Dr Usui, Dr Hyashi, and Mrs. Takata

As mentioned above these 3 persons play a very vital role in the spreading of Reiki in the western world.

Dr. Mikao Usui
(15th August 1865 - 9th March 1926)

Dr. Mikao Usui discovered the system of accessing Universal Life Energy, at the turn of the century in late 1800 what we today call Reiki (Usui was born in the mid-1800 AD; Reiki was not re-discovered by him until much later). Mikaomi Usui (his pen name was Gyoho) was born in the village of Yago in Gifu (in Taniai-mura (now Miyama-cho) Yamagata-gun Gifu-ken) prefecture in Japan on August 15, 1865; where his ancestors [Tsunetane Chiba (a very famous Samurai from the 8th century)] had lived for eleven generations. There is a symbol appears on the front of the Usui Family tombstone. This is a symbol of Bodhisattva Myoken and Usui/Chiba clan’s family crest. The large circle represents the universe and the small circle is a star - Hokutoshichisei (the Great Bear, the Plow/Plough, and The North Star). In ancient times it was believed the universe moved around the north or pole star. Toshitane Chiba-Usui sensei’s ancestor and famous Samurai warlord captured the city of "Usui" in 1551. When his son succeeded the family after his death, he changed the family name to Usui. Tsutane (Tsunetane) Chiba was the seventh generation in the Chiba family line, and he formed a style of fencing that became known as the Hokushin Itto Ryu Style (North Star Style of the Sword). This style became so famous that it was soon-and still is today-one of the three greatest styles of fencing in Japan and throughout the world. This style has transcended generations, becoming a legend in Japanese history.

His father was Uzaemon Tsunetane (a military commander) and his mother was from the Kawai family. His brothers, Sanya and Kuniji, grew up to become a doctor and a policeman respectively. He also had an older sister called Tsuru. Mikao Usui probably came from a wealthy family as at that time only children from wealthy families could get a good education. His family belonged to the Tendai sect of Esoteric Buddhism. When he was four, he was sent to a Tendai monastery to receive his primary education, where he remained for a period of years. At the age of twelve Mikao Usui started training in a Japanese martial art of Aiki Jutsu, he also trained in a the Japanese tradition of Daito Ryu and after a few years in 1889 he received the highest rank of achievement in grappling and weaponry. During this time he studied Qi Gong [called Ki-Ko in Japan, closely related to Reiki {When studying original Usui Reiki teachings, some of the techniques described are Qi-Gong techniques such as: Tapping Hand, Pushing Hand, and Stroking Hand, taught in Okuden (Second Degree Reiki).}] to a high level and was able to do projection healing. He meditated regularly at Kurama Yama. Temple schools were quite common in that period of time, but disappeared rapidly as the country was modernized. He was a very bright student. He was also a student of different martial arts. His memorial states that he was a talented hard working student, he liked to read and his knowledge of medicine, psychology, fortune telling and theology of religions around the world, including the Kyoten (Buddhist Bible) was vast.

He grew up during a period of time when Japanese society was going (and growing) through dramatic changes. For over two centuries (1600-1868) (before Usui's time) all Europeans and foreigners, except the Dutch, had been expelled - and those who were allowed to remain, did so by being confined to special trading centers in Nagasaki. Christianity was made illegal, and the Japanese were made to register at Shinto temples. Japanese civilians were not allowed to leave the country. Christianity was sublimated. Japan did not open its doors to the West until the 1850's, and the ban on Christianity was not lifted until 1873.

During this time (1860's - 1890's) of moving from a feudal society to an industrialized one, Japan was also looking for spiritual direction for its people. The Meiji Emperor (So-called ‘The Meiji Restoration’) had begun a new regime that overthrew the Shoguns, and Japans feudal states were brought under the direct control of the central government, which was relocated in Tokyo. Under this new regime, some of the "old ideas" were discarded in favor of modernization. But, when it came to Japan's spiritual underpinnings, the population was encouraged to reinvigorate its traditional paths of Shinto and Buddhism by embracing new ideas that could be easily incorporated into them - yet at the same time, holding firm to the core of those traditions. Those Japanese who refused to renounce Christianity were executed, as were a number of European missionaries who refused to leave the country.

Usui was extraordinarily gifted in academics, studying under adversity. Usui pursued higher education and received a doctorate in literature. His studies took him to various countries such as China, Europe and America. Although he is often referred to as "Dr Usui" and he did study medicine, Dr Usui was not actually a medical doctor but a highly intelligent man who had a Doctorate in Theology. He had a very hard life and often lived in poverty. He spoke other languages fluently, and became well versed in western medicine, theology, and philosophy. Like many of the intellectuals of his day, Usui was fascinated by the "new science" coming from the West. There arose frenzy for transforming the modes of daily life into Occidental fashions, which were identified with Western civilization. In every department of social and political life, men furnished with some knowledge of modern science were promoted to high and esteemed positions. His memorial states that "he traveled abroad to China, US and Europe, was a talented, hard working student who liked to read, and his knowledge of medicine, history, psychology, Shinsen Jutsu, and the religions of the world including the Kyoten (Buddhist Bible) were vast". At the age of 27, it is believed that Usui converted to Shingon Buddhism from the Tendai sect.

Usui's father, Uzaemon, was an avid follower of the new regime and adopted progressive political views. Usui had great respect for his father and was very influenced by the excitement in regards to "western ways." He traveled some, and was said to have done study of western medicine and science. In addition, he befriended several Christian missionaries who had learned medicine at Harvard and Yale.

During this time (1868-1912) Japan opened its doors to the outside world after many years of being a closed country. Many reforms were introduced including compulsory education, the revival of conservatism and nationalism (principles adopted from Confucianism and Shintoism) and worship of the emperor. At that time Japan was undergoing far-reaching changes in the field of technology. This was an exciting period in Japan’s history and many changes were occurring throughout society. During the time when Japan was opening its doors further to the West, the first arrivals were the missionaries, both Catholic and Protestant. They set up their operations in three main districts. One was in Yokohama, under the influence of the Rev. John Ballagh. Here they started their medical work and brought with them knowledge of Western medical science. These missionaries became influential leaders and formed the first Japanese Christian church in 1873.

At the same time, Japanese named Neesima had returned from his travels in America where he had been converted to Christianity. In 1876 he founded the Doshi-sha school in the city of Kyoto, a city, which had been the stronghold of Buddhism for many centuries. Doshi-sha became a theological seminary that embraced the slogan "United in Ideal." In the late 1880's, Doshi-sha introduced "liberal theology" and invited Unitarian Missions from America. This institution became a focal point for missionaries to hold seminars and classes on liberal Christian thought.

They were very open to the ideas of Darwinism and scientific views of life. Because of Usui's extensive education in theology and science, coupled with his friendship with certain missionaries; it was likely that Usui attended some of these seminars - perhaps even being asked to speak. However it is clear from his personal notes, that he did not embrace Christianity and was quite skeptical of the doctrine.

In his younger life he experienced much adversity, lack of money, no security or regular employment. He seemed not to attach importance to material things and was regarded as something of an eccentric. Before settling down, during his life Mikao Usui held many different professions such as public servant, office worker, industrialist, reporter, politician's secretary, missionary, government officer, a businessman who eventually went bankrupt (He was a businessman and had varying degrees of success. He did encounter some difficulties, but his strong determination and positive outlook helped him to overcome these difficulties), a journalist, supervisor of convicts. He also worked as a private secretary to a politician Shimpei Goto, who was Secretary of the Railroad, Postmaster General and Secretary of the Interior and State and was part of the entourage of Goto Shinpei who was acting governor for Kodama Gentaro, the Governor of Taiwan (1898-1906). He lived a free man and most likely was never a cloistered monk. Periodically, he would visit the prisons, (perhaps as part of missionary work). Dr Mikao Usui worked as the president of Doshi-sha University. Throughout Usui's early adulthood, he lived in Kyoto with his wife Sadako Suzuki and they had two children, a son Fuji (1907-1946), and a daughter Toshiko (1913-1935). Fuji went on to teach at Tokyo University, and Toshiko lived a short life, dying at the age of 22 in 1935. The entire family's ashes are buried at the grave site at the Saihō-ji Temple in Tokyo.

- At some point in time there was a split in his family, possibly because of his interest in the Christian texts, differing sects of Buddhism and/or esoteric matters. Dr Usui had adopted Christianity wholeheartedly, becoming a minister and then finally Dean of a Christian Seminary. Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese Christian educator (Dean or principal of a Christian seminary) in Kyoto, Japan, rediscovered the root system. He began an extensive twenty-one-year study of the healing phenomena of history's greatest spiritual leaders. At some point Usui became for a while a Tendai Buddhist Monk, or Priest, (maybe what we in the west call a lay priest) but still having his own home, not living in the temple. This is called a 'Zaike' in Japanese: a priest possessing a home. Through his life experiences Usui-Sensei discovered the purpose of life was ‘Anshin Ritsumei’ or "The state of your mind being totally in peace, knowing what to do with your life, bothered by nothing". He desired to attain this state of mind, so he began his search. Usui also took Zen Buddhist training in 1922 for about three years. Many different spiritualist/healing groups were in existence at the time, and he continued his spiritual studies and became involved in a spiritual group named "Rei Jyutsu Kai." This group had a center at the base of the holy mountain, Kurama-yama, north of Kyoto. On the mountain, there is an ancient Buddhist temple, Kurama-dera on the 1,700 ft mountain which has a large statue of Amida Buddha and houses many artifacts that are part of the National Treasure. Built in 770C.E. the temple belonged to the Tendai sect of esoteric Buddhism. By 1945 the temple had evolved into an independent Buddhist sect. For centuries, Kurama Yama has been regarded as a power spot and many famous sages, as well as Emperors, go there to pray. The temple and surrounding areas are kept in their natural state and the mountain itself is the spiritual symbol of Kurama temple. Steps lead down to the base where one can sit to pray and meditate. Nearby is a waterfall that is said to be where Usui himself often came to meditate. It was during this time (around 1900) that Usui fell extremely ill (contracted cholera) as an epidemic swept through Kyoto. He had a profound near-death experience in which he experienced visions of -- and instruction from -- Mahavairocana Buddha, the Great Central Buddha and received direct instructions from him. This was a life changing experience for Usui that caused him to make a major reassessment of his life. He developed a keen interest in the esoteric science of healing as taught by Buddha, and he developed the compassionate wish that he may learn these methods in order to benefit mankind. When he recovered from his near fatal illness, he began to discuss his experiences with his family and family priest. They were outraged at his claims of seeing Enlightened Deities, and the Tendai priest beat him over the head and chased him out of the Temple. Determined to find answers to his questions about his vision, Usui eventually met a Shingon Bonze, who recognized Usui's tremendous spiritual potential and took him on as a student. Usui then became a devout Shingon Buddhist, which outraged his family even more and they removed him from the family ancestry. Usui was seen as a traitor to his family and ancestors. To this day, relatives refuse to speak of him, saying that it is against the will of their ancestors to speak his name. Even his daughter wrote a clause in her will that her father's name should never be spoken in her home.

As Dr. Usui was beginning one of the last Sunday services of the school year, One day during a discussion with some of his pupils, Usui was asked if he believed literally in the Bible. Whether he knew about the healing methods adapted by Jesus Christ to the people and whether he would be able to carry them out. When he replied that he did, his pupils reminded him of the instant healings of Christ. They mentioned that Christ stated, “You will do as I have done, and even grater things” … If this is so, they stated, “why aren’t there many healers in the world today performing the same acts as Christ?” “In addition, he tells the apostles to heal the sick and raise the dead. If this is true” the pupils said “please teach us the methods”.

In traditional Japanese style, he was bound by his honor as Dean, to be able to answer their questions. On that day Dr. Mikao, as the head of the mission, decided to resign and go to a Christian country and study Christianity to find answer to pupils' queries. A seed had been sown.

He began his research and study at the University of Chicago in the theological seminary where he received a doctorate degree in scripture, trying to uncover the secret of how Jesus and his disciples healed the sick. But to his disappointment he could not find a satisfactory explanation in Christian writings. The Chinese scripts also did not satisfy him. Then he came to north India to study holy scripts here. He knew Chinese and English and started learning Sanskrit. Realizing that, that is held in the Buddhist tradition as Buddha had the power to heal; he decided to return to Japan. Upon his return to Japan, Dr. Usui began to visit the Buddhist monasteries searching for someone who had an interest and some knowledge of physical healing. He always received the same answer to his enquiries; “We are too busy with healing the spirit to worry about healing the body.” At long last he found someone who was at least interested in the problem of physical healing, an elderly abbot of Zen monastery. Dr Usui requested that he may be admitted to the monastery so that he could study the Buddhist scriptures, the sutras, in search of key of healing. He was admitted and so began his study. He continued also to study the Japanese Lotus Sutras. He learnt that the Buddha also knew and performed healing deeds. So he returned to Japan and discovered some formulae and symbols in old Buddhist 'sutras' which, he hoped, would throw some light on the mystery.

He visited many Buddhist monasteries and enquired if any records of the Buddha's teachings were available. But he was told that the emphasis there was on the healing of the spirit and no more on body. During his research he came upon a Zen monastery where he was encouraged to study 'sutras' in the Japanese language. Long time elapsed but no results were forthcoming. Then followed the study of Chinese and later of Tibetan 'sutras'. He found a document of the travels of St Isa-perhape Isa was Jesus-in Tibetan scrolls. After his study of Tibetan Lotus ‘sutras’, Usui felt that he had found the answer to the healing method employed by Christ. But he needed empowerment to use it. He studied the Japanese translations of Buddhist scriptures but did not find the explanation he sought. He learnt Chinese so that wider range of Buddhist writings was available to him, still without success. He then decided to learn Sanskrit, the ancient language, so that he could read the original Buddhist writings and have access to those writings that had never been translated into another language. Mikao Usui spent much time and money pursuing his newfound spiritual path by studying and collecting Buddhist scripture. In particular, he studied Buddhist healing techniques, invested heavily in collecting old medical texts and energy disciplines that focused on the use of "Ki." In addition, Usui had good political and academic connections and made many contacts in various countries in his search for texts. For example, in Bombay, India, merchants traveling along the silk route through Tibet to China were given gold to find secret Buddhist healing texts. Usui was particularly interested in obtaining texts from Tibet. Kyoto is the home to many large and extensive Buddhist libraries and monasteries that had collections of ancient texts. So it is quite probable that Usui did some research there. Usui did much of his research there. For many years, Usui continued to collect study and practice these medical texts. He became an advanced practitioner and meditation master. His closest friend, Watanabe Kioshi Itami, the son of his Buddhist teacher, became his most devout student. Over time, Usui became a respected and learned Buddhist teacher with a following of devoted students. They met regularly and Usui would teach from the texts that he had been collecting. The focus of his teachings was on healing and benefiting humankind through healing. They practiced elaborate rituals for averting newly created diseases that were ravaging Japan, as well as esoteric practices for healing every type of illness.

Finally he found what he had been looking for, in the teaching of Buddha that had been written down by some unknown disciple as Buddha spoke. Dr. Usui found the formula, the symbols, the description of how Buddha healed. And so at the end of seven-year search, Dr. Usui had found what he sought, but not quite. For many years Usui continued to study and practice the Buddhist teachings that he had learned. He discovered ancient sounds and symbols that are linked directly to the human body and nervous system which activate the universal life energy for healing. Dr. Usui was a life-long scholar with an endless search for knowledge of medicine, psychology, religion and spirituality.

In 1922, he went on a three-week retreat to the top of Mt. Kurama in Japan. (About the sacred mountain - Kurama Yama: Yama means `mountain` and Kurama means `horse saddle`. Mt. Kurama (570 Meters above sea level) is 12 kilometers due north of Kyoto Imperial Palace. The Kurama Temple, founded in 770 as `the guardian of the northern quarter of the capital city` (Heiankyo), is located halfway up the mountain. The original buildings have been repeatedly destroyed by fire and subsequently rebuilt. The Main Hall was last rebuilt in 1971. The temple formerly belonged to the Tendai sect of Buddhism, but since 1949, it has been included in the newly founded Kurama-Kokyo sect as its headquarters. At the time of Usui’s fast, Kurama Yama was also the location of a spiritualist group called ‘Rei Jyutsu Ka’, which he may have also attended.) He came to a specific spot facing east, and gathered up a pile of 21 stones which would be his calendar. After 20 days of fasting he arrived at the predawn of the 21st day. He prayed for the answer to come. Out of the sky he saw a flicker of light appear. It began to move very rapidly toward him. As it came closer it also got larger. Usui began to get frightened. He felt like getting up and running away. Finally he realized this must be some sort of sign. He had sought so long and hard all of those years – he just couldn’t give up. He girded himself for whatever might come and momentarily the light struck him in the center of his forehead. Usui though he had died. Millions of rainbow colored bubbles appeared before his eyes. Soon they became white glowing bubbles each one containing a three dimensional Sanskrit character in gold. They would appear one by one, just slowly enough for him to register each character. Finally, when it felt complete, Usui was filled with gratitude.

As he had been in a trace like state, he was surprised when he awakened and it was broad daylight. As the story goes, during a meditation on the 21st day, he had a vision of an ancient healing system, and was attuned to be a healer himself. On the way down from the mountain he injured himself and was amazed that he could heal his own injuries with amazing speed. In his excitement to share his experience with the Abbot, Usui began to run down the mountain. He was amazed at how strong and rejuvenated he felt, considering the long fast he had just completed. This was the first “miracle” of the morning. Suddenly, in his haste, he tripped and stubbed his toe. As he instinctively reached down to grab it, he was amazed that in a few short minutes, the bleeding had stopped and it had completely healed – the second miracle of the morning. He soon discovered that he could heal others as well. He continued down the mountain and came to a roadside stand and proceeded to order a full breakfast. As anyone knows, who is acquainted with fasting procedures, it is quite dangerous to break a long fast with a large meal. The proprietor could see by Usui’s monk’s garb, and unkempt beard, that he had been fasting and meditating and encouraged him to instead have some special broth. Usui declined and ordered the full breakfast. The third miracle of the morning occurred when he ate it without indigestion.

As it turned out, the old man’s granddaughter who served Usui was in dire pain. She had a severe toothache and her jaw had been swollen for days. Her grandfather was too poor to take her to a dentist in Kyoto, so when Usui offered to try and help, she gladly accepted. After he put his hands on the sides of her face, the fourth miracle occurred, as the pain and swelling begin to disappear.

Dr Usui then continued on his way back to the monastery. He found the abbot in great pain with a bout of arthritis. While Usui shared his experiences with the monk he laid his hands on the arthritic areas and very quickly, the pain disappeared. The old abbot was truly amazed. Usui sought his advice as to what he should do with this new found ability. He was again encouraged to meditate and finally, after some discussion, he decided to go a Beggar City in the slums and work in the Beggars Quarter of Kyoto to treat beggars and help them lead a better life. He spent 7 years in the slums, treating many illnesses. One day, he noticed that the same old faces kept returning. When he asked why they had not begun a new life he was told that there was too much responsibility and that it was better to go on begging. He prayed to GOD, then some AKASHVANI happened and he got the answers, He said my healing is temporary, it is not lasting forever so that me what to do to last long and forever.

Then GOD said, “who are you to solve anyone’s problem or who are you to change them, I have made them beggars because of there Karmas and why are you interfering in my work, Then Dr Usui requested GOD to give them one chance and give it to everybody so that they can solve there problems and get rid of there Negative Energies / Negative Karmas. GOD granted his wish but said there are TWO LAWS of Energy exchange which a healer must do:

  1. 1) “Reiki” should be requested by the HEALER
  2. 2) “Reiki” should be exchanged by some positive energy by the HEALER. i.e. may in form of daan, money, seva or gift Then the Reiki treatment is considered complete.

He left the beggars Quarter and began to teach throughout Japan. It was also then that the purpose of the symbols he had experienced in his vision became clear. He would use them to attune people so that they could take responsibility for their own well-being.

Dr Usui left the slums and while returning to the monastery as he walked along he was greeted in Spirit by the teachers who had greeted him on Kori-yama. They bestowed upon him understanding of two very important elements: healing of the Spirit and the responsibility of the healer in the healing process. Dr Usui had realized that he had done the reverse of the Buddhists by concentrating on healing the body and not the Spirit. He was at this time given the Spiritual Five Principles of Reiki (the Sanskrit seed syllables became the basis for his subsequent meditation retreat) by the Teachers in Spirit.

Just for Today do not worry, Accept
Just for today, do not anger.
Honor your parents, teachers and elders
Earn your living honestly
Show gratitude to all living things.
He immediately began a clinic in Tokyo, treated many clients, and trained others to be Reiki practitioners. Reiki proved to be a valuable healing art after the devastating earthquake in Kanto in 1923.

Reiki used as a complementary therapy for the treatment of physical, emotional, and mental diseases. His teachings seemed well received by the older generation, as they viewed them as a return to older spiritual practices that they were familiar with. According to the inscription on his memorial stone, Usui taught Reiki to over 2000 people during his lifetime. Usui trained a very small number to the Shinpiden (Master) level. They were 5 Buddhist nuns, 3 naval officers, and 9 other individuals. Toshihiro Eguchi is included among them. It is said that he had been one of Usui's best friends. Later on, Eguchi formed his own spiritual society called Tenohira-Ryouchi-Kenyuka, whose disciples carry out a simple hands-on treatment technique based on the use of intuition. They also have a simple initiation process.

Dr Usui worked hard to spread the word and share this wonderful healing system and was given an award by the Japanese government for meritorious service to others. Usui then underwent a metaphysical experience and became empowered to use these sounds and symbols to heal. He called this form of healing Reiki and taught it throughout Japan until his death. Dr. Mikao Usui passed away on March 9th, 1926 at the age of 62. Usui¹s body was cremated and his ashes were placed in a Saihoji Temple in Suginami-Ku, in Tokyo. Shortly after his death, students from the Reiki society in Tokyo erected a memorial stone at Saihoji Temple in the Toyatama district in Tokyo. According to the inscription on his memorial stone, Usui taught Reiki to over 2,000 people. However, as written in Dr. Usui¹s personal notes, he clearly states that he had taught over 700 students. Perhaps the students who erected his memorial stone mentioned 2,000 to praise Dr. Usui¹s teaching efforts. Many of these students began their own clinics and founded Reiki schools and societies. By the 1940s there were about 40 Reiki schools spread all over Japan. Most of these schools taught the simplified method of Reiki that Usui had developed. Another more secret Reiki Society continued to maintain the esoteric tradition. These practitioners did not bring their work out to the public and upheld a deeply spiritual basis for their work. It is unlikely that many westerners have encountered this faction of the Reiki teachings in Japan.

His students created and erected a large memorial stone next to his grave describing his life and work. Mikao Usui was truly a man ahead of his time. He went against the social norms of his day, which were very sectarian and class oriented. Usui believed that everyone should have access to the Buddhist healing methods, regardless of religious beliefs. He wanted to find a way to offer these powerful methods to the common man, with no need for long, arduous practice. Out of his great compassion and determination, he vowed that he would some day find a way to develop a "synthesis" healing method (or spiritual discipline) that would cure every type of disease and could be taught to anyone, regardless of background, education or religious beliefs.

Usui began to train other teachers and shortly before his death, Usui charged on of his most devoted teachers, Dr Chujiro Hayashi, a retired naval officer, with the responsibility of carrying on the traditions of Reiki. Dr Hayashi founded the first Reiki clinic in Tokyo.

In 1935, Hawaya Takata, a young Japanese-American woman from Hawaii appeared in Hayashi’s clinic. She was very ill with a variety of organic disorders and also lacking energy due to depression over the death of her husband a few years earlier. Having been on the verge of surgery while visiting her parents, she heard the voice of her deceased husband urging her emphatically to avoid the operation. After conferring to the doctor her reservations about the upcoming surgery, he recommended that she try the Reiki clinic. It was there that she began to receive treatments and was finally healed.

The tradition was passed through several grandmasters of Reiki such as Dr. Chujiro Hyashi, Hawayo Takata. There are many forms of Reiki being practiced now. The two principal ones are: "the Usui System of Natural Healing" and "the Radiance Technique."

The Usui System of Natural Healing balances and strengthens the body's energy, promoting its ability to heal itself. Reiki is useful in treating serious illnesses as well as others. Examples are: sports injuries, cuts, burns, internal diseases, emotional disorders, and stress-related illnesses. Reiki was introduced to the Western world in the mid-1970s. Since then its use has spread dramatically worldwide.

Years later, Takata was finally instructed in both First and Second Degree Reiki and began her Reiki practice in the US. In the 1970’s, Mrs. Takata began to train other Masters and at her death in December of 1980, 22 Reiki Masters had been trained.

Dr Chujiro Hayashi
(15 September 1878 – 11 May 1940)

Chujiro Hayashi, the second pillar of the Trinity of Reiki. Dr Hayashi has played 2 important parts in Western Reiki. Number one is that he is probably the originator of the hand position system used here in the West. Number two is that he initiated Mrs. Takata to Reiki Master which brought Reiki to the West. We know Reiki today because Dr. Chujiro Hayashi agreed to teach it to an American woman of Japanese descent. Hawayo Takata’s teachings caused Reiki to spread around the world – and to return to Japan. As interest in Reiki has rekindled in its land of origin, more information has become available regarding Hayashi’s teachings and practice.

Chujiro Hayashi was born in September 15, 1878 in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Hayashi came from a well educated and well to do family. He graduated from the Japan Naval Academy in 1902 as a medical doctor. He married, and he and his wife Chie had two children. He served in the Russo-Japanese War from 1902-1906, achieved the rank of captain; ad in 1918 was appointed Director of Ominato Port Defense Station on the Shimokita Peninsula in the North of Japan.

Rear Admiral Kan’ichi Taketomi was Chief of Staff at the station at the time. Taketomi later become the third chairman of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. It is likely tat Hayashi learned about Reiki from him or from other naval officers, as several had trained with Usui. Hayashi became Shihan (teacher) in 1925 at age 47, after his retirement from the navy. He may have been the last person to receive Shihan from Usui Sensei, since Usui died in 1926. Dr. Chujiro Hayashi a disciple of Mikao Usui played a major role in the transmission of Reiki out of Japan and for turning it into a less mystical practice. Usui Sensei used head positions only, and then treated any problem area on the body. He also gave additional positions for treating specific conditions. It seems that Hayashi may have adopted further hand positions and that these may have been the base for the hand positions used in the western world. These hand positions that cover the whole body gives a better overall flow of energy around and through the body. Hayashi was a naval physician and employed Reiki to treat his patients. Hayashi was one of the first of Usui’s non-Buddhist students. Hayashi was a Methodist Christian, had very strong beliefs, and was not open to the esoteric nature of what Usui was teaching. Usui eventually sent Hayashi on his way. Dr. Hayashi was a totally different-natured man than Dr. Usui. Dr. Hayashi considered that organization was very important. In this spirit, in the interest of organizing Reiki healing and the transmission of Reiki, he founded two clinics: one in Kyoto and one in Tokyo. Usui asked Hayashi to establish a Reiki clinic to further the work of the Gakkai, which Hayashi did, opening a clinic in Shinano-machi, Tokyo and subsequently establishing branches in other cities. After Usui’s death Hayashi left the Gakkai and in 1931, he formed his own Reiki society named the Hayashi Reiki Kenkyukai (institute), which had 8 beds and 16 healers. Practitioners worked in pairs of two to a bed giving treatments to patients. Although he developed his own style, Hayashi continued to honor Usui’s lineage. Certificates were issued under the name of Hayashi Reiki Kenkyukai, but they carry the name Shinshin Kaizen Usui Reiki Ryoho, or Mind / Body Improvement Usui Reiki Ryoho, to signify the Usui Reiki Ryoho was instructed. He was instrumental in organizing the first Reiki manual showing hand positions, symbols, body diagrams and illnesses. He replaced some of the format of Usui’s teachings and created a system of Odegrees’. He also developed a more complex set of hand positions suitable for clinic use.

Hayashi’s clinic employed a method of healing that required several practitioners to work on one client at the same time to maximize the energy flow. Hayashi originally had seven to eight hand positions that covered the upper body only. These positions are based on the Eastern traditional healing methods (such as Chinese Medicine) that the "body" is the head and torso, the limbs are considered "external". When treating these positions, which cover major energy center's (acupuncture points), the energy will flow not only through the body but also to the arms and legs (Using meridians). Therefore it is only necessary to treat the head and torso in order to treat the entire body mind. Hayashi encouraged practitioners to his clinic by offering to give Level 1 empowerments in return for a three-month commitment as unpaid help. At the end of this stint he would offer the more accomplished students the second Level in return for a further nine-month commitment. Those who completed this had the chance of receiving the Master symbol or third degree. After two years further commitment (which involved assisting Hayashi in the classroom), practitioners were taught the empowerments and were allowed to teach. No money exchanged hands in this training ¬ practitioners simply had to work an eight hour shift once a week for the duration of their commitment.

Dr Hayashi compiled his own 40 page manual on how to use the hand positions for certain ailments. This manual may have been give to his students. Hayashi sensei broke away to develop his own modified system of Reiki after Usui’s death and opened his own commercial clinic for paying clients at a small clinic in Tokyo named Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai. Since Dr Hayashi would not have been taught Reiju by Usui Sensei, it seems that attunements were developed by the Imperial Officers as a ‘constructed’ ritual that gave them the same sort of experience that they had when receiving empowerments from Usui Sensei. Certainly the ritual that was taught to Tatsumi by Dr Hayashi is not Usui's Reiju, and neither is the ritual being used by Mrs. Yamaguchi, another of Dr Hayashi's Master students.

A 1928 article published in a widely circulated Japanese magazine characterized Hayashi as “…a diligent warm-hearted naval captain who looks as if he was born to be a Reiki practitioner……” The author, Mr. Shou Matsui, an actor and play-writer who had introduced a number of his fellow actors to Reiki, lamented the fact that Usui had not wished to publicize Reiki and that Hayashi was also unwilling to make his work known. Mr. Matsui was so convinced of its effectiveness he wanted everyone to know about Reiki. In 1935, desperately ill, Mrs. Takata, a woman of Japanese birth, yet who had lived in America, returned to die in the land of her ancestors. The woman, who became a young widow, suffered from a brain tumor, as well as serious depression, and, because of a heart condition, surgery was not possible. An American hospital employee had contacts with the Reiki Clinic in Japan. This employee suggested Mrs. Takata to treat herself there.

With the help of the Reiki treatments, her heart condition was cured, and her brain tumor disappeared. This strongly impressed her, and she decided that she would acquire this healing skill. However, Dr. Hayashi refused her, saying that Reiki was only for the Japanese and she was an American citizen.

But Mrs. Takata did not give up, and went to Dr. Hayashi to insist on how important Reiki was for her. Dr. Hayashi asked her what she was willing to sacrifice to learn Reiki, and she answered: everything, even all that that meant security in the world for her; that she was determined to stay in Japan as long as was necessary to learn Reiki. Dr. Hayashi, on hearing this, began to teach Mrs. Takata. The moment came when Dr. Hayashi made sure that Mrs. Takata’s training had been completed, and had realized that Reiki was also needed outside of Japan. Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii to help and heal people.

In 1937 Hayashi traveled to Hawaii with his daughter and stayed for several months, hosted by Takata. He gave free lectures about Reiki with Takata demonstrating. Before he left Hawaii in February of 1938, he awarded her a Shihan certificate. After he returned home, the Japanese naval authority asked him to give information about Hawaii, and when he failed to cooperate, he was accused of being a spy. Finding himself in an untenable position, Hayashi sensei was a man of peace, he felt that he could not participate in World War II; he chose to end his life honorably through the ritual of seppuku (suicide through disembowelment). He died at age of 62 on May 11, 1940.

Before his death, Hayashi sensei attuned ad initiated 17 Shinpiden Masters, (Shinpiden translated means the mystery/secret teachings, equivalent to Reiki Master Teacher Level), including his wife Chie Hayashi and Hawayo Takata who brought Reiki to the West. Hayashi’s wife Chie took over the clinic after his death. She traveled to the various branches and taught Reiki as he had. Neither of their two children followed in their parents’ footsteps, and the Hayashi institute died out after Chie stopped teaching. In 1952 Takata attended one of the yearly memorial services held to honor Hayashi. It is said that during that visit, Chie Hayashi suggested that Takata return to Japan and take over the Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai, but first Mrs. Takata declined. Later Dr. Hayashi appeared to Mrs. Takata in a dream asking her to come to Japan. Besides, He chose Mrs. Takata because she was a Japanese Hawaiian and she had American citizenship. She did this and found Dr. Hayashi having his Naval Uniform out of storage and fretful. With the coming war he knew it was a matter of time before the Navy would call him out of retirement and he would be asked to perform actions he was not capable of doing due to his spiritual development. He gathered all the Reiki Masters to announced Mrs. Takata to be the leader of Reiki.

Mrs. Takata, who was responsible for bringing Reiki to America in the 1970s, It should be stressed that the actual content of the Reiki system known in the west today is but a fragment of Usui’s actual Reiki system. Usui taught a simplified form of Reiki to Hayashi and in turn, Hayashi introduced new elements and structures to the Reiki system. Mrs. Takata further changed and added material to the system, so that when Reiki finally came to the West, the Usui system had altered quite significantly and bore little resemblance to its original roots. If we can characterize Dr. Usui as the Spirit of Reiki, Dr. Hayashi may be seen as the Science, and Mrs. Takata then becomes the Bridge between them.

Mrs. Hiromi Hawayo Takata
(24th December 1900 - 11th December 1980)

Hawayo Hiromi Takata a Japanese-American born in December 24, 1900 in Hanamaulu, Territory of Hawaii, introduced Reiki to the Western World. As a Nisei fluent in the language and culture of both Japan and the United States, she was well-suited for this task and her contributions in this area are widely acknowledged. Takata, however, remains a source of controversy in the Reiki community for her efforts to maintain the practice as a sort of under her leadership.

The daughter of Japanese-born parents, Takata grew up on the island of Kauai where her father worked in the sugar cane fields. She left school after second or third grade and went to work in the plantation house. She was given increased duties as she grew older and was eventually was put in charge of the other household staff. Once out of school she was offered a servants job at a large and wealthy plantation owner’s house. She lived at the plantation for the next twenty-four years becoming a housekeeper and then bookkeeper, a position of great responsibility. She met and married the plantation’s accountant Saichi Takata in 10 March 1917 and they had a happy marriage with two daughters.

In October 1930 her husband died of a heart attack at age thirty-four in Tokyo where he had gone for lung cancer treatment and she was widowed at the age of 32. Over the next few years, widowed and with two small children to rise, she developed nervous exhaustion and severe physical problems. After five years she developed severe abdominal pain as well as a lung condition and had a nervous breakdown. Soon after this, one of her sisters died and it was Hawayo’s responsibility to travel to Japan where her parents had moved to deliver the news. She also felt she could receive help for her health in Japan. After informing her parents of her sister’s death, she went to the hospital where it was found that she had a tumor, gallstones, and emphysema. She was also diagnosed with gall bladder disease that required surgery but had a respiratory condition with breathing difficulties that made the use of anesthetics dangerous for her. Her health deteriorated and she was told that without surgery she would not live, but that surgery might also cause her death. Madam Takata took the news to her parents who had returned to live in Tokyo and leaving her two children with them, entered the Medical Hospital in Akasaka.

She rested in hospital for several weeks and then was scheduled for surgery. By this time she was also diagnosed with appendicitis and a tumor as well as gallstones. The night before the surgery she heard a voice saying “the operation is not necessary”, this voice was said to be the voice of her husband and she heard the same voice say to her on the operating table the next day while being prepared for the anesthetics. She asked the surgeon if there was another way by which she could be healed. The doctor told her of Dr Hayashi’s Reiki Clinic and was given the address of the clinic run by Chujiro Hayashi, later described by Takata as Reiki's "Grand Master". The surgeon’s sister who had been healed by Hayashi’s healers and had taken Reiki training took her there that day.

Under Hayashi's care:
Mrs. Takata received daily treatments and got progressively better. Madam Takata lived at the clinic and was completely healed in body mind and spirit in four months. She asked to be trained in Reiki but at first she was refused. Hayashi did not want the practice of Reiki healing to leave Japan at that time. However, it was explained that Reiki was Japanese and that it was intended to stay in Japan. It could not be taught to an outsider. Mrs. Takata talked to the surgeon at the hospital and convinced him to ask Dr. Hayashi to allow her to learn Reiki. Since Dr. Hayashi wanted to teach Reiki to another woman besides his wife, and since Mrs. Takata was so persistent, he decided that she should be the one. 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. She had lived in Japan for two years. In 1937, Takata returned to Hawaii in good health to set up what soon became a very successful Reiki practice. Madame Takata opened her first Reiki clinic in Kapaa, Hawaii and was very successful in her work. In 1938, Takata became the thirteenth and last Reiki Master initiated by Hayashi. In 1938 Dr Hayashi visited Takata in Hawaii and they lectured and toured together through Hawaii. She received her Reiki 111 training and he announced her as a Master/Teacher and also as his successor. He insisted that she not give the training away without charge. He also told her that when he summoned her, she was to come to him in Japan immediately. In 1939 she opened her second healing centre in Hilo. In 1941 Madam Takata awoke one morning to a vision of Dr Hayashi standing at the foot of her bed. She knew this was the summons and took the next available boat to Tokyo. When Madam Takata arrived at the Reiki Clinic, Chujiro Hayashi, his wife and other Japanese Reiki Masters were present. Being a gifted spiritual and clairvoyant man he told them of his vision of a great war that was coming and that all involved with Reiki would perish and the clinic would be closed. He feared that Reiki would be totally lost to the world again and therefore had made Madam Takata, a foreigner, his successor. He also told them that as a Naval Reserve Officer he would be drafted, and that as a healer and medic he would not take life. Consequently In May 1941 in the presence of his students, Chujiro Hayashi stopped his own heart by psychic means and died. The Great War he predicted was World War II and Reiki was indeed no longer available in Japan. The clinic was taken over by the Occupation and his wife was no longer able to operate it as a healing centre. Madam Takata was the means by which Reiki continued. She had brought it first to Hawaii, then to mainland United States and finally to Canada and Europe. She returned to Hawaii and taught Reiki for the next thirty years.

Takata returned to Tokyo in 1940, as World War II was imminent. During this time, Mrs. Takata in Hawaii had a vivid dream that caused her concern. She knew she must go to Japan and be with Dr. Hayashi. When she arrived, Dr. Hayashi told her many things that the war was coming, who would win, what she must do and where she must go to avoid trouble herself, as she was Japanese-American living in Hawaii. All these things he foresaw and passed on to her for her protection and for the protection of Reiki. When all of his business was taken care of, he called his family together along with the Reiki Masters. Giving them his final words and recognizing Mrs. Takata as his successor in Reiki. Sitting in the formal Japanese manner and dressed in his formal Japanese clothing he closed his eyes and left his body.

There, by Takata's account, Hayashi announced that she would be his successor as Grand Master. Hayashi, a reserve officer in the Japanese Navy, was called to active military duty. As a Buddhist and pacifist, Hayashi performed seppuku rather than participate in the bloodshed of war. Until 1970, Takata taught only the first and second level of Reiki instruction. Although she trained scores of people to be Reiki practitioners, Takata did not create any Reiki masters. Her diary indicates that she did not teach energy healing utilizing the system of energy centers known as chakras. Takata says she did not know anything of the chakra system elaborated in the Hindu Vedas and considered the keystone of the yogic spiritual tradition of spiritual enlightenment in India. Instead, Takata focused on the Three Diamonds, the centers of chi or Ki that are emphasized in Chinese and Japanese martial arts practices. These Three Diamonds are located in the forehead, the heart, and thehara center, located two fingers width below the navel.

She was a powerful healer, and attributed her success to the fact she did so much Reiki on each client. People say she looked much younger than her years. It is said that at the age of 80 years she never looked more than 60 years. She would often do multiple treatments, each sometime lasting hours, and she often initiated members of the client’s family so they could give Reiki to the client as well. Between 1970 and her death in 11 December, 1980, Takata taught the third level of Reiki instruction and initiated twenty-two Reiki Masters. She lived to be 80 years old. She trained hundreds of people and in the last ten years of her life from 1970 – 1980, she initiated twenty-two Reiki Masters. She charged $10,000 U.S. for this training and has been criticized for making Reiki mastery an elite club for the wealthy. Takata stated that people should be willing to pay as much as a house for this attunement, and set the fee based on how much it cost her to buy her own house. She saw this as an appropriate "exchange of energy" and cited a tale she said was told to her by Hayashi, the point of which was that for those who had not paid for their healing, they had no incentive to stay well.

One source says:
Her legacy may be mixed. Certainly those in the Western world who have had the blessing of Reiki in their lives are grateful to Mrs. Takata for bringing Reiki to our society, a society which often fails to understand let alone practice the meaning of honor and sacredness, in its fast paced, money focused world. Yet ...Independent researchers traveling in Japan in the past 10 years have discovered that it is quite unlikely Dr. Usui ever designated a successor or even claimed the title of Grand Master himself, of course this cannot be proven outright, as Usui can no longer be asked personally. Apparently he did initiate several Reiki Masters, of which Chujiro Hayashi was one, but they were all equals. None was of a higher rank than others. Dr. Usui did set up an organization to carry on the work of Reiki but he did not set up a Grand Master system.

As the American people were not in favor of anything Japanese, Also, while nowadays people are exposed continually to magazine articles about Feng Shui, tai chi and other energy cultivation techniques, ideas of traditional Chinese medicine, meridians, chi and the like, and alternative medicine in general, at that time in the United States these ideas must have seemed to have come from another planet. Mrs. Takata was trying to transmit her whole culture and a totally alien one as far as her students were concerned. For this reason, Hawayo Takata was obliged to modify, simplify and change the Reiki that she had been taught by Chujiro Hayashi, in order for it to be acceptable to the Westerners that she dealt with, and the Reiki that she had been taught by Dr Hayashi had already been modified by him after he had been taught by Mikao Usui. Not only did Mrs. Takata modify the practices of Reiki, but she also felt obliged to put together a story about the history of Reiki to make it more acceptable to a hostile American public. Out went Mikao Usui, Tendai Buddhist, and in came Dr Mikao Usui, Christian theologian, who traveled the world on a great quest to discover a healing system that explained the healing miracles that Jesus performed. Mrs. Takata’s upbringing in Hawaii was one where it was traditional to tell stories or parables to convey important principles or truths, and she applied this tradition to Reiki; perhaps she should have realized that such stories would have been taken to be historically accurate by her Western students. Stories about Usui being a Christian Doctor, going on a world-wide quest, and studying theology at various Universities along they way, are not true. Despite this, they are repeated in Reiki books, even ones that have been published recently.

Hawayo Takata adapted the Reiki Principles to the West. She modified the practices of Reiki, and also put together a devised story about the history of Reiki. Takata's insistence that there was a single leader among practitioners of Reiki (this may have been discussed with her teacher, Chujiro Hayashi, when she was given the Shinpiden attunement and Hayashi visited Hawaii) and her failure to name a successor, has been some focus of discord within the Reiki community for decades and may have led to the development of traditional and non-traditional factions. However human nature being what it is, it is also possible that Takata, in insisting herself as single leader was simply trying to contain the tradition of what she was taught herself, in the western (mind) world.

As well as putting together a Reiki 'history', Mrs Takata ended up being referred to as 'Grand Master' of Reiki, to make a distinction between herself and the Masters that she taught. This is an office, position or title that was not envisioned by Mikao Usui. Reiki is not based on the idea of gurus or great masters to whom one has to pay homage. Unfortunately, some people in the Reiki community are greatly wedded to the idea of 'The Office of Grand Master' and what I see as the narrow and dogmatic view of Reiki that is approved by the current incumbent, Mrs Takata's grand-daughter, Phyllis Lei Furumoto.

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. George Araki, Barbara McCullough, Beth Grey, Ursula Baylow, Paul Mitchell, Iris Ishikura, Fran Brown, Barbara Weber, Ray Ethel Lombardi, Wanja Twan, Virginia Samdahl, Phyllis Lei Furumoto, Dorothy Baba, Mary McFaden, John Gray, Rick Bockner, Bethel Phaigh, Harry Kuboi, Patricia Ewing, Shinobu Saito, Kay Yamashita (Takata's Sister), Barbara Brown The original twenty-two teachers have passed on the Reiki tradition, and Reiki has spread throughout North and South America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia to many parts of the world. It is almost impossible to estimate the number of Reiki Masters and practitioners in the world, but it must run into tens of thousands, and maybe millions, respectively. The original 22 master-teachers have also taught others. In the years since Mrs. Takata experienced transition, Reiki has spread rapidly in the West. It is now practiced throughout North and South America, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and other parts of the world. There are now over 100,000 Reiki Masters with as many as 3,000,000 people having been initiated into Reiki throughout the world.

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