Usui Reiki’s Origins, Beyond Hands On

The treasured city of Kyoto, Japan houses over 2000 temples, with Kuramayama one of its sacred mountain temples.  With numerous shrines to various deities, bhoddhisatvas and buddhist teachings, devotional living and mindfulness appears to be in the very fabric of life.

Syncrhoisity and a desire to pilgrimage to the Origins of Usui Reiki took me to Kyoto, Japan in the blooming season of the Cherry Blossoms.  Exploring the culture and journeying to the various temples,  forests, and parks I felt such deep reverence as I witnessed and experienced a culture living the very essence of Mikao Usuis 5 Reiki principles, particularly the 5th: practicing kindness and compassion.  The people of Kyoto, Japan are some of the kindest individuals I’ve ever experienced, so willing to assist a tourist with such limited Japanese language.  For a dense city I was amazed by the cleanliness, the refined, incredibly pleasant, public transportation system, and the fact that the majority of residents don’t lock their bikes. I was told these behaviors were reflective of a culture that was keenly aware of Karma, putting Buddhist principles into daily practice.

It is said that Tendai Buddhism is the foundation of Mikao Usuis Buddhist practice.  This sect of Buddhism is based in the belief that freedom from suffering, enlightened awareness, and Dharmic living is inherent in all of life. Whereas many Buddhist teachings originally cultivated a devoted practitioner renouncing all worldly desires and acquisitions, Tendai Buddhism embraces all senses, society and worldly affairs as intrinsically Dharmic.

This very much relates to and exemplifies Usui’s Reiki System. Often when one hears the word Reiki the concept engenders an idea of hands on healing. Hands on application of Reiki is Usuis greatest gift to the world, in which countless individuals have gained numerous benefits, yet this is only one aspect of his system.

Usui’s primary intention was to support others in finding freedom from suffering, discovering a life of deep peace, joy and happiness. His intention in creating his Reiki system was to provide a pathway through a set of tools that enabled individuals to live fully engaged in society, with a deep sense of freedom and purpose, whatever their profession.

Usui saw so many of his clients seek his hands on treatments, relieved of their ailment, only to return with the same condition. He recognized that it was the individuals lifestyle and perception, rather than their condition, that was the issue.  Hence he gave his students and clients the 5 Reiki Principles to be recited daily and applied in day to day life.

Just for Today:
Do not Anger
Do not Worry
Be Grateful
Devote yourself to your duties, your practice, your path
Be kind and compassionate to others and to yourself
Mikao Usui  developed his natural system of healing, not only for the physical body, but also for the mind and spirit. He told his students anyone could acquire this gift as its inherent to all humans. He taught that a ‘dedicated’ practitioner could heal themselves and share this gift with others. He emphasized that though Reiki itself required no effort, no knowledge, and was simple to learn and apply, a daily practice of meditation, breath technique and recitation of mantra/5 principles is essential.  All these aspects were a key component to his system and as one travels through Kyoto and to Mount Kurama this becomes glaringly apparent.

Frans Steine of The International House of Reiki, who I recently studied my third Shinpinden Reiki Training with, emphasizes the multifaceted aspects of Usui Reiki mentioned above, and generously shared important sites to see in Japan.  He mentioned to make sure and connect with Hyakuten Inamoto as he often holds Reiki Shares in Kyoto.  His suggestion was one of three I received prior to my trip to connect with Inamoto. Synchronicity would have it that my timing was perfect and  Inamoto’s Reiki Share fell on the evening before my journey to Kurama. I was gratefully delighted to experience the simple, kind, openhearted nature of Inamoto and his group. A French group at his Share, along with Inamoto were so welcoming and kind, guiding me on how to get to Kurama and the best way to experience the essence of Usui’s journey and the ‘mecca’ for all Reiki practitioners, as Inamoto called it. As we completed a full evening of Reiki sessions in which many of us were jet lagged and fatigued, I experienced such a profound shift in energy in the last few minutes our group sharing.  There was an overwhelming sense of peace pervading the room in which everything was consumed in a field of ease and lightness of being.

I woke the next morning filled with this lightness and a deep sense of joy.  Thirty miles or so from Kurama I already could feel its sacred presence.  The ride on the Iwakura train line was filled with cherry blossoms beginning to bloom and mountain ranges on the horizon.

Entering the small town at the base of the mountain, a sweet presence pervaded the senses.  Once in the Temple I was greeted by the fountain and statue of Sanju Kannon, goddess of compassion, blessing and protection.  As I began to visit the various sacred sites, shrines and temples on Kurama Mountain I not only experienced the powerful energy field of sublime ease and a sense of unexplainable clarity and joy, I also felt deeply immersed in the present moment, mindfully aware of every foot step dropping into meditation with every breath where the mountain itself became the Temple.

If this is the place Usui had his powerful experience with Reiki, then it’s for certain he intended for all of us to feel such liberation, such joy and lightness — to awaken to the simple pleasure of breath, of presence, of stillness and to discover this sense of wholeness is available to us at any moment and accessible in our daily lives.

As I continued to walk Kuramayama I understood and continue to assimilate the awareness that the origins of Usui Reiki are truly beyond hands on.  Meditation, breath techniques, the 5 principles and the mantras/symbols are very much the backbone of Usuis Reiki system, as they existed in his devoted practice and in the land from which his system was birthed.  These tools are guide posts to liberation in which one leads a life of equanimity — a neutral response to life challenges and a deep sense of joy and peace in every moment.

A continual sense of wonder and gratitude grows in me and a deep awareness that the true ‘mecca’ and temple is right here within us, our very bodies, our very breath, our very lives.  Usui Reiki is a gift to support us in awakening to this reality.

Join us for our Reiki Pilgrimage to Mt Kurama, Kyoto Japan in 2017, details on

Photos and Article by Eleonore Koury © 2016

Eleonore Koury is a Reiki Master, Restorative & Kundalini Yoga Teacher, leading Sacred Journeys.  She empowers individuals with a synthesis of Western and Japanese Reiki practices along with life enriching yogic tools and nature based practices.

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