is the story of Dr Mikao Usui, originator of the Usui Reiki
System of Natural Healing.
As he took the podium one Sunday in the late 1800's, Dr Usui
noticed a half dozen students in the front pew. Usually students
sat at the back. One of the students immediately raised a
hand. He stated that the six were co graduate in two months.
but before leaving they wanted to settle an issue. First they
wanted to know if Dr Usui had absolute faith in the Bible
as it reads'? "Yes." Then did he believe that ,Jesus
could heal by laving on hands'? again Dr Usui said he did
believe. The student said that he and the others also wanted
to believe and would Dr Usui please give them one demonstration.
Would he please heal the blind or cure the lame or just simply
walk on water? Dr Usui said that although he believed these
things had been done. he himself had not learned to do them.
The spokesman said, "Thank you very much. We can only
say that your belief in the Bible is a blind faith. and we
do not want to have a blind faith." Dr Usui's response
was that he could not demonstrate at that time but would someday
like to prove it. He said he would find how to do it. then
come back to show them.With that he resigned, on the spot.
The next day he made plans to study the Bible in a Christian
Dr Usui chose America. He entered a university, possibly University
of Chicago, but no one is certain. He found that the Bible
teachings were not significantly different from what he had
studied in Japan. No one he met there knew how Jesus healed.
However, while at the university, he studied other philosophies,
and he found in Buddhism a passage saying Buddha healed by
laying-on-of-hands. So for the remainder of his seven years
in the United States, he concentrated on Buddhism, hoping
to find a formula for the healing arts. He didn't. He left
there to study in a Buddhist country - Japan. He returned
to his own city of Kyoto. Kyoto had the most people and the
biggest monasteries in Japan. He decided to visit all the
monasteries starting with the largest, the Shin. At the Shin,
Usui asked a monk if the Buddhist Sutras gave accounts of
Buddha healing. "Yes." He asked if the 5hin monks
had mastered the art of healing the body. He was told, "We
monks do not have time for the physical in reaching the spiritual
growth. Spiritual healing is first." Usui walked away
into the jungle to visit other temples. Their stories were
the same. None of the monastery monks could heal. His last
stop was at the Zen temple. Here he heard again that the monks
were very, very busy and had little time for the body healing
- but they were sure that someday, during meditation, they
would receive that great light and then they would know how
to heal. Dr Usui decided to stay on and study all their secrets.
He spent the next three years studying the Sutras but without
success. He then got permission to stay on at the Zen temple
to do independent research.
Dr Usui learned Chinese, because the Japanese Sutras were
translated from Chinese. He then mastered Sanskrit, because
Buddha was a Hindu. While working on Sanskrit he found a healing
formula. There was no mistaking what it was. but the 2,500
year old formula had to be interpreted and tested. He told
himself. "I cannot guarantee myself whether I will live
through it, but if I don't try the test, years of study will
be wasted." He talked about his plan with the head Zen
monk. The monk said Usui was a courageous man, and he could
perform the test at the monastery. Usui said he would rather
do it on Mount Koriyama. a mountain known as an excellent
place for meditation.
Dr Usui told the monk. "I will test myself for twenty-one
days. If I do not some back on the night of the twenty-first
day. on the twenty-second morning. send out a search party
to find my body. I will be dead." Before departing he
told the monks, "I shall go through this meditation without
food - only water." He climbed the mountain.
On the mountain he found an old pine near the stream. He piled
up twenty-one rocks and watered them. (I don't know why).
He sat with his back to the tree with the rocks before him.
He threw one rock away, then began his first meditation. He
expected a phenomenon of some sort but had no idea what it
might be or when. He read scripture, chanted, meditated. and
drank water. He had no food with him. Days and nights came
and went. The pile of stones dwindled. There was no phenomenon.
On the twenty-first day, he work before dawn and threw away
the last stone. The morning black was near absolute - no moon.
no stars. Dr Usui meditated, knowing it was the last time.
He opened his eyes expecting to see nothing, but there, on
the horizon, he glimpsed a flicker of light. like a candle!
He instinctively knew this was the phenomenon he had hoped
for - and feared. Dr Usui braced himself. "It is happening
and I am not going to even shut my eyes. I shall open them
as wide as I can and witness what happens to the light."
The light moved towards him. It seemed to be accelerating
as it approached. Usui became frightened, his courage faltered.
"Oh, the light! Now I have a chance to avoid the light,
to dodge! What shall I do!? If the light strikes me. I might
burn!" But he began to brace himself. "This is best.
I am not going to run away! I'm going to face it! Come! If
this must be. hit me!! I am ready!" :and with that. he
relaxed and, with eyes wide open, he saw the light strike
in the centre of his forehead. "I made contact."
he said as he fell backward from the force. When he came to,
he thought that he had died because at first he couldn't see
and he felt nothing. The light was gone. He heard roosters
in the distance and knew it would soon be dawn.
Dr Usui sat, dazed. Then, off to his right, coloured bubbles
seemed to rise from the earth. Millions and millions of bubbles
in rainbow colours danced before him. then moved to his left.
Usui counted seven colours. "This is phenomena! I was
blessed today!" A great white light came from his right.
Golden symbols appeared, one after another. They radiated
out in front of him, like on a movie screen, as if to say,
"Remember! Remember!" He didn't read them so much
with his eyes as with his mind. He studied and studied. then
said, "Yes!" He recalled all he had learned in Sanskrit
as the symbols moved in front of him as if they were saying,
"This is it. this is it. Remember, remember."
After the phenomena had passed. lie said "I must close
my eyes. and for the last meditation please give me a vision."
He closed his eves and saw the golden symbols in front of
It was over. "'Now. I can open my eves." As he regained
awareness of his body. he was surprised to find no pain or
hunger. "I feel my body is good. I'm going to stand up."
He stood. "':My legs and feet are strong. I fast for
twenty-one days. and still I feel I can walk back to Kyoto."
his body felt well fed. "Well, this is a miracle- I'm
not hungry. And I feel very light." He dusted himself
off, picked up his cane and straw hat, then took the first
steps of his twenty-five mile trek to Kyoto. The Zen monks
were expecting him by sundown. Near the foot of the mountain,
Dr Usui stubbed a big toe on a rock. The blow lifted the toenail.
Blood spurted out. It hurt. The pain thumped with his heartbeat.
He sat down and held the toe in his hands. The pain subsided.
The bleeding stopped. "Is it okay?" He continued
to hold it till there was no more pain. Then he looked at
the toe, he was amazed and delighted to see the nail back
in its normal position. There was no indication of injury
except dried blood. "This is a second miracle!"
A short distance later. he came upon a traditional mat and
ashtray, which means in Japan there is an eating place near
by and that all are welcome. He approached an old, unshaven
man who was starting a fire in a hibachi. "Good morning
old man." "Good morning, my dear monk, you are early."
"Yes, I know. but may I have some leftover rice and some
tea, and that piece of nori you just made? And I would like
to have some salted cabbage and also some dried fish, if you
have some." (This is a typical Japanese breakfast.) But
the old gentleman was wise. He had served many monks after
their extended meditations on this famous mountain. He knew
the appearance of a seven day beard; he knew this monk had
been without food for a much longer time. "I cannot let
you have this rice and hot soup and all those other things,
because you are going to have a huge indigestion. I have no
medicine and cannot help you. Kyoto is far away. You will
have to wait until I make a soft gruel."
"Thank you. You are very kind, but I think I shall try
it." Dr Usui was feeling weak as he moved to a table
to wait for the food. The old man thought, "Well, if
he wants to do it his way, fine. I am not responsible."
Soon, the man's fifteen Year old granddaughter brought a tray
with lots of food. She was crying and had a towel wrapped
under her chin, tied in rabbit ears on top of her head. '"My
dear young girl, why do you cry."
The child sobbed. "Oh, my dear monk, three days and three
nights I have a toothache so bad that I cannot stop my tears,
and I cannot eat the whole time. The dentist is too far away,
so I just suffer and cry." Dr Usui s heart opened to
the child. He stood and put a hand on her swollen cheek. The
girl began to blink her eyes. Dr Usui soon had both hands
on her face. She suddenly cried out, "'My dear monk,
You have just made magic! The toothache is gone!" Usui
could hardly believe it. He hadn't really known what to expect
from his impulsive action. "Is it really'? Are you telling
me the truth?" It was true. she quickly removed the rabbit
ears and was radiantly happy. Usui said. "Yes. now I
believe you are well.
-The beaming child thanked him. then she ran off to her grandfather.
"Look grandfather. I took off my rabbit ears! The toothache
is gone? He is not an ordinary monk. he makes magic!!"
The grandfather. wiping his hands on his apron. walked over
to Dr Usui. "My dear monk. you did us a great service.
We are grateful. We do not have money but for our gratitude.
there is no charge for the food. This is all we can offer."
Dr Usui said, "Thank you! I will accept your gratitude.
Thank you, very much. Now for my food." With that he
turned to his food and eagerly shovelled it with chopsticks.
He ate happily. The people watched and hoped this magic monk
wouldn't suffer any kind of indigestion.
Later. Dr Usui reflected on these miracles. the third and
fourth. Placing his hands on the child had again healed almost
instantly, and he had suffered no ill effects from breaking
a twenty-one day fast with a huge meal. "'Now. I am ready
for my hike to the Zen temple. I shall be there by sundown
according to schedule." • And so he was.
The doctor was met at the temple gate by a young page boy.
Dr Usui asked, "How is our dear monk?" "Oh,
he's suffering from arthritis and back ache. He is in bed
near the chapel stove." Before going to visit the monk,
Usui went to his own room to bathe and put on clean clothes.
He was then taken to the monk. "My dear monk, I am back.
:My meditation was 'a success." The ailing monk was excited
by this news and wanted the details. Dr Usui said. "Yes,
of course, and while I talk. may I place my hands on your
silk covers?" It was late at night when the doctor shared
the last happy detail. He was about to leave when the old
monk spoke up, "And by the way, my pain is all gone.
I can sleep now. I don't need the stove, and my body feels
wonderful - you say this is called Reiki?" (In English.
Reiki means Universal Life Energy.)
The Reiki Experiment
Dr Usui slept in a bed for the first time in three weeks.
Next morning, after breakfast, Dr Usui presented a question
to all the temple monks. "What shall I do to experiment
with this Reiki?" After much discussion it was decided
that the best way to experiment was to go into one of the
very big slums in Kyoto. The slums were playgrounds for most
every kind of injury and disease including leprosy. They chose
the largest slum.
Dr Usui walked into the slum as a monk vegetable peddler -
dressed as a monk with two baskets of vegetables hanging from
a pole. The beggars assembled quickly. Usui told them. "Please,
I would be one of you. I would like to live here." in
turn, he was told, "If you want to stay here, we have
a chief. We shall call him." Shortly the chief beggar
made his appearance. "I understand that you want to live
here and become one of us." Usui answered yes. "In
that case. give us vegetables.
And there is no need to wear new clothes here. we will give
you initiation clothes. they undressed Dr Usui and found his
money belt. The chief beggar said he had known the belt was
there and that it would also have to be forfeited. Dr Usui
was then allowed to dress in his beggar initiation costume
- dirty. smelly rags.
The chief asked what Dr Usui was going to do in the slum.
"I would like you to provide me with food and a cottage
by myself. Then you can send me your sick and I will heal
them." The chief found that to be a very good trade.
"We have all kinds of diseases. even tuberculosis and
leprosy. You are not afraid to touch them'? The doctor said
as a healer he was not afraid of disease and promised to work
sunup to sundown, so he would want meals delivered to the
The next day many appeared at his door. Based on his own theory.
the doctor categorised the sick. He believed disease was an
effect resulting from some inner cause. He felt that in the
younger patients the cause should be shallow and more easily
treated. And this is the way it worked out. The older slum
dwellers required more Reiki treatments and recovery sometimes
took months. The young healed quickly.Usui sent healed patients
to the Zen temple where they received a new name and a job
in the city. He told them to become honest citizens, to forget
One evening, after seven long, hard years of Reiki healing,
he was out walking through the slums when he spied a vaguely
familiar face. "Who are you?" "Oh, you should
remember. I was one of the first healed. The temple monks
gave me a new name and found me a job. But now I am back.
Begging is easier than hustling by myself." This was
the greatest shock of the doctor's life. He threw himself
to the ground and cried, cried like a heart broken child.
Most of his former patients returned to the slums. Dr Usui
now realised that after all the years of searching for a healing
formula and these years in the slums. He had become preoccupied
with the physical side of life; he had forgotten the spiritual.
"Oh. what did I do? I did not save a soul. 5o the physical
is number two and the spiritual is number one. All the churches
were right. I was wrong. No beggars. no more beggars, no more
beggars. It is my fault they come back. I did not teach them
gratitude. They are here because they are greedy, greedy people.
Want, want, want- nothing in return. If I had taught them
the spiritual side first, then healed the body, it would have
been effective. 1Io more beggars. No more healing." Dr
Usui turned his back on the slums and walked away.
The doctor then launched a crusade to help unhappy, depressed
people. He wanted to brighten their hearts and cleanse their
characters, minds. and bodies. He travelled on foot to every
temple in Japan. At each he invited locals to attend his lectures.
(I assume he worked on the spiritual side then healed the
physical.) After one of his lectures, he met Dr Chujiro Hayashi,
a forty-five year old retired military man. Hayashi stayed
with Dr Usui until Usui's death. Before his transition. Usui
announced that Dr Hayashi was to continue this Usui System
in the Art of Healing.
Dr Hayashi later trained Mrs Takata. Between 1945 and 1970,
she was the only living Reiki Master in the world. Between
1970 and 1980, she trained twenty-one Reiki Masters.... She
was about eighty when she made her transition. Both Dr Hayashi
and Mrs Takata practised and taught Reiki just as it had been
passed on by the dear monk, Dr Mikao Usui.