The legends and reality
The early years
Mikao Usui (born in 15th of August, 1865 in the Japanese village of Taniai) first received and then structured Reiki as a healing method.
When he was young, Usui studied Kiko, the Qi Gong Japanese version. Since then, he become to wonder if there would be a method to heal without accumulating energy internally, special breading and positions. All this was destined to activate energy but at an enormous exhaustive cost. As we know, he only received that answer from Heaven, later on, in his adult life.
As an adult, he travelled and lived in other Eastern Countries and travelled west, to some European countries. With a gigantic thirst for knowledge, Usui studied several subjects, like medicine and other areas connected to spiritual growth and development. He was even part of a metaphysical group (Rei Jyutu Ka) because, at the time, he had already a precise psychic ability.
A complete education shaped him to professional success. He worked as a Public Servant, first as Shinpei Goto and then directing Tokyo Health and Social Security Department. The culmination of this path was reached when he became Tokyo’s Mayer. Through his career he met important people that, later on, decided to enter the business area. Unfortunately, in 1914, his business failed and he decided to become a Buddhist Monk.
In March 1922, Mikao Usui returned to Kurama Hill where he previously learned Kiko and started a 21-day retreat, with fasting, chanting, praying and meditation. The meditation was targeted to open up the Crown Chakra and consisted in standing near a small artificial waterfall.
Near the end of this retreat Usui received Reiki in an intense enlightenment experience (Satori): the energy penetrated and evolved him as an initiation, expanding his mind.
He immediately understood what he just had received and hoped to receive his all life: the power to heal others without suffering physically or mentally in that process.
Usui started to use Reiki as a self-healing process, then to heal closed relatives. In April, he moved to Tokyo where he founded the “Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai”, that means Usui Reiki Healing Association, that still exists today as a clinic.
At the same time, he started teaching Reiki, dividing this training in six degrees, where the first is called the sixth degree and so on.
The first four degrees were called Shoden or initiation levels (Tataka compressed them into a unique level I); the fifth was called Okudenou Interior Teaching and was divided into Okuden Zenki (1st half) and Okuden Koko (2nd half).
The master degree was called Shinpiden, meaning Teaching the Mysteries. Remember that Usui did not use the Master title and only Tataka started using it, when teaching Reiki in the 70’s. This title used to (and still does) confuse people in western countries, since it has a subliminal enlightenment notion that is literally wrong, because unlike Usui who is the only case, the next Reiki teachers received this ability from another, so called, “master” e never directly from the “Source”.
Test of fire
Mikao Usui passed his big “test of fire” in 1923, when one of the most devastating earthquakes hit Japan. Usui and his disciples had the unfortunate occasion to physically and psychologically heal thousands of people, with Reiki. More than 140 000 people died due to that earthquake.
In 1925, Usui opened a bigger clinic and travelled across Japan to pass on Reiki to as most people as he could. Some say that he taught more than 2000 people and trained 16 Masters. His generous concern was to take Reiki to as much people possible and spread it over the Planet. He could never imagine that such a big blessing would be restricted to only a few lucky ones. He knew that if everybody practiced Reiki, the world would be a better place. The Japanese government awarded him with the Kun San To medal, given only to those who place their life at others’ service.
Mikao Usui Memorial
Mikao Usui died of a striking heart attack in March 9 of 1926. Next to his grave, in Sahoji Temple in Tokyo, there is memorial with an inscription describing his life and his Reiki work. This memorial was build by J. Ushida, the president of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai after its founder’s death. Today Msayoshi Kondo is this 7th Association president, after Usui. Westerners can be surprised when finding out that Hayashi is not among these seven. In fact, Chujiro Hayashi stepped aside the Association when Usui died, developing his own Association.
Closely working with Reiki, he developed his own techniques and healing positions, that we have access thanks to Frank Arjava Peter’s book, published in English in 2003. Curiously, to those familiar with Reiki saga we know today that, like Usui, he never intended to be called Great Master.