Monday, January 5, 2015

The Real (?) Story of Reiki – Part 1

The Real (?) Story of Reiki – Part 1

Usui and Hayashi

DECEMBER 1, 2014
Article by Angie Webster

What is the true story of Reiki? Should we base our practice strictly on tradition? If so, what is that tradition? There are so many inconsistent stories of the history of Reiki, how can we know? Is change OK? I love learning and when I first began learning about the Reiki story, the inconsistencies baffled me.

When I later discovered William Rand’s research in Reiki, The Healing Touch, I was impressed. He has dedicated a great deal of time to learning more about Mikao Usui and the history of Reiki. He has travelled to Japan and spoken to members of the Gakkai, the organization founded by Usui, and has received training from members of the Gakkai as part of his quest to understand the Japanese perspective better. In addition to researching material to help him understand the history better, he visited many sites relating to Mikao Usui’s life and death, gathering information that could be verified.

Mikao Usui
According to Rand, Usui, the founder of Reiki, was a student at a Tendai Buddhist school from the age of four. He studied qigong and later he studied medicine, psychology, religion (particularly Christianity and Buddhism), history, divination and the art of studying and reading faces. He was dedicated to helping others, often choosing jobs that allowed him to do that, and was a lifelong spiritual aspirant. In 1922, he was having major personal and business difficulties and chose to go spend a 21 day training retreat on Mt. Kurama near where he had gone to school as a boy. His hopes were that the time in meditation would bring a solution to his problems to mind. He doesn’t seem to have been seeking to discover a method of healing at all! During the retreat, he received Reiki. He became excited and ran to tell others, stubbing his toe as he ran. He put his hand over the toe, as anyone would, and felt the Reiki energy flooding into the injury automatically. It quickly relieved the pain, making him realize that he had not only received the light of Reiki, but now had the gift of healing as well.

Usui continued to develop the practice of Reiki, using the skills he had from his previous studies and through Reiki practicing on family. He eventually decided to share Reiki with others by practicing it in his clinics and through his healing society, called the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, through which he taught others how to use Reiki.

Eventually, Usui encouraged one of his students, a medical doctor and former Naval officer named Chujiro Hayashi, to open a Reiki clinic as well. Hayashi opened his clinic and school shortly before Usui died. Soon after Usui passed due to a stroke in 1926, Hayashi left the Gakkai to run his school and clinic on his own. He adapted his methods a bit, according to his style as a doctor and what proved to work best with patients over time, developing his own training manual based upon careful records of which hand positions were most effective. He also began treating patients on a treatment table, which Usui had apparently not been doing. (Some sources say Usui treated on a mat on the floor; Rand say he used a chair.) He altered training and attunement methods as well, making attunements more effective and shortening training schedules when traveling to students. Hayahsi trained Mrs. Takata, who brought Reiki to the West. Hayahsi died after commiting ritual suicide when he refused to give information to the Japanese regarding military targets that he may have seen in Hawaii during his visit to establish Mrs. Takata as a Reiki Master. He died an honorable death in 1940.

Angie Webster
Angie Webster lives in Illinois with her husband and her cat. She incorporates yoga, meditation, healthy food, Reiki and spiritual practice to guide and heal her body, mind and life. She is a freelance writer and Reiki practitioner who seeks to empower others by reminding them of their own strength and healing ability. Reiki and a healthy lifestyle contributed to her recovery after a 20 year struggle with neurological and other health issues. She comes out the other side with a new perspective on life. You can follow her at:

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