Since originating in Japan in 1922, Reiki has been adapted to cultural traditions across the world. Reiki practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing through which a "universal energy" is transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient in order to encourage emotional or physical healing.
Reiki is used for healing oneself and others and for spiritual development. It works by combining two things: initiations that awaken and open your energy channels and techniques for using your hands, eyes, and intention to direct this energy flow where needed. Anyone who wishes to do this work must prepare by following particular methods and steps, all wonderfully explained in this introductory guide.
Discover why Reiki is so unique and learn about its origins, five precepts, attunements, basic hand positions, and special treatments created by Reiki's founder, Mikao Usui. All the spiritual practices here have been specifically chosen to guide readers on a path of love, light, healing, and self-knowledge.
About the Author
Philip Jones studied yoga, Reiki, and other healing therapies for well over 10 years. He currently teaches yoga in Sheffield in England.
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Origins of Reiki
What makes Reiki unique? This question is asked by many people in the alternative healing field of work.
The first and most obvious answer to this question is that Reiki was founded and introduced to the world by Mikao Usui, a Japanese Buddhist lay monk who was a master of martial arts, energy cultivation, and many other mystical Buddhist and Shinto practices and healing methods. It was a culmination of his efforts, knowledge, compassion, and grace that helped this system to develop. All systems of Reiki should therefore be traced back to Reiki's origins in Japan and to Mikao Usui. This is called the "Reiki lineage," and all students, whether they are aware of it or not, are part of a lineage of teachers and students that extends all the way back in time to Mikao Usui.
The Reiki lineage goes deeper than simple historical links, as it has an "energetic connection" (i.e., a connection to the spiritual energy called Reiki). It is this energetic connection and the initiation between the teacher and the student that make Reiki different from other healing systems.
Mikao Usui was born on August 15, 1865, in a village that was once called Tania Mura (now called Miyama- Cho) in the Yamagata district of Gifu in the former Japanese capital of Kyoto.
His father's name was Taneuji, but he was commonly called Uzaemon. His mother was from the Kawai family. They had a daughter and two more sons, and were a Tendai Buddhist family. Usui married Suzuki Sadako, and they had two children, a girl named Fuji and a boy named Toshiko. Mikao Usui was a large and sturdy fellow, stouthearted, gentle, modest, and tolerant. He had a practical nature and he took great care with his tasks.
Usui was introduced to martial arts and kiko (energy cultivation) at a young age when he entered a Tendai Buddhist monastery near Mount Kurama. From the age of twelve, he studied and trained in a particular martial art called yagyu ryu, which is a system of samurai swordsmanship. He became very proficient at this art and, in his twenties, attained the level known as menkyo kaiden. Usui trained in many other ancient Japanese arts, in which he also reached a high level of proficiency, and he became well known and respected by many other high-level martial arts practitioners and masters of the time.
Beginning in 1922, Usui trained in Zen Buddhism for three years. It was also in 1922 that Usui established his first healing group and center in Harajuku, where he offered training and healing in Reiki ryoho, the Reiki spiritual method. This center was called the Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. In 1923, in Japan, a large earthquake killed or injured many people. Mikao Usui went out daily during this period to treat and help the injured with his methods. He is said to have saved many lives during this period of disaster.
As an older man, he visited Europe and America, and he studied in China. By nature, he was versatile and creative, and he loved reading many different kinds of books. He studied history and medicine, Buddhist and Christian scriptures, and psychology, Taoism, divination, incantation, and physiognomy. All Usui's experience and knowledge of life surely must have influenced him and encouraged him to discover his spiritual path and the Reiki system.
Hiroshi Doi, who was once a member of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, and who is an influential figurehead in the Reiki world today, says that Mikao Usui sought the ultimate purpose of life, to be enlightened and to implement that enlightenment in the world for humanity. To this end, Usui went to Mount Kurama in Kyoto, where he fasted and meditated for twenty-one days; on the twenty-first day, he suddenly felt a great Reiki over his head, and at this point, he finally achieved enlightenment.
As Usui's fame grew, he was invited to speak at many venues, where he demonstrated what he had learned. Eventually, he reached the city of Fukuyama, where he suffered a stroke. He died very unexpectedly on March 9, 1926.
Dr. Chujiro Hayashi
Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, born in 1878, was a forty-seven- year-old retired naval officer and doctor when he spent a year training with Mikao Usui. He had been a member of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, but in 1932 Dr. Hayashi set up his own clinic and society. Dr. Hayashi noted down details of all the treatments and methods in the Reiki system in a healing guide, which he called Ryôhô Shishin. It was through Dr. Hayashi's research and medical background that the twelve basic hand positions were established. Even with the healing guide, Hayashi expected his students to be proficient in advanced scanning (using the help of Reiki spiritual guidance to sense what ails the client) and intuitive healing methods.
Japan was about to enter the Second World War, and as a former naval officer, Dr. Hayashi was expected to support the war effort. He didn't want to be involved in war, however, so, sadly, on May 10, 1940, Dr. Hayashi took his own life.
Hawayo Takata, a Japanese-American widow with two children, was born in Hawaii in 1900 but lived in Japan. Takata first came into contact with Reiki in 1933, when she was suffering with depression and a tumor, along with many other ailments. Her doctor told her that she would have to undergo surgery to remove the tumor. While Takata was in the operating theater awaiting her operation, her dead husband spoke to her repeatedly, saying, "The operation is not necessary. The operation is not necessary." She aborted the surgery, and then asked her doctor if he could recommend someone who used traditional healing methods. One of the doctor's family members had been successfully treated at Dr. Hayashi's clinic, so the doctor referred Takata there.
Takata went to Dr. Hayashi's clinic and received daily Reiki treatments from three Reiki healers for several months. Initially she was quite skeptical of the palm- healing method, but she became intrigued by the amount of heat her Reiki healers produced from their hands and the feeling of well-being this seemed to produce in her. After several months of Reiki treatment, Takata was well again. Naturally, her interest in Reiki and palm healing grew, and she wished to learn the practice for herself. She moved in with Dr. Hayashi and his family and trained in the system for more than a year. Takata then returned to Hawaii, where she practiced and gave Reiki treatments. Sensing that war between the United States and Japan was inevitable, Takata returned to Japan, and in 1938 Dr. Hayashi initiated her as a Reiki master. She eventually returned to Hawaii and set up a Reiki clinic there, training a further twenty-two people as Reiki master teachers before she died on December 12, 1980.
Takata's granddaughter, Phyllis Lei Furumoto, and Dr. Barbara Weber Ray carried on the Usui Shiki Ryoho system of Reiki. Eventually, Furumoto was elected Takata's successor as head of the Usui system of Reiki.
What Makes Reiki Unique?
The following methods make Reiki unique and distinguish it from other forms of healing.
Reiki initiations are called "attunements" in the West and "reiju" in Japan. Unless they receive these ancient attunement processes from a Reiki master, students are not practicing Reiki. Mikao Usui gave regular reiju empowerments, or attunements, to his students. These attunements passed on the Reiki, and opened and empowered particular energy spots and channels within the students, enabling them to access Reiki whenever they wanted. It is these initiations that connect the student to Reiki and Usui for the rest of his or her life.
Reiki is accessible to everyone because it doesn't require students to be familiar with any other form of healing or energy work, nor is there any need for students to be particularly spiritual or religious. Students may believe in spiritual energy or they may not, but either way, the attunement/reiju process will be activated and will do what it is supposed to do. Reiki is nonjudgmental and has a compassionate quality that allows it to accept all beings regardless of their beliefs, experience, faith, race, or status. The attunement/reiju process has been passed down through the years, beginning with the founder, Usui, and continues to the present day. It is this process that allows each person to open up to and be empowered by Reiki.
Twenty-One-Day Palm-Healing Cleanse
Another aspect that makes Reiki different from other healing systems is the twenty-one-day palm-healing cleanse. This healing cleanse ensures that you experience Reiki over a period longer than the two days in which you receive your training. For an hour each day over twenty- one days, you give yourself a Reiki treatment using twelve basic hand-healing positions. This gives the Reiki a chance to really open your inner energy channels and work through your body, emotions, and mind. This process removes inner energy blockages that may be encountered as reactions in the mind, emotions, or body, and it brings balance and harmony. This will make you happier and more peaceful, and it gives you a firm foundation for giving healing to others.
Reiki Symbols and Meditation
The mystical Reiki symbols are sacred and will not be revealed in this book. The symbols are introduced into the Reiki system at the second level. I consider the use of the symbols as the science of Reiki. There are four original Japanese Reiki symbols. Two of them are in ancient Sanskrit, and the other two symbols are kanji characters. They allow the student to access particular spiritual states of consciousness and energetic qualities. Usui introduced the symbols into the Reiki system for those students who found it difficult to chant and meditate using the kotodama (word spirit) mantras. These symbols can also be used to bring the same qualities and energies into a patient during healing.
Within the system of Reiki there are many different meditations, and some of these will enable you to generate more Reiki in your body and soul, making the soul more powerful, the body stronger, the mind more peaceful, and the emotions more balanced. There are also meditations to develop and become one with the different qualities of energy and the higher spiritual states. These methods originated from Buddhism, Shintoism, and kiko, which is the Japanese practice of mastering and cultivating energy.
Reiki Mantras and Kotodama
The Reiki mantras are introduced at the second level also. The mantras are ancient words that are chanted a number of times to invoke divine vibrations in the body and in the spiritual heart and consciousness. These mantras provide swift access to the power of the Reiki symbols.
The kotodama are very old mantras that can be chanted independently of the Reiki symbols, yet can be used to access the same power of the symbols. Again, the mantras and kotodama can be mentally chanted during healing to invoke their energetic qualities in your patient.
To learn the mantras and symbols correctly, you need to study with a Reiki teacher in a second-level Reiki workshop, sometime after completing the first level.
It is all these elements of the Mikao Usui Reiki system that make Reiki unique compared to other healing and spiritual systems.
The Five Reiki Precepts
The five Reiki precepts are really the foundation of the Usui Reiki system. These precepts enable you to live a happy, healthy, peaceful, and spiritual life. Even if you didn't practice any of the other methods incorporated in the Usui Reiki system, and practiced just the five precepts daily, you would make rapid progress on your spiritual path to truth. This shows just how powerful these precepts are.
The five precepts were called the Gokai, and they are written on Usui's tombstone like this:
In English, the message looks like this:
The secret method for inviting happiness through many blessings, the spiritual medicine for many illnesses.
Just for today: Kyo dake wa:
Anger not Okoru na
Mornings and evenings, sit in gasshô. To do this, you kneel and sit on your heels, and then you put your hands together as though you were praying. Repeat aloud, and recite in your heart: "For improvement of mind and body."
Usui Spiritual Healing Method
The Founder: Mikao Usui
There is speculation among Reiki practitioners about the origins of Usui's precepts. They may have been adapted from earlier Japanese religious texts that predate Usui. Usui placed great importance on the practice of these precepts, as they were considered to be a way of inviting happiness and blessings into one's life. According to Usui, they are the spiritual medicine for all illnesses, and they should be practiced daily to improve the mind and body.
Practicing the Reiki Precepts
You may practice the five Reiki precepts using the procedure outlined on Usui's tombstone:
1. Find a private place in your home, or use one that you regularly choose for meditation.
2. Kneel with your feet tucked under you, or sit cross-legged.
3. Mentally ask for the Reiki to come in, and then feel the flow of gentle energy.
4. Put your hands in the prayer position (gasshô) at your heart (shown onpage 23).
5. Repeat the five precepts out loud, and feel in your heart and meditate on what you are saying. If it is difficult to repeat the precepts out loud, you may say them quietly or simply think them.
6. Perform this ritual for five minutes in the morning and evening.
Practicing this method will make you more aware of your thoughts and actions. You are consciously instilling a positive habit into your heart and into your subconscious. The practice will start to overflow into your daily life: you will worry less about unimportant matters, and you won't get angry and overreact to situations that seem to be beyond your control.
Be patient and kind to yourself when practicing this method because you may become aware of the extremes of your thoughts and emotions for a while.
Finding a Teacher
Finding a suitable Reiki teacher can take time. Sometimes a teacher seems right at first, but after a time you may feel the urge to move on to another. This is fine, as long as your knowledge and practice are deepening and you maintain a spiritual view and respect all those who give you information. Try not to become a spiritual junkie, chasing one spiritual experience after another, because you will only become confused and disillusioned. I've trained with three Reiki masters over the years, and each taught me something worthwhile, bringing a measure of spiritual insight and gifts into my life. Each master came along when most needed.
Finding the right teacher is a process of trial and error, so I recommend that you read up on the subject, look on the Internet, go to a couple of introductory lectures on Reiki, or have a treatment. Even a brief treatment at a demonstration event can be enough to whet your appetite. Most of all, listen to your heart. Ask yourself if a certain teacher feels right for you and if you are right for the teacher. Remember, having the title "Reiki master" doesn't ensure that the teacher is enlightened or more spiritual than you are. The only differences between a Reiki teacher and you are knowledge and practice. You may find that a teacher comes into your life just when you least expect it and without much effort on your part. Even so, don't assume that this teacher is perfect for you, but maintain a level of discernment and common sense, while keeping an open mind and an open heart.
Absolutely anybody can learn Reiki, regardless of religion, faith, or experience. All you truly need is the desire to study, practice, and receive the empowerments. Above all, be openhearted. Even if you don't believe in "subtle energy" or "esoteric knowledge," the fact that you are reading this book means that you are being affected by Reiki in some way, and your heart is opening to some degree, whether you realize it or not.
If you take your study of Reiki further, you will find that after just two days of Reiki training at the first level, your Reiki channels will be opened — and they will stay open for life. Your teacher will give you a set of personal tools that will enable you to give healing to yourself and to others in a systematic way. You will also discover meditations and breathing exercises that enable you to build up and store the Reiki, and principles that allow you to live a peaceful life.
A Reiki Course Group
Once you find a Reiki teacher that you trust, take the plunge. Newcomers start with the first degree, though some people teach the first and second degrees back to back over a weekend. The size of the group depends on the teacher and the facilities that are available. My personal training always took place in groups of five to eight people. However, when I reached the higher levels — the third degree and the teaching degree — the group usually dwindled down to one or two people. In Japan, large groups can fill a hall, with empowerments taking place for everybody simultaneously.
Excerpted from "Reiki Plain and Simple"
Copyright © 2018 Philip Jones.
Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What is Reiki? 1
1 Origins of Reiki 9
2 The Five Reiki Precepts 19
3 Finding a Teacher 25
4 Attunements 31
5 The Twelve Basic Hand Positions for Self-Healing 41
6 The Twenty-One-Day Cleanse 53
7 Giving Reiki Treatments to Others 59
8 The Twelve Basic Hand Positions for Healing Others 71
9 Mikao Usui's Reiki Treatments 87
10 The First Degree of Reiki: Shoden 93
11 The Second Degree of Reiki: Okuden 101
12 The Third Degree of Reiki: Shinpiden 107
13 Reiki Methods 111
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It's been a great resource and a wonderful guidance as well! I actually couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. Out of all books, this is just one I had to have. The information and guidance inside is quite useful for all of my needs and includes pieces of information that I forgot and now I won't have too! Honestly, Reiki to me was always about healthy, natural healing that doesn't require anything more than the hands and the power that is surrounding us. So it's useful anywhere you go. All of us have this ability, but if you don't understand Reiki, well it's easier to learn about how it works by this easy book, which has all the info that is needed to get anyone started! Also, if you don't take a class on this subject like I had in the past, this book will fill in the gap and help anyone become a natural healer for others or themselves. It's so useful and helpful for all types of problems we face. I honestly want to say you won't' believe what you can do till you try it. Therefore, I am very happy with this book! It's got everything I learned and much more that I have forgotten. I honestly wouldn't be able to recall everything, but now I can and will remember the steps to follow to use my Reiki on myself or others and live a stress-free lifestyle. "I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review"