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The word Reiki is of Japanese origin.



Means spiritual consciousness or divine wisdom.



Means the universal life force that is inherent in all living things. 

Also known as Chi (China), Prana (India).


The origin of Reiki is somewhat mysterious. Much of the information about Reiki is either contradictory or not validated by historical reference. The generally agreed upon information is this:


Late in the nineteenth century, Mikao Usui, a Japanese scholar, began an intensive study of energy, consciousness, healing and spiritual practices. Usui is believed to have tirelessly researched energy healing and brought his discoveries to Japan early in the previous century. While studying in Tibet, Usui learned practices using sacred symbols and mantras to connect to specific qualities of energy ~ energy that is healing and supports spiritual growth.


A pivotal part of Usui’s development as an energy healer was a mystical experience he encountered upon completing a 21 day fast and meditation on Mount Kurama in Japan. He saw a shining light that struck him at the forehead. Usui was transformed into an altered state of expanded consciousness where he could see energy in the form of bubbles of rainbow colored light.


Ultimately, in another bright light, he recognized the symbols that he had experienced glowing in golden light. Simultaneously the meaning and the purpose for the symbols became clear to him. Upon descending the mountain in his greatly expanded state Usui stubbed his toe causing it to bleed and throb. He held his hands around his foot and the bleeding and pain stopped immediately. This was, for him, validation of the powerful healing force that he was embodying.


Mikao Usui worked for seven years healing in the slums of Kyoto. He became discouraged that though he could heal people’s physical bodies they remained trapped in their patterns recreating disease. He created the Reiki Principles.


Usui Sensei realized that in order for someone to heal they must first want the healing and then ask for it. He also recognized that there must be some form of exchange of energy between healer and receiver. He realized that payment is necessary.


Ultimately, Mikao Usui trained over 2000 practitioners before he died in 1926. At least 16 of those practitioners he trained as Reiki Masters. Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, one of those Reiki Masters, utilized Reiki at his three healing clinics in Japan. The practice of Reiki moved to the west when Mrs. Hawayo Takata from Hawaii received Reiki training from Dr. Hayashi while she was visiting Japan. All present day Reiki practitioners can trace their teacher lineage to Mikao Usui who developed the practice as we use it today.


The symbols used to write the word Reiki are from the Japanese Katakana syllabary. This is the phonetic alphabet used to write foreign names. Scholars believe that compelling evidence connects the Reiki lineage of healing masters to a much older lineage of healing masters from Tibet. Similarly both lineages developed the use of symbols to access specific qualities of energy. The energy connection to the syllables and the energy they represent is passed from master to student.


There are references that Reiki developed from a practice called Dummo in which the practitioner works with the energy of the fire element to purify and heal. Both the name and the description of the practice sound remarkably like Tummo, an ancient tantric practice within the Bön lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. According to speech pathology, the “d” sound is a less difficult to make than that of the “t” sound. While the sound of d and t are thought of as separate sounds in English, they can be difficult to discern in languages that do not have both consonants.


Bön practices are said to have been passed in an unbroken lineage from master to student for 18,000 years. The modern roots of Reiki are believed to have originated with Lama Tséwang Rikdzen about 500 BC when healing practices were given to him by Khandro Tukje Kundrol.


Lama Tséwang Rikdzen of the Bön lineage has a very extensive biography, but as far as is known it has not been translated into English. However, a few brief details are currently available.


Lama Tséwang Rikdzen (Lama is a spiritual master or guru venerated by his students as an authentic embodiment of the Buddhist teachings, and Rikdzen is one who holds a high degree of knowledge and wisdom) was a historical person who was one of twin sons born to Lama Drenpa Namkha. His mother was Öden Barma, who was a Brahmin from India. His twin brother is known as Pema Thongdrol by the Bönpos (practitioners of Bön) and as Guru Padmasambhava by Buddhists (in other Tibetan lineages). Both Lama Drenpa and Khandro Öden Barma, were very realized spiritual practitioners. Lama Tséwang Rikdzen’s life story is told in four volumes of texts. He is most widely practiced as a long life yidam (Yidam is an enlightened deity whose specific qualities and form are meditated upon), as one of his powers was in extending his lifespan. Some texts say that he lived over 500 years, others say that he lived over 800 years. There is no documentation of his death. He was a realized practitioner of Dzogchen (Dzogchen aka Great Perfection, is the ultimate of all of the 84,000 teachings of the Buddha, the realization of Buddha Samantabhadra) as well as having mastery of tantric practice. (This information about Lama Tsewang Rikdzen is translated by Raven Cypress Wood of Ligmincha Institute).


Reiki is life force energy that is directed by higher consciousness. The wisdom of higher consciousness guides energy in support of life and spiritual evolution.  It is potentially inclusive of all philosophical and religious systems of belief.*


* negative, destructive or harmful beliefs and practices cannot be in alignment with Reiki

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