Rei = Higher Power Ki = Life force energy
Mikao Usui (1865-1926), a lifelong practitioner of Tendai Buddhism and dedicated spiritual aspirant, formulated the roots of what has come to be called Reiki in early 20th century Japan. He trained in a monastery as a young boy, and practiced martial arts from age 12, achieving mastery in several disciplines. Perhaps because of Usui’s background in Buddhism, Reiki is often referred to as an ancient Tibetan technique, although there is no evidence that this is true. Mikao Usui clearly referred to himself as the founder of Reiki and Tibetan medicine does not include hands- on energetic healing (Miles & True, 2003).
Usui stressed the importance of peaceful mental demeanor, and offered his students 5 precepts to guide them:
Just for today, do not anger.
Just for today, do not worry.
Be honest in your work.
Be compassionate to yourself and others
In the last year of his life, Usui was approached by his stu- dent Chujiro Hayashi (1878-1940), a retired naval officer, with a request to develop the therapeutic aspects of the system separate from the stringent meditative practices. Usui agreed. After Usui’s death, Hayashi further developed the system as a practical heal- ing technique without the perceived encumbrance of spiritual practices. He called his technique Hayashi Shiki Reiki, and although Usui sometimes used the word, it is likely from Hayashi that the system came to be called Reiki (Miles & True, 2003).
One of Usui's students clarified the distinction between vibrational and bioen-ergetic healing by saying: “Usui-sensei told [us] that [the] method is a spiritual healing technique and an energy healing technique. Spiritual healing brings fundamental healing by helping us to become part of the universal consciousness, while energy healing centers around removing the symptoms of mind and body disor- ders." (Miles & True, 2003).
Reiki was introduced to the West in 1938 from Mrs. Hawayo Takata, a first generation American that experienced the healing of Reiki when suffering from respiratory and abdominal discomforts. Takata was the only individual outside of Japan and only woman to be certified in Reiki. Takata faced a challenge in introducing a Japanese healing technique to a large Christian population during WWW II. She modified the role of Usui to be a Christian minister yet did not alter the traditional Reiki technique. Before her death she had initiated 22 Reiki masters. Reiki spread all over the world returning to Japan. The traditional taught techniques had been altered away from Takata's teachings.