The Tale of Rediscovery
One of the stories Hawayo Takata told her students had to do with how Reiki was “rediscovered” by a Japanese man named Mikao Usui. The story describes the rediscovery as the result of Usui's spiritual quest to learn about the miracle of hands-on healing that was used by both Jesus Christ and Buddha. According to the story, Usui turned away from his secular life and interviewed religious luminaries of the period in search of this knowledge. He also conducted extensive research of Sanskrit writings as he continued to look for answers. But it was not until he put the books away and spent several days fasting and meditating that he became “inspired” and Reiki was revealed to him. The following is one version of the story.
A Question of Theology
Dr. Mikao Usui was a learned man who was a college professor of theology. During one of his classroom lectures, a student asked him if he believed the passage of Bible scripture where Jesus told his disciples that all men could perform miraculous healings by laying on hands. Usui's response was that he believed it to be true. Then the student asked Dr. Usui to give a demonstration. But Usui was not able to give the demonstration. Although he believed it to be true, he did not know how to heal with his hands.
Shortly afterward, Dr. Usui resigned from his teaching position at the Japanese college and began a quest to find the answer to his student's question. His travels took him far into India and Tibet. He spent many years in a Buddhist monastery toiling over Sanskrit scrolls, becoming increasingly frustrated because he didn't have enough understanding of Sanskrit to translate what he was reading. Feeling defeated, he sought out the monastery's abbot for counsel. The abbot suggested that he go on retreat to a mountaintop and do a twenty-one-day meditation fast.
Meditation on the Mountain
On the mountaintop, Usui counted out twenty-one stones and placed them in a pile. Each morning at dawn he would take one of the stones and toss it away. Each day he waited for inspiration, but nothing came. On the twenty-first morning, after he had tossed his final stone, Usui threw his body face down onto the ground and sobbed because he had not been given any answers and would make his journey back down the mountain later that day without knowing any more than he did before he started. Then, as he sat upright on the mountaintop, he felt something strike him on his forehead, where his third-eye chakra was located, and he fainted. After regaining consciousness, he opened his eyes and saw bubbles of purple light floating toward him. It was at this moment that Usui was given the knowledge of Reiki. The Reiki symbols were defined in gold letters inside the floating bubbles. Not only did he see the symbols, but he also became aware of their meanings and how to use them for healing. Usui had his answer, and he couldn't wait to share his finding with the abbot.
As Usui scurried down the mountainside, he stubbed his toe and tore his toenail. After he applied Reiki energies to his injured toe, the bleeding stopped and his toe was healed. At the bottom of the mountain Usui stopped by a roadside table where a family living nearby prepared small, inexpensive meals to passing travelers. Usui sat down at their roadside table and requested a full meal. The man told Usui that he should not eat so much after fasting for so many days. His concern was that Usui would become ill. He said he would prepare Usui some rice gruel. However, Usui insisted on a larger meal, assuring the man that his body would be able to digest it without problem.
Dr. Mikao Usui experienced three healing miracles shortly after rediscovering Reiki: He healed his stubbed toe, he cured the farmer's granddaughter's toothache, and he had no trouble eating a full meal following a twenty-one-day fast.
When the man's granddaughter delivered the meal to him, Usui noticed that she had a cloth wrapped around her head and chin. When he asked her about it, the young girl told Usui that she suffered from a toothache and, unfortunately, the doctor of the region would not be traveling their way for several days. Dr. Usui then offered to place his hands on the young girl's jaw to heal her toothache. After agreeing to let him do this, both the girl and her grandfather were amazed at the healing and very pleased with the results. Usui finished his large meal without any digestive problems. The man would not accept any monetary payment for the meal, insisting that his granddaughter's healing would be gratefully accepted in exchange for the meal.
After returning to the monastery, Usui discovered that the abbot was very ill and had been bedridden for several days. After Usui was ushered into the abbot's bedroom, he placed his hands on him. The arthritic abbot was immediately able to get out of bed and walk about the room without feeling any stiffness or soreness. Healing the abbot was Usui's fourth Reiki miracle.
“Every religion emphasizes human improvement, love, respect for others, sharing other people's suffering. On these lines every religion has more or less the same viewpoint and the same goal.”
Administering Reiki in Tokyo
Usui spent the next several years in a poor district of Tokyo, administering Reiki to the crippled and sick beggars that filled its streets. Many healing miracles occurred. After a while, Usui noticed that some of the individuals he had healed in the earlier years were returning to the streets as beggars. He asked them why they weren't working at jobs and improving their standard of living. They told him that it was too difficult for them to work, that it was easier to live as beggars. Usui realized that he had healed only the physical ailments of these people.
Dr. Usui knew that in order for Reiki to reach its full potential, it had to heal emotional, spiritual, and mental imbalances as well. He therefore left the slums and began working on the spiritual precepts that have come to be known as the Reiki Precepts. He also realized that in order for Reiki to be valued, there must be some type of energy exchange.