Canards/distorted stories are a natural part of all world history; Usui Reiki Ryoho is no different in distorted stories sometimes surrounding Mikao Usui and his original healing spiritual practice.
As you see on my What is Reiki page the noun Reiki can be translated in various ways. Some people have added things into this simple yet profound healing practice because they found it hard to believe that the whole life attains wellbeing by the mind, body and spirit healing together without complicated charts and symbols.
Usui Sensei said the 5 simple lines of the Usui Gokai (5 precepts/5 principles) are the path to health and happiness; add to this the Buddha quote, “one cannot be on the path without becoming the path” and the beauty of Usui Reiki Ryoho as it was originally founded can be seen.
With anything you are told the first question you ask is the source of the information. I studied directly under Hiroshi Doi, and following are his translated words. His knowledge of distorted stories is based on styles called Reiki that do not honor Usui Sensei’s essence. Hiroshi Doi Sensei’s knowledge is based on his studies and practice of Japanese Usui Reiki Ryoho since 1982, and joining the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai in 1993.
Please note :*T=True, F=False
Myth #1: Reiki Originated in Tibet
F: Reiki is a cosmic energy, and it is one of the oldest hand-healing techniques originating in Tibet Usui Sensei re-discovered its existence.
*T: Healing techniques that utilizes the cosmic energy has been in existence throughout the world since prehistoric times, and it is not necessary to limit its origin to Tibet.
Usui Reiki is a cosmic energy, but not all cosmic energies are Reiki. Usui Reiki Ryoho is simply an original healing technique developed by Usui Sensei during early 20th century.
Myth #2: Usui Sensei actively sought Reiki in the 19th century.
F: Usui Sensei re-discovered Reiki in mid (or at the end of) 19th century.
*T: Usui Sensei was born in 1865, but he taught his original Usui Reiki Ryoho for only four years during early 20th century (1922 – 1926).
Myth #3: Usui Sensei was a Kyoto university professor.
F: Usui Sensei was president/dean of the department of theology of Doshisha University (or a small Kyoto university), or president of a seminary.
*T: Usui Sensei was not a university graduate and he did not have a doctorate. He was a very intelligent and insightful man. He engaged in various occupations, but there is no record of him engaging in a formal teaching profession. He taught advanced martial arts at one time and then in 1922 began teaching his original method that we now call Usui Reiki Ryoho.
Myth #4: Usui Sensei was a Christian clergyman.
F: Usui Sensei was a Christian clergyman (or president of a seminary).
*T: Usui Sensei was a Shinto missionary for some time, but never a Christian missionary. It would be strange for a Christian clergyman to train at a Zen temple, fast in a Buddhist sacred ground, or be given a posthumous Buddhist name.
Myth #5: Usui Sensei searched for a healing method for many years.
F: A student asked him to show him the miraculous healing Christ performed if the story was true, and Usui Sensei gave up his position and went on a quest for a healing method. Some say, he sought the mysteries of life and utilization of cosmic energy for many years.
*T: Usui Sensei himself explained in Usui Reiki Ryoho Hikkei that he never endeavored to attain healing ability and it was bestowed on him accidentally while fasting and meditating, and that its true nature is a mystery.
Myth #6: Usui Sensei saw the symbols during his fast.
F: There are beautiful accounts of Usui Sensei witnessing golden Sanskrit symbols after being pierced in his forehead by a bright light, on the 21st day of his fast at MountKurama.
*T: Usui Reiki Ryoho Hikkei records Usui Sensei’s experiences, but he never mentions the symbols. He created three symbols in 1925 as training wheels for some students.
Additional distorted stories say the Sanskrit symbols appeared consecutively, but actually there is only one symbol based on Sanskrit. (the second symbol)
Myth #7: The Symbols were derived from Sanskrit
F: Usui Sensei found the symbols and mantras that are important in Reiki Ryoho in a 2,500 year old document written in ancient Indian (Sanskrit).
*T: As in #6, the only symbol related to Sanskrit is the second symbol. It is not a special symbol, but Kiriku that can be seen in any Japanese Buddhist temple.
Usui Sensei introduced three symbols to Usui Reiki Ryoho only because some students could practice more easily with the symbols to resonate with the cosmic energy.
Myth #8: Usui Sensei offered treatment in Kyoto for several years.
F: Usui Sensei is said to have offered treatment in the Kyoto slums for 7 years.
*T: Usui Sensei completed his training at Kurama Yama in March 1922, and in April of the same year, he founded Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai inTokyo. Since he passed away four years later (1926) it is physically impossible for him to offer treatments for 7 years.
Myth #9: Usui Sensei formulated the Five Precepts after reflecting on his experience at the Kyoto slums.
F: During his 7 years’ experience in the Kyoto slums, Usui Sensei realized that though he was able to treat the body, he did not teach the way to change the patient’s lifestyle. From this perception he formulated the principles (the Five Precepts) of Reiki way of life.
*T: When Usui Sensei started teaching in Tokyo in April 1922, Usui Sensei formulated the Five Precepts as the foundation of his teachings and then established the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. His life ended in 1926.
In Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai it is written: “First heal the soul, and then heal the body” “Make the whole human being healthy.” From the time he started teaching, he already instructed the way to change one’s way of life, and he did not make the treatment of disease the primary goal of Usui Reiki Ryoho.
Additionally, it is written: “Promote happiness for yourself and others” (Seek happiness for all).
Myth#10: Hayashi Sensei became the 2nd President of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai.
F: Chujiro Hayashi Sensei succeeded Usui Sensei, becoming the second Grand Master. After Hayashi Sensei’s demise, Hawayo Takata Sensei succeeded him to become the Grand Master.
*T: Without doubt, Hayashi Sensei and Takata Sensei are great Masters. However, Usui Sensei did not designate Hayashi Sensei as his successor, and Hayashi Sensei did not succeed him. First President was Usui Mikao (this is the way his name appears in Japanese order of first and last names), 2nd President Juzaburo Ushida, 3rd Kan’ichi Taketomi, 4th President Yoshiharu Watanabe, 5th President Houichi Wanami, 6th President Kimiko Koyama, 7th President Masaki Kondoh. There are no grand masters in Usui Reiki Ryoho.
If you indulge yourself in Japanese history and world history you will see the errors in many of the Usui Reiki Ryoho canards. The factual history of Usui Sensei and the original healing spiritual practice he created is also much more intriguing. While Usui-Sensei attained enlightenment and opened to a piece of universal energy his body, relatives, and friends were still subjected to follow the political rule of the day.
It is human to want to make things better, but no one can make ‘the source’ better; what we have come to call Usui Reiki/Reiki energy/Reiki light is a piece of ‘the source’.
At one time I heard a Reiki master say there was no such thing as Reiki light. The truth is that one of the lines in one of the things those in the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (the original society Usui Sensei founded) say daily translates as, “May all creature be happy by Reiki light”. There is a difference between styles honoring Usui Reiki Ryoho that comes directly from Japan and those styles that have bounced around the world being translated into different dialects of different languages and sometimes mixed with practices that have nothing to do with the original spiritual practice Mikao Usui created.
The reason for asking a person’s lineage is to know who she or he studied under and then who their instructor studied under. It is also good to ask if he or she honors his or her Usui Reiki Ryoho Shihan (teacher of high standing).
Usui Sensei did not claim the spiritual practice he created was better than any other. Usui Sensei once attaining enlightenment was without ego at all times in and all places, he said his original method was different from any other practices and he had not been taught his method by anyone.
Knowing the actual path MIkao Usui traveled through his life to attaining enlightenment and then that time in very deep disciplined meditation and fasting shows you why it is very unlikely that you can teach yourself the healing spiritual practice that he created.
Thank you for respecting the © on all the information Roberta R. Barnes is sharing with you and not copying without her written permission, not changing any of the words, and including her as the author.
Roberta R. Barnes, Gendai Reiki-ho Shihan, Gendai Reiki Healing Kyokai Shihan, Komyo Reiki Kai Shihan, Master Herbalist, Author and Speaker