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Dr. Mikao Usui-Grand Master

The origins of Reiki can be found in ancient Tibet thousands of years ago. This knowledge of how to activate a high order of universal life energy can be traced from Tibet through India.  From India, this knowledge spread into Egypt, Ephesus, Greece and Rome in the West and into China and, eventually, Japan in approximately the mid-1800's by a Christian Japanese theologian, Dr. Mikao Usui.

The legend of Dr. Usui was retold by Hawayo Takata, it should be noted that Mrs. Takata had never met Dr. Usui since he had died many years before her trip to Japan and introduction to Reiki.  At best, it is a third or fourth-hand account containing facts, no doubt dramatically highlighted.

The Legend of Dr. Mikao Usui
As told by Reiki Master Hawayo Takata, taped in
August, 1979.  Transcribed by Reiki Master Mary Ann Michael and edited by Reiki Master Dr. Barbara Weber Ray.  This excerpt is taken from The Official Reiki Handbook, published by the American-International Reiki Assoc., Inc.

*  Indicates Editor's note.
"  Indicates Hawayo Takata's words unedited

Dr. Usui's dates:  Approximately the mid 1800's to early 1900's.

Dr.Usui was the principal of a Christian seminary in Kyoto, Japan.  One Sunday morning, he was questioned very carefully by some graduating seniors as to why they had not been taught how to heal as a part of their missionary training.  Having no answers for these questions, Dr. Usui made a decision to resign his position, travel to America, and seek additional knowledge.

Returning to Japan, he continued studying and searching for deeper knowledge about the mysteries of life and the use of healing energies.  Through the years, Dr. Usui mastered the art of Japanese and Chinese character writing as well as the ancient language of Sanskrit.*

After long years of studying and researching, it was in the sutras written in Sanskrit that Dr. Usui discovered keys to activating and directing universal life energy for healing and wholeness.  The keys were in the form of a formula-just as plain as mathematics.  Nothing difficult but very simple, like 2+2=4.

Although Dr. Usui had found keys to activate a higher degree of universal life energy, he also wanted to attain this higher level of contact.  He conferred with the head of the monastery in Kyoto where he was staying.  It was decided that Dr. Usui would go through a test to validate and attain this power.

The next morning he left for Mount Kuriyama, about seventeen miles from Kyoto.  Upon this mountain he would meditate and fast for 21 days.  In order to keep a calendar of the days, he gathered up 21 stones.  Each morning he tossed away one stone.  During these days, Dr. Usui also read the sutras, chanted and meditated.  Nothing unusual happened.

Then, the last day arrived.  "Before sunrise was the darkest...He finished his meditation, opened his eyes and looked into the dark sky... Then, he saw a flicker of light and  said, "It is happening.
   And the light began to move very fast  
 toward him."  He realized that his test had come.  He watched as the light grew larger and came nearer to him.  "He saw the light strike in the center of his forehead...he had the sense of dying.. he had no feeling... he saw millions and millions of bubbles with all the colors of the rainbow."  He remembered especially the brilliant shade of blue and lavender and the warmth of the rose color.

"Then, last of all, he saw a great white light and, then, like a screen right in front of him...he saw the Sanskrit he had studied...in golden letters (the words) radiated out in front of him...and he said, "Yes, I remember."

It is not known how long this entire process lasted; however, sometime later Dr. Usui gradually returned to normal consciousness - the day had dawned fully!

Filled with inspiration and excitement he jumped to his feet and prepared to go down the mountain.  He realized that he was filled with strength and could walk the distance back to Kyoto.  This was the first miracle.  "He dusted off all the pine needles and dirt...picked up his cane and straw hat and went down the mountain."  In his rush, he stubbed his toe.
Sitting down, he held his injured toe with his hands.  "He felt pulsating energy...but he kept on holding it... the pain began to diminish and the bleeding stopped.  This was the second miracle.

Later, beginning to feel hungry, he looked for a Japanese style snack bar.  "There was a bench with a red blanket means "welcome," please sit, there is a snack bar close by."

The old gentleman who owned the snack bar warned Dr. Usui not  to eat much food after so long a fast..."he said,"according to your bearded face, it shows that you have been up (up on the mountain) there three weeks"." But, Dr. Usui ordered a full Japanese breakfast anyway!

While waiting for the food, the old man's granddaughter came out with some tea for Dr. Usui.  "Her face was swollen, and she had a big towel tied up over her head like rabbit ears!"  She told Dr. Usui that her tooth had been aching for days but her grandfather could not take her into Kyoto to the dentist- it was too far and he was too poor.  Then, Dr. Usui put his hands on the sides oof her swollen face.  "The girl began to blink her eyes...she removed the towel, ran to her grandfather and said, "he is no ordinary monk."  This was the third miracle!  Then Dr. Usui ate a full Japanese breakfast without suffering any indigestion.  This was the fourth miracle.

Dr. Usui returned to the monastery by evening and shared his discoveries, experiences and knowledge with the Head of the Monastery who was suffering severely from arthritis.  Dr. Usui put his hands directly onto the afflicted areas while they were talking.  After a few minutes, the old man exclaimed that his pain had stopped and he was filled with energy.

In the following days after much discussion and meditating, it was decided that Dr. Usui would go into the Beggar City of Kyoto to help heal the beggars so that they could have new names and begin new lives.  He called this process of healing Reiki, a Japanese word meaning universal life force energy.

Dressed as a beggar so that he could gain acceptance in Beggar City, Dr. Usui walked into a new cycle of his life which lasted approximately seven years.  He treated and healed the sick for many years.

"Then, one evening, at twilight, he found himself at leisure.  So he walked around the compound."  He began to notice that he was seeing some of the very same people that he had healed.  He was puzzled.  He asked why they had not gone out of the slums and started new lives.  They explained to him that it was just too hard to work for a living - it was easier to remain beggars.  Now Dr. Usui "received the greatest shock of his life...he just threw himself to the ground."  He felt that he had failed in his work - that he had forgotten to teach them gratitude.

He remained in depression for several days.  The five Reiki principles were formulated at this time.  He realized that if  "he had taught them this spiritual side of it first, and then healed the body, he would have been a success."  Soon he left Beggar City.

Dr. Usui returned to Kyoto.  The next day he went to a big mall, lit a large torch and began walking up and down.  Many people passed by him laughing at this strange sight.  Finally, one young man approached Dr. Usui asking, "Why do you need such a torch on a beautiful, sunny day?  It is easy to see today.  "Dr. Usui agreed, then added, "that he was searching for people who wanted to see the real light - for people who are ill and depressed and wanted to  be relieved of these miseries."  He announced that he would give a lecture that evening for those who wanted to hear about Reiki.

Thus began Dr. Usui's life of traveling, lecturing and teaching Reiki.  Before the end of his life, Dr. Usui had taught Reiki to many people and had shared the inner knowledge of Reiki with several close and advanced students.  One of these men was Dr. Jujiro Hyashi who continued the Reiki tradition intact never changing the keys in any way.

A member of the Japanese aristocracy, Dr. Hyashi had won his private Reiki clinic in Tokyo until 1940.