REVISIONISTS', OR 'REIKI MYTHMAKERS'?
2002/3 James Deacon
Takata-Sensei brought the Reiki healing modality from Japan to
the west (Hawaii) in the late 1930's (-she received her Master
Level certificate from Hayashi-Sensei in 1938), and with the actual
Reiki modality, came the story
(- familiar, I believe to just about everyone who has ever attended
a 'Takata-lineage' Reiki class -) of Usui Sensei and the origins
This 'authorised version' of the Reiki story remained - to all
intents and purposes - unchallenged, up to and beyond Takata-Sensei's
death in 1980 - in fact right up into the mid to late 1980's,
when the very first snippets of 'new' information suggesting possible
alternatives to the accepted history surrounding Reiki and its
origins, began to surface.
when it was discovered that several specific details of the 'Reiki
story' as taught by Takata-Sensei, could at best, not be substantiated,
and in some cases could apparently be 'proved' to be inaccurate,
many Reiki practitioners felt some what disheartened, yet others
perhaps even felt, in some vague sense, betrayed.
And of course there were a great many who, having previously recounted
the 'Reiki story' with reverential attitude, could suddenly not
disassociate themselves quickly enough from this 'misrepresentation
of the facts' .
Though, later, upon reflection, many of us have no doubt come
to the realisation which a few, more enlightened, souls than ourselves
were aware of all along - that the 'Story of Reiki' was exactly
that - a story, or more precisely a 'teaching-story' - a Parable
to engage and teach the Heart ('Heart Facts'), rather than a factual
history to occupy the intellect ('Head Facts').
And yet, perhaps the Heart is still being given the opportunity
to learn more than the Head, if it is willing...
However, in the West we want the 'Head Facts', believing they
will serve us well.
quite some time, as rumours about someone (the 'someone' in question
turned out to be Hiroshi Doi) teaching rediscovered Japanese Reiki
practices, trickled out into the Reiki Community at large, many
people were under the impression that all these 'Japanese Reiki
Techniques' being taught by Hiroshi Doi were 'Original Reiki'
- until the hype died down and it emerged that many were techniques
from Doi's 'Modern (Gendai) Reiki' system
Then of course there is the matter of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai
itself - the 'Original Reiki Society' (initially believed to have
been set up by Usui-Sensei, then later said to have been set up
by some of his students after his death) - supposedly preserving
Usui-Sensei's original Reiki teachings - 'keepers of the flame'
- as it were.
Again, when the hype began to die down, we discovered that this
supposed 'benchmark' organization apparently does not actually
teach Usui-Sensei's original system of Spiritual Development,
but has, from its inception, taught what is essentially
a significantly different system of energywork, which the Gakkai
founders consciously evolved, based on Usui-Sensei's original
There were other rumours of secret Usui Diaries kept in Japanese
Temples; Tendai Buddhists claiming Tendai origins for Reiki, Shingon
Buddhists claiming Shingon origins; Qi Gung practitioners claiming
Taoist origins; Kotodama practitioners claiming Usui Sensei taught
Kotodama; martial artists claiming Usui Sensei was a high level
martial arts practitioner, etc, etc.
Not unexpectedly, this new (and to a certain extent, conflicting)
information gripped the hearts, minds and imagination of a great
many Reikifolk, and has given rise to a whole host of magazine
articles, books, lectures - even the occasional video -as well
as spawning a plethora of workshops / courses teaching numerous
subtly different versions of 'original Reiki techniques''.
now, new material continues to emerge from existing sources, and
new sources are still occasionally 'stepping into the limelight'
to offer up their contributions, or to corroborate, dispute or
refute recent revelations from other sources.
this 'original' and often dissonant Reiki material is being (-some
might say, 'creatively') woven together in an attempt to reconstruct
the 'truth' about Reiki - it's origins, history, teachings and
am reminded of something a Japanese bujutsu Sensei once
taught me - about what he felt was a particularly Japanese concept
(though perhaps it is far more universal) - something he referred
to as tatemae, which has to do with maintaining a harmonious
society. He said that for a gaijin (non-Japanese) to truly
begin to understand the Japanese mind-set (and by extension bujutsu
and other arts) we need to understand that, in the final analysis,
Japanese consciousness is not overly concerned about 'hard-fact
reality' - rather, it seeks to find a 'reality' that everyone
can agree about. A compromise: an agreed version of truth - even
if it is a fantasy, as long as it is one everyone consents to