What is Reiki?
Reiki (pronounced Ray-Ki) is a Japanese word, which refers to the active "life force" of the universe.
Reiki practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing through which a “Universal energy” is transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient in order to encourage emotional or physical healing.
For a long time it has been acknowledged by many eastern and ethnic cultures, that the universe is not just empty space, but that it is filled with a dynamic, conscious energy. Names given to this energy include "Chi" in China, "Ki" in Japan, and "Prana" in India and Tibet. Nearly every known culture has healing traditions and practices based on this life force; and it is clear that there is only one energy, known by different names.
Throughout history, there have been individuals who have had the ability to channel extra amounts of this energy through their hands to those in need. Often these people were known as spiritual healers, who claimed that it was not they who healed, but the result of the healing life force that flowed through their hands.
Until recently, it appeared that only those born with this particular gift were able to convey this energy to any degree. However, in the early 1900's, a Japanese man named Mikao Usui, was inspired to find a way to work with this healing energy. Through extensive travels and a series of events, he discovered how to do that.
He applied these practices to his patients with great success, and taught other committed people to do the same.
The word "Reiki" is now commonly used to refer to Mikao Usui's System of Reiki Healing, by the channelling of the Universal Life Energy through the hands. Reiki helps to heal mind, body and spirit, by accelerating the body's own ability to heal itself physically, and by opening the mind to the emotional and mental causes of disease and pain.
History of Reiki
Reiki (霊気) was developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. He used Reiki as a form of spiritual practice and today it is continued to be used as a complementary therapy for the treatment of physical, emotional and mental diseases. Usui was known to have taught Reiki to over 2000 people during his lifetime. Sixteen of these students continued their training to reach the Shinpiden level, a level equivalent to the Master level. Usui died on 9 March 1926 of a stroke.
During the early 1920s, Usui did a 21-day practice on Mount Kurama-yama called discipline of prayer and fasting, according to translator Hyakuten Inamoto. Common belief dictates that it was during these 21 days that Usui developed Reiki. As Mount Hiei is the main Tendai complex in Japan, and is very close to Kyoto, it has been surmised that Usui would also have practiced there if he had been a lay priest. This teaching included self-discipline, fasting and prayer.
It is believed that the aim of Usui's teachings was to provide a method for students to achieve connection with the Universal Life Force energy that would help them in their self-development. What sets Usui's teachings apart from other hands-on healing methods is his use of reiju or attunement to remind students of their spiritual connection. It seems that all students of Usui received five principles to live by and those with a further interest in the teachings became dedicated students. There does not appear to have been a distinction between clients and students in the beginning though this may have changed at some point. People began coming to Usui Mikao possibly for different purposes – some for healing and others for the spiritual teachings.
Chujiro Hayashi (林 忠次郎, Hayashi Chūjirō, 15 September 1880 – 11 May 1940), 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.
Hayashi was a naval physician and employed Reiki to treat his patients. He began studying with Usui in 1925. He made his branch, Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai in Tokyo, Shinano-machi while his master Usui was still alive, and has kept the way of Usui's teaching.
Hayashi initiated and trained Hawayo Takata and helped her bring Reiki to Hawaii. As some of the popular history of Reiki consists of Takata's alleged fabrications, Hayashi is often considered to be Usui's chief disciple and the second Grand Master of Reiki history.
Hawayo Hiromi Takata
Hawayo Hiromi Takata (December 24, 1900 - December 11, 1980), a Japanese-American born in Hanamaulu, Territory of Hawaii, who helped introduce the spiritual practice of Reiki to the Western World.
Takata was trained in Reiki by Dr Chujiro Hayashi in Tokyo, Japan and became a Master Practitioner by 1940. Identification of training lineage is common amongst Reiki practitioners. Within the tradition, she is sometimes known as, Reiki Grand Master Teacher Hawayo Takata