All students of Usui Shiki Ryoho, Reiki Level I are introduced to the history of Reiki. It is important to be familiar with Reiki’s history to have an understanding of the integrity of the practice.
Mikao Usui (1865-1926) is the man responsible for discovering a way to channel Reiki. His life and history of Reiki has two main historical traditions; a western one and an eastern one. I have written a very simple overview, an introduction to the traditional western history of Reiki and the traditional eastern history of Reiki.
The Traditional Western History of Reiki
- Usui was a scholar who taught in Christian schools in Japan.
- He decided to dedicate his life to research and discover how Jesus and the Buddha had been able to heal.
- He ended up in a Zen Buddhist monastery where the abbot advised him to meditate to find the answers he was seeking.
- At the end of a 21 days fast on Mount Kurama, in Tokyo – he came to a deep understanding to all his research into healing, received spiritual empowerment and achieved enlightenment.
- He began to notice his hands had the healing powers he had been searching for.
- He spent many years healing people before eventually passing his teachings a only a few people – one of them Mrs. Hawayo Takata (1900-1980) who returned to her home in Hawaii, bringing Reiki to the West.
- There, Mrs. Takata developed a system of teaching Reiki that could be taught in a few days to fit in with most western working lifestyles.
- Mrs. Takata’s system of Reiki in the West has been defined as Usui Shiki Ryoho – the Usui System of Natural Healing
The Traditional Eastern History of Reiki
- Usui started studying Buddhism at the age of four and continued to do so into his adult life including Shingon and Zen Buddhism
- Mastered Japanese energy systems such as Qigong and other classical arts.
- A Zen Master advised Usui to undergo “Shyu Gyo”, a strict spiritual discipline involving meditation and fasting for 21 days on Mount Kurama, in Tokyo – until he either died or became enlightened.
- On the last day of his fast he experienced spiritual enlightenment which gave him the ability to access healing energy (Reiki) and pass it on to others.
- After healing many people over many years, he began to teach people how to access Reiki with three levels – Shoden, Okuden and Shinpiden
- Only 17 people were taught Shinpiden – Mrs. Hawayo Takata was one of them.
- His healing system became known as the Usui Reiki Ryoho or Usui Spiritual Energy Healing Method.
- This traditional healing method in Japan takes many years to complete.
The essence of both histories are the same:
- Mikao Usui lived in Japan
- Usui researched and discovered a way of channeling spiritual energy which could be used for healing
- He taught the system to a number of people including Mrs. Takata, which is how Reiki came to the West
If you are interested in further study, I recommend two books:
The Reiki Manual – A Training Guide for Reiki Students, Practitioners and Masters by Penelope Quest and Kathy Roberts
This book doesn’t really align with a specific type of Reiki practice – it is an overview of Reiki itself with excellent standards and guidelines for students, practitioners and Masters. It has a great chapter on the origins and history of Reiki.
The Original Reiki Handbook of Dr. Mikao Usui by Dr. Mikao Usui and Frank Arjava Petter
This book focuses on the traditional Usui Reiki Rhoyo system and speaks of the Buddhism background of Reiki.
For more information on Usui Shiki Rhoyo, I enjoy the website The Reiki Association. Click here to access that site!
About me: Stephanie Wells
I’m a Reiki Master Teacher of Usui Shiki Ryoho – the Usui System of Natural Healing. I was attuned in Levels I, II & IIIA in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. During a 6 week stay in Mararikulam North, Kerala, India I was reattuned in Levels I, II, & IIIA as well as acquiring my Level IIIB Master Teacher attunement.