Dr Mikao Usui

Dr Mikao Usui

Mikao Usui was born August 15, 1865 near present day Nagoya, Japan. It was thought that he attended a Buddhist school on or near Mt Kurama at age four. He also studied Kiko, the Japanese version of Qigong, which is a health and healing discipline based on the development and use of life energy. He wondered if it were possible to do healing work without depleting ones’ own energy.


Dr Usui had an avid interest in learning so he travelled to other countries to further his education. His curriculum included medicine, psychology and religion as well as the art of divination. He was a successful business man with the department of health and welfare and was also a member of the Rei Jyutu Ka, a metaphysical group dedicated to developing psychic abilities.


In March 1922, his personal and business life took a downward spiral so he began dedicating more time to meditating on Mt Kurama to see if he could discover a solution to his problems. He joined with the Tendai Buddhist Temple and endured 21 days of fasting and meditation. Some say he stood under the Mt Kurama waterfall as part of his meditation practise as he allowed the water to strike his crown chakra. 


It was during this time that the great Reiki Energy entered his third eye as a bright light. This great energy knocked him unconscious and while he was in this trance like state, he saw beautiful bubbles of coloured lights rising up before his eyes. Inside the bubbles were different symbols and as he studied them, he became attuned to their energy.


He was so excited that he wanted to get back to the Temple to share his experience. He began running down the mountain but stumbled, stubbing his toe quite badly. He instinctively bent down and cupped his hands around the toe. Immediately the pain began to subside and a few minutes later the pain and bleeding had stopped completely.


At the foot of the mountain he went into a Japanese snack bar to fulfil his hunger after 21 days of fasting. After eating he prepared to pay for the meal and he noticed the proprietor’s granddaughter came to clear away the dishes. She had tears in her eyes and the side of her face was swollen. On enquiring, he learned the girl was suffering from a severe toothache for many days but the family was unable to afford a dentist.


Dr Usui was overwhelmed with compassion and asked for permission to attempt to heal her. She gladly accepted. He gently cupped her face in his hands. Within seconds the discomfort began to subside and within minutes the pain and swelling had completely disappeared.


Dr Usui practised this new ability with his family and developed a healing system that he called Usui Reiki Ryoho (Usui Reiki Healing Method). In April 1922 he started a healing society which he named Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. (Usui Reiki Healing Method Society) He also taught classes and gave treatments.

In 1923, the great Kanto earthquake devastated Tokyo. More than 140,000 people died and over half of the houses and buildings were shaken down or burned. An overwhelming number of people were left homeless, injured, sick and grieving. Dr Usui felt great compassion for the people and began treating as many as he could with Reiki. This was a tremendous amount of work. It has been said that it is at this time Dr Usui created a formal Reiju (attunement) process to initiate others to help with healing.

Many remarkable healings took place over the years that followed.


Dr Usui was content with his life until he came across a beggar that he had healed many years before. Dr Usui questioned this man as to why he had returned once more to the life of a beggar, and was extremely dismayed at the response.

It turned out that the beggar had been, initially, very happy at having been healed. He had even gone back into the main part of the city and had found himself a good job. For a while he had prospered but the responsibility of looking after himself became too much for him. It was much easier living the life of a beggar.


Unfortunately this was not an isolated case. Dr Usui discovered more and more people had returned to begging after having been healed, and it greatly saddened him. Dr Usui went into meditation to seek answers. He discovered that his biggest mistake was in healing the beggars without teaching them the value of responsibility. He also realised that because he had been giving away healing for free, none of the beggars had apportioned any value to his help. He had unwittingly strengthened their belief in begging as being the only way of getting what they wanted. It is during this time Dr Usui developed the 5 Principles of Reiki.


For his remaining years, Dr Usui travelled Japan spreading his Reiki healing. The Japanese government issued him a Kun San To award for doing honourable work to help others. While travelling to Fukuyama to teach, he suffered a stroke and died March 9, 1926. On his death he had initiated between 16 – 20 people as Reiki Masters and had charged one of his most dedicated students, Dr Chujiro Hayashi, with the responsibility of preserving and continuing the Reiki teachings.

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