The credit of origination of Reiki Usui is wholly on Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. The driving force behind Reiki Usui was Mikao Usui’s wish to help others heal more intensely. To do this, he became familiar with westernized and oriental methods of healing, and then synthesized these into what is known as Reiki Usui.
Usui was born into the spiritual traditions of his family (Tendai) and he thought that there is absolutely a better way to heal. Interestingly, Usui found the path he needed to follow to create Reiki Usui with the understanding and mentoring of a Shingon Priest. This path was not without problems as to pursue it meant a rift was created with his family. To change sects was to go against family tradition. So, intent on the dream of something better to heal – the dream of Reiki Usui – he continued in his journey and did become a disciple and follower of Shingon.
He was convinced by it as he found parallel way of teachings in some other traditions, like Tibetan Medicine and Tibetan Vajrayana. What he found was not Reiki Usui (at least not yet), but he did find similar teachings to those of Japanese esoteric Buddhism. By now, he had a great deal on his plate and attempted to condense it into a more formal structure for himself. To do that, he started to codify the teaching and methods into a system that included the use of symbols. It also had inclusion of methods to tap into channel (bestowed) power) and esoteric dharani. A dharani is a type of ritual speech similar to a mantra. These are very similar, but used in different situations.
Usui got to a point and then got stuck. In the traditions he was drawing upon, the conferring of power could only be done by a living teacher called an Acarya. Since he was not a Master Teacher he decided there must be a way to do direct power transfers. At a momentary loss, he decided to meditate, fast and pray for a line of direct empowerment – for Reiki Usui if you will.
The story goes that Usui went to the scared mountain of Kurama just outside Kyoto. Kurama had been a Tendai temple for years, but was frequented by monks from other sects. During his meditatios, he realized a complete understanding of directing power transfer and began to develop Reiki Usui. Usui is said to have taught many the ability to lay on hands and heal, but didn’t teach many the deeper, more committed path that can be taken to understanding Reiki.
Usui Reiki is considered to be the original Reiki and the foundation of most of the Reiki systems in use in the world today. Mikao Usui made enormous contribution towards the world as a gift for people to make use of Usui Reiki, which is the universal life force energy.