A short history of Reiki
There are several differing versions of the history of Reiki, and new information is coming to light all the time due to new research and increasing east-west dialogue. The following information represents a summarised version of the basic sequence of events sufficient for introductory purposes and as I understand it at the moment of writing.
Although probably based on very ancient teachings, Reiki as we know it was discovered and developed by Dr Mikao Usui who was, amongst other things, a Buddhist monk in Japan in the late 19th century. Born in 1865, the traditional story is that he contemplated the healing practices of both Jesus and the Buddha and travelled to ancient Tibetan and Japanese monasteries seeking the knowledge and ability to heal. We now know that as a child he studied kiko in a Buddhist temple on the sacred mountain of Mount Kurama. Kiko is a form of Qi Gong which focuses on the development and use of Ki or life energy as part of a health-improving discipline combining meditation, breathing practices and slow moving exercise. This Ki could be used for healing but in doing so the giver’s energy was often depleted, something which Dr Usui questioned. As an adult he travelled widely in Japan, China and Europe in pursuit of knowledge, studying a wide range of subjects including medicine, psychology, religion and metaphysics.
Usui's education and abilities resulted in government employment in the department of health and welfare in Tokyo and for a while he also became a successful businessman. However, in 1914 he decided to join a Buddhist monastery. After intense training he felt drawn to return to Mount Kurama and make a 21-day fasting retreat on the sacred mountain. He fasted, chanted, prayed and meditated. (He may have undergone the waterfall meditation which is practised on Mount Kurama to this day, whereby a stream of water on the head is used to purify and open the crown
chakra). Towards the end of his retreat he experienced a very powerful light entering the top of his head and he had a ‘satori’ or enlightening experience. He called this light “Reiki” and realised its power gave him the means to
channel healing without becoming depleted himself.