Reiki History

Reiki History:

The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words best translated as "Sharp or Clever Spirit".

REI means "The higher intelligence that guides the creation and functioning of the universe". The direct translation of Rei from a Japanese dictionary is "Ghost".

REI is sometimes translated into "Universal". The meaning of Universal in this context signifies Supernatural Knowledge or Spiritual Consciousness. 

This wisdom comes from God or the Higher Self. Rei is intelligent. It understands everything. It knows the cause of problems and has the knowledge to deal with them.

KI - The life Force

The direct translation of KI from a Japanese dictionary is Vapour or Mist. Ki is the Japanese word for Chi in Chinese, Prana in Sanskrit and Mana in Hawaiian. It has also been called, Odic force, Orgone, and Bioplasma, etc...

Ki is the life energy. Often call Universal Life Force. It is a force that animates all things. All creatures, objects or living things have this life force.

The life force flows inside and outside all living things. This is what allows us to get up in the morning and work, play and function as human beings. When this life force becomes low, we feel run down and illness may set in.

When this life force flows freely, we are much less likely to get sick.

The Ki animates everything we do. It is responsible for our emotions, dreams and daily performance. This life force is understood by practitioners of Martial arts. It has been recognized for at least 4,000 years as it was mentioned in the "Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine" which lists thirty-two different kinds of Chi.

Spiritually Guided Life force Energy Reiki is intelligent. It is guided by the God-consciousness called Rei. The practitioner can do very little to influence this energy.

Dr. Mikaomi Usui

Reiki History: Dr Mikao Usui

Reiki History starts with Dr. Mikaomi Usui. There are two different stories about the man who (re)discovered Reiki.

The First Reiki History For Dr. Usui

First Story - Dr. Mikaomi Usui – “The Christian Priest”

This first Reiki History about Dr. Mikaomi Usui comes from Takata's teaching (see below about Takata).

Dr. Mikao Usui was born in Japan on August 15, 1862 in the village of Yago. He died on 9 March 1926 of a stroke. 

He was married to Sadako Suzuki and had two children.

This Reiki History about Dr. Mikao Usui states that he was the Principal of Doshisha University, a Christian school near Kyoto in Japan.

It says that one day his students asked him about healing and asked him to perform some healing task. As he could not, he promptly resigned from the school and started his quest for healing.

He is supposed to have traveled to Chicago, where he studied for  seven years and received a degree in technology.


However a letter from Doshisha University in Japan where Dr. Mikao Usui is supposed to have taught show that they have no record of Dr. Mikao Usui.

Letter from Doshisha University in Japan

A letter from the Divinity School (Chicago University) show that Dr. Mikao Usui never appeared on their register. 

The University of Chicago did not even exist in those days.

It is thought that it was Mrs. Hawayo Takata (see her story below) who believed that if she introduced Dr. Usui as a Buddhist monk during the second world war, nobody would be interested in Reiki. 

This was too close to Pearl Harbor, and American citizens did not think much of anything or anyone coming from Japan in those days.

Letter from the Divinity School (Chicago University) show that Dr. Mikao Usui never appeared on their register

Another Reiki history, which is more plausible, is that Dr. Mikao Usui was interested in healing and in the life of Buddha. He wondered why Buddha, and his disciples could heal physical illnesses and why this power had been lost.

As an adult, Dr. Usui made it his goal to rediscover how to heal the physical body. He started by visiting Buddhist temples and asking monks if they knew how to heal.

Invariably the answer was that they did not (strange). They were concentrating on healing the mind as they believed that this was more important as most disease came from the mind first.

One of the abbots of a Zen monastery he approached told him that "they no longer knew how to heal the body. They used to, but this had been lost through disuse". The abbot was also interested in healing, and he invited Dr. Usui to study with them and look at their secret books in their original language.

In order to do this, Dr. Usui learned Chinese and eventually Sanskrit. It was in the Indian sutras, written in Sanskrit that he found part of his answer. A formula that allowed him to contact higher power in a meditation.

Reiki History - Meditation On Mount Koryyama

Mount Koriyama

Armed with this formula, Dr. Usui decided to go to the holy mountain of Koriyama to fast and meditate for 21 days.

He sat on top of the mountain with 21 stones in front of him. Every day as dawn broke, he threw a stone away.

The rest of the day was spent in meditation. On the twenty first day, he threw his last stone away and shortly after saw a very bright light in the horizon that was coming straight at him.

He realized that this light was a message, and that he was about to receive what he had been looking for all his life.

The light was very strong, and he realized that to receive the instructions he needed, the light would have to strike him. This light was very powerful, and it might even kill him.

Dr. Usui was given a choice, whether or not he wanted to go through with the experience. He decided to receive the light and see what happened.

The light struck him on the third eye and knocked him unconscious. He then had an out of body experience when he was shown bubbles of light with symbols in them.

He memorized the symbols and as he did so, he received an attunement from the light so that he could use the symbols.

The Five Healing Miracles

Miracle One

When Dr. Usui regained consciousness, he was full of energy, although he had not eaten for 21 days. He set out to go back to the monastery.

Miracle Two

As he came down the mountain, he tripped and his toe started to bleed.

Instinctively, he put his hands around it; the bleeding stopped, and the pain went away. He knew then that he had acquired some healing power.

Miracle Three

On his way back, he had a full meal (having fasted for 21 days). He had no adverse effect from this meal.

Miracle Four

Whilst having his meal, he was served by the Inn keeper's daughter who had a terrible tooth ache.

Dr. Usui felt he could help her and held his hand near her jaw where it hurt. Within a few minutes, the pain went.

Miracle Five

Back at the monastery, he discovered that the abbot was in bed crippled with Arthritis. He proceeded to relate his experience and at the same time successfully treated his friend's problem.

Dr. Mikaomi Usui Belief & Further Work

Please note that the above Reiki History of the meditation on Mount Koriyama and the subsequent healing only appears in Takata's story (see Takata story below) . The way Reiki History is taught in Japan does not mention these events.

Dr. Usui then spent seven years taking care of sick people in the slums of Tokyo. Unfortunately, some beggars, although cured of physical illnesses, went back to begging as the life of a working man is much more tiring than begging.

Dr. Usui realized he had made a mistake and that the person receiving healing must first ask for it.

He believed that there must be an exchange of energy for Reiki to work. This can be money, work, goods or whatever.

Without the person asking for healing or exchanging, he believed the healing would not work. After this realization, Dr. Usui went around Japan and looked for people who wanted to be healed.

He practiced and taught Reiki throughout Japan for the remainder of his life. Before his transition on 9 March 1926. 

He gave the Master attunement to sixteen teachers one of whom was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi.

Dr Chujiro Hayashi is not supposed to have been Dr. Mikao Usui's choice as a Grand Master (a student named Eguchi who studied with Dr. Mikao Usui in 1923 was is chosen successor).

Dr. Usui was decorated by the Emperor of Japan. He is buried in a Zen temple in Tokyo.

The Second Reiki History For Dr. Usui

Dr. Mikaomo Usui

The second Reiki History states that Reiki originally comes from Buddhist Qigong. It was rediscovered by Dr. Mikaomi Usui of Kyoto in Japan towards the end of the 19th Century.

This story comes from Mr. Tsytomu Oishi, a Japanese gentleman who was attuned by Mr. Ogawa in the 1950s.

Mr. Ogawa was one of Dr Usui main student. Dr Usui was born on 15 August 1864 (different from the previous story) - the first year of the Keio Gunnen period.

His first name was Mikaomi and his given name was Gyoho (it was then common practice for a Master to give a new name to his /her student in order to create a break between the past and the present.

Dr Mikaomi Usui's graveDr Mikaomi Usui's grave

He was born in Yago, a village in south Japan (in the district of Yamagata). His father's name was "Usaemon".

His mother was called Kawaai. Dr Usui was married to Suzuki and together they had two children. He was a hard working student. As an adult, he traveled west and to China to study.

He created a company that eventually went bankrupt. This left him with substantial debts and the desire to get involved into something that was not so linked to financial gains.

Reiki History - Second (Short) Version Of The Meditation On Mount Koryyama

Mount Kurama TempleMount Kurama Temple

Dr Usui had a habit of meditating near the Mount Kurama waterfall. One day, he had a vision (satori) on healing.

This probably happened around year 1918 to 1920. Sometime after this event, he created the "Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai' (Dr Usui healing methods).

He first used Reiki on himself and eventually on his family. As it worked extremely well for all types of conditions, he decided to use it on other people.

He opened a clinic in Harajuku Aoyama - Tokyo in 1921. He healed many people and started teaching what he had learned.

Mr Kozo - one of Usui's student knew instinctively how many sessions were needed to heal a sick person. His Reiki was very powerful. Dr Usui acknowledged his accomplishments and elevated him to the highest Reiki ranks.

Usui and Ogawa used to give their students crystals they had charged with Reiki. Patients were instructed to place these on parts of the body that needed healing.

Each new Reiki student was given a complete Reiki manual. This manual describes the standard hand positions and gave information on how to treat different diseases. Students were not requested to memorize what was told during the courses.

The "Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai' was created by Dr Usui who became his first president. This society' headquarters still are in Tokyo. At the time of writing, five presidents had managed the society:

  • Mr. Usui
  • Mr. Taketomi
  • Mr. Watanabe
  • Mr. Wanami
  • Mme Koyama 
  • Mr. Masayoshi

This society is still active in Japan. The Reiki taught in Japan is similar to the one taught in Europe.

In 1923, Kanto's earthquake killed thousands and injured many. Dr Usui worked relentlessly to help the victims. In February 1924, he built a new clinic in Nakano near Tokyo. His fame spread across Japan and he was very much in demand.

He died from a heart attack on 9 March 1926 whilst visiting Fukuyarna aged 61.

As can be seen, many discrepancies exist about the Reiki History.

What is important is that Reiki works and is a powerful healing method.

Reiki History: Dr. Hayashi

Dr. Hayashi

Dr. Hayashi (1878 - 1941), a retired naval officer, was interested in Dr. Usui's work.

Before his death, Dr. Usui Attuned Dr. Hayashi as a Reiki Master in 1925.  

Dr. Hayashi is responsible for breaking Reiki into three degrees and setting up new hand positions.

Up to that time, Reiki was given in a series of attunements and could be given in a very short period of time (Dr. Usui himself was given Reiki in one powerful attunement).

Dr. Hayashi opened a Reiki clinic in Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace, and kept detailed records of the treatments given.

His clinic consisted of a reception room and a large room with eight couches and sixteen practitioners working (two per patient). The practitioners worked there from 7a.m. to 12.00p.m. and did house calls after this till 7 p.m.

Dr. Hayashi designed the system of hand position taught during the first degree and their initiation procedures.

One of Hayashi's student was a lady called Hawayo Takata.

As he did not want to be involved in the events of the second world war, Dr. Hayashi forced his own death by mentally rupturing the arteries to his heart on May 10, 1941.

During his life, Dr. Hayashi attuned 13 masters (including his wife).

Reiki History: Hawayo Takata

Hawayo Takata

Hawayo Takata was born on 24 December, 1900 in Kauai, one of the Hawaii islands.

Takata is the person responsible for a lot of the discrepancies that exist in the Reiki History.

She was of Japanese origin, and her father worked in a local sugar plantation.

She married Saichi Takata who was the bookkeeper of the sugar plantation, where she eventually worked herself.

Her husband died in October 1930 at the age of thirty four leaving his wife and two children.

Takata took over the keeping of the family and stressed caused her a nervous breakdown, abdominal pains and lung problems.

When her sister died, she went to Japan where her parents lived, to inform them of the loss of their daughter. Whilst there, she went to hospital and was diagnosed with a terminal illness and rushed for surgery.

Whilst waiting for the surgeon, she is supposed to have heard a voice that said: "The operation is not necessary."

She wondered if she was dreaming. The voice once again repeated: "The operation is not necessary".

To the surprise of the staff in the operating theater, she got off the operating table and looked for the surgeon and asked him if he thought there might be another way to get rid of her problems rather than operate on them.

The doctor told her about Hayashi's clinic.

Takata's Discovery Of Reiki

She underwent a course of treatments at Hayashi's clinic. Just by laying their hands on her, the Reiki practitioners described her symptoms accurately.

This impressed Takata and gave her the confidence to go ahead with the treatment. She was curious about the heat she received whilst the two practitioners were treating her and thought that they may be using some heating apparatus.

She looked under the couch for it and found nothing. Then she grabbed one of the practitioners' sleeve thinking that some heating equipment was hidden there. The startled practitioner laughed at her when she explained what she was looking for.

He told her about Reiki and how it worked. As she progressed with her daily treatment, her condition improved. She decided that she also would like to learn Reiki.

In a country where man was king and Japanese pride was high, she was told that Reiki should stay in Japan, and that she could not be attuned.

Takata was a stubborn person who did not take no for an answer. She went to her surgeon and asked him for a letter confirming that she was sick and needed Reiki daily.

Takata Attuned As A Master

Eventually, Dr. Hayashi was impressed with Takata's persistence and attuned her in First Degree Reiki in the Spring of 1936. She was attuned in the Second Degree in 1937. She went back to Hawaii in the Summer of 1937 and invited Dr. Hayashi's daughter over.

She knew Dr. Hayashi would never permit his daughter to travel alone and that there was a good chance that he would come with her and possibly attune her as a Grand Master.

She was attuned as a Master (not a Grand Master) on February 21, 1938. Hayashi registered her Masters' Certificate at Honolulu and gave her the rights to practice and teach in the United States (only).

Her Reiki Masters' certificate shows her as being a Master (not a Grand Master). Between 1970 and her death on 11 December, 1980,

Mrs. Takata attuned the following twenty two Reiki Masters. 

  1. George Araki
  2. Barbara McCullough
  3. Beth Gray
  4. Ursula Baylow
  5. Paul Mitchell
  6. Iris Ishikura  
  7. Fran Brown
  8. Barbara Weber Ray
  9. Ethel Lombardi
  10. Wanja Twan
  11. Virginia Samdahl
  12. Phyllis Lei Furumoto
  13. Dorothy Baba  
  14. Mary McFadyen
  15. John Gray
  16. Rick Bockner
  17. Bethel Phaigh
  18. Patricia Ewing
  19. Shinobu Saito
  20. Takata's Sister
  21. Barbara Brown
  22. Phyllis Furumoto (her grand daughter)

Reiki History: Phyllis Furumoto

Phyllis Furumoto

Phyllis Furumoto is Takata's grand daughter.

Prior to her death, Takata asked Phyllis if she wanted to become the new Grand Master. Phyllis at the time turned the offer down.

Takata then asked Barbara Ray to become the new Grand Master. Barbara accepted and was attuned (rather strange as Takata herself was never attuned as a grand master!!).

Phyllis subsequently changed her mind and Takata also attuned her as the new Grand Master without telling Barbara Ray.

As you can be imagine, this caused some friction...Great shame for this wonderful healing therapy.

My own Reiki History: Meeting With Phyllis Furumoto

Patrick's Reiki Lineage

I was attuned as a Reiki Master in 1994 by William Rand. My lineage may be viewed on the right.

I met Phyllis Furumoto in 1995 during one of her visits to the United Kingdom.

I was taking part in a course with some thirty Reiki masters who had traveled from all over Europe to attend her lecture.

Day one was mainly spent on Phyllis introducing herself and talking about the Reiki History. Each master said a few things about themselves.

No real teaching took place on that day.

DAY TWO TO DAY FIVE

Phyllis did not teach on those days as she suffered from backache. She briefly re-appeared on the last day to apologize. She kind of forgot to mention a refund (to a very expensive course) or a re-scheduling of the event...

I was not too impressed by the person.

MY ONE AND ONLY CONVERSATION WITH PHYLLIS

On Day one, I sat opposite Phyllis at the lunch table and was able to ask her the one question that really bothered me about Reiki History:

Why did she refused Takata's offer of to become a Reiki Grand Master when it was first offered to her?

Phyllis answered that at the time she was more interested in winter skying than in healing and she did not feel that she would have the time to do both properly!!!

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