What is Reiki?
Reiki (or Usui Reiki Ryoho) is an ancient hands-on healing art that intentionally channels ki energies to promote balance and well-being. The term Reiki is derived from two Japanese syllables, rei and ki, meaning Universal Life Energy. Rei represents the source of this energy and ki represents the energy’s movement within and around us.
Reiki is a holistic healing modality that encourages relaxation and relieves suffering. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive.
Benefits of practicing Reiki
• It serves as an immediate first-aid response during times of trauma and injury.
• It is a community in which its practitioners automatically become members of its energetically connected family.
• Reiki harms no one and serves as a complementary tool for assisting all other types of healing therapies.
• It helps practitioners develop stronger and healthier relationships with their loved ones.
• It helps practitioner bond spiritually with their environment.
• It brings awareness, allowing practitioners to bring to light any innate intuitive abilities that have been buried or repressed.
• Reiki’s restorative properties are especially helpful in the care that follows medical treatments or surgical procedures.
• Our pets benefit from Reiki energies by becoming healthier and calmer under a practitioner’s care.
History of Reiki
The Traditional Reiki story begins in the 1800s, but Reiki was ancient even then.
Reiki is part of every one of us. It was once universal and was never meant to be lost.
Children of early Earth, in the civilization we call Mu today, received Reiki I at beginning of grade school. They received Reiki II at what we would call junior high school age. Reiki III, the Teacher/Master training was required for educators and was available to any who wanted it.
When the people of its root culture left the mainland of Mu to colonize what is now India and Tibet, Reiki continued with them, though Mu was eventually lost. The Earth changes that destroyed first Mu and the Atlantis resulted in severe cultural disorganization, causing the healing system to remain the knowledge of only a select few.
When in the nineteenth century a Japanese man sought the origins of Jesus and the Buddha method of healing, he found them in the ancient remnants of Shiva’s early culture, in the esoteric teaching of India.
The Traditional Reiki story begins with Mikao Usui in the mid 1800’s, who was principal of the Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and a Christian minister. Asked by his students to be shown the method by which Jesus did healing, Usui began a ten-year quest to find and learn the skill. When Christian authorities in Japan told him that this healing was not talked about, much less known, Usui sought the information through Buddhism. There is striking resemblance between the life of Buddha in India and the life of the historical Jesus. Usui was told by Buddhist monks that the ancient spiritual healing methods had been lost, and that the only way to approach them was by entering the Buddhist teachings, the Path to Enlightenment.
Dr. Mikao Usui
Mikao Usui then traveled to the United States where he lived for seven years. When he received no further answers from Christians here, he entered the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is said to have received his Doctor of Theology degree there, where he studied comparative religions and philosophies. He also learned to read Sanskrit, the ancient scholarly language of India and Tibet. Usui still found not answer to his quest to learn the methods of this healing.
There is no further mention of Mikao Usui as a Christian or a minister, but only as a Buddhist who after his return to Japan resided in a Zen monastery where he found the texts describing the healing formula, which he now could read in the original Sanskrit. The material did not include, however, information on how activate the energy and make it work. As has been stated, such obscuring of information in the Sutras was intentional, done to keep the often-powerful material from hands not ready to know and use it properly.
Hawayo Takata describes this:
He went into studying the Sanskrit, and when he later studied very hard to master it, he found the formula. Just as plain as day. Nothing hard, but very simple. Like two and two equal four… And so, he said, “Very well. I’ve found it. But now, I must interpret this, because it was written 2500 years ago – ancient. But I have to go to the test”
The test was a three-week period of meditation, fasting and prayer on Mt. Korillama in Japan. He chose his meditation site and piled twenty-one small stones in front of him to mark the time, throwing away one stone in the end of the day. On the final morning of his quest, in the darkest hour just before dawn, Usui saw a projectile of light coming toward him. His first response was to run from it, but then he thought again. He decided to accept what was coming and the answer to his meditations, even if it resulted in his death. The light struck his third eye and he lost consciousness for some time. Then he saw “millions and millions of rainbow bubbles” and finally the Reiki symbols as if on a scream. As he saw each of the symbols, he was given the information about each of them to activate the healing energy. It was the first Reiki attunement, the psychic rediscovery of an ancient method.
Mikao Usui left Mt. Koriyama knowing how to heal as Buddha and Jesus had healed. Walking down the mountain he experienced what is traditionally known as the four miracles. First, he stubbed his toe walking, and instinctively sat and put his hands on it. His hands became hot and the torn toe was healed. Next, he reached a house that served pilgrims at the bottom of the mountain. He asked for a full meal, not wise after twenty-one days fasting on water, but ate it without discomfort.
Third, the woman serving the meal was afflicted with toothache, and placing his hands on the side of the face, he healed her pain. When he returned to his monastery, and was told that the director was in bed with an arthritis attack, he also healed the monk.
Usui named the healing energy Reiki, which means universal life force energy, and next took the method into the slums of Kyoto. There he lived for several years doing healing in the town’s beggars’ quarter. In the culture and ethic of his time, people with deformities, missing limbs or with apparent dis-eases were supported by the community as beggars. After healing each of these people, he asked that the person start a new life, but he found the same faces returning. Seeing people that he thought healed still begging instead of making an honest living, he became discouraged and left the slums. The people themselves were angry because with their dis-eases healed, they could no longer make their way as beggars and would now have to work.
Usui’s experience in the slums is used to justify the high price of Reiki training today, the premise being that people would not appreciate the healing because they did not pay for it. Usui failures may be due, not to the fact that the beggars did not pay, but to the fact that he healed only their bodies, not their minds and spirits. Buddhist doctrine de-emphasizes healing the body, stating that the only healing is spiritual and depends upon entering the Path to Enlightenment. Once a person has reached Enlightenment, she no longer needs to reincarnate, and this is the way to end suffering. Buddhists describe the Path to Enlightenment as the only true valid healing method.
Mikao Usui became a pilgrim, taking Reiki on foot through Japan, carrying a torch and lecturing. In this way he met Chujiro Hayashi, a retired naval officer still on reserve status. Hayashi received his Reiki Master’s training from Usui in 1925, at the age of forty-seven and became Mikao Usui’s successor. Usui died in 1930, having made sixteen or eighteen Reiki Masters, though none but Hayashi is mentioned by any Reiki source. Chujiro Hayashi trained teams of Reiki practitioners, both man and woman, including sixteen Masters in his lifetime. He opened a healing clinic in Tokyo, where healers worked in group who lived at the clinic during the time of their healing. Reiki healers also went to the homes of people unable to come to the clinic. It was to Chujiro Hayashi’s Shina No Machi clinic that Hawayo Takata came for healing in 1935.
Hawayo Kawamuru was born on December 24, 1900, to a pineapple cutter’s family on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, at Hanamaulu. Too small and frail for plantation work, she took jobs while still in public school, helping to teach younger children, and worked as a soda fountain clerk. Once out of the school, she was offered a servant’s job at the large and wealthy plantation owner’s house. She lived at the plantation for the next twenty-four years becoming housekeeper and bookkeeper, a position of great responsibility. She met and married the plantation accountant, Saichi Takata, in 1917, and they had a happy marriage and two daughters together.
Saichi Takata died of a heart attack at the age of thirty-two in October 1930. Over the next five years Hawayo Takata, widowed and with two small children to raise, developed nervous exhaustion and severe physical problems. She was diagnosed with gall bladder dis-ease that required surgery, but had a respiratory condition with breading difficulties that made the use of anesthetic dangerous for her. Her health deteriorated, and she was told that without surgery she would not live, but that surgery might kill her. After a sister died in 1935, Takata took the news to her parents who had returned to live in Tokyo, and afterwards entered the Maeda Medical Hospital in Akasaka.
For several weeks, she rested in the hospital and then was scheduled for surgery. By this time, she was also diagnosed with appendicitis and a tumor, as well as gallstones. The night before the surgery she heard a voice saying, “The operation is not necessary”. She heard it again on the operating table while being prepared for the anesthetic, and getting up from it asked the surgeon if there was another way for her to heal. The doctor told her, “Yes, if she could stay in Japan long enough for it,” and told her about Chujiro Hayashi’s Reiki clinic. The surgeon’s sister, who had been healed by Hayashi’s healers and had taken Reiki training, took her there that day.
Takata lived at the clinic and was completely healed in body, mind, and spirit in four months. She asked to be trained in Reiki but at first she was refused, not because she was a woman but she was a foreigner. Hayashi did not want the practice of Reiki healing to leave Japan at that time. Eventually, he relented because of the intervention of the Maeda Hospital surgeon.
Hawayo Takata received her Reiki I training in Spring, 1936. She joined the team of healers that worked at the clinic, and in 1937 Takata received Reiki II and returned to Hawaii. She had lived in Japan for two years.
Her first Reiki clinic was in Kapaa, and she was successful in her work. She obtained a massage therapist’s license to protect her legally from the harassing authorities.
In the winter of 1938, Chujiro Hayashi visited Takata in Hawaii and they did a lecture tour together. She received her Reiki III training from him at this time, and on February 22, 1938, Hayashi announced Hawayo Takata as a Master/Teacher and as his successor. He insisted that she not give the training away without charge. He also told her that when he summoned her, she was to come to him in Japan immediately. In 1939 she opened her second healing center in Hilo. In1941, Takata awoke one morning to psychically see Hayashi standing at the foot at her bed. She knew this was the summons and took the next available boat to Tokyo.
When Takata arrived at the Reiki clinic, Chujiro Hayashi, his wife Chie Hayashi, and the other Japanese Reiki Master were present. He told her that a great war was coming and that involved with Reiki would perish and the clinic would be closed. He had feared earlier that Reiki would be totally lost to the world and therefore had made Takata (a foreigner) his successor. Chujiro Hayashi said further that as a naval reserve officer he had been drafted, and that as a healer and medic he would not take life. He determined to accept his own death instead, and therefore he had summoned Takata.
On May 10, 1941, in the presence of his student, Chujiro Hayashi stopped his own heart by psychic means and died. The great war he predicted was World War II, and the Reiki was indeed no longer available in Japan. Chie Hayashi survived, but their house and clinic were taken over by the Occupation, and she was not able to operate it as a healing center.
Takata was the means by which Reiki continued. She had brought it to Hawaii, then she brought it to mainland Unite States, and finally to Canada and Europe. She lived to be eighty years of age, but she always looked decades younger. She trained hundreds of people in the Reiki healing system. In the last ten years of her life, from 1970 to 1980, she initiated twenty-two Reiki Masters, both women and men. Hawayo Takata died on December 11, 1980.
In her healing clinics, if someone was seriously ill and needed many healings, she trained someone in the family in Reiki to do the treatments. When the client was strong enough, they took the training as well. Takata taught by telling stories and by examples. She did not allow her students to take notes, and she did not teach in the same way every class. Sometimes she started the healing positions at the head, and other times at the middle of the body or even at the feet. In her teaching Of Reiki Master, the Reiki III degree, her work varied as well. The Masters/Teachers she trained were not all taught in the same ways.
Since Hawayo Takata’s death Reiki has gone through many changes in the West. Phillis Furumoto, Takata’s successor and granddaughter, has been named the Grand Master of Usui Traditional Reiki. Teaching techniques and methods have undergone changes, and several branches of Reiki have evolved. Each of this branches claims possess the only correct way, but the fact is that all the methods work and all of them were derived from Hawayo Takata teachings.
Reiki has been changing and evolving since the time of Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi and Hawayo Takata. It is reaching more people, particularly where some nontraditional teachers are now no longer charging high fees.
How the Buddha taught laying on of hands healing, and how Jesus learned and taught it are no longer known. The origins of Reiki need to be honored, while at the same time respecting the changing world and the changing needs of people and the Earth.
Reiki is love, and in this time of planetary crisis we all need all the love we can get.
“The Essential of Reiki” by Diane Stein