As Reiki practitioners, many of us have wished that we knew more about Usui’s life and the history of Reiki. When Mrs. Takata began teaching Reiki in America, she felt that it was appropriate to concoct a story of Usui’s life which would make him and Reiki more acceptable to American biases. Many of the details of her story, such as her assertion that Usui was Christian (he was not), were not questioned until after her death in 1980. In the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s many Reiki Masters began to investigate and actually traveled to Japan to learn more about Usui and his Reiki organization, The Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, which still exists today. Since the turn of the century, a veritable flood of information has become available to Reiki practitioners world – wide as Japanese Reiki Masters share their knowledge in classes, interviews, articles and books.
A recent article in William Lee Rand’s Reiki News magazine – Excerpts from “Light on the Origins of Reiki” by Tadao Yamaguchi, reveals some interesting information which enhances our understanding and appreciation of our dear founder and the great Reiki lineage.
Tadao Yamaguchi is the son of Chiyoko Yamaguchi, who was a well known student of Chujiro Hayashi. Mr. Hayashi, as most Reiki practitioners know, was one of Usui’s students who started his own Reiki clinic and school and who taught Reiki to Mrs Takata.
Mrs. Yamaguchi took her first Reiki classes from Mr. Hayashi in 1938 at the age of 17 and finished her training in 1940, having attained Shihan (Reiki Teacher) under Hayashi Sensei’s tutelage. She practiced Reiki for 65 years and died in 2003.
I first heard of Mrs. Yamaguchi many years ago while exploring the website of a well known Canadian Reiki Master named Rick Rivard. While viewing a photo of Mrs Yamaguchi on Rick’s site, I felt a powerful and very blissful current of Reiki emanating from her which brought tears to my eyes. It was as if I had received a spontaneous attunement from her!
Mrs. Yamaguchi’s son, Tadao was initiated by her and now carries on the family Reiki tradition which started with his mother’s parents.
Regarding Usui’s legendary 21 day fasting and meditation retreat on Mt. Kurama,Tadao states in the article that –
“At midnight during his third week of fasting, Usui Sensei suddenly felt a powerful shock in the center of his brain, as if he had been struck by lightning. He lost consciousness. After several hours he came to and woke to find dawn breaking. To his surprise, he felt refreshed in a way he had never felt before. During this incident, divine Reiki energy penetrated his body and soul. As his own energy and the cosmic energy resonated together he came to realize, “The Universe is me – I am the Universe.” He had finally achieved the enlightenment he had so long pursued.”
This account added new depth to my understanding of Usui’s satori, which to this day is the source of the divine blessing power of all Reiki attunements.
Tadao’s article also explains what happened to the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai after Usui’s death in 1926 –
” Usui Sensei is said to have had approximately 2000 students between 1922 and 1926. After he passed away, his most prominent succeeded him to run the organization….”
“Among these prominent students were several people from the Japanese Navy. The second president, Mr. Juzaburo Ushida, and the third, Mr. Kanichi Taketomi were both Rear Admirals in the Navy. The fith president, Mr. Hoichi Wanami, was a Vice Admiral. Mr. Chujiro Hayashi who taught Reiki to my mother was himself a Captain. The Navy adopted Reiki because it was very useful on long voyages. On warships, space was very limited so they used Reiki instead of other more cumbersome medical equipment.”
“However, after Japan lost the war, the relationship between Reiki and the Navy backfired. It resulted in restrictions on the activity of the Gakkai. The General Headquarters (GHQ) decided to ban all Eastern medicine and force the Japanese to use modern Western medicine only. The Acupuncture Society lobbied against the GHQ and some folk medicine groups won lawsuits and were able to regain their right to practice. Reiki on the other hand had to halt all official activity because of its connection with the Navy. Practically this closed the door to the public.”
I find the relationship between Reiki and the Navy to be very interesting and I attribute it to the ancient and deeply spiritual Japanese martial tradition. In our culture, we do not think of the military as fertile ground for the seeds of Reiki, but the Japanese martial arts like Judo, Aikido, Karate, Sumo and Samurai are practiced as a way of life and involve intense physical, mental, emotional and spiritual discipline and cultivation, as well as a thorough knowledge of how Ki (life force) flows in the body and in nature. Thus it is easy to see how the Japanese warriors might be more receptive to Reiki.
The suppressive circumstances which arose around the Gakkai after the war explain why the spread of Reiki was abruptly halted and Usui’s intention for Reiki to be available to everyone was not realized until Mrs. Takata brought it to America. Is it not ironic that the very country whose mandate suppressed Reiki in Japan has now become the catalyst of a global Reiki renaissance?<BR>
Another interesting aspect of Tadao’s article is his revelation of what happened to Hayashi Sensei after he came to Hawaii with Mrs. Takata –
“There is a lot of controversy about how Hayashi Sensei died. Many people wonder if he really committed Hari Kiri as reported in some books. Actually, it is true that he killed himself but it was an honorable death. He had gone to Hawaii in the critical period just before the war broke out. For a high ranking Navy officer it was a very risky thing to do. He must have been aware of the risk but he was so determined that he went ahead. When the Japanese Navy authority called on him to give information about Hawaii before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor he did not cooperate. Knowing that he would not escape without severe punishment, which would have had a major effect on his family, he chose an honorable death.”
Hayashi Sensei’s courageous choice to refuse participation in the Japanese military agenda and remain unswerving in his commitment to facilitating the introduction of the loving and healing power of Reiki to America was a crucial turning point. Knowing this can only increase our love and respect for this great man and the role he played in making Reiki available to millions of people all over the planet.
I am so grateful that Tadao has shared this information with us which enhances our understanding and appreciation for Usui Sensei and the wonderful Reiki lineage!