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History of Mikao Usui

Reiki was practically lost altogether until it was rediscovered by Dr Mikaomi Usui, in Japan, towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Mikaomi Gyoho Usui (commonly known as Mikao Usui) was born on 15 August 1864 in a village called Yago, in the Yamagata district of Gifu in southern Japan. The son of Uzaemon, secretary to the mayor of Tokyo, Usui had a doctorate in literature, spoke many languages and had a deep interest in medicine, theology and philosophy.

After surviving a bout with cholera around 1890, Mikao Usui got involved with a group named Rei Jyutsu Ka, based at the foot of Mt Kurama Yama. Insatiably hungry for knowledge, he spent much of his time in Kyoto's libraries and monasteries studying ancient Buddhist medical texts.

At the turn of the century, he accidentally discovered an ancient Buddhist manuscript (entitled The Tantra of the Lightning Flash) that revealed precisely such a technique. This system had been handed down from the time of Gautama Buddha, and practised in Tibet in the 7th century.

Mikao Usui took his new-found treasure to Mt Kurama Yama to contemplate and understand it fully. During this retreat he received images and empowerments directly from the Reiki healing energy itself. He spent the next several years studying and refining his discoveries, and gathering them into a method that could be taught to the masses. This is how Reiki healing was re-born.

In April 1921 he opened a clinic called Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkei (Usui Reiki Healing Method Society) in Tokyo. The following year he founded a Reiki Society, Usui Shiki Reiki Kenkyukai, which exists to this day. To make Reiki more effective, Usui incorporated five principles propagated by the emperor of Meiji, whom he held in high esteem.

Dr Mikao Usui healed and brought relief to as many as he could through his clinic, but soon found that his present clinic could not handle all those seeking help. He opened another clinic in Nakano, outside Tokyo, and invitations started pouring in from all over Japan. He busy schedule over the next few years took its toll on his own health: while in Fukuyama on 9 March 1926, honouring an invitation, Usui had a heart attack and left for his heavenly abode.

Usui's son and daughter were not interested in committing their lives to Reiki healing, so Usui had to choose a successor from among his students. He entrusted the job of leading other teachers and spreading Reiki to two of his students, Toshihiro Eguchi and Dr Chujiro Hayashi. Hayashi had a son and daughter with other professional plans, so he chose Hawayo Takata as his successor before he left this world of form.

After the Second World War, Takata was the sole thread through which Reiki healing continued and flourished: over the next four decades she trained hundreds of people and took Reiki to the United States, Canada and Europe. She named Phyllis Lei Furumoto, her granddaughter, her successor along with a woman named Barbara Weber Ray. After almost a year of working together, Barbara and Furumoto parted ways, and the Reiki movement split in two directions. Both movements are still based in the U.S. today.

This is an edited extract from Transform Your Life with Reiki by Anil Bhatnagar and it is available in the Soothingminds online shop and costs £12.99.

Anil Bhatnagar is a corporate trainer, motivational speaker, career and personal growth coach, author of four books, and a Reiki teacher. He also writes for Life Positive, Training and Management in India and also for Personal Excellence and Executive Excellencethe two magazines brought out by Stephen Coveys Covey Leadership Center, USA. He can be contacted at 91-120-2773384 or visit his web site at www.anilbhatnagar.com