Reiki appears in Japan during the Meiji era(enlightened regime),through Doctor Mikao Usui born on August 15, 1865. The Meiji era was characterized by an opening of Japanese society to the West with the aim of catching the industrial backwards in which the country was plunged after a period dominated by the feudal system for 256 years whose government was handed over to the Tokugawa Shogunate (a feudal military dictatorship in which the leader was the Shogun which means Grand General).
Thus, in order to modernize, Japan opened its ports, imported Western industrial techniques, made its economy more open and free, opening the door to capitalism that would transform Japan into a world power at the beginning of the 20th century. With the economic opening, there was also an opening to new ideas brought from abroad, witnessing a return of interest in Christianity when Christian missionaries returned, which further increased the existing religious and spiritual evolution paths as the Shinto and Buddhist tradition were already in place.
Doctor Mikao Usui, for example, adopted Christianity as his religion and became a Christian priest and then ascended to the dean category of a small Christian university in Kyoto. Dean or dean is the name given to the maximum responsible of a Church educational institution.
During a discussion with his students, one of them asked Master Usui if he interpreted the biblical teachings literally, which Usui confirmed, and was then asked about the miraculous healings of Christ Jesus as well as his words:
“He who believes in me will do the works which I have done. He will do even greater things than these ….” (John 14:12-14)
The student asked Usui how he explained that statement since it was no longer believed or, at least, whether he was aware of curators around the world who were capable of the same achievements. Jesus had also commanded his apostles to heal diseases and raise the dead. They asked him “If so, please teach us the method”.
Mikao Usui, realizing that he did not have the answer to his student, fired and went to look for the answer, given that according to the Japanese code of honor, a deon should know the answers to all the questions that his students ask. By this humble attitude of Usui, one begins to peer into our minds his great character as seeker of truth and master.
Since Usui had received Christian instruction from American missionaries and given that Christianity was the prevailing religion in the United States, he decided to travel to the United States in 1898 and begin his research at the university of Chicago theology seminary where he would later perform his Doctorate, where despite the long time devoted, he could not yet reap the fruits of his investigations. Knowing, likewise, that Buddha too had operated miraculous healings beyond his profound and timeless teachings in the likeness of Christ, he resolved to research the Lotus of the Good Law in Japanese, since the chronicles that reported christ’s miracles were scarce and that most were lost over the centuries.
The Lotus of the Good Law (Saddharma Pundarika Sutra) consists of a set of teachings written by Indian philosophers in Sanskrit already after the buddha’s passage, written between 100 A.C and 200 D.C. It is considered one of the most important scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism where it is taught that each person has the ability to become enlightened.
Usui returned to Japan, having passed through several Buddhist monasteries with the aim of gathering some information about his search although he was disappointed several times because, in these monasteries, they mentioned that in those days they were more interested in healings of a spiritual nature than those of physical, emotional or mental origin, that is, that it should focus only on the transformation of people’s consciousness and not on their physical state, emotional or mental.
After some discouragement, he entered a monastery of the Zen tradition where they finally encouraged him to continue on the path of the search for the diseases of the physical body, although they recognized that the search for the solution of spiritual problems was prevailing at that time. The leader of the Zen monastery who welcomed him, declared that having the physical healings been carried out at a time, it would certainly be possible in any other time in the same way having therefore invited Usui to continue his research in his monastery. which gave him new impetus in the study of sutras in Japanese.
Then Master Usui learned Chinese with the aim of studying Chinese and Sanskrit sutras to study Tibetan sutras although this effort had not been compensated with effective results so far. After noting his lack of results, he continued his search traveling to northern Tibet. In the domain of Sanskrit, he took advantage of this facility to travel to India and continue his research. Having completed the study of all Tibetan sutras, there was a particular manuscript, written in Sanskrit, belonging to a Buddhist practitioner that contained 4 sacred symbols used by Buddha in the healing and remission of diseases. However, Usui realized that without the information on how to apply these symbols and their due activation, he was not yet in possession of the healing technique.
Aware of his important advance in the search, he met again with the priest of the Zen monastery who had encouraged him and, together in meditation, came to the conclusion that Usui should leave for Mount Kurama, a mountain of 584 meters of altitude considered sacred, located 25 kms northwest of kyoto city, in order to practice fasting and meditation for 21 days.
This initiative, which took place in March 1922, is similar to the initiative of many American Indians who set out on a sacred mountain to receive some vision or revelation from the Divine. Mikao Usui, possessed only of the Tibetan sutras he had found and a goatskin canteen with water, gathered 21 stones that would allow him to count the days of his spiritual retreat and remained seated, near the top of the mountain, in a place called Osugi Gongen, on the edge of a large sacred tree (kami) of which is said to be the incarnation of the god Mao-Son (‘the Great King of the Conquerors of Evil and the Spirit of the Earth’).
Through the practice of absolute fasting, meditation, contemplation, silence, fervent prayer, chanting and reading of sutras, Mikao Usui entered an increased state of consciousness and on the eve of the 21st day, at dawn, on the night of The New Moon, he sought to tacteandthe last stone with his hand. Until that moment, nothing extraordinary had happened, behold, Suddenly Usui observes an intense white light that grows in his direction as he approaches and that tembes him initially. Recovering from the initial state of anxiety, he is convinced that that light is the long-awaited sign and that he should not let fear take over him and take him away from his purpose. Renouncing any fear, he gave himself up and thought he had passed into the spirit world when the approaching light quickly reached him at last in full forehead, projecting it out of the physical body.
It was then that in an enlarged state of extrasensory perception, he was able to watch the dance of thousands of balls in color, before his eyes, containing inside, each of them, a Sanskrit character in gold and three dimensions. The symbols were presented one by one, so that Usui could record their form as well as their meaning and how to use them. In this way, Mikao Usui received the initiation directly from the Source as well as the teachings of how to pass reiki’s power to others.
The first cures with Reiki
Usui also received knowledge of the meaning of Reiki symbols and how to apply them having come out of the trance, completely flooded with a state of grace and gratitude, feeling strangely refreshed and full of energy despite being fasting for 21 consecutive days. Enthusiastic, he got up to begin the descent of the mountain. The fact that Master Usui felt completely restored in energy and physical terms is the first visible result of Reiki energy.
With the immense desire that Usui brought with him to share as quickly as possible this healing technique with the world, as he went down the mountain, tripped over a rock, injuring a toe that began to bleed and hurt a lot. Usui then imposed his hands on the injured leg and the hemorrhage stopped very quickly and the pain disappeared being this the second result of healing with Reiki.
On the way back to the monastery, Mikao Usui passed through an inn where the innkeeper observing his monk aspect and guessing, by the appearance and size of his beard and by the state of his clothes, that it was someone who was coming out of a long period of fasting, recommended him a soup as a light meal given that it can be dangerous to break a long period of abstinence with a dinner lauto. Usui refused and insisted on a heavy meal. He ate and had no sign of indigestion. This was reiki’s third result.
Before leaving, Usui realized that the granddaughter of the innkeeper who had served as his waitress was affected by a terrible toothache. Her grandfather, of scarce economic resources, could not afford to take her to a dentist in Kyoto. Usui offering to help her, touched the young woman’s face on the side that hurt her and the pain ceased after very little time having been achieved the fourth visible result of healing with Reiki.
After a 25 kms walk, Usui arrived at the monastery where he met his friend and zen master, suffering from a crisis of rheumatism, a disease from which he had been affected for several years. While Usui reported to his monk friend his findings he applied reiki treatment to him on the affected areas which resulted in a profound decrease in pain until it disappeared which left the priest quite astonious. Having asked Usui for advice from his friend, he advised him to continue meditation. After a few weeks in the monastery and mature reflection, Usui made the decision to start the dissemination of Reiki, having as a starting point the offer of cures to the beggars of the poor neighborhoods of Kyoto thinking that if they were physically recovered, this would allow them to receive a new name in the temple and be reinstated into society in a productive and dignified way.
Thus, he would begin his work with those most marginalized by society and who did not have the resources to pay for their health. He started out as younger and had more abilities and after treating them, he ordered them to get work in the city so that they could evolve their quality of life. He repeated the process with the elders advising them not to make a living again through begging. Having achieved successful results and, in many cases, complete recoveries, Usui proceeded by tapping streets full of the sick and rejected from society.
Usui understands the importance of exchange
However, years later, after the beginning of his volunteer work to heal the most disadvantaged, he began to notice several familiar faces of people he had healed long ago, and the case of a man who had already passed by his hands came to his attention:
– It seems to me that we’ve met – told him Usui.
– I’m sure he answered that one, I was one of your first cases of healing. I got a new name, then I found work and even got married. But I couldn’t face my responsibilities. The life of a beggar is much easier.
Usui found several similar cases and grieved. He finally understood that donating Reiki indistinctly to people who did not value energy and did not take advantage of the precious opportunity that God placed in his hands to rise up and improve their lives, only served to reinforce their bad habits and their lives devoid of hope, willingness to work, evolve and contribute to a better world, preferring, therefore, to give themselves to the idleness and boredom of a life devoid of meaning for themselves.
Mikao Usui understood that, in addition to giving them healing energy, they should also receive the knowledge and practice of the principles of gratitude and responsibility. Desolate, Usui noticed that the effort undertaken for so long of his life, studying, researching, discovering and practicing and giving energy, was not being enough for the people who had received the reiki gift to pursue their lives with greater appreciation and willingness to grow on the various levels of a human being’s life as well as those around him.
It was then, in return for the error made, that Usui instituted an energy exchange so that people would value what they received by understanding that every act received when in return for something would help the energy recipient to value what he received and, thereby, also improve his attitude towards the importance of his health and, consequently, of his life.
The establishment of the 5 Principles of Reiki
It was at this time that Usui established the 5 Principles of Reiki and abandoned his volunteerwork with beggars to devote himself to teaching those who wished to understand how they too could become channels of this energy, healing themselves and others, and spreading the power and word of Reiki. Usui would then teach his disciples how to harmonize their energetic bodies, healing their bodies and harmonizing their minds so that they could lead their lives with greater joy, gratitude and wisdom, increasing their energy and taking responsibility for their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual state.
Usui has been on pilgrimage throughout Japan, inviting everyone to attend his lectures on this healing technique having been decorated by the Emperor of Japan as retribution for the merit achieved in his effort and dedication to the teachings practiced with the ideals of Love and Wisdom.
In 1925, Master Usui conducted a Master’s Course in Reiki, and was formed there one of his most devoted disciples – Dr. Chujiro Hayashi. Before his death, Master Usui left approximately 17 Reiki masters to continue to disseminate the teachings and form new Reiki therapists and masters.
Mikao Usui, married to Sadako Suzuki and with a son and two daughters, died on 9 March 1926 (Tuesday) at the age of 60 abruptly after contracting an illness.