One version of the Reiki enlightenment story

Time travel with us, back 50 years, back 100 years, and then back to just about 140 years ago, in 1865 a boy, Mikao Usui was born in a town called Kyoto in the far off country of Japan.  Mikao was born into this country when it was opening up to the outside world for the first time in almost 200 years.  The ancient samurai warriors that had defended the country were being replaced with modern police and soldiers.  Traders and teachers from other parts of the world were attracted to this land.  A lot of them came through Mikao’s town of Kyoto because this was a place where a lot of traditional culture, arts and temples were located.  It was the place where the emperor lived.   Mikao’s country was going through many changes and becoming less isolated, so as he grew up, Mikao wanted to learn more about the world and the way things worked.  He loved learning at school and become a student of the ideas of how to live-Buddhism, Confucisim and Taoism.  He also went on to study other  ideas of how to live, including Christianity.

As he became an adult, married and had children, Mikao became a teacher himself.  His students called him Sensei Usui, which means teacher in Japanese.  He taught others about these different ways of seeing and understanding the world.  Once, when his students were learning about great teachers in history, the Sensei talked about the healing abilities that some of them had.  He talked about the story where Jesus was able to heal other with his touch and the time when the Buddha did…One of his students asked him, “Sensei, but how did those masters actually do that healing?”.  Sensei Usui being forever the curious student set out to learn for himself how these great masters were able to heal.  He looked in all the books he could find about the great masters, he went and talked with other teachers about them, some people say he traveled far across the sea in search of answers and when he returned he went to talk to the monks in a nearby monestary.  They told him he needed to meditate on this question, for the answers to how the great masters were able to heal would not appear in books.

A few hours outside of town was a sacred mountain where many seekers, such as Sensei Usui would go to meditate and receive guidance.  The monks that tended the mountain Mt. Kurayama said it was protected by the Sonten, or the 3 energies of all creation-power, love and light.   To receive guidance and also to purify his body and mind, the monks told Sensei Usui that he would have to fast for three weeks during his retreat.  Sensei Usui told one of the monks that if he did not return, because three weeks is a very long time to go without food, to bury him on the mountain.  As Sensei Usui set out, he took 21 stones with him to mark off all the days he would be meditating.

Sensei Usui climbed to the top of the mountain and sat down upon the ground.  He began to meditate and to ask for guidance on how the great masters had done their healing work.  At the end of the first day, Sensei Usui had not received any answers and so took one stone from his pile of 21 and threw it over the edge of the mountain.  On the second day, he did the same, the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh days were all the same.  No answers came.  A week had gone by and the Sensei was growing tired and very hungry.  But he had always been a seeker and was a very patient man, and so set about on the second week on top the mountain.

The eigth day came and went, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelvth, thirteenth, and fourteenth.  Still nothing. Sensei Usui was even more tired and more hungry than before, he wasn’t sure if he was going to make it down the mountain after all.  Then came the fifteenth day, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth.  Nothing.

On the eve of the twenty-first day, Sensei Usui got into meditation pose as before, feeling very weak and very tired and very sad he had not received any answer after all this time. He went to pick up the last stone and throw it over the mountain when, in the distance, he began to see a faint light in the distance begin to come towards him.  He thought this strange, because it was already evening and had grown quite dark.  But as he looked on, the light began to grow larger as it came nearer, and as it came nearer it became quite bright, like a large white sun that began to shine all around the Sensei.  He felt the heat of the sun hit him between his eyes and his mind and body opened up to the light of this sun.  In that light he saw dazzling colors and shapes and bubbles floating before him.  In the bubbles were Japanese symbols for the concepts of power, love, light, change, and sending all of those through time and space.  He felt the concepts become part of his body, part of his mind.  His hands began to tingle and his body began to feel alive and energized.

He was able to stand up without much effort.  He had received the answer to the question of how the great masters had done their healing work through receiving the ability himself.   From here it is said Usui then went to teach and bring Reiki as a practice into the world.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: One version of the Reiki enlightenment story | Golden Reiki
  2. James Bulls
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 18:14:19

    Yes, this is one of the many popularly re-told stories about Dr. Usui and his discovery of Reiki; it’s a beautiful story, too bad it’s not true. One of the obstacles my wife and I have when we teach Reiki seminars is debunking this and other similar-sounding Reiki stories still lingering from the days of Hawayo Takata and Diane Stein. The Christ-consciousness element in this story is one of those pieces of fake-lore that keeps coming up; it’s easy to see why it keeps being included, but it just isn’t a part of the story. You titled this article “One version of the Reiki story” – is it part of a larger series of articles addressing the other inaccurate stories about Dr. Usui initially proposed by Hawayo Takata?

  3. reikitrainingprogram
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 12:34:49

    I wasn’t planning to make my article part of a larger series of articles on the inaccurate stories of Dr. Usui, it is one that I often use a starting and talking point with my students. I’d welcome other versions and orientations. My feeling is that regardless of the what the actual truth was in how Reiki came to be as a practice in the world, it has served an important purpose. The ‘myth’ of Usui, like most myths, serves as a story to invite the practitioner into the tradition. But the truth of what Reiki is and what it does outlasts any fabrication of history!

  4. Trackback: One version of the Reiki enlightenment story | Jules Blogger

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