Mikao Usui was born into a family that had been practising Zen Buddhism for eleven
generations. As a youth Usui developed a fascination for all things Western. However, he never travelled outside Japan. After leaving school he went on to study allopathic medicine with several western allopathic physicians who had graduated from Yale and Harvard University.
When a cholera epidemic spread through Tokyo, Usui was struck down with the disease.
During his hospitalisation as he was close to death he had a spiritual experience. This
inspired Usui to study the ancient teachings of his ancestors. He joined a Zen monastery and began reading the ancient Sanskrit and Sutras. After many years of study Usui found references to an ancient form of healing. Further study revealed methods, formulas and symbols that detailed exactly how to practice and master this art of hands on healing. However, although he had the technical knowledge to
practise healing, he lacked the wisdom to turn the teachings into reality. He needed the key to turn on and activate the power. Usui decided to seek the final piece of the jigsaw through meditation. Taking leave from the monastery, Usui set off for the holy mountain of Kurama. When he reached the top he picked up twenty-one pebbles and placed them in front of himself. He sat down and began his meditation. Each day he threw away one pebble. For twenty-one days he prayed, meditated, sang and read the Sutras. On the last day as he prayed he ask God to show him the light. Suddenly, a bright light appeared in the sky and came rapidly towards him, hitting him on his forehead, at the third eye chakra. Usui was knocked unconscious, and whilst in this altered state he saw a vision of the same symbols he had earlier found in the Sutras.
This vision was the confirmation Dr. Usui needed. He now knew that he had found the keys to the ancient form of healing used by Buddha and Jesus. When Usui regained full
consciousness, he proceeded to return down the mountain. On his descent, he stubbed and cut his toe, he instinctively placed his hand on the toe and the bleeding and pain stopped.
On arrival at a nearby village he stopped to eat and rest. He was able despite having fasted for 21 days; eat a healthy meal without any stomach pain. The girl who served Usui the meal was in great pain suffering from a toothache. Usui asked if he could place his hands on her swollen face, she agreed, and he was able to ease the swelling and the pain. Rested, Usui returned to the monastery. On Arrival he found his friend, the Abbot in bed suffering with severe arthritis. Once again Usui was able to alleviate the pain and suffering. Usui called this gift from God – Reiki, the Japanese word for universal life force. These experiences became known as the four miracles. Having demonstrated his knowledge and new ability to heal the Abbott advised Usui to take this special gift into the slums of Kyoto to heal the beggars. He was reminded that it is not enough to heal the body; it is of equal importance to heal the spirit and mind also. This lesson was brought home to him very abruptly seven years later. Having spent the time giving Reiki to beggars in the slums of Kyoto to get them working, he found them returning to him with the excuse that it was easier to beg.
Usui had forgotten a basic doctrine. Mortified he retreated to meditate once again. This time he was enlightened with the five principles of Reiki. The rest of Usui’s life was spent healing, teaching and developing the Usui Shiki Rhoyo method of healing. Usui had nineteen major students who were all either western allopathic or traditional Japanese in their practice. He knew he would have to develop a method that could be understood and accepted by any religion or culture. Reiki was fashioned by Usui to have no dogma or religious beliefs attached to it. This made Reiki universal. Tenno, the Emperor of Japan honoured Usui’s work by awarding him a doctorate. By the
time of his death in 1930, Dr Mikoa Usui had initiated all nineteen of his students to the
level of Reiki Master/Teacher. Dr Chujiro Hayashi was chosen as the next Grand Master. It is important to note that Dr Usui taught all three degrees together. Dr Usui was cremated and his ashes placed in a Zen Monastery in Tokyo.