Usui Portrait

What is Reiki?

     Reiki is a Japanese healing art that was synthesized into being by Mikao Usui in the late 1800's in Japan. Mikao Usui was a devout Buddhist, who, in his intense desire to understand and work with methods of medicine and healing, developed Reiki. "Reiki" is a Japanese word for the concept: "Universal Life Energy". Reiki's initial stages can be learned by anyone regardless of their personal philosophy and/or spiritual belief system. Through the initiations of Reiki comes a "re-awakening", a re-opening of the stronger healing potential that lies within us all.

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      In Reiki, the healing energy is allowed to flow into ourselves, and then WE, act as a vehicle - through which this energy can be passed on to another individual via our hands. It becomes natural to touch someone and allow this healing energy to flow when someone is in pain, and to assist in relieving this pain. A Reiki treatment restores balance and harmony to the whole person, bringing about a sense of wellness.

A client remains dressed while receiving a Reiki treatment, as Reiki will go through the material, including plaster casts. The person being treated is not "healed" by the Reiki practitioner. The client's healing comes from the "universal life force" that flows through the practitioner. The person giving Reiki is not drained of their own life energy, but actually is replenished in the process. Reiki also protects the practitioner from taking on the pain and dysfunction of another person.

Reiki can relieve pain and acute problems quite rapidly. Chronic illnesses may take a series of treatments, depending on the specific nature of the disease. Whatever manifests itself physically usually also has components on the emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. Reiki honors the ecology of the person by working on all these levels. Reiki goes beyond the symptoms to treat the root cause of the dis-ease. When we treat only the symptoms, we do not always get to the true basis of the illness.

What is the history of Reiki?

     Mikao Usui was a devout Buddhist practitioner who had become familiar with oriental and western methods of healing, and synthesized these; along with other data into what is now known as Reiki. Usui followed the spiritual traditions of his family, which were Tendai, but soon took a turn towards a different path, as he sought out the way of healing more intensely. This path opened to him with the assistance of a Shingon Priest who was understanding and supportive of his pursuits. As he continued reaching into the Esoteric doctrines and mysteries of this sect, it caused a rift between his family and himself, as to change "sects" was to go against the "family tradition" and their ancestors. Nonetheless, Usai did eventually become a follower / disciple of Shingon.

 Usui decided that perhaps there were parallel teachings in other traditions, and is reported to have ventured into the Tibetan teachings of Vajrayana and Tibetan Medicine wherein he found similar teachings to those of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism. He then endeavored to synthesize all he had learned into a more formal structure for himself. As a result, he began to codify the teaching and methods into a personalized system, which included using symbols, esoteric dharani and methods of "tapping in" to "bestow power". In the traditions that he had drawn on, the "conferring of power" is usually facilitated by a living teacher - known as an "Acarya". Since he had not a living Master teacher / Acarya, for this new synthesis, he decided to meditate, fast, and pray - seeking a line of "direct empowerment" and blessing from the higher spiritual realms.

 It is said, Usui chose a sacred mountain abode called Kurama, which was outside of Kyoto. Kurama had been a Tendai temple for many years, yet visited by monks of differing sects. The temple on the mountain had been dedicated to Mao-son, Bishamon-ten and Senju-kannon; who represent the light of the universal soul. Thus, it was a most auspicious location for his discipline.

 Mikao Usui's "empowerment" came during his practice, in alignment with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the realm upon which he was focused. By gaining a complete and "realized" understanding, he further developed and refined the system into a healing and spiritual practice - part of which we today know as Reiki. Usui is said to have taught many the form that he developed for the "layperson", but did not teach nearly as many the more "esoteric" form, which was held for those who desired a deeper understanding; and consequently made a deeper commitment to the "path"

 The most significant of those who Usui taught, that we are aware of in the west is Dr. Chujiro Hayashi. The Hayashi line of teaching that proceeded to reach the west through Mrs. Hawayo Takata is the most well known, yet it is not the only line, nor the only source of the original information that Usui utilized.

 As far as I understand, Mikao Usui's deeper teachings were passed on in this sequence:

1. Mr. Jusaburo Ushida
2. Mr. Iichi Taketomi
3. Mr. Yoshiharu Watanabe
4. Mr. Toyoichi Wanami
5. Mrs. Kimiko Koyama
6. Mr. Masaki Kondoh

 They are the keepers of the flame in Japan; the Original Reiki Society Usui Kai.

The first levels, which are the levels with which we are familiar with here in the west, comprise the levels for practitioners of any faith or creed. They became known as Reiki 1, Reiki 2 and Mastery. Usui knew this level of energy could calm and assist the body's natural healing process. It was a simplified system for those who were not particularly Buddhist, religious, or spiritual.

 It is reported that another individual may have copies of Mikao Usui's notes, commentaries, dairies, etc., but I think it is more important to perhaps find the path, than to re-construct what one "believes" the teacher did. For remember, it was an individual and personalized journey that he took, to arrive at his goal. This phrase may be something to think about: "SEEK NOT TO FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MEN OF OLD; SEEK WHAT THEY SOUGHT." - Matsuo Basho

 It is clear that Mikao Usui was a man of deep conviction, fortitude, and integrity. It is quite possible, had he lived longer he would be disappointed by what some people have done to the purity of what he accomplished. He drew from the disciplines that went before him, not adding things that had nothing to do with the Buddhist doctrines that were timeless and ageless. He sought not fame, nor to be wealthy, - but to be a Buddha ... of healing ... in his body, in his lifetime.

"More on Mikao Usui"

How is Reiki Learned?

 To become a Reiki channel, all one needs is the desire to learn and a commitment to use Reiki. The First Degree Course is taught by a Master in evening or weekend classes. There are four initiations within the course which reopen and attune the students to their inner healing channels. All of the basic hand positions necessary for treatments are taught and there is ample time devoted to practicing these positions in class. A context is created wherein the student can come to accept, honor and develop the capacities that exist within for channeling this gentle, yet powerful, healing energy. The channeling of such a loving, healing energy is a truly uplifting and empowering experience.

 The Second Degree is the next level of attunement, power and Sacred Knowledge of this ancient system. In this next level you will learn symbols of higher octaves of light energy used in treatments and in absentia healing; as well as the beginnings of subtle emotional work. further growth, healing and spiritual unfoldment will be initiated, along with the personal expansion that is the trademark of this system. You will feel the potent shifts and changes in the very fiber of your energy construct."


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