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The reiki story

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The early chapters in this manual serve to provide a foundation of understanding about us and energy in general. Now, in this and subsequent chapters in this manual, we start to focus on Reiki itself.

As I explained earlier, the energy that I call Reiki is a component of the universal life force energy that is all around us. Also as I explained earlier, the Chinese characters that are written and spoken as Rei Ki (pronounced Ray Kee) are translated into English as ‘Universal Energy’, referring to the life force energy that is all around us.
As we start to work with Reiki, it will be helpful for you to understand my teaching structure for Reiki. I teach it in three levels, this being the way in which Reiki is usually taught in Western countries. In the first level, you will be able to start to channel the Reiki energy and to apply it to other people and to yourself. In the second level, you will be introduced to some of the healing symbols that are part of the Reiki system, and will also learn how to send Reiki energy through time and distance. At the third level (called the Masters Level), you will learn how to pass on the Reiki energy to your own students and to do a simple form of psychic surgery.
In the next Chapter, I will give the details of your Reiki lineage (line of teachers before you). In the Chapter after that, I will explain about the nature of the Reiki energy. Now, however, for the rest of this Chapter, I give you the story of how Reiki came from Japan into western culture through Hawaii, from where it has spread all around the world.
The traditional history of Reiki as given to most western Reiki students is as follows. It is based upon Hawayo Takata’s explanation to her students of how Reiki found its way into Western society and has been passed down through her teaching lineage to most of the western people practicing Reiki today. Subsequent research has cast doubt upon the accuracy of some of the story and it is probably not all correct.

Reiki is a very ancient healing system which was first practiced in Tibet thousands of years ago. The practice of Reiki in Tibet died out, but was re-established in Japan by a Mikao Usui in the nineteenth century. Mikao Usui was a Christian minister teaching at Doshisha University in the ancient Imperial capital city of Japan, Kyoto.  One day he was asked by his students if it were possible for a person to perform healing miracles such as those that Jesus performed. Mikao Usui was not aware that this was possible, but set himself the task of finding out how Jesus did his healing work. He travelled extensively through Japan and China, studied at the University of Chicago Divinity School and eventually returned home to Japan. Despite all these travels, he had been unsuccessful in finding out how Jesus was able to heal. One day, Mikao Usui decided to undertake a 21 day meditation on Mount Kurama at Kyoto. On the very last day of his meditation, he saw a bright shining light on the horizon that started to come towards him. He decided not to move out of its way, and it hit him straight in his third eye centre. As the light entered his head, he saw symbols and felt a huge flow of energy starting to move through his body. Mikao Usui then finished his meditation and started to walk down the mountain. As he did so, he stubbed his toe on a rock and it started to bleed. As he held his toe in his hands, the blood stopped flowing and the abrasion on the toe healed immediately. He realised that the energy that was flowing through him, which was the Reiki energy, had the healing properties similar to those of Jesus that he had been seeking. 

From this moment onwards, Mikao Usui was able to perform miraculous healings for people. He spent some time healing people in the slum areas of Kyoto. He soon realised that although he was able to achieve physical healings, the best healing came when people also decided to change their behavioural patterns and attitudes to life. He had been giving healing treatments for free, but realised that his patients did not understand the value of the gift he was giving them. He felt that it was important that people receiving healing therefore gave something in return and he started charging for his services.

A few years before he died, Mikao Usui initiated a retired naval officer, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi in his Reiki healing system and declared that Chujiro Hayashi would be his successor in his Reiki lineage.   Chujiro Hayashi opened a private Reiki clinic in Tokyo where practitioners were trained and patients were treated. Healing was given generally by two practitioners together, one treating the head of the client with the other treating the stomach area. The client would then be treated on the back. A Reiki organisation had been created, and to become a Reiki practitioner a student had to be accepted by the organisation and to give a deep commitment to work with Reiki every day.

Around this time, a young Japanese woman named Hawayo Takata was living in Hawaii.  She was suffering from a number of physical conditions including a tumour. It would have been normal practice for her to have undergone surgery, but she received an inner message telling her that she did not need surgery and that she should go to Japan where she would find an alternative way of being cured. She went to Tokyo where she found eventually Chujiro Hayashi’s Reiki clinic. She received healing at the clinic for several months and was cured eventually of all her physical conditions.  

In those days, Japan had a very male orientated society. Consequently, none of the Reiki practitioners were female. Hawayo was so impressed by the Reiki healing that she begged Chujiro to train her in Reiki. He refused at first but in 1938 she became his Reiki student. Unfortunately, Hayashi died in 1941. In the subsequent years, Hawayo performed numerous healings, being the only Reiki Master in the world until 1976. (Master means having the ability to pass the Reiki energy on to other people). In the early 1970’s, she moved from Hawaii to the USA mainland where she started to teach Reiki. She started to teach anybody who she felt would take a sincere approach to Reiki practice. As she knew that she would have to die one day, Hawayo began to train some of her students to Master level so that they would be able to pass on the energies until after her death. At the time of her death in 1980, Hawayo had initiated 22 Reiki Masters.

Below are the official twenty two students that Hawayo Takata initiated as teachers between 1970 and 1980.
- Barbara Weber Ray
- Phyllis Lei Furumoto
- Beth Gray
- George Araki
- Barbara McCullough
- Ursula Baylow
- Fran Brown
- Paul Mitchell
- Iris Ishikuro

- Ethel Lombardi

- Wanja Twan
- Virginia Samdahl
- Dorothy Baba
- Mary McFadyen
- John Gray
- Rick Bockner
- Bethal Phaigh
- Harry Kuboi
- Patricia Ewing
- Shinobu Saito
- Takata's Sister
- Barbara Brown

Hawayo Takata died without leaving any structure or organisation through which Reiki could be taken forward. Consequently, after her death, Reiki was taken forward through two main paths by her Reiki Masters. Barbara Weber Ray developed the Radiance Technique School and Hawayo’s granddaughter Phyllis Lei Furumoto developed the Reiki Alliance which the other Reiki Masters joined. Phyllis Furomoto eventually started to refer to herself as the ‘Grand Master’ and lineage bearer of Reiki. The Reiki Alliance developed very strict procedures and rules in connection with the practice of Reiki. In the mid-1990’s, Phyllis Furomoto tried to trademark Reiki around the world. The idea was that everybody who wanted to become a Reiki Master had to pay the sum of US$10,000. As far as I am aware, the trademarking application was unsuccessful in every country except Latvia.

The problems associated with so much money being involved with Reiki that had nothing to do with the spiritual aspects of Reiki or with the energy itself led many Reiki Masters not wishing to belong to the Reiki Alliance or its equivalent elsewhere in the world.

In the present day, there must be several million Reiki Masters around the world, each of these Reiki Masters doing something to help the world and its life forms.

Subsequent research has failed to corroborate all aspects of the Reiki history given above and it is possible that some of it is incorrect.
The wording on the certificates that have been passed down the Reiki teaching line is ‘Usui Shiki Ryoho’. In the context of energy work, this translates loosely in to English as working with divine energy in the way or method of Mikao Usui.
On the following pages are pictures of Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi and Hawayo Takata. (If you are reading from the Word file for this section, please keep scrolling down to find the pictures.) The first picture is of Mikao Usui, underneath which is the picture of Chujiro Hayashi, followed by Hawayo Takata.

Mikao Usui

Chujiro Hayashi

Hawayo Takata

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