The Art of Mikao Usui

Frans Stiene Articles, English Leave a Comment

The deeper we look at Mikao Usui’s teachings the more we see that his practice is an art, like many Japanese practices: the art of flower arrangement, the art of Aikido, the art of the tea ceremony, and so on…

And the more we look at these arts the more we see that it takes a long time to learn any kind of traditional Japanese art. We have to train and train for many years with our teacher to understand what they are trying to teach us and to have the direct experience that comes with practice. These kinds of arts you do not learn in one year!

Thus if we look Chujiro Hayashi, who was influential in bringing the system of Reiki to the west, we start to see something interesting. Hayashi only trained with Mikao Usui for about 10 months! Chujiro Hayashi started to train with Mikao Usui in 1925 and Mikao Usui passed away in 1926.

By simply looking at this we can see that Hayashi, in all probability, didn’t learn the full scope of Mikao Usui’s art. Which means that most of us practice only a small part of Mikao Usui’s art. Remember a Japanese art takes years and years to learn and develop.

When I first went to Japan in 2001, I met up with Hyakuten Inamoto. At that time, he stated that we better call the system of Reiki “Hayashi’s teachings” rather than “Mikao Usui’s teachings”. This is also one of the reasons I personally never taught Hyakuten’s teachings as they are based on Hayashi’s teachings.

That most people practice or teach Hayashi’s teachings is in itself not bad at all. It is still a great system, but we can go deeper…

We can try to find out what Mikao Usui was teaching and practicing himself, as it was Mikao Usui who had an enlightened experience on Mt Kurama and not Hayashi.

Mrs Takata knew and pointed this out as well:
“When John studied with Takata, he made over 20 audio tapes of her lectures and classes. On one of the tapes she discusses traveling to Japan in order to teach her approach to Reiki. While there, she met some Japanese citizens who were actively practicing and preserving Reiki as they understood it in Japan. Takata regarded their approach as entirely valid, but inappropriate for the West. It was highly complex, required years of training and was closely intertwined with religious practices. She felt these factors would deter students in the West and hobble the spread of Reiki through the world at a time when, in her view, it was urgently needed.” quoted from Hand to Hand by John Harvey Gray.

Here Mrs Takata points out the same: that it takes years of training, that it was highly complex, and that it was intertwined with religious practices [Japanese esoteric teachings]

When we look at Mikao Usui’s teachings we can clearly see that he borrowed from these Japanese esoteric teachings to create his system.

This is why it is so important for practitioners and teachers alike to go beyond what Hayashi was teaching, to go back to Mikao Usui if they want to experience themselves and share with their students Usui’s own teachings. If instead, one wants to just teach Hayashi’s Reiki, then there will be no issue in it at all.

But how can we go beyond what Hayashi was teaching and go back to the roots of Mikao Usui’s teachings? We can first of all explore where his tools came from: where did the symbols and mantras come from, where did the reiju come from, on what where the precepts based, where did hands-on/off healing come from? And when we do this we start to see that Usui took the elements out of Japanese esoteric teachings.

But of course that is not enough; we need to have the direct experience of what these tools were pointing at. Again this takes years and years to sit on our meditation pillow to internalize the tools and teachings.

This is why have been studying since 2012 with an Ajari. An Ajari is a Japanese priest who can train other priests. By studying with the kinds of priests who practice, teach, and have had direct experiences of Japanese esoteric teachings we can start to understand what Mikao Usui was practicing himself.

So make your practice into an art. Go deeper than Hayashi’s teachings, take the step to explore what Mikao Usui was practicing and working with. Through doing this you can gain a much deeper and direct experience of Mikao Usui and of your true self.

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