Usui Reiki Royoho (Healing Method)
A Brief History of the System of Reiki
There are many different schools of Reiki. I am trained in Usui Reiki and trace my Reiki lineage back through generations of teachers to it’s founder, (Dr.) Mikao Usui, or Usui Sensei (Teacher, Master). To understand Reiki it becomes important to understand the culture from which it came.
The Japanese are a spiritual people whose lives are imbued with a respect for nature, ritual and ceremony.Traditions and teachings are handed down and revered. Families are close and elders and ancestors are respected. Yet the Japanese have been, and continue to be, one of the most consistently advanced, innovative and educated people of the modern world. A sure indication of how preserving our roots supports abundance and growth!
Not much has been truly known about the background and beginnings of Reiki as a healing practice. There have been many stories and tales of Reiki’s origins circulated in America and other western countries since the 1980’s, when Reiki began to expand from its modest western beginnings. It was not until recently when European and other western-taught practitioners began to return to Japan to seek out its eastern origins that we began to get bits and pieces of real information about this most recent practice known as the System of Reiki. Most of what we truly know is derived from Mikao Usui’s Memorial Stone at the Saihoji Temple in Tokyo, and from conversations with original students of Usui or Hayashi still practicing in Japan at the time of re-entry by recent practitioners, as well as re-connections with members of the current Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, or school, still teaching and practicing there. For a full history, class attendance and further reading are required. A short summary of Mikao Usui ‘s life and the beginnings of the System of Reiki is that he was a Buddhist Tendai monk who practiced Shugendo meditation and other spiritual practices along with extensive study and mentoring under spiritual masters of his day. At some point he underwent a rigorous fasting meditation on the wild slopes of Mt. Kurama, where he experienced a “great Reiki” or spiritual light and went on to teach and establish schools. Some of his first students were officers in the Japanese Navy and Army and this led to the substantiation of the practice in Japan prior to World War 2.
Reiki came to the United States through Mrs. Hawayo Takata around 1938 – she was Hawaiian-born to Japanese immigrant parents and became ill as a young widowed mother, traveling – as was not uncommon – back to Japan for treatment. According to reports, once there she decided not to have the prescribed medical treatment and asked if there were any other options for healing. She was directed
to Hayashi Chujiro, Sensei, a Naval doctor and Reiki Master trained by Usui, who was integral to the development of some of the hand placement and other “palm healing” techniques we use in the System of Reiki today. She recovered from her illness through Reiki treatments and stayed to learn Reiki, eventually returning to Hawaii and bringing the practice of Reiki across the ocean with her.
Today Reiki, as a system for self-healing and healing of others, is widely practiced in the United States and Europe. It can vary greatly in practice in the west from its Japanese roots, but continues to be an emerging modality that is being increasingly considered and used to support personal healing. Reiki techniques and practices are taught to students who have received various levels of Reiki training. In America we recognize Reiki Level I and II, Reiki Master, or Reiki Master Teacher. In traditional Eastern Usui Reiki Ryoho we recognize Shoden, or Initial Teachings, Okuden, or hidden, inner teachings, and Shinpiden, or Mystery teachings. All are learned from a Reiki Master and Teacher through personal training and practice accompanied by a series of “attunements” or in eastern terms, Reiju, or blessings, that are most effectively experienced through in-person training with the teacher of your choice.