 22 Reiki Masters. It is from these 22 original Masters that Reiki has spread like wildfire in the world outside of Japan.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to these three above mentioned individuals and the 22 Masters who carried on Dr. Usui’s lineage.