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History of Reiki

Traditionally, the history of the Usui Reiki system has been handed down personally from Master to pupil. Originally it was developed in Tibet, by Dr Mikao Usui, the director and Christian priest of a small university in Kyoto Japan. He travelled all over Japan, China and Europe in pursuit of knowledge and studied a wide range of subjects. He studied medicine, psychology, religion and spiritual development. 

A question, posed to him by some of his senior students, prompted him to study the healing methods of Christ. During his studies, he came across material which really interested him, in Buddhist scriptures. In 1914, he decided to become a Buddhist Monk and focused his mind on devotional practice. Usui was aware that Buddha had possessed the power of healing, so searched for specific methods that the Buddha used. He came across many Sanskrit symbols and pictures which now form the key to the Reiki system of healing. During his studies, he spent much time at a Buddhist monastery, and following the advice of the head abbot, he took a 21 day meditation and fast on a mountain near Kyoto.

Towards the end of the retreat in March 1922, he saw a shining light in the sky which moved quickly towards him. There are various accounts of what happened next, but what is generally agreed is that he found himself to be in an extended state of consciousness, and saw light and bubbles in front of him. He felt charged with a powerful healing force and found that he could heal himself as he descended the mountain. He had stubbed a toe and managed to stop the bleeding simply through touch. He was overjoyed, knowing that this was the power he had wished for when he was studying healing on Mount Kurama as a child. 

Dr Mikao Usui used Reiki on himself at first and then on members of his family. He moved to Tokyo in 1922, and started a healing society. He went to the slums of Kyoto to heal the sick. He also opened a clinic in central Tokyo and began teaching classes and giving Reiki treatments. The great Kanto earthquake of 1923 shook up the peace and harmony of the clinic. Many suffered, and many buildings were destroyed. Almost everyone was emotionally traumatized which meant that the demand for Reiki was high. Dr. Usui and his students worked day and night to help as many as they could. He came to realise that although he could heal the physical body of it’s symptoms and disease, he had not taught a new way of living. This prompted him to set out the Reiki rules for life. These principles still have significance today.

Usui realised how important the patient’s own desire to be healthy was in the healing process. The sick person must ask for healing and he or she must really want it before it can be of value. It is essential that when people receive healing, they give something in return. An energy exchange between healer and receiver is vital. 

In 1925 he opened a much larger clinic and began travelling all over Japan to spread the word about Reiki. He was recognised by the government who awarded him the Kun San To award for meritous service to others. 

He died on March 6th 1926. His successor was a navel officer whom he had initiated a few years before his death; Mr Chijiro Hayashi.  Mr Chijiro Hayashi had started his Reiki training with Usui in 1925, 47 years of age. It is believed he was one of the last Reiki Masters trained by Usui. He then started a small clinic in Tokyo named "Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai",

It was Dr Chayiro Hayashi who was the originator of the hand position used in the West. Also, he is important because he initiated Mrs Hawayo Takata amongst 17 others, to Reiki Master which brought Reiki to the West. 

Hayashi originally had seven to eight hand positions that covered the upper body only. Usui used head positions only, then treated any problem area on the body. It seems that Hayashi may have adopted further hand positions and that these may have been the base for the hand positions used in the western world. These hand positions that cover the whole body, give a better overall flow of energy around and through the body. 

Hawayo Takata who was responsible for bringing Reiki to the west and thanks to her, Reiki has now spread all over the world. Hawayo Takata had first hand knowledge of the benefits of Reiki in Japan, having suffered immensely with bad luck and bad health in Hawaii. When she began training others in 1970, she made all of her students take a sacred oath to teach exactly as she had, so as to preserve the Usui system, as she interpreted it. Although when she died, one of the masters she had trained decided to follow her own inner guidance, and even taught for free for the first time. Her name was Iris Ishikura.

Dr. Mikao Usui did not call his technique Reiki. He called it Usui Reiki Ryoho to make sure people understood it was a unique kind of Reiki.

Obviously there all different interpretations handed down throughout the ages. However, this is the one I know and understand.



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