In The Footsteps of Mikao Usui

Frans StieneArticles, English 8 Comments


The heart of Reiki is to discover our True Self, and to help others along their path to do the same.

It is said that Mikao Usui was a lay monk, probably from the Tendai Buddhist tradition as Mt Kurama, where he meditated for 21 days, was associated with Tendai Buddhism at the time he lived, studied, practiced, and taught.

Within Tendai Buddhism there are aspects of Shugendo, a form of mountain Buddhism. It is therefore also said that Mikao Usui was practicing Shugendo.

It is interesting to note that within Shugendo there are very specific 21 day meditation practices which are performed in the mountains. At Mikao Usui’s time, Mt Kurama was well known as a practice place for Shugendo practitioners.

“The influence of Shugendo on the origin of many of the new religious movements in Japan, for example, is increasingly recognized.” – Paul Swanson, Permanent Fellow and Director, Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture

This coming May I will be going on a journey to Japan to walk into the footsteps of Mikao Usui, and will become a lay Shugendo monk at a prestigious Shugendo temple. During this three week training I will meet with two of my Shugendo teachers. With one of them I will go for two weeks deep into the Japanese mountains to delve into our own True Self. These weeks will include meditation in caves, standing under waterfalls for purification, practicing at different temples, and walking into the steep mountains of Japan. I have been very fortunate to find the right teachers who are willing to take me on this unique journey. I am grateful for this opportunity, as it is not easy to be invited to become a lay monk and train with these kinds of teachers and practitioners.

I recently was made aware by one of my Shugendo teachers that Reiki is also mentioned in an old Shugendo Sutra. This Sutra has very specific practices which I hope to learn during this trip as well.

“I am afraid that Reiki in the Sutra and modern Reiki (are) quite different. One is rooted in the Japanese Shugendo tradition and the other is not. The important thing is if you want to feel the power of Reiki in the Sutra you should master the practice.” – Takeda Hyakusai Ajari

I am taking this journey for two very specific reasons, both of which are interlinked with “show compassion for yourself and others”. I do this journey for myself, to go deeper into remembering my True Self so that I can let go of some of my own personal issues and shortcomings. And I do this journey for all my students, so that I can be a better teacher and also share some of these teachings with them, as not everybody has the opportunity and desire to travel and to train for several weeks deep in the mountains and valleys of Japan.

How to Donate

This trip of a lifetime will not be easy for a few reasons. It is not easy to take three weeks out of daily life with a family and a business, and of course there will be fees for the training, flights, temples, specific clothing (as you have to wear specific clothing during the ceremony but also when you go into the mountains to practice), and more.

Therefore, if you feel inclined to make a donation towards my trip, feel free to click one of the options below. As a student and fellow traveler on this path, you will indirectly benefit from my journey as well.


Choose a support option below:

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I look forward to sharing these benefits with you and appreciate any support you may want to offer.

Link to new religions:”>Japanese New Religions

Links to Shugendo:


Was Mikao Usui a Yamabushi

Extra links:

Frans Stiene’s Japan Journal”>Transforming Life with the Great Death


Comments 8

  1. Avatar of Sundar

    Frans, what a wonderful opportunity to walk the sacred path taken by Usui san.  And what a blessing to abide in True Self in that process.  May that Great Bright Light that you are, shine brighter each passing day, and be a beacon that helps others return Home.

    Much love!

  2. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  3. Avatar of Peta Morton

    I love the path that you are taking. What an amazing, sacred exploration & adventure you are on. I too have recently found myself drawn to meditating in caves, underground hollows, energetic power-points in nature, sacred stones and am developing a much greater appreciation for the wisdom of our ancestors and a deep gratitude for our beautiful Mother earth as a result.  I’m really looking forward to reading about your journey. Travel well Frans.

  4. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  5. Avatar of Christine

    Thanks for sharing so much of your True Light. I’m holding you in light for your journey within. May you continue to shine brightly, and may you continue to share your bright light with others. The world needs more light! 🌝🌞

  6. Avatar of Juri

    Hi Frans. Here’s Juri from Denmark.

    I hope you and yours are well.

    Thank you for being such a wonderful teacher.

    Guess what! I’ve found out that there’s a Tendai practice center just 30 kilometers from where I live. The head is an ordained priest. So cool 👍. I’ve only been to an evening meditation (no rituals that evening, but wonderful just to sit) and I’m looking forward to learning more, if I may become part of their sangha (which I imagine is very likeliy as their slogan is: Everone is welcome 😎).

    1) What would be an appropriate gift I could give them, to say thank you the opportunity?

    2) In your 2016 article you mention an old Shugendo Sutra. Can (have?) you tell more about the sutra… and of lessons learned during the trip?

    3) (OK, I might check myself, but…) is there a webinar I could purchase regarding this topic?

  7. Avatar of Frans Stiene Post

    Hi Juri,
    In essence the Inner Heart of Reiki and Reiki Insights is a accumulation of what I learned but the best way is to come to one of the classes or retreats. We can only learn so much from reading. You could just give them a donation. They might even have a donation box for that.

    1. Avatar of Juri

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