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The Origins of Reiki


The Five Principles of Reiki

Just for today, do not worry

Just for today, do not anger

Honor your parents, teachers, elders

Earn your living honestly

Show gratitude to every living thing

—Taught to every Reiki practitioner

There are different versions of how the Usui Reiki movement evolved. It started by Dr. Mikao Asui, who, in the late 18th Century, reintroduced the ancient healing concept of Reiki in Japan. Reiki is part of an ancient Tibetan Buddhist practice that stresses empowerment. Asui, seeking spiritual fulfillment, was meditating on Mt. Kurama in Japan when he received some type of power. He pinpointed that power as Reiki.

According to the International Center for Reiki Training, there is much speculation regarding ancient forms of Reiki's use. One concept of Reiki's ancient origins that the International Center for Reiki Training in Southfield, MI cites is called Medicine Buddha, a Tibetan Buddhist hands-on technique.

Like Reiki, Medicine Buddha is transmitted through a teacher who has received a similar form of attunement that Reiki requires. It is likely that Dr. Usui found a long-lost Tibetan technique when he received his first Reiki on Mt. Kurama.

According to spiritual tradition, if a teacher fails to pass on such a spiritual method, that teaching stops. Dr. Usui could have resurrected the original teachings of Reiki when he went to the mountains seeking spiritual growth.

Usui eventually trained Chujiro Hayashi, a retired Japanese naval officer, in the mid-1920s. Hayashi then passed on his knowledge to a Japanese Hawaiian named Hawayo Tokata, according to Reiki the Healing Touch, by William Rand.

Tokata introduced the Usui Reiki system into the western world. Tokata was born in Hawaii, but a series of various illnesses led her to travel to Japan to seek out answers to her health problems.

Rand says it was in Japan that Tokata benefited from Reiki treatments and trained under Hayashi. Tokata returned to Hawaii in the 1930s, and she eventually passed her knowledge of Reiki onto 22 disciples before she died.

Through the teachings of those 22 disciples, who passed their knowledge along to others, the benefits of Reiki have spread. Rand estimates that today there are one million Reiki practitioners worldwide, and 50,000 masters.


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