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3 Wrong Assumptions about Mikao Usui

Dear Reiki friends, here are a few things about Mikao Usui which many believe to be true, but there is no evidence to support these assumptions. Quite the contrary, the story of Mikao Usui and Reiki, as it is researched and told in Japan, contradicts these facts. It appears that Mrs. Takata beautified the story a bit to make it more acceptable for the American people at the time of her writing it.

1. Mikao Usui was a medical doctor.

This is not correct. He did have extensive knowledge about religions, and may have had some medical knowledge, but he was not a doctor. According to some sources, he may have been granted a title similar to Doctor of Literature, and Professor.

This however does not change the fact that he could heal better than the medical doctors could :).

Mikao Usui

Mikao Usui

2. Mikao Usui performed miracles and healed people on his way down from the mountain.

Actually, according to the Japanese version of the story, he first practiced this gift on himself and on his immediate family. After a while, he decided to make his healing discovery available to all people.

This is also what Usui wrote himself in his manual. This doesn’t change the fact that he did heal a lot of people, and, by all accounts and standards, performed many miracles during his life.

3. Mikao Usui was using Reiki to heal and balance chakras.

Usui may have been aware of the chakra system, but he never consciously, directly, aimed to heal the chakras.

He was channeling the energy with the intention to heal a person holistically, on all the needed levels, and the energy went to where it was needed most. While the chakras may have been (and probably were) healed and balanced in the process, it was mostly a “side effect” of the treatment, not a goal in itself.

These is good information to know, but in the end, none of these facts diminishes the importance of the legacy that Usui-sensei left to the world ;).

{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Anthony Anglemyer February 23, 2013, 1:43 am

    for myth one he was a Zen Monk and as far as the chakras are concerned they are part of the body system and are very much used in the healing process and becides none of us were there when he did this so how do we know that he did not direct the use of Reiki the work on the chakras .

    • Reiki Rays February 23, 2013, 5:38 am

      🙂 True, but Well, if he did work on chakras, he did not mention it in his manual. Peace <3

    • Kathy Miller Lmt February 26, 2013, 1:08 am

      He was a Buddhist monk not zen yes the chakras are a part of the healing body, yet dr. Usui did do reiki . In doing Reiki we do not guide where reiki goes , Reiki goes where reiki needs to go and no where else. There are so many falasies on the internet now days , people just need to do the research I practice reiki everyday as it is a way of life for me and I am 7th generation teaching down from usui himself and I am a reiki master. He also did not openly show the symbols in the open for all to see as they were sacred symbols. as today you can google them but unless you’ve been attuned to them they will not work. Reiki is to only be used for the highest good. nothing more … Namaste

      • Suzanne November 15, 2014, 11:08 am

        Well said

      • Lorraine Morgan February 23, 2016, 1:03 pm

        I have srudied Reiki for 12 years. My

      • Katharine Lee August 21, 2018, 10:56 am

        When I received my I & II attunements some 30 years ago, not only there was no manual provided, note-taking was not allowed. We had to practice and memorized the symbols right there and right then. My master did smudge the classroom before she started, other than that, nothing extra was used; no flower, no crystal, no candle, no essential oil. She especially emphasized not to use fragrance lest it might interfere with the energy field that smudging had provided. No grounding, no shielding, what better method can do both at the same time when Reiki enters? Aura and chakra were not mentioned, though at the time one of my classmates was capable of reading aura, my master only commented that was good but not necessary. Absolutely no mantra should be used; Angels or guardian were not invited, Reiki guides itself. The only visualization was to invite the reiki white light to enter crown chakra and emit through hands. Reiki was simple and yet powerful.
        And no cutting cord. Reiki ends when the need is satisfied.
        Through the years on my search for master training since I could not locate my first master, Reiki practice becomes more and more complicated, some of them seemed like occult. I met a master in Taiwan, she claimed to be attuned by the universal energy directly, and created her own symbols which were actually alteration of the original Reiki symbols.
        Sometimes we forget we are transmitter of the universal energy called Reiki and that Reiki goes where it is needed, the transmitter only provides channel, clean channel.

        • I. July 8, 2019, 7:28 pm

          you can access universal force energy by yourself and expand channel by yourself, you just need to know the techniques the use of symbols is not a must well only for starters maybe <3

      • David Ransay August 15, 2019, 12:16 pm

        He was a Tendai Buddhist Monk and he never in his life time attuned anyone to Reiki ,he did however use Reiju Empowerment’s and symbols were not needed in this process .

  • Lorinda November 13, 2013, 1:44 am

    Hyakuten Inamoto has said that if Usui-sensei talked and taught about the chakras they would have Japanese names and not Sanskrit ones.
    Makes sense to me. I love reading the Memorial stone and the Hikkei, the Japanese perspective is important.

    Reiki is not complicated but it is subtle. As practitioners we have to quiet ourselves and go within. After all Usui-san went up on the mountain to attain enlightenment not create a healing art. 😉

    – author of Integrative Healing Merging with Modern Medicine

  • Isabella Dove November 13, 2013, 9:39 am

    Dr Hayashi was the doctor indeed not Mikao Usui. He also never converted to catholicism nor was ever the Dean of Michigan University….in his life time it was quite regular ro spend time in temples and have access to buddhist literature. He was not a monk in the formal sense he was a buddhist scholars as many of his life.peers did. Yes Mrs Takata changed a lot the story the healing remains un-touched ! Be blessed

  • Steven Lucas October 14, 2014, 12:32 am

    Thank you for correcting these commonly held assumptions. I have often been confused about the variations in the original Reiki story and the reasoning behind the changes.

    Steven Lucas

  • alyssa collins October 15, 2014, 12:20 am

    hi! do you have any sources for these debunks of myths?? i’m both a reiki master and scholar of reiki doing an extensive research project on reiki’s transmission from japan to america and it would help me greatly!

  • Merlin F. Jean November 15, 2014, 9:49 am

    I found a book called ‘Tout le monde peut faire du Reiki’ also availble in pdf as ‘everyone can do reiki’. This book is from Fumio Ogawa, who was teach by his father, who was reach by a member of the Gakkai, a close friend of Usui sensei. Any book from Frank Ajavar Petter and from Tadao Yamaguchi are worth reading.

  • Suzanne November 15, 2014, 11:15 am

    I have the handbook that was supposedly written by Dr Usui, problem is, he never kept written records, he memorised everything & expected his students to do the same.
    My belief is, as long as you have recieved the attunements & believe in yourself then you are a channel for Reiki healing. You also need to receive the attunements hands on with the Reiki master, not over the internet as some offer.

    • David Ramsay August 16, 2019, 6:33 am

      The Original Reiki Handbook of Dr Mikao Usui – Frank Arjava Petter

      A reproduction in modern format of the original handbook which Dr Usui, supposedly, had his students copy out. This includes a large number of photographs which illustrate many healing techniques and hand positions. Recent research has indicated that this is more likely to be Chujiro Hayashi’s manual rather than Usui’s.

  • Kotsu December 7, 2014, 4:10 pm

    I have found the best research so far in Bronwyn and Franz Stiene’s book, as they went to Japan for years to dig up the truth. What was it called? The Reiki Handbook? The Reiki Manual? Menopause is a bear.

    • João Henrique February 2, 2015, 10:45 am

      Thanks for bringing light to all reiki practitioners !
      Myths lead us astray.
      Good research like this is what we need and not the “copy and paste” commonly done by the most of Reiki websites used to do.

      • Falcon Britt February 25, 2016, 10:20 pm

        I found it! THE REIKI SOURCEBOOK, by Bronwen and Frans Stiene. They have a new, updated, revised edition based on even more information they have uncovered about the true history of Reiki. I think we owe it to our profession to learn as much as we can about the accurate truth about Reiki: what Reiki is and where it originated and how it works, to be as historically accurate as possible. There is also a book called LIGHT ON THE ORIGINS OF REIKI by Frank Arjava Petter and others. And the original USUI REIKI MANUAL issued by Usui Sensei himself, is now available in print. As is the original HAYASHI REIKI MANUAL by Hayashi Sensei. The truth is now widely available if we just get the books and read them.

        I cannot believe the amount of misinformation floating around about Reiki on line. How on earth did such BS get propagated so widely? Yes, cut and paste, and trusting anything and everything we read on line or even in a book, both have led to immense misinformation. We also have thousands of people attuned to Reiki who were never taught all the information and techniques and history, so even the carriers of Reiki energy do not always know much about it or even believe it is powerful because they never used it much (and therefore have not expanded their meridians to carry more flow faster). So many lack good training as well as knowledge about Reiki’s history and nature in the context of Japanese practices.

        The public is naturally very confused by our confusion, which does not inspire confidence. Lack of confidence is bad for the healing process and bad for our community. We must do all we can to remedy this confusion, misinformation, and lack of confidence, by getting accurate information disseminated to both public and practitioners – and by getting better training in place for all. Otherwise we will never be taken seriously as professionals, and insurance reimbursement such as that received by acupuncturists will remain unavailable to our clients.

  • Vivian Gassan February 2, 2015, 12:16 pm

    I have wondered, since becoming a Reiki Master, how much of what I’ve been taught is original to Usui.
    I doubt that he taught Reiki in different levels, as is the way now and the new classes ; Karuna and Holy Fire, have been developed recently.
    I would like to hear others’ thoughts on this.

  • Marvin March 10, 2015, 11:38 pm

    When I was attuned level 1 in 1980 things seemed to be different. We were required to view, write then memorize the symbols, and not share them with others. Moving to level 2 was only done after one had become confident as a level one practitioner. Becoming a master required a year long apprenticeship under a master and a fee of $10,000.

    Obviously then to become a master was a matter of real commitment and a good deal of personal work. It seem now that all Reiki attunements can be done in a single weekend workshop, and the instruction provided often seems a little sketchy given the nature of the important work being done.

    Somewhere in all the reading I’ve done on the origins of Reiki I read that Japanese Reiki societies do not admit Westerners. If this is true I wonder then about the reason. Could it be that Western Reiki differs from it’s Japanese roots?

    The confusion about the origin of Reiki, and specifically about Usui himself are suggestive. If we really can’t agree on a common, and factually accurate story, how much of Western Reiki is in fact true to the origin? Perhaps such information is not relevant if our intentions are pure. But for me, such matters are in fact more than just scholarly differences.

    One such outstanding example of this is Usui’s motivations. The story of his 21 day meditation on the mountain to unlock the secrets of miraculous healing are commonly accepted in the west. However, the story is similar to the story of the Buddha seeking enlightenment. In that regard, this reason for Usui’s quest also makes sense and would be very consistent with such a prolonged effort.

    In that context, healing mind, body and soul, through Reiki is, in my opinion a singular purpose, when viewed as the three prerequisites for becoming enlightened. As Reiki practitioners have we really been missing the most essential part of the practice? Is Reiki being hijacked as a means of relieving physical symptoms, when in fact it really is intended as a spiritual practice, a means of pursuing personal enlightenment?

    Should we council clients that, as we work on a physical problem, and – Oh yes, you might also find yourself enlightened as a side benefit?

    Joking aside, are we really doing Reiki as Usui intended? Are the weekend workshops and levels of attunement really missing the essence of what Reiki was intended to do? I suspect that answer to those questions is yes.

    For that reason I stopped offering Reiki to others many years ago and began to use it only for myself.
    My rationale for doing this was simple. I simply did not know the what the energy was doing. There was no clear, singular directive on this point for the various factions within the Reiki community. With many different reactions and experiences from clients the matter was even more confusing.

    The best answer I ever got was from my first master – “Reiki gives you what you need”. Such a cryptic response suggests to me that it hides more than it reveals – and there in is one of the more difficult issues all Reiki practitioners face.

    • Rachel April 24, 2015, 6:55 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I am relieved that the financial burden has been eliminated from the study of Reiki, as it should be available to everyone that seeks to be attuned. HOWEVER, I have found that Reiki only comes through me when I can conquer my ego. I’ve performed a couple unsuccessful Reiki sessions, because my ego. It is apparent to me that those who have reached enlightenment are successful practitioners and teachers. And it is also apparent to me when a practitioner caters to their ego. Unfortunately, as a result, Reiki is misrepresented. I for one am disappointed with the frills that I see on the internet that are associated with Western Reiki (mystical creatures, psychic readings, using Reiki as a means to offer clients financial abundance). My philosophy is this….you can study Reiki for years, or for a weekend. If youl are not cleared of ego, Reiki will not flow.

      • ozzieblonde December 13, 2015, 4:01 pm

        Very well said Rachel. Ego is the worst companion. I can feel it in some “I’m a Reiki master” comments. I’ve witnessed profound healing with only 1st level attunement, because it was done with pure heartfelt intent

    • Beth R June 1, 2016, 6:42 pm

      I echo Rachel’s comments on the ego. I agree that Reiki is so important to our further enlightenment. I feel addressing symptoms with Reiki’s help, is so needed to pull of the many layers of messaging and convention we adopt as humans in today’s world. By successfully sticking with a practice which will enlighten and guide our spirituality, we will come closer to our own truth. Wanting to know the essence of Reiki is almost unavoidable. However, this answer isn’t the same for everyone and changes all the time.

      Just when I think I’ve reached an amazing point of enlightenment, I go to sleep and the next morning brings new opportunities and enrichment.

      We are past, present and future at the same time. We grow, love and connect in the present moment, by asking the all important question “what do I need to know right now”.

      Suspend all fear, connect with the Earth and it’s beautiful energy (in your own way), and we will continue to know Reiki as is needed for that day.

  • Bruce October 20, 2015, 1:13 am

    Reiki crosses the boundaries of time and space no need to limit oneself by others belief systems of this way or that way it’s all ways divine love and the highest good.⭐️

    • ozzieblonde December 13, 2015, 4:02 pm

      Absolutely ????

  • Diane Furuya December 14, 2015, 5:05 am

    The information was very informative as were the comments. I have an attraction to Reiki and would love to do it – but which teaching is true. A year ago I signed up for a course and paid $. I have not felt the energy to open that site. The symbols trip me out there are so many . . . .I don’t know where to start, if I should.

    • Tara February 24, 2016, 4:04 am

      Diane do the course you signed up for. It ll start you on this journey. You will learn to feel what is right for you. Don’t worry about choosing the right one. I ve learnt 3 different methods at different times and I learnt different things from each of them. Reiki will give u what you need. Love and light <3

  • Tara February 24, 2016, 4:00 am

    This was an interesting topic to discuss. I am a Reiki Master since 2014 after a weekend course but I have done a huge amount (and spent alot)of personal healing and learning. I have wondered about the origins and methods of Reiki. I used to worry a little about the authenticity of our Westernised Reiki but then I thought about people I ve heard about who have ” healing hands” or ” the cure” for certain ills. AndI view Reiki like this except it s taking away the mystery of healing. Anyone can do it! And it has opened up countless people to a new spirituality about themselves and others. And now I assert that if the intention is for the highest good then you are doing no harm. When I do Reiki I “see/feel” the person/animal as the beautiful perfect being they truely are! And I try to convey this to them in some way! IT is truely a Gift!

  • Reiki Nurse December 3, 2016, 2:06 pm

    There are so many opinions and so much is still clandestine about the origins of Reiki. Reiki has always been, and although it was rediscovered by Mikao Usui sometime at the turn of the 20th century, it wasn’t meant to have a price tag attached to it, and the symbols/concepts were supposed to remain clandestine and never be written down or shared with the ‘lay’ community.

    My own Reiki Master, during the year long process of teaching me & then attuning me to Level III (Reiki Master), passed on information about the above fallacies. As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing ‘new’ and no further ‘information’ to be revealed about Mikao Usui or the origins of Reiki. Humans seem to require explanations & tend to have an intrinsic need to explain things. Some things are meant to be only felt with our hearts ? Peace out.

  • Sue Wang March 3, 2019, 9:00 pm

    Helpful! Thank you. Good to know that what I learned was true. Reiki is a powerful tool and I’m grateful that Sensai Usui got organized to teach others.

  • Gaye McBride October 7, 2019, 6:32 pm

    Blessed to be introduced to Reiki in 2002 It was 3 or 4 into my practice, into meditation etc. I intuitively began working with chakras while practicing Reiki in NZ, remember being chuffed at the time to see William Rand from USA did to, it was in his news letter. Evolution is inevitable, Integrity everything 🙏

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