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A Reiki Dilemma

Since the discovery of original materials of Dr. Usui and Dr. Hayashi, as well as lectures by Mr. Hiroshi Doi of the Traditional Japanese Reiki Society [Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai], Traditional Reiki Masters in the United States and Europe have faced somewhat of a dilemma. On the one hand, they have been taught that the only correct way possible to do Reiki, to teach and attune to Reiki was provided by those of the lineage Usui-Hayashi-Takata-Furumoto. This, they have been taught, was as Dr. Usui intended it, and is the most traditional way, the only real way, to do Reiki. On the other hand, the Gakkai does not recognize this lineage [which includes Mrs. Takata], although they have heard of it. Most do acknowledge that Dr. Hayashi was one of Dr. Usui's students who split from the Gakkai to pursue his own methods, which were much more medically based and did not include the personal development and spiritual focus which Usui originally practiced. It seems prudent to respect the only documented continuing Japanese source of Dr. Usui's original work and philosophy and to learn from them as one additional source of accurate information about the teaching and practice of Reiki. In addition, any serious Reiki Master will consider incorporating the newly discovered material in their classes and sessions. Several Reiki Masters in Europe have been doing much continuing research in Japan on Usui's life and practices.

Dr. Usui trained 16-22 Masters, of which Hayashi was only one. Dr. Hayashi trained some 22 Masters, of which Takata was only one. Mrs. Takata trained some 20 Masters of which Furumoto was only one. Although Takata and Furumoto claim to be "Grandmasters", Dr. Hayashi never appointed a "Grand Master", as the students of Mrs. Takata and Phyllis Furumoto claim. The term "Grandmaster" never existed in the Reiki history. In the Reiki history taught in this country, Usui was a Christian. In fact, he was never a Christian, but, like his family, a Tendai Buddhist. Dr. Usui's writings indicate that he never intended for any authority of a Master to exist, nor the position of "Grand Master", nor did he want his family to participate in any formal Reiki organization, to prevent the creation of any Reiki dynasty or tradition. The Gakkai honors this tradition of Dr. Usui by only having a president of the society. Dr. Usui wanted to spread Reiki as widely as possible with as little cost to the client/student as was possible.

Many Reiki procedures [Takata-based] of training, attunement, and levels of Reiki differ from those taught by Dr. Usui and by Dr. Hayashi. In addition, the philosophical base of Reiki is different, as well as the history of Dr. Usui's life. His hand positions, treatment positions, and description of healing differ. Dr. Usui did not even rate himself as the most accomplished Reiki practitioner. Even Mrs. Takata seemed to teach slightly differently to each student, especially when teaching the symbols, especially the master symbol. The practice of charging $10,000 for Master level seems to have originated with her. [In fact, he expressed a desire to spread the teaching of Reiki widely, which would be contradicted by any exorbitant fee.]  Dr. Usui did not want a hierarchy established in his name about Reiki. He would not let his family members join any Reiki organization. This was a distinct break with the Japanese tradition of keeping some information secret and maintaining a hierarchy of masters.

The Reiki dilemma is that some recent Reiki traditions seem to coincide more with the Reiki of  Dr. Usui than with that which was taught by Mrs. Takata. This would make these newer traditions more "traditional" than the teachings of traditional Reiki. The Reiki Alliance and Phyllis Furumoto say on one hand that every Reiki Master of every tradition should be respected as equals and that distant Reiki knows no time, space, or strength limitations, but, on the other hand, does not recognize students of other traditions nor Masters of other traditions for the purpose of training or participating in Reiki events or studies. Students from other traditions wishing to study with Traditional Masters are told that they must start again with Reiki I [and pay again] if they want to study. Students have even been told that if they study and are attuned to other Reiki traditions that they will lose the ability to do Reiki. Some Traditional Masters have also told students that the longer the lineage is away from Mrs. Takata, the weaker the Reiki. [In other words, learn Reiki from a Master who was attuned by Takata and paid $10,000, or at least from one attuned by Furumoto who she stills recognizes]. Distant attunements are not deemed possible, even though distant healing is taught. There have been failed attempts to trademark Reiki to limit its use to those of the traditional lineage through Takata and Furumoto. When hospitals set up studies of Reiki, often Traditional Masters in the areas will tell them that their study will not be valid unless they use an "approved" Master. In fact, there is no single international Reiki organization or authority. This takes unfair advantage of those relatively uninformed about Reiki.

It seems obvious that Dr. Usui [even by the history of the Takata lineage] trained many Masters, and that each Master would have created a separate lineage by their own teaching of students. Dr. Hayashi's students, also, would have created their own separate lineages, as would those of Mrs. Takata. There are still some of Mrs. Takata's students alive, some of whom reject the Reiki Alliance and/or the claim of Phyllis Furumoto. to be "Grand Master" or "Lineage-Bearer". Since Dr. Usui did not make Dr. Hayashi his "Grand Master", any transfer of this title to Mrs. Takata or to Phyllis Furumoto is specious, especially since the records of the Gakkai do not show any such rank or special authority of Hayashi. One would have to assume that Dr. Usui intended that all of his students would be appropriately skilled as Masters, each able to attune students to Reiki levels [even these levels differ from the Takata levels] with equal skill and energy.

Of some great note - the lack of recognition of the Japanese Gakkai at least suggests some possible imperfections in the methods of the Usui-Hayashi-Takata-Furumoto lineage. In addition, the lineage of the members of the Gakkai does not include any of those attuned by Takata, nor is the lineage through Dr. Hayashi felt to be any more important than that through others of Dr. Usui's Masters.

Today, there are also undoubtedly many Reiki Masters who can trace multiple certified lineages, some through Usui-Hayashi-Takata, some from Usui-Hayashi and some from Dr. Usui through others of his Reiki Masters, perhaps even those who can trace a "Reiki" [since Reiki is a Japanese word, it would be known by another name] lineage which would not even include Usui but come directly from Reiki-like healing traditions in Tibet! There is much debate about the role of Tibetan thought in the development of Usui Reiki, and how much it influenced Dr. Usui.

A Personal Comment -According to any tradition of Reiki, Dr. Usui said that Reiki is universal, unconditional, loving energy in action. Unfortunately, this unconditional love does not seem to be appreciated in practice by all Reiki traditions. The concept of sharing Reiki widely ultimately implies a financial "energy exchange" affordable by all, including a percentage of pro bono work by every Reiki Master. It implies the creation of as many qualified practitioners at all levels, including Master, as possible [members of the Reiki Alliance and/or Masters created by Phyllis Furumoto have been asked to put a multi-year moratorium on the creation of new Masters!]. Sharing Reiki widely also implies a trust and respect for Reiki practitioners and teachers of all traditions. While the principle of attunement seems to be universally held as valid and necessary, teaching in today's world, with a higher general education and literacy, along with electronic communication, implies the improvement of methods and the incorporation of the best that we can know about Reiki from both original and modern sources [including "pre-original" sources]. This includes recognizing culture-specific variations and parts of the system which are not necessarily central to the tradition of the energy healing modality known as Reiki [including location(s) of hand positions, behavior towards a teacher, need for formal certification or documentation, levels of teaching and their timing, ethics, symbols, and history].

Although I am a Certified Traditional Usui Reiki Master, tracing my lineage back to Dr. Usui {Usui-Hayashi-Takata-Furumoto-Morgan-Vaughan-Nickel-LRS}, I have discovered that Reiki is enriched by additional traditions and incorporation of newer/older methods. I teach Traditional Reiki, as well as teaching separately other traditions of Reiki, or "enriched" forms of Reiki [composites of newer/older practices of Reiki added to traditional Reiki]. Dr. Usui is supposed to have rediscovered Reiki from ancient Tibetan roots. Thanks to the internet, it is now possible for others to find out more about those roots, as well as more about Dr. Usui. There may be even other roots and aspects of this wonderful system yet to be rediscovered. We must not be lock-stepped to an authoritarian system which demands rigid adherence to "the only one way" to do Reiki. Dr. Usui recognized that what he called Reiki was a energy healing system which others had used in many cultures before {calling it by various names}. He was trying to rediscover how to do it. I honor all Reiki practitioners, Reiki Masters, and Reiki traditions as equally providing a wonderful service to humanity.

It is possible to be even more "traditional" than the tradition taught by the Usui-Hayashi-Takata-Furumoto lineage [of which I am a part, as a Traditional Usui Reiki Master]. This involves our continuing re-education about Reiki roots and traditions, as well as their Tibetan roots, as well as a constant willingness to modify our methods to include the best of Reiki teachings and practice from every era. Dr. Usui did not invent Reiki; he re-discovered an energy healing method lost in time. Reiki is the energy [known by many names]; Dr. Usui's way of teaching is the method. There are today, and will be in the future, great teachers of energy healing, including of Reiki. Reiki is still evolving!.

I suggest that all Reiki practitioners and teachers be acquainted with the material available on the Web about recent discoveries. This material can be found on many good sites, including:

Let Reiki guide you with skill, compassion, and courage in your studies as you help yourself and others.