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The History Of Reiki
The History Of Reiki
The initial "source" story told in the U.S. by Hawaya Takata deviated a bit from actual events. Many today believe she did this on purpose to overcome the "closed mindedness of Americans". An understandable choice in her time. 
Upon her death, an internal struggle began within the traditional Usui - Takata community. Who was to become the Sensei and head of Reiki; at least here in the west? At the same time, a group of Reiki Masters and channels wanted to verify information taught to them to answer to some controversies about it's origin that created a negative critique of the practice. They began to research Miako Usui's life, his story and practices in an attempt to document the facts behind the healing method.  

Here's a little of what they discovered. 
Miako Usui, was influenced by Shintoism, the traditional faith of the Japanese people prior to contact with China.Through his studies and life he became a practicing Buddhist. Recent discoveries by Reiki Masters and practitioners have revealed the story of Reiki's history and travel to the West and many now are trying to correct some misinformation that exists about it's journey.
The system of Reiki was developed by Usui in 1922 whilst performing Isyu Guo, a twenty-one day Buddhist training course held on Mount Kurama. On the last day of this event, Usui received a revelation and was given the knowledge of healing, and the spiritual power to apply and attune others to what he called Reiki. The knowledge and energy entered his body through his crown Chakra and imprinted upon his mind in a peaceful and empowering manner.

Buddhists do not believe in a God concept. Buddha was not a God, but rather a teacher or prophet of knowledge. You can read more about Buddhism and their view of Divinity at BuddhaNet.
The following is the story told to Reiki Channels in their first level training class as presented by Takata. It was told to me by Rev. Beth Gray, one of Takata's Masters. In teaching Reiki today, I stick to the facts and researched and documented by the Reiki Alliance. But the Takata story is an important part of the evolution and history of Reiki here in the west and especially here in the U.S. So I think it's important to acknowledge it and share it's oral history. 
Dr. Miako Usui The Discovery of Reiki, by Dr. Miako Usui.
Dr. Miako Usui was a ministerial professor at a well known university in Japan. During one of his classes a student asked how Jesus could heal the sick with his hands. Dr. Usui couldn't answer this question and if he was to be a teacher, he felt he should understand the How as well as the Why. Now some say the student asked how could Buddha heal the sick with his hands. But since this event wasn't recorded, no one can really be sure what the initial question was. It really isn't important; as this is an oral story that shares the general experience of Usui. What prompted the journey of discovery really has no bearing on the the outcome.
Dr. Usui spent the next several years researching for the answer to spiritual healing. His study took him to Chicago then back to Japan. He researched Christian, Jewish and Buddhist texts, many dating back 2,500 years, but he found no answers. Finally he reviewed an ancient Sanskrit writing that discussed hand positions and thought patterns used by Jesus (keep in mind this was told to me by an American Reiki Master). Through his research, he had found references that Buddha had taught Jesus how to heal, so this was a link worth pursuing. Dr. Usui went to several Buddhist monasteries for help, but few were able to answer his question or provide satisfactory research. One suggested he try to seek his answers from an ancient Buddhist monastery that was dedicated to maintaining the ancient ways. Dr. Usui decided to travel into the deep countryside and asked these monks if they could help him find the answer he was seeking.
While staying at the mission, Dr. Usui research many age-old texts. But few added to his search. One day, a monk suggested the Dr. try the Buddhist ritual of meditation and fasting upon a sacred mountain to ask Buddha for some answers. Dr. Usui decided to undertake the experiment. So he went up to the top of Mount Kura-Yama to fast, meditate and pray. He told the monks that if he didn't return in 20 days to send out a search party for him. When he reached the mountain, Dr. Usui gathered 20 stones and laid them out on the ground. With the passing of each day, he threw away one stone. At the end of the 19th day, Dr. Usui thought he would never receive an answer to his prayers. He only had enough water left for one more day and he contemplated leaving the mountain. As he sat in thought, a brilliant white light appeared far off in the distance. It was very bright and moved very quickly toward him. Dr. Usui knew the light was going to hit him, so he braced himself for the impact. As the light struck his body, Dr. Usui fell backwards unconscious.
When he awoke on the 21st day, Dr. Usui gathered his belongings and left the mountain. He felt changed somehow. He remembered the light, and some Japanese character symbols, but he wasn't sure he had the answer to his prayer. He traveled down a dirt road until he saw a small red bench. In this part of the country, a red bench means there's a "food bar" near by. Dr. Usui sat down and soon a man came to him. Dr. Usui asked for some food, but the man recognized the signs of a man who had just been on a fast and sabbatical to the mountain. He tried to talk the Dr. into a nice mild gruel so as not to upset his stomach. But Dr. Usui insisted he would be fine and requested that the man bring him what he asked for.
Within a few minutes, a young woman brought Dr. Usui his meal. Her face was swollen and she was obviously in pain, so Dr. Usui asked her what was wrong. She told him she had a tooth ache, but she couldn't get away to the dentist until her mother returned to help her father. Suddenly Dr. Usui felt the need to place his hand on the young woman's cheek. His hands became warm and after a few moments, the young woman's pain had vanished. The young woman was very grateful and reported back to her father. As he ate his meal, he felt a renewed strength. The heavy meal didn't upset his stomach or cause him any ills after his long fast. Something that generally wouldn't be the case. He took note of the condition of his own constitution and that of the young woman and the Dr. was sure he had found his answer.
He opened a school in Japan and began to teach his laying on of hands healing method to who ever was interested. Many years later, Chijuro Hiyashi, M.D. was one of the students to attend this school and become a Reiki Master. He integrated this form of healing into his traditional medical practice and documented the amazing results. As a Reiki Master, Dr. Hiyashi had the knowledge and authority to teach Reiki to others until his death in 1941. One of these people was one of his patience, Hawayo Takata.
Next: Reiki Comes to the United States

Created:   03/28/1999       Updated: 01/11/2014
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