Reiki has a very fascinating history. Although Mikao Usui is credited as the founder of Reiki, it is widely thought that this form of healing has been around for centuries and that Usui rediscovered this art in the late 1800’s.
Mikao Usui was born into a Buddhist family and was fascinated with Western culture during his youth. After leaving school, he studied medicine with several western physicians.
Usui’s near death experience with cholera inspired him to study the ancient teachings of his ancestors. He joined a Zen monastery and began reading ancient Sanskrit and Sutras.
After years of study, Usui found references to an ancient form of healing. This included methods, formulas and symbols that detailed how to practice and master this art of hands on healing.
Although he had the technical knowledge to practice healing, he lacked the wisdom to turn the teachings into reality. So Usui took leave from the monastery to seek out the missing piece through meditation on a mountain.
During meditation, a bright light from the sky came rapidly towards him, hitting him on his forehead, at the third eye chakra. Usui was knocked unconscious, and in this altered state saw a vision of the same symbols he had found in the Sutras.
When he regained consciousness, he returned down the mountain and stubbed his toe while walking. Usui instinctively placed his hand on the toe and the bleeding and pain stopped immediately.
He stopped to eat at a nearby village and did not have any stomach pain despite several weeks of fasting. The girl who served Usui the meal was suffering from a toothache. Usui asked if he could place his hands on her swollen face, she agreed, and he was able to ease the swelling and pain.
Usui returned to the monastery and found his friend suffering from severe arthritis. Again, Usui was able to relieve the pain. Usui called this gift Reiki, the Japanese word for universal life force.
These experiences became known as the four miracles. Usui then went to the slums of Kyoto to heal the beggars. When performing Reiki to help the beggars heal and gain employment, he found them returning to him with the excuse that it was easier to beg.
Through this experience, Usui was reminded that healing the body as well as the spirit and mind was crucial. Usui retreated to meditate once again.
This time he received the five principles of Reiki. Note, Reiki has no dogma or religious beliefs attached to it, which made Reiki universal.
The rest of Usui’s life was spent healing, teaching and developing the Usui Shiki Rhoyo method of healing.
Other Reiki Masters who have made a significant impact on Reiki history include Dr. Chujiro Hiyashi and Madam Hawayo Takata.
Chujiro Hayashi was a physician and retired Marine commander. Before he died, Usui asked Hayashi to open his own Reiki clinic and to expand and develop Reiki.
Madam Hawayo Takata brought Reiki from Japan to the West in 1937 and continued to practice and teach until she passed away in 1980.
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