New Research into the History of Reiki

     In the West after Madame Takata's transition in 1980, the Reiki community began to align itself into two arms: One group, apparently wishing to align itself with a leader, gathered around Phyllis Furumoto (Takata's granddaughter), who either claimed for herself the title of Grand Master or found that title thrust upon her by the followers. The other segment consisted of Reiki Masters who retained their individual independence within the Reiki tradition, asserting that no clear designation of overall leadership had been specified by Madam Takata.

     When news of Ms. Furumoto's efforts in 1997 to trademark the words "Reiki", "The Usui Method of Natural Healing", and "Usui Shiki Ryoho" became known there was much unrest in the established Reiki communities who had long been using these phrases. Concerted efforts were initiated to trace and verify the roots of Reiki in its homeland. Much of the information is coming from the investigations of Dave King and Frank Arjava Petter, and is presented in Petter's book "Reiki Fire" 

     We had already heard that the story of Master Usui coming to America to receive a doctorate of theology was untrue and that there were no records of his ever attending The University of Chicago as had been previously told. Master Usui probably did not even travel to India. He most likely found all the information he needed in the Kyoto libraries.

     According to Dave King, Mikao Usui was born in Japan in 1865 and was sent to a Buddhist monastery at an early age. By the early 1900's, he created a system of natural healing. The system used symbols, a set of affirmations and seven main hand positions that were placed over certain meridian points. This system seemed to deplete the practitioner's energy and it took time to recharge. After Mikao Usui went to meditate at Kuriyama Temple for 21 days, he was given the information he needed to complete his system. After receiving his attunement at Kuriyama Temple, Mikao was given the status and title of Master (the Japanese say "sensei" which means teacher). 

     The new information reveals that Master Usui trained many students and elevated 16 to the level of Master. Three of them were navel officers, among them Chujiro Hayashi who took the training in 1925. Hayashi opened a healing clinic in Tokyo and is responsible for introducing a system of "degrees" in his classes as well as developing a complex set of hand positions suitable for medical use. Hayashi's system permitted several practitioners to work at the same time on one client to maximize the flow of energy.

     Hayashi would exchange Level I attunements in return for 3 months of work in his clinic. Then Level II for a 9 month commitment. Only the students who showed promise were granted the 4th symbol. After a further commitment of two years in which they would be helping in the classroom, these students were taught the attunement process and allowed to teach. No money exchanged hands in the training.

     Hayashi trained several students to his system, among them was Hawayo Takata. As in the western story, Takata went to Hayashi's clinic for treatment of a terminal illness. She was cured and went on to become a dedicated student. In 1938 she was one of 13 students to be elevated to Master status. Her certificate is notarized in Honolulu and does not confer the title of Grand Master.

     There is no proof that Master Usui ever turned his system over to Hayashi's leadership, or that Hayashi turned his system over to Takata. Furthermore, since Master Usui taught so many students and elevated many to Master status, it is probably safe to assume that in Japan there are many lineages that are descendants of Master Usui's teachings.

     Madame Takata is credited for bringing Reiki to the United States of America and we know that she elevated 22 students to the Master level. According to King, the system was heavily modified and an alternative history was invented to make it more palatable to Western thinking. Most of the Master/teachers in America come from the Usui - Hayashi - Takata lineage. This is how most of us learned it; this is how we pass it on. There are thousands of recorded stories of Reiki's restorative and healing power in our Western world that attest to the effectiveness of the Usui - Hayashi - Takata lineage.

     Over time, some of the teachings may have been distorted and many teachers have added their own personal ideas and dropped parts that they didn't understand. We trust that each student will find the correct and appropriate teacher according to his or her own wants and needs.

Loving Touch Center teaches Reiki as it was passed on to us.