History to Reiki
Reiki has a somewhat unique history. The
many books on Reiki give similar histories of Reiki, and these are summarized
below. I do not pretend to be an authority on the History of Reiki. Instead of
spending much effort debating the past and the exact path by which Reiki came to
us, I find it more fruitful to use the energy and experience the truth of the
larger reality of all that is. This is not to say that the history is
unimportant. As human beings we tend to (react) based on the past so it is
natural to want to know where things come from.
All of the histories of Reiki come from the
verbal stories passed on from Mrs. Takata, with little or no hard evidence of
Reiki from before World War II remains in Japan, to the knowledge of the
mainstream of Reiki practitioners. This lack of documented evidence is
discussed in "Essential Reiki" by Diane Stein, with another view is given
in "Reiki The Healing Touch: First and Second Degree Manual" by William
L. Rand of the Center for Reiki Training, The lack of hard evidence
gives opportunity for skepticism. For instance admission records at Loyolla
University should be available for Dr. Usui if he indeed attended there, yet
William Rand claims that such a request proved fruitless. There is also the
recent discoveries by Dave King of Edmonton Alberta who, while traveling in
Japan, came upon a lineage of Reiki practitioners who learned from Usui and do
not involve Dr Hayashi or Mrs. Takata in their lineage. More interesting things
are being learned through that avenue.
With roots in Japan prior to World War II,
it is not surprising that some documentation was lost. Apparently the survivors
of Dr. Hayashi lost to the war the resources allowing them to continue the
clinic he founded and perhaps stopped practicing Reiki. If it were not for Mrs.
Takata learning Reiki before the war and bringing it to America, this healing
technique could well have been lost to the world. Such a skin of the teeth
saving of Reiki perhaps lost some valuable memories, knowledge and continuity
had the lineage not been squeezed through one person. We can only hope that
practice, study and intuition will bring back any lost knowledge and practices.
Lost knowledge, particularly the evidence to
support the following history, does give rise to possible skepticism. Still,
Reiki speaks for itself on every use. The energy is real and easily
experienced. Once one has experienced the energy, particularly if one is an
attuned Reiki practitioner, it is always there and easily demonstrates its
truth. Whatever the truth and reality of the claims in the history given below,
the ability to perform Reiki so easily came from somewhere and is, for
me, the ultimate proof that this path of developing my healership is wise.
Reiki is a Japanese word meaning "Universal
Life-Force-Energy". The "Ki" part is the same word as Chi or Qi,
the Chinese word for the energy which underlies everything. Reiki is a system
for channeling that energy to someone for the purpose of healing. It was
discovered by Dr. Usui in the late 1800's, a teacher or perhaps dean of a
Christian school in Japan.
Dr. Mikao Usui:
Dr. Usui was a Christian minister in Japan , though Japanese.
He was the head of a Christian Boys School in Japan. One day some of the
students asked him if he believed in the miracles which Jesus did (healing,
etc). Being a Christian minister he answered "Yes". They asked if he
knew how Jesus had done this, "No" he said. [It is interesting that
the story coming through Dave Kings' contacts in Japan is that Usui was
Buddhist, not Christian as we are told through Dr Hayashi and Mrs. Takata. This
gives credence to the claim of some that the 'Christian' angle was added during
Dr Hayashi's trip to Hawaii to make it more acceptable to the Christian
audiences in America.]
With this he resolved to find the way in
which Jesus had healed. This immediately set him on a journey of many years.
Studying first at Christian schools in the US, for where else to learn of Jesus,
but with no results. In the Christian schools the method was not known.
It was suggested he study Buddhist writings
since the Buddha had also healed. This took more years studying at a monastery
in the Orient. Nowhere could he find the answers. In Japan he toured many
temples asking for knowledge of how the Buddha had healed. At each one the
priests said they were more concerned with spiritual than physical well being.
In one small monastery he found some ancient Sanskrit writings from India (or
perhaps Tibet). [Diane Stein's research suggests he found the sutras to
invoke the Medicine Buddha, the invoking of this Buddha is a common practice in
Tibetan Buddhism] After a few more years of study, he felt he had come to
an understanding and that to go further required in depth meditation. He
declared to the monks of this monastery his intention to fast and meditate for
21 days at a nearby mountain and that if he did not come back they should come
and get his body.
He went to the mountain and gathered 21
stones with which to count the days. Each day he would throw away a stone and
in this way count the time. On the 20th day nothing had come as yet and he
threw away the last stone saying "Well, this is it, either I get the answer
tonight or I do not". In the night on the horizon he could see a ball of
light coming towards him. The first instinct was to get out of the way, but he
realized this might just be what he was waiting for, so allowed it to hit him
right in the forehead. As it struck him he was taken on a journey and shown
bubbles of all the colors of the rainbow in which were the symbols of Reiki, the
very same symbols in the Tibetan writings he was studying but had been unable to
understand. Now as he looked at them again, there was total understanding.
After returning from this experience he
began back down the mountain and was, from this moment on, able to heal. This
first day alone he healed a broken toe-nail, his own starvation, an ailing tooth
and the Abbots sickness which was keeping him bedridden. These are known as the
first four miracles.
He wanted to use these abilities to help
others, he spent the next seven years in the beggars section of Tokyo healing
the poor and sick people there, sending them to a priest to assist finding them
employment, and elevating them out of poverty. After the seven years he noticed
familiar faces, those of people whom he'd healed long ago who were back again.
Asking them, they complained that life outside beggar town was too hard and that
it was much simpler to beg for a living. They had thrown away the gift of
health, as if it had no value, to return to the supposed comfort of the life
This threw Usui into a quandary and he
returned to the monastery. From this he realized he hadn't taught gratitude
along with the healing. That he'd focused on the physical ailments without
dealing with the spiritual matters. The people did not understand the value
of the gift he gave them.
Dr. Usui returned to the monastary for
fourth reflection and planning. After some time in the monastery he developed
precepts. In this new plan he traveled around the countryside from village to
village. In each one he stood in a public place during the day holding aloft a
lit torch. When people told him he didn't need a torch in daylight, he answered
was he was looking for the few who are interested in improving themselves. In
this way he traveled around teaching and healing, working both with the
spiritual healing as well as physical healing.
During these travels he met
Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, a Naval Commander in the Naval Reserve. He came from a
well educated and well to do family. He met Dr. Usui in the marketplace holding
a lit torch announcing his lecture at a nearby temple.
Dr. Hayashi was very impressed with the
sincerity and conviction of Dr. Usui. When asked by Usui to accompany him in
his travels, Dr. Hayashi agreed. And they traveled around teaching and healing.
After Dr. Usui passed on, Dr. Hayashi became the leader of Reiki.
Dr. Hayashi opened a clinic in Tokyo near
the Imperial Palace. It consisted of eight beds in a large room, two
practitioners per patient. One would treat the head and the other would be on
the tright treating the stomach area, then both would treat the patients
back. The practitioners all worked here doing healings. They would also go to
the homes of sick people for house calls.
To become a Reiki Practitioner in that time
one had to be accepted by the masters in the Reiki organization, and second had
to promise to use Reiki daily and volunteer some hours to practice Reiki
regularly in the clinic.
Dr. Hayashi passed on Tuesday, May 10, 1940.
This was just prior to World War II and it was clear that Japan would enter the
war. Being a Reserve Officer, Dr. Hayashi knew he would be recalled to duty and
therefore become responsible for killing many people. This he did not want to
do, and so determined to end his life. In addition he wished to, and did, pass
leadership over to Reiki to Mrs. Takata (perhaps because she would not be in
Japan and therefore relatively safe and able to continue the practice).
Hawayo Takata: Mrs. Hawayo Takata was born in
Hawaii, on Kauai, on Christmas Eve 1900 of Japanese descent. In the 1930's she
went to Japan to visit her family there, and inform them of the death of her
sister. While there she became very sick and was in the hospital. The doctors
were going to operate, and as she was being prepared she kept hearing a voice
saying "Operation not necessary". Eventually she jumped off the table
asking "Is there another way?". The doctor had a sister who had been
cured of dysentery at Dr. Hayashi's clinic and suggested to Mrs. Takata she talk
with his sister. The sister brought Mrs. Takata to the clinic and her
treatments there began.
After Mrs. Takata became well she wanted to
learn this for herself. However Dr. Hayashi was not willing to teach her
because she was a foreigner. Through the good graces of her doctor, Mrs. Takata
was able to pursuade Dr. Hayashi to train her in Reiki. This training took a
year and brought her to what we would now call Reiki Level II (she could do
everything but train other practitioners).
After this year she returned to Hawaii. In
Hawaii she also learned the lesson of having the recipient perceive value in
receiving treatments. She treated a neighbor but did not charge, this neighbor
did not value the treatments and did not become well. She treated another
relative and this time charged, and this relative did stay well. Thus the
tradition of charging for Reiki treatment was reinforced.
In November 1936 Dr. Hayashi came to Hawaii
for a speaking tour to promote Reiki. During this time he trained Mrs. Takata
to teach Reiki, thus making her what we now would call a Reiki Master. As he
left Hawaii he asked her to come to see him when he summoned her.
After some more time it was nearing when
World War II would start, the part in Europe already having begun. Dr. Hayashi
appeared to Mrs. Takata in a dream asking her to come to Japan. She did this
and found Dr. Hayashi having his Naval Uniform out of storage and fretful. With
the coming war he knew it was a matter of time before the Navy would call him
out of retirement and he would be asked to perform actions he was not capable of
doing due to his spiritual development. At this time he passed to Mrs. Takata
the leadership of Reiki. He gathered all the Reiki Masters to a gathering,
announced Mrs. Takata to be the leader of Reiki, and then announced he would
kill his physical body through bursting three blood vessels. And as he
continued speaking and lecturing those blood vessels burst and he died.
Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii and continued
using and teaching Reiki. Eventually she moved to California, using and
teaching Reiki there as well. She did not teach other masters until 1975, and
before her own death in 1980 she trained 22 Reiki Masters.
Mrs. Takata's 22 MastersMore info
Barbara Weber Ray
Payments for services of Reiki