A Brief Look at Usui Sensei's Reiki
At a recent gathering of healers and energy workers, I was suprised how few has a working knowldge of Reiki. All had heard of it, and a few knew it was a method of energy work, but as far as any definite knowldge they were lacking. The few that did know of Reiki had histories that are now proven inaccurate. This article is written in the hope of giving a general background on the wonderful practice of Reiki.
Usui Sensei's History
Mikao Usui Sensei was born in Yamagita prefecture in Japan on August 15, 1865. He attended school at a Tendai Buddhist run school, as was customary in this period. It is known that he studied martial arts, kiku (a Japanese system of energy development, similar to Chi Kung and Tai Chi), and was a member of the ReyJutsuKai, a metaphysical group in Japan at the time. He remained a devout Buddhist throughout his life, transitioniing from Tendai to Shingon Buddhism, an esoteric sect, at some point in his life. Usui Senseo was well versed in medicine, psychology, religion, astrology, and a gifted psychic. He held many jobs throughout his life, working as a public servant, office worker, industralist, reporter, politicians secretary, missionary, and a supervisor of convicts. He also worked as a private secretary to Shinpei Goto, who was Secretary of the Railroad, Poastmaster General and Secretary of the Interior and State. This would have given Usui Sensei the opportunity to travel outside of Japan
It is important to understand the time period in which Usui Ssensei was born. In 1870, the Meiji Restoration began in Japan. This was a turbulent period in Japan's history where the country went from a feudal society to an industrial society that could compete with Europe and the United States in about 30 years. Prior to this, Japan had existed in isolation for about 200 years where Christanity was outlawed, no foreigners were admitted, and all efforts were made to keep Japan 'pure". The only foreigners who were allowed to trade with Japan were the Dutch, and they could only enter the port of Nagasaki.
During the Meiji restoration, there were many battles between the traditionalists and the reformists. Many people in Japan, most notably the Samauri caste, did not want to give up their ways. Foreigners were still held in contempt, and froeign ideas were taboo. While it is not known if Usui Sensei was directly taught thesse ideals, he did come from a Samauri family, and it is very likely. Even after the Restoration, the Japanese people were convinced of their cultural and personal superitory, which directly led to the United States entering WWII. As Usui Sensei was an assistant to a politician, he would have been open to outside influences, but there is no record of his changing religious beliefs or adopting teachings from the "outside world".