As many wise people have said, “We invite story into our lives much more quickly than truth”. 

Because of that Canards/distorted stories are a natural part of our world’s history; Usui Reiki Ryoho is no different. Once Usui Reiki Ryoho crossed the oceans, distorted stories began surrounding Mikao Usui, and his original spiritual practice/healing art.

As you can read on my What is Reiki page the noun Reiki can be translated in different ways. Over the years some people have changed this simple yet profound spiritual practice/healing art in various ways for his or her own reasons.

I was blessed to be lucky enough to study Gendai Reiki-ho in-person with its founder Hiroshi Doi and Komyo Reiki Kai in-person with its founder Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto.  Doi Sensei and Hyakuten Sensei each embraces the original essence in which Usui Sensei founded his original spiritual healing art. <What are Gendai Reiki-ho and Komyo Reiki Kai>


Usui Sensei said the five simple lines of the Usui Gokai (5 precepts/5 principles) are the path of 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 created 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; he joined the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai in 1993.  Hiroshi Doi (Doi Sensei to me) founded Gendai Reiki-ho, a style of Usui Reiki Ryoho approved by the URR Gakkai. 


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 utilize the cosmic energy have 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 Usui Reiki.  Usui Reiki Ryoho is simply an original healing technique developed by Usui Sensei during early 20th century.


Myth #2Usui 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).  

SIDE NOTE– Hiroshi Doi and Hyakuten Inamoto made very clear in classes that while all hands on healing was Reiki Ryoho, the what Usui Sensie created was his original that he first called method to achieve personal perfection.



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 in Tokyo.  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). <what are Gendai Reiki-ho and Komyo Reiki Kai> 


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 Know Japanese history and world history you can plainly see the errors in many of the Reiki canards you find in books and online. While Usui-Sensei attained enlightenment and opened to a piece of universal energy, he, and his relatives and friends were still subjected to follow the political rules of the day. 

 The factual history of Usui Sensei and the original healing spiritual practice he created and first called “my method” is much more intriguing than distorted stories

Some distorted stories are simply translation errors as I explain in classes. <learning Japanese Usui Reiki Ryoho>

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’/universal energy.

Reiki light is not a translation error but simply one of the ways to translate the meaning of whaht we have come to call Usui Reiki.  One of the lines in something said by those in the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (the original society Usui Sensei founded) translates as, May all creature be happy by Reiki lightinternational 1999


The next time you hear something new about Usui Reiki Ryoho or its founder Mikao Usui, do a little probing to see where that information originated. <What is Reiki>

The reason for asking a person’s Usui reiki Ryoho 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). This does not tell you if he or she is beeter than another; it simply allows you to know what he or she practices. 


Usui Sensei did not claim the spiritual practice he created was better than any other.  Once Usui Sensei attained enlightenment he 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. international © 1999


Knowing the actual path MIkao Usui traveled through his life to attain enlightenment and in very deep disciplined meditation and fasting open to a piece of universal energy, shows you why it is very unlikely that you can teach yourself the healing spiritual practice that he created.  In the Shoden manual that I give only to my students there are approximatley 17 pages of the factual history that lead to the creation of Usui Reiki Ryoho. 


Thank you for respecting the © on all the information Roberta R. Barnes is sharing with you, and not copying without her written permission.

 Roberta R. Barnes, Gendai Reiki-ho Shihan, Gendai Reiki Healing Kyokai Shihan, Komyo Reiki Kai Shihan, Master Herbalist, Author and Speaker


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