There has been a great deal of discussion in the Reiki community over the last couple of years about ‘new’ discoveries within the system of Reiki. These discussions have focused on a number of topics including Mikao Usui’s life and Mikao Usui’s teachings – all in relation to what is taught today as the system of Reiki.
This article deals with two different forms that many students of the system of Reiki today consider to be linked. The first form comprises information provided by living students of Usui sensei about his teachings. The second is known as the system of Reiki around the globe today.
By looking at the elements that comprise Usui sensei’s teachings in contrast to the system of Reiki it is possible to see a link between these two forms with this link being Usui sensei himself. The teachings themselves are quite separate in intention and design.
Suzuki san was born in Japan in 1895 and was the cousin of Usui sensei’s wife, Sadako Suzuki. At the age of 20 she began her training with Usui sensei. From 1915 to 1920 she trained formally with him and thereafter, informally, until his death in 1926. Suzuki san is still alive today as are 1 0 other students of Usui sensei. Suzuki san is a practitioner and teacher of Usui sensei’s teachings.
To practise the teachings of Usui sensei, as taught by Suzuki san, is to focus on self-realization. Healing others is a natural side effect of working in this manner but is certainly not emphasized within the form. Not only is healing not a major element of the form but the approach to healing differs from the techniques used in the system of Reiki. The teachings of Usui sensei and the system of Reiki take the student on paths that are unique to each form. These paths are not the same.
One of the most important aspects of what Suzuki san teaches is the precepts, but these are not the same as the precepts practiced by the system of Reiki and have evolved from their own individual context. The teachings themselves are taught one-on-one and take many, many years to learn with the student moving from one understanding to another with the teacher guiding the practise. The symbols are not used, with the exception of 1, and the teachings are based on the student’s personal development through the use of specific meditations. This is a spiritual practise that focuses on discovering one’s own true essence.
Echoes of Usui sensei’s teachings can be found in the system of Reiki – working with energy to heal, the precepts and reiju – but none of these aspects are dealt with in the same manner. To understand how the one form developed into the other it is believed today that Usui sensei might have developed his teachings with two different objectives in mind. The earliest teachings ( approx.1912-1926), focused on personal spiritual development, were taught until his death while the later teachings ( approx. 1922 – 1926) were developed expressly for healing. Today the system of Reiki is a business for many who use their teaching expertise to guide students into an awareness about energy and healing work. Usui sensei’s teachings are not a business. They focus on personalwork with ongoing study taking place between a teacher and a student.
Usui sensei’s teachings, as taught by Suzuki san, have no name but can be seen as a Method of Spiritual Practice that was in fact Usui sensei’s life. The names Usui Teate or Usui Do are just that, names. Individuals have used them to represent elements of the teachings but by using these terms one’s view of the teachings can become restricted.
Many Reiki practitioners today want to see Usui sensei’s teachings exposed to them as they feel that it is their right to know about this information. True, that historically it is beneficial to understand the origins of a practise such as the system of Reiki but it is also true that these teachings must be respected for what they are – unique and separate to the system of Reiki. These teachings have their own structure and that is not the same as the system of Reiki. It cannot be learnt within a day or two or even a year, there are no manuals or course guidelines available and it cannot be picked up over the Internet. It is for those dedicated to their practise, seeking personal enlightenment.
Bronwen and Frans Stiene are the co-founders of the International House of Reiki and co-authors of The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, Your Reiki Treatment, The A-Z of Reiki Pocketbook and the Reiki Techniques Card Deck. Bronwen and Frans teach in the USA, Europe and Australia. Visit the Courses page to find a course near you.