Mikao Usui was a scholar, a martial artist, and a spiritual man. He was born in Japan in 1865, and he was inspired by ancient stories that spoke of the Buddha’s ability to heal the sick. He travelled all over Japan seeking the key to healing, but even though he spent many months visiting temples, he didn’t find what he was looking for. He spoke with many monks who told him that this skill had been lost through the ages, and that the task of a monk now was to heal the spirit rather than the physical body.
But Usui didn’t lose heart, and he dedicated himself to studying ancient Buddhist texts. This was a journey itself, requiring him to learn both Chinese and Sanskrit. Through his diligence he was able to discover in the texts the process of healing, which was said to rely on a higher power. The problem was that Usui didn’t know how to activate this knowledge so that he could use it in a practical way. He therefore decided to go on a strict meditation retreat for twenty-one days, hoping to find the key to healing.
When he arrived at the holy mountain of Kuriyama, Usui found 21 small stones, and placed them in front of himself. He began his fasting and meditation, reading the holy texts and singing, and he discarded one stone with each passing day. Nothing unusual happened until the dawn of the twenty-first day, when he saw a shining light moving towards him. It became bigger and bigger until finally it hit him in the centre of his forehead. He saw a great white light, and rare Sanskrit symbols appeared before him, glowing in gold. Thus was born the Usui system of Reiki.
When his mystical experience was over, the sun was shining high in the sky. He felt elated and began his descent down the mountain, filled with a sense of strength and energy. As he started off he stubbed his toe on a rock and fell to the ground. He instinctively grabbed his toe with both hands. The bleeding stopped and the pain disappeared. This was the first miracle.
Usui had not eaten for twenty-one days and was very hungry, so he stopped at an inn along the way and ordered a large Japanese breakfast. The innkeeper told him this was not a good idea, after fasting for so long, but Usui was able to eat the whole meal without any negative effects. This was the second miracle.
The innkeeper’s granddaughter, who had been suffering from a toothache for several days, came to Usui. Usui laid his hands onto her face, and she immediately felt better. She ran to her grandfather and told him that this guest was no ordinary man. This was the third miracle.
In the days that followed he thought out the Reiki principles:
Just for today
Do not anger
Do not worry
and be kind to all.
Soon after this he left the asylum and returned to the city of Kyoto, where he stood on a busy street corner with a flaming torch. The people laughed and asked him why he had lit a torch in daylight, and he replied that he was looking for people in search of healing, for the true light of life. This marked the beginning of a new part of his life, which he spent travelling around Japan teaching Reiki.
He soon had a large following of students, one of whom was Dr. Chūjirō Hayashi, a doctor and retired naval officer. When Usui had passed on, Hayashi continued with the work of spreading Reiki. In his clinic in Tokyo it was common for two Reiki practitioners to work on a patient at the same time.
Some time later, Usui went to the slums of Kyoto to treat and help the people living there. He spent seven years in the asylum treating many different illnesses. One day, however, he noticed the same beggars kept coming back to him for help. So he asked them why they had not changed their lives for the better. They told him that it was too troublesome to work, and that it was easier to go on begging. When Usui heard this, tears came to his eyes. He realised that he had forgotten something of great importance in his healing, namely, to teach the beggars gratitude.
This story now turns to Hawayo Takata, a woman born in Hawaii to Japanese parents in the year 1900. Takata had many difficulties in life, culminating in the death of her husband at age 35, and the severe physical problems that followed. She travelled to Japan for surgery, but then something unexpected happened. As she lay on the operating table she heard a voice saying to her “operation not necessary.”
Takata looked around to see where the voice was coming from, but she saw no-one. The voice repeated itself, and told her to speak to the head surgeon. When she asked the head surgeon about other treatment options, he told her of Reiki. This was how she found herself at Hayashi’s clinic. She received daily treatments for four months, and was eventually completely healed. She was amazed at the effectiveness of the treatments, and at one point grabbed a practitioner’s arm, demanding to see where they kept the electrodes that gave off the heat. When she learned that there were no electrodes, that the heat just came from their hands, she asked if she could become a practitioner. At that time in Japan, however, this wasn’t open to a woman, particularly one who was born abroad, and so they refused her.
One of Hawayo Takata’s most famous qualities is her persistence, which eventually led to her being allowed onto a one-year interment in Hayashi’s clinic in 1935. She was then initiated into the second degree of Reiki at the end of 1936, and finally into master level in 1938. She was Hayashi’s thirteenth and last master-level student, and she set-up a clinic in Hawaii, where she made the teachings available to the Western world.
We owe Usui, Hayashi and Takata respect and gratitude for bringing to the world the gift of Reiki.
You now stand at the gateway to join these founding teachers.
Welcome to the first level of Reiki.
Fact or fiction?
This history is given as a parable. If you are looking for more factual information, see this history of Reiki.
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