Mikao Usui, the founder of the system of Reiki, was born on 15th August 1865 in the village of Taniai in Japan. His family were of long Samurai lineage, had high standing and wealth, and he was trained as a Samurai from a young age. He was educated at a Buddhist school and at the age of ten, he found himself to be deeply interested in spiritual practice steering him in the direction of gaining wisdom of many different traditions.
He served as a Buddhist lay priest for a time, was married and had two children. He then went on to become the personal secretary to the mayor of Tokyo who then became the minister for transport.
Usui travelled extensively during his life, but feeling a yearning to find deeper spiritual enlightenment after he became bankrupt, he began to take long retreats, meditating and fasting to find deeper meaning.
It was whilst on one of these retreats where he spoke to a priest as to why he was unable to achieve the enlightenment that he sought and was advised that he should take himself out into nature alone and fast until he was close to death. Only by surpassing his material needs and desires would he achieve true enlightenment. Taking the priests advice he retreated to a hill for solitude to meditate and fast such as the priest had advised. After a very long while there and coming close to death he suddenly felt what he had been searching for and it all became clear.
Whilst making his way back down the hill, he met a person who was in severe pain. To help this person, Usui placed his hands on the painful part to attempt to give comfort and to his astonishment the pain had stopped. After this experience he tried it on others and found that he was able to help to heal them also. He realised that as a result of gaining spiritual connection himself, he was able to channel spiritual energy to others also.
Following this, he came to the understanding that if he was able to work with Universal Life Energy, then others should be able to do it too, to bring more light to this dark world. He quickly set about teaching others the spiritual understanding that he had gained and all of his students were then able to give healing in the same way. He understood that all students learned in different ways and so he created a set of different techniques to help students to learn in their own method. The system of Reiki was then born.
The Two Lineages
Mikao Usui trained over two thousand students with the system of Reiki before he suffered a fatal stroke in 1926. Prior to this tragic event, he trained a group of naval officers to use his method to help the wounded on the battlefields who went on to form the Reiki Gakkai (Reiki Learning Society) which formed the beginning of the Japenese or Eastern Reiki Lineage. An American citizen, Hawayo Takata, who learnt Reiki from Dr Chujiro Hayashi of the Eastern Lineage, was the first Westerner to receive Reiki training and subsequently took her teaching to the USA which spread throughout the world. This is how we have what is now referred to as the Western Lineage of Reiki.
(Please find details of my lineage here)