Chapter 3 - The History of Reiki Healing
I have read different versions of the Reiki story and include here the version passed down by my Reiki Master. I do not give this version as the definitive story but hope that it is close to the truth. There is a well researched article by William Lee Rand on his website.
Dr Mikao Usui was born in Japan in the mid nineteenth century. He was fascinated by Buddha and his desire to help others and the unusual metaphysical abilities the Buddha received after receiving enlightenment. It was said that Buddha was able to heal physical illness and that this ability was taught and passed on to his disciples, who also acquired healing abilities after following his teachings.
Dr Usui was aware that there were many people around him unable to lead happy and productive lives because of illness and physical disability. Feeling compassion for them he decided to set out on a quest to see if the secret of healing used by Buddha and Jesus could be found so that he might help the sick and needy.
Dr Usui travelled throughout Japan talking to Buddhist teachers and priests and asking if they had the ability to heal. The answer he got was always the same; ie that whilst it may have been possible to heal in the past, the spiritual side was felt to be more important and the ability to heal the physical body was forgotten and lost.
During his travels he became friends with the monks at a Zen monastery and was allowed to stay and to study the Buddhist scriptures known as the Sutras. The Abbott was also interested in physical healing and helped and encouraged Dr Usui in his pursuit. The Japanese translations did not have the answers he was looking for and as he wanted to read the books in their original language, Dr Usui learned Chinese and eventually Sanskrit. It was in the Indian Sutras that he discovered the formula for contacting a higher power that could give him the knowledge to heal. It was thought that the Buddha had used this formula to gain knowledge of healing himself.
Dr Usui had found the information that he had been looking for but simply knowing the formula did not give him the ability to heal. Having discussed this with the Abbott it was decided that he would go to the top of Mount Kori-yama, a sacred mountain, where he fasted and meditated, following the instructions in the formula, for 21 days.
To keep track of time on the mountain he set up 21 stones and each day he threw one stone away. On the 21st day, after tossing away all of the stones, he had still not received the healing power. It was still night and he stood up, thinking that he had failed in his quest. As he looked out toward the horizon he saw a point of light coming toward him.
Looking at the light he realised that it fact it has a consciousness and was communicating with him. He realised that the light contained the healing power that he was looking for but he also became aware that the light was so powerful that if it hit him it might kill him. He decided that the ability to heal was worth the risk and although he was afraid, he did not move.
The beam struck him on the forehead, knocking him unconscious. Rising out of his physical body he saw bubbles of light containing the sacred Reiki symbols. He immediately received an attunement and knowledge of each symbol and was, as a consequence, initiated into Reiki.
Dr Usui hurried down the mountain. In his haste he fell over, stubbing his big toe and tearing the toe nail. He placed both of his hands over the injured area and within minutes the pain and the bleeding had stopped and shortly after he was completely healed. Having fasted for 21 days, he was very hungry, so when he reached the foot of the mountain he decided to stop at an inn for something to eat. Whilst waiting for his meal to be cooked he heard a young girl crying in a house nearby. Investigating, he found that the girl had been suffering for days with a bad toothache. Dr Usui laid his hands on her face and within minutes the swelling receded and the pain stopped.
The innkeeper, who by now had prepared the meal for Dr Usui, warned him not to eat such a large meal after fasting for so long but Dr Usui ate his fill and felt no adverse effects.
Dr Usui went back to the Abbott. Upon his arrival at the monastery he discovered that the Abbott was ill. Eventually he managed to persuade the other monks to allow him to see the Abbott, who had been suffering badly from arthritis. Whilst talking to the Abbott, Dr Usui placed his hands on the Abbott's body and the healing energy flowed into the Abbott, who was healed after a short while.
Dr Usui continued to practice Reiki healing and before his death in 1930 had given the Reiki Master attunement to 16-18 people. Reiki was brought from Japan to the west during the Second World War by Hawayo Takata and it is her Granddaughter, Phyllis Furomoto who is the current Reiki Grand Master.
It is due to the incredible divine aspirations of Dr Usui and his compassionate desire to bring healing to people that this beautiful healing system has been rediscovered, formalised and spread around the world. We are indebted to Dr Usui for his spiritual practice, determination, perseverance and compassion.