Official History of Reiki

By David Herron

Reiki has a somewhat unique history. The many books on Reiki give similar histories of Reiki, and so the summary below not pretend to be an authority on "The history of Reiki." Rather than spend much time discussing the past and the exact path by which Reiki came to us, it seems more fruitful to use energy and experience the truth of the wider reality of all that is. This does not mean that history is unimportant, because as human beings tend to react based on the past.

All stories about Reiki come from verbal accounts passed by Mrs. Takata, with little or no evidence of Reiki before the Second World War left Japan for the information of most Reiki practitioners. This lack of documentation is discussed in "Essential Reiki" by Diane Stein, and another view is offered in the "Reiki, healing touch: a manual for first and second degree" by William L. Rand Center for Reiki Training. The lack of evidence gives way to skepticism. For example, records of admissions at the University of Loyolla should reflect Dr. Usui, if he was actually there, though William Rand said that the research proved fruitless.

With roots in Japan before World War II, it is not surprising that some documents were lost. Apparently, Dr. Hayashi's survivors lost, during the war, the resources that would enable them to continue the clinic he founded and perhaps they stopped practicing Reiki. If it were not for Mrs. Takata learned Reiki before the war and brought him to America, this healing technique could well have lost to the world. Thus saving the inconvenience caused, Reiki may be lost valuable memories, knowledge and continuity of the lineage would have not been broken their way through one person. We can only hope that the practice, study and intuition to bring back any lost knowledge and practices.

The lost knowledge, particularly the evidence that supports the following story, raises the potential skepticism. Reiki still speaks for itself with each use. The energy is real and easily experienced. Once one has experienced the power, particularly if one is an initiated Reiki practitioner is always there and easily demonstrates its truth. Whatever the truth and the reality of the statements in the story that follows, the ability to perform Reiki so easily came from somewhere.

Reiki is a Japanese word meaning "Universal Life Force." The "Ki" is the same word as Chi or Qi, the Chinese term for energy that underlies everything. Reiki is a system for channeling that energy to someone for the purpose of healing. It was discovered by Dr. Usui in the late nineteenth century, a teacher or perhaps dean of a Christian school in Japan.

Dr. Usui was a Christian monk in Japan, but Japanese. He was the head of the Christian Boys School in Japan. One day some of his students asked him if he believed in miracles that Jesus did (raise the dead, etc..). Being a Christian monk replied: "Yes." They asked if he knew how Jesus did. "No," he replied.

In these he decided to find the way how Jesus healed. This immediately put him on a quest for many years. First he studied in Christian schools in the United States, where further learning about Jesus, but without results. In the Christian schools the method was unknown.

It was suggested to study the Buddhist scriptures, as the Buddha himself also healed. It took him more years of education in monasteries in the East. Nowhere he could find the answers. In Japan, visited all the monasteries wondering how Jesus or the Buddha healed. In each of them, the monks said they were more interested in the spiritual than the physical. In a small monastery found an ancient Sanskrit scripture in Tibet. After some years of study, he felt he had reached an understanding and needed to go further deep meditation. He told the monks of this monastery his intention to fast and meditate for 21 days in a nearby mountain and that if he did not return, the should go back to find his dead body.

He went to the mountain and gathered 21 stones with which to count the days. Every day he turned to a stone and had the time. On day number 21 nothing had happened when he turned over the stone and said, "Well, here's the thing, or get the answer today or do not get it." At this point in the horizon he saw a ball of light moving toward him. The first instinct was to depart from its address, but realized that this could be just what he had been waiting, so he stopped to receive the light in the face. At the time it was hit, it was kidnapped in a trance and he could see bubbles of all the colors of the rainbow in which were the symbols of Reiki, the very symbols of Tibetan writings he was studying but had been unable to understand. Now that look again, there was total understanding.


Upon returning from this experience, he began to descend the mountain and he was, from that moment on, able to heal. The first day one finger of his foot was broken, and he could healed. And he heals too his own starvation, a grinding ill and the bedridden invalid Abad. These became known as his first four miracles.

Deciding that he should use these skills to help others, he spent the next seven years in the area of beggars in Tokyo healing the poor and the sick there, assisting them to find work and rise above poverty. After seven years began to notice familiar faces, those of whom he had cured earlier and had returned. Asking, they complained that life outside the suburb was too hard and it was much easier to beg for a living. They had squandered the gift of health, as if it was worth nothing, to return to the comfort of the life course they knew.

This was raised with a dilemma and Usui returned to the monastery. They realized that they had not taught gratitude along with the healing. That had focused on the physical problems without dealing with spiritual matters. People had not understood the value of the gift that made them.

Dr. Usui returned to the monastery for further reflection and planning. After a time in the monastery  he became with a different strategy. In this new plan he would travel around the country, from town to town. In each town he would be located in a public place during the day, holding a torch aloft. When people ask why we was doing that thing so crazy, he will say he was looking for a few interested in improving themselves. This way he travel teaching and healing, working both with spiritual healing as well as physical.

During those trips he met with Dr. Hayashi, a naval commander in the reserve. He came from a very wealthy and educated family. He met Dr. Usui in the market and holding a torch announcing his lecture at a nearby temple.

Dr. Hayashi was very impressed by the sincerity and conviction of Dr. Usui. When he asked her to accompany him on his travels, Dr. Hayashi agreed. And traveled teaching and healing. When Dr. Usui died, Dr. Hayashi became the leader of Reiki.

Dr. Hayashi opened a clinic in Tokyo near the Imperial Palace. Consisted of eight beds in a large room, two practitioners for each patient. One would treat the head and the other will be right treating the stomach area, then both would treat the patient's back. Everything that practitioners work here were healings. Also they used to go to the homes of sick people to call.

To be a Reiki practitioner at that time, first, they had to be accepted by teachers in the Reiki organization, and second they had to promise to use Reiki every day and to volunteer some hours to practice Reiki regularly in the clinic.

My first Reiki teacher, Fran Brown (one of Takata's 22 masters) believes that Dr. Hayashi developed the practice of treatment using specific hand positions on the body. Having a military background, and therefore more organized, Dr. Hayashi would have preferred an organized method of treatment. In addition, an organized method of hand locations to cover the entire body and its organs.

Dr. Hayashi passed on Tuesday May 10, 1940. That was just before World War II and it was clear that Japan would enter the war. Being a reserve officer, Dr. Hayashi knew it would be called to duty and it would make him responsible for killing many people. We do not want to do, so he decided to end his life. Also wanted, and did, pass the leadership of Reiki to Mrs. Takata (perhaps because she would not be in Japan and so would be relatively safe and able to continue the practice.)

Hawayo Mrs. Takata was born in Hawaii, Kauai, on Christmas of 1900, of Japanese descent. In the thirties she went to Japan to visit relatives and inform them of the death of his sister. While there he became very ill and was admitted to an hospital. The doctors were going to operate, and while preparing she heard a voice saying, "You have to go through this, there is another way." Eventually she jumped out of bed asking, "Is there another solution?". The doctor had a relative who had been cured of dysentery at Dr. Hayashi's clinic and suggested to Mrs. Takata to talk to his relative. This led to Mrs. Takata to the clinic and began treatment.

After getting well, Mrs. Takata wanted to learn it for herself. However Dr. Hayashi was not willing to teach, both because it was American and for being a woman. For the good arts of the doctor, Mrs. Takata was able to persuade Dr. Hayashi to be instructed in Reiki. This training took a year and put in what we call the second degree of Reiki (she could do everything but train other practitioners).

After that year he returned to Hawaii. There she also learned the lesson that the recipient will value the receiving treatments. She treated a cousin but she did not charge, this cousin did not evaluate the treatments and was not well. She treated another relative and this time he payed for it, and this relative remained well. Thus the tradition of charging for Reiki treatment was reinforced.

In November 1936 Dr. Hayashi came to Hawaii to give some lectures in promoting Reiki. During this time he trained Mrs. Takata to teach Reiki, thus making what we call Reiki master. On his return he asked to come to him when he called.

After some more time, World War II was about to explode. Dr. Hayashi appeared in dreams to Mrs. Takata calling him to came to Japan. She did and found that Dr. Hayashi had dusted his naval uniform and he was restless. With war about to extend he knew it was a matter of time before the Army Naval call him out of retirement and asked him to do actions that he was no longer able to carry out because of their spiritual development. At that time he handed the leadership of Reiki to Mrs. Takaya. He gathered all the Reiki master, and announced to Mrs. Takata as the leader of Reiki, and then let them know that he would kill his physical body burned three vessels. While he was still talking and lecturing those blood vessels burned and died.

Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii and continued using and teaching Reiki. Eventually she moved to California, using and teaching Reiki there as well. She did not teach other masters until about 1970, and before his death in 1980 she trained 22 Reiki masters.

Article written by Miquel Vidal.