Reiki History
Usui Shiki Ryoho
The Usui System of Natural Healing

Mikao Usui
In the late-1800's, a man named Dr. Mikao Usui (born 1865) rediscovered this ancient science, which he called Reiki. The story, as told by Mrs. Takata goes something like this: Dr. Usui, a minister and dean of a Christian school in Kyoto, Japan, was teaching a class, when one of his students asked him if he believed that Jesus healed. His response was yes, of course. The student then asked him for a demonstration of this healing. He did not have this knowledge, so he could not comply.

This one simple question changed Dr. Usui's life. It stirred inside of him the desire to know how to heal. With the knowledge that Jesus healed, he decided to start his search in America, the land of Christianity. So he enrolled in the University of Chicago. In his seven year study of theology and comparative religions, he learned about the Buddha and his healing abilities. But he found no answers.

Dr. Usui went back to Japan to continue his search. He visited all of the Buddhist temples and asked the monks if they knew how to heal. All gave the same answer; they only concentrated on spiritual matters. At one of the temples, he met an old abbot who remembered that the monks knew how to heal at one time, but it was now a lost art. He offered Dr. Usui the opportunity to stay and study the Japanese Sutras, to see if he might find the information he sought.

After spending many years studying the sutras and finding nothing, Dr. Usui decided to learn Chinese. Chinese is an older language and many of the Japanese Sutras were translated from Chinese. He studied and studied for many more years and still found no answers.

There was only one other place that he knew of to look; the Sanskrit Sutras. So he learned Sanskrit and began studying these sutras. Finally an answer came. In the Healing Buddha and Lotus Sutras, he found a formula for healing. He was so ecstatic about this discovery, that he took the information immediately to the old abbot. Together they decided that to discover the full meaning of the information, Dr. Usui must meditate.

The next morning, Dr. Usui began the 17 mile walk to Mt. Kuramayama to fast and meditate.
Upon arriving at his destination, he gathered 21 stones, sat down and put the stones in front of him. Every morning he would throw one stone away. On the morning of the 21st day, in the early hours before it was light, Dr. Usui was in deep meditation when he noticed a bright light. He wondered if this light were real. He opened his eyes; it was still there and moved quickly toward him. He was frightened, but willing to risk death for the secrets of healing. The light struck him in the third eye and knocked him unconscious. All of the information, symbols and how to use them began to float by him in millions of brightly colored bubbles, stopping in front of him long enough for him to commit the information to memory. When he came back to full awareness, he remembered everything that was shown to him.

Dr. Usui noticed that he was strong and full of energy, despite his 21 day fast. "This is the first miracle", he thought. Wanting to share this new information with the abbot, he started the long journey back to the temple. On his way down the hill, he severely stubbed his toe, tearing the toenail back. He grabbed his toe and within a short while, noticed it was completely healed.
"This is the second miracle", he thought.

He continued his journey and soon came upon a house which offered meals to travelers. Noticing his hunger, he decided to stop and break his fast. A man came out to take his order. Dr. Usui ordered a nice meal. When the meal was ready the man's daughter brought it to him. She was a pretty young girl with a scarf tied like rabbit ears around her head. Dr. Usui asked her why she had such a thing on her head. She told him that she had a very bad toothache and could not travel the long distance to town to have it fixed. He beckoned her to come to him and placed his hands upon her face. After a few moments she said, "Oh, kind monk, you make magic. My tooth no longer hurts. Thank you". "This is the third miracle", he thought.

After Dr. Usui finished his meal and was on the road back to the temple, he noticed how wonderful he was feeling. There were no ill effects of eating a large meal after an extended fast. "This is the fourth miracle', he thought.

When he arrived at the temple, he was greeted by a young monk. The boy told Dr. Usui that he was glad to see that he had returned safely and that the old abbot was bed ridden in great pain. Dr. Usui went directly to the abbot's cell and sat down on the edge of the bed. He rested his hands on the abbot's body while he told him all that he had learned. In a short while, the abbot looked at him in surprise and said, "You make magic; all of my pain is gone". "This is the fifth miracle", Dr. Usui proclaimed.

Dr. Usui then spent 7 years taking care of sick people (beggars) in the slums of Tokyo. Unfortunately some of these beggars, although cured of physical illnesses, went back to begging as the life of a working man is much more tiring than begging. Dr. Usui realised that he had made a mistake and that the person receiving healing must first ask for it and that there must be an exchange of energy. This can be money, work, goods or whatever. Without the person asking for healing or exchanging, he believed the healing would not work.

After this realisation, Dr. Usui went around Japan and looked for people who wanted to be healed. He practised and taught Reiki throughout Japan for the remainder of his life. Before his transition on 9 March 1926, he gave the Master attunement to Dr. Chujiro Hayashi.

Dr. Usui was decorated by the Emperor of Japan. He is buried in a Zen temple in Tokyo.


Dr. Hayashi was a retired naval officer. He received the Reiki Master initiation from Dr. Usui about 1925 at the age of 47.

Before Dr. Usui died, he asked Dr. Hayashi to accept the responsibility of preserving Reiki so that it would not be lost as it had been in the past. Dr. Hayashi accepted this responsibility.Up to this point, the Usui system of healing consisted of the energy itself, the symbols, the attunement process and the Reiki ideals. This was what Dr. Usui had received during his mystical experience on Mt. Kori-yama.

Dr. Hayashi went on to develop the Usui system of healing. He opened a Reiki clinic in Tokyo and kept detailed records of the treatments given. He used this information to create the standard hand positions, the system of three degrees and their initiation procedures.Dr. Hayashi sensed a great war coming, and knew that most of the men would be called. In order to make sure Reiki would be preserved, he decided to pass the complete teachings on to two women: his wife and Hawayo Takata.

Hawayo Takata
Hawayo Takata was born at dawn on December 24th, 1900, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.
In the Spring of 1936, Mrs. Takata received First Degree Reiki. She worked with Dr. Hayashi for one year and then received Second Degree Reiki.
Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii in 1937. She was soon followed by Dr. Hayashi and his daughter who came to help establish Reiki in Hawaii. In the Winter of 1938, Dr. Hayashi initiated Hawayo Takata as a Reiki Master. She was the thirteenth and last Reiki Master Dr. Hayashi initiated

In the years following, she traveled extensively, teaching classes in first and second degree Reiki. It was not until the 1970's that she began to initiate masters. She initiated a total of twenty-two people into Reiki mastership and in December of 1980, she made her transition. Before Mrs. Takata died, she taught her granddaughter Phyllis Lei Furumoto
all that she knew, preparing her to assume the task of keeping Reiki alive, but she never formally made the announcement.

Takatas background story

Between 1970 and Takatas transition on December 11, 1980, Mrs. Takata initiated 22 Reiki Masters. Below is a list of the Reiki Masters she initiated. This is the list she gave to her sister before she passed through transition.

Barbara McCullough
George Araki
Beth Grey
Ursula Baylow
Paul Mitchell
Iris Ishikura (deceased)
Fran Brown
Barbara Weber Ray
Ethel Lombardi
Wanja Twan (deceased)
Virginia Samdahl
Phyllis Lei Furumoto
Dorothy Baba (deceased)
Mary McFaden
John Gray
Rick Bockner
Bethel Phaigh (deceased)
Harry Kuboi
Patricia Ewing
Shinobu Saito
Takata's Sister
Barbara Brown

Phyllis Lei Furumoto(deceased)
Takatas grand daughter.

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