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Usui Reiki - Origins and Development

Who was Dr. Mikao Usui really?

The Usui Reiki legend

In diferrent legends Mikao Usui was portrayed as a christian priest or abbot who leaded a monastery school and later is supposed to have obtained a doctoral level at the university of Chicago. It is said that he taught at the university of Kyoto. All of these stations as well as the doctoral level are not provable historically. Today it is to assume that these legends have been invented by the western Reiki teacher Hawayo Takata to be able to spread Reiki throughout the USA. To get an exclusive status miss Takata claimed that all japanese Reiki teachers would have been killed in world war II. This was never true and introduced the separation of the japanese Reiki from the western Reiki which lasts until today.

According to the Takata legend the following is supposed to have happened: One day Usui was asked, with which healing method Jesus cured. „Dr Usui“ was known for being able to answer any question posed to him. But he could not answer the question concerning the method of healing. So he followed the traces of the miracles in healing of the great spiritual masters on journeys of long years. He visited all imaginable places and monasteries, until he at last found. He discovered, written in Sanskrit, a method of healing by divine life energy. Sanskrit is a 50.000 years old Indian standard language. It was a method Jesus himself uses to heal. Usui found descriptions to the method and symbols. During his 21 days long fasting meditation on one of Japan's holy mountains "Dr.  Usui" was initiated directly by a  ray of light coming straight from the sky and crossing his forehead. In this ray of light he recognized the pictures and symbols that he had found before. They strongly branded into him. He recognized this as a divine initiation. In the following years he practised Reiki and taught it mostly in Japan. It is known that "Dr. Usui" initiated someone as a teacher, a doctor named Chujiro Hayashi, he initiated a woman named Hawayo Takata as teacher and she again initiated her granddaughter Phyllis Lei Furumoto into Reiki. Phyllis Lei Furumoto was the founder of the Reiki Alliance and initiated Dr. Barbara Ray in Reiki, the founder of the Radiance Technique®.

Reikifriendship Online Reikischool - Mikao Usui

Facts from the life of Mikao Usui
Since the turn of the millenium there are more and more contacts between western Reiki teachers with Reiki teachers traditionally formed in Japan. Through this contacts it has been proven that the real life story of Usui Sensei – as he was really called by his pupils – was totally different to how miss Takata invented it.

The new reports about Reiki spread within the last ten years should be viewed benevolently and with interest but also with the question Qui bono – who does it serve. As in the last years it has been showing that many a new information has been used to build new Reiki-dogmas.

According to the investigations of different western Reiki teachers in Japan the Reiki story originally spread in the west is wrong in essential points. The Reiki legend transmitted to the western Reiki system originally has in many points not been expressed correctly.


Usui's memorial stone
with a lot   information about his real life

By now there is information from different sources (amongst others by the member of the Japanese Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, Hiroshi Doi and the styles Komyo Kai and Jikiden which go back to Hayashi). The teaching first called Usui Do and Usui Teate respectively has been developed and minted by Mikao Usui first between the years 1890 and 1920. Mikao Usui was neither a medical or a Christian priest, but a Buddhist and Japanese business man who was loyal to the emperor.

To find answers to his inner questions he learnt different languages, like Chinese, English, the Holy Scriptures, “Sanskrit”, probably also Hebrew and studied religions and spiritual teachers of these and other older cultures.

 After having discovered in holy scriptures the instructions for “healing with hands” like Jesus, Buddha and other enlightened persons did it,too, he travelled home again to Japan. He went on the holy mountain “Kurama” in Kyoto, fastened,  prayed and meditated, till he received on the 21th day a revelation, an enlightenment and initation in the healing system Reiki. First he released himself, his family and friends from complaint by putting his hands and as soon as it got around numerous people were standing in a queue before his house and wanted to be healed.

Reiki seminars, workshops and healing sessions were his daily routine and when he founded the “Usui Shiki Ryoho”, the Reiki-Healing-Company” in Tokyo with nearly 60 years old he was surrounded by many of his Reiki students initiated by him, masters and teachers who acknowledged and honoured him as their grans master. In 1921 he establishes his first Reiki clinic in Tokyo, because more and more people asked him for Reiki  and his house was to small and had not enough rooms for this number of people. In 1923 when the great earthquake in Tokyo caused many injured and sick people and also his clinic became to small he opened soon a new one in Nagano where he also privately moved.

The alleged Reiki work in “Kyoto's poor district” is in this form not transmitted correctly. It was rather the caring for numerous earthquake victims after the terrible earthquake in 1923 that caused around forty thousand  fatalities.
Before his death in 1926 Mikao Usui did'nt elect C. Hayashi as his successor but a friend of him and close colleague, Mr. Ushida. Mr Ushida also wrote the inscription on Mikao Usui's memorial stone. Mr Hajashi was was just one of several Reiki teachers thought by Usui.

The first chairman of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkei (Reiki organisation founded by Mikao Usui) was Usui-Sensei himself (Sensei = master), the second was Ushida, the third Mr Taketomi, the fourth Mr Watanabe, the fifth Mr Wanami and the sixth, a woman, Mrs Koyama. Today Mr Kondo is the chairman.

The system handed down by Usui is most probably an only orally transmitted teaching. In the german speaking area there a Reiki manual is distributed which is supposed to have been compiled personally by Usui for his pupils. The theoretical part of the book appeared in 1998 with the headline “Reiki, Das Erbe des Dr. Usui” at the Windpfers publishing house. The practical part follewed in 1999 with headline"Original Reiki Handbuch des Dr. Mikao Usui", also in he Windpferd publishing house.

Consequently there is not only one Reiki system. Both in the West and in Japan Reiki developed over several years into different directions: Reiki as a part of the Shintoism, Reiki from Buddhistic philosophy, Taoism and other trends. According to Petter Buddhism and Shintoism are so closely connected to each other in Japan so that a clear separation isn't possible anymore. In the USA and Europe Reiki has developed in the last years, too. With regard to Petter's investigation it becomes clear that an “original-Reiki-theory” is out of the question, but that the Reiki system founded by Usui has developed after his death into different branches and has also widened .


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