Reiki Principles & Reiki History Not Always Agreed Upon

There are many different English versions of the Reiki principles, just as there are different versions of Reiki history. Some versions of the principles are more eloquently written than others, but the basic concepts are, for the most part, the same.

Reiki history begins in Japan in the early 1920s, when a man named Mikao Usui (the name is reversed in Japanese) opened a school or dojo, a Japanese word that can refer to any training facility, not just one for martial arts training. The term literally means „place of the Way“.

Some versions of Reiki history say that the man’s name was Usui Sensei, but sensei is actually a Japanese title of respect, used to refer to a teacher, doctor or other professional. Misunderstandings of the translation of „sensei“ may be why some refer to him as Dr. Usui.

The origin of the Reiki principles is somewhat unclear. Usui may have been inspired by the writings or poetry of the Meiji Emperor, who reigned during most of his life. In the moral principles outlined in the „Imperial Rescript on Education“, subjects are instructed to „be good and kind to all“.

He may have been inspired by a book written in 1914 by Dr. Bizan Suzuki, in which this phrase is written; „Just for today, do not get angry, do not feel fear, be honest, work hard, and be kind to others.“

According to one account, attributed to a woman (Tenon-in) who said that she worked in the dojo from 1920 until 1926, the inspiration for the Reiki principles came to Usui on a day in 1921 after he visited Mt. Hiei, the location of a Buddhist temple lying to the northeast of Kyoto city. Other sources say that his moment of inspiration came during a fast on Mount Kurama, the location of a Shinto temple lying to the northwest of Kyoto.

One version of Reiki history has Usui teaching Christian theology at Doshisha University in Kyoto. So, even the religion of the man is a matter of some debate. The discrepancies probably relate to the various religions of those who came to practice and teach Reiki following Usui’s death.

Tenon-in said that the original scroll containing the Reiki principles still hangs on the wall of a private shrine kept secret from the public. Secrets are part of the reason that Reiki history is so unclear. According to one author, the first line of the scroll containing the Reiki principles is a heading that reads, „The secret method of inviting blessings.“ Even from the early days, many Reiki masters took this to mean that the method of healing with the hands taught by Usui was to be kept „secret“.

It really makes no difference which version of Reiki history a person chooses to believe. The energy has been here since the beginning of time, Usui simply gave the energy a name; Reiki.

It makes no difference which version of the Reiki principles that a person chooses to follow. One that is eloquently written is no more effective than the one which we prefer „Today, don’t get angry, don’t worry, be grateful, work hard and be kind to others.“ To learn more, please visit