The History of Reiki

The following article appeared on the Humanity Healing website in February 2008

portrait-of-usui-3

It was Mikao Usui, a Japanese Tendai Buddhist who developed the original spiritual system that we have come to know as Reiki. In the early days, it was known as Usui Do (The Way of Usui), a name given to the system by Usui’s students. Usui himself simply referred to it as My Method.

Reiki or Usui Do as we shall call it for the time being, was born into the world at a time in Japanese history when major sociological changes were taking place in its political and cultural life. Japan was beginning to open up to the world after two centuries of self-imposed isolation and massive industrialisation was starting to transform the country from a feudal society to a major industrial nation.

Mikao Usui was born into a wealthy Tendai Buddhist family which was descended from one of the most famous and influential Samurai families in all of Japan; the Chiba clan, on 15 August 1865 in the village of Tanai Mura (now called Miyama-cho) in the Yamagata district of the Gifu Prefecture of Kyoto – the former Japanese capital. The family were very much a part of the Japanese nobility, which was a reflection of their background and ancestry in one of the higher Samurai ranks, that of Hatamoto. The Hatamoto Samurai had been the Shogun’s personal guard., but a new social and political order was beginning to flex its muscles in Japan; that of the Meiji (meaning enlightened government) Restoration, lead by Prince Mutsuhito who in 1868 became the 122nd Emperor of Japan.

With the restoration of rule by Emperor in 1868, when Usui was only three years old, Mutsuhito was determined to bring about a modern, outward-looking and dynamic new focus to his country, and mark a new beginning in Japanese history. To this end, he encouraged his subjects to go out and study the ways of the West. Usui, having a strong fascination for all things Western was, as he grew up, more than happy to oblige. Over the span of his life, he travelled extensively, visiting the US and Europe several times to study and learn the Western ways. He was always a hard-working student and accumulated a vast knowledge of medicine, psychology, fortune telling and the theology of world religions. He also studied Chinese Traditional Medicine, numerology, astrology and psychic and clairvoyant development.   

At the age of four Usui entered a Tendai Buddhist monastery near Mt Kurama (Horse Saddle Mountain) to begin a period of several years of intensive training in this school of Mikkyo Buddhism. It is highly likely that what Usui learnt at the Tendai monastery eventually provided the fundamental underpinnings of the Usui Do system. It is possible that Mikkyo Buddhism, which has many associations with an esoteric practice called Shugendo also informed his system. Shugendo was a blend of pre-Buddhist folk traditions, Tantric Buddhism, Chinese Yin-Yang magic and Taoism. Certainly, Usui would have had considerable exposure to these types of practices and consequent abilities and may well have mastered some if not all of them himself.

Usui had a strong and overriding desire to pursue the Truth to discover the ultimate meaning of life and so find the way to escape from suffering. He seemed more than willing to explore whatever method might lead him to it. For three years, starting in about 1918/19 he also had a dalliance with Zen Buddhism. He was above all else a man with a mission. How much any of his studies in the various spiritual and energetic systems contributed to the development of Usui Do is open to speculation, but it is certain that all, in shaping the man, must have contributed to it in some way either consciously or unconsciously.

In searching for the Truth, Usui began to put together his system for personal and spiritual liberation. The teachings of Tendai Buddhism provided the spiritual backbone or foundation to his practice. Elements of Shintoism were included that provided the methods for controlling and working with the energies. It is clear that he also drew on the spiritual practice of the Buddho (now sometimes known as Buddho-EnerSense and only taught within the tradition of Reiki Jin Kei Do), because the origins and deeper meanings of the Reiki symbols are contained within this system.

One of the most often talked about and critical factors in the development of the Usui Do system is Usui’s experience of satori, also known as an absorptive (dhyanic) state, on Mt Kurama. The story goes that in his search for the ultimate Truth, Usui decided to fast and meditate for 21 days. His hopes of having this Truth revealed to him were realised and on the last day he experienced a moment of satori – this being Usui’s empowerment to the Universal Life Force Energy. This powerful and ecstatic enlightenment experience was critical to the development of the system as we know it today. It was described by Bodo Baginski and Shalila Sharamon in their book Reiki Universal Life Energy:

(Usui)…saw a shining light moving towards him with great speed. It became bigger and bigger and finally hit him in the middle of the forehead… Usui…suddenly saw millions of little bubbles in…all the colours of the rainbow.

 What is being described here, it would seem, is an experience of tigle (or bindu in Hindi). Tigle is the Tibetan word that describes vital essence drops or spheres of psychic energy that are visualised and manifest due to the practice of deep and profound meditation and is a critical experience within the Vajrayana/Tantric Buddhist traditions. Usui, in being an experienced meditator of the highest order, was undergoing an experience of the spontaneous manifestation of tigle related to the energy empowerment that he sought.

During the retreat, Usui used the first three cycles of the Buddho meditation. Buddho means ‘energy’ or ‘seed’ of enlightenment. This meditation was the spark that would later send a Zen monk by the name of Seiji Takamori in search of the roots of the Reiki system. The Buddho meditation is known to have been passed on by Usui who had received it from a monk who had advised him to practice the meditation in order to receive the energy empowerments that he sought. This cyclic meditation involved a direct connection to and visualisation of Buddhist deities and symbols that are the root of one of the widely known Reiki symbols.

The system that Usui developed was for the spiritual development and ultimate liberation from suffering of the individual, in fact, self-healing, though not necessarily by the laying on of hands. As a by-product of this system, he also created a method for the healing of others. At no time was this intended to be the focus of the system. This aspect was later expanded upon by others, most notably one of Usui’s last students before he died – Chujiro Hayashi.

Much is not known or only half understood about what constituted a particular teaching under Usui. Following the standard practices in the teaching of Buddhist methods, Usui only passed on what he felt to be appropriate for a particular student, adding and omitting material where necessary.  Many Western Reiki Masters are now trying to re-introduce some of Usui’s material, or what is believed to be Usui’s material into their classes. Usui’s approach to training has also in recent times been revitalised in the West, and there are now one or two schools teaching the system in this manner, including the use of regular weekly reiju empowerments that Usui first began to use in 1922.

One of Usui’s most senior students was Toshihiro Eguchi, a school teacher who reportedly went on to teach thousands of students across Japan.  It is through his lineage that the majority of Reiki has continued in Japan. The techniques taught by Eguchi are very similar to those practised by another of Usui’s students – the man who was eventually to become the catalyst for the world wide spread of Reiki, Chujiro Hayashi. It is possible, if not highly likely, that some of what Hayashi learnt and later passed on came directly from Eguchi.

In 1925 Usui came across a group of Imperial Officers who were to become his students, including Rear Admirals Jusaburo Ushida, Kan’ichi Taketomi and Naval Captain Chujiro Hayashi. Usui’s system had come to the attention of the Japanese Navy. Whilst possessing very modern and well-equipped ships, they had only limited medical equipment and personnel and so were keen to find any method that could be used as a form of emergency treatment. Usui’s method was what they wanted. Hayashi and the other naval officers were not particularly interested in the spiritual aspects of the system, preferring to focus on the treatment side, which was considerably less important from Usui’s point of view. As a consequence of theirs and the Navy’s interest, there seems to have been something of a shift in the structure and nature of the teachings. A substantially different form of energy work began to emerge, with its focus on treating others rather than oneself. It was this system that was the forerunner of modern Reiki. Incorporated into this were techniques derived from Eguchi. Hayashi, Ushida and Taketomi were the last people to be taught by Usui before his death.

Mikao Usui died from a stroke whilst on a visit to Fukuyama, Hiroshima on the 9th March 1926. His ashes are buried at the Pure Land Buddhist Saihoji Temple in the suburbs of Tokyo with his entire family where a memorial was erected to his memory by his student Rear Admiral Ushida in 1927.

portrait-of-hayashiChujiro Hayashi

Chujiro Hayashi, a committed practitioner of Soto Zen Buddhism was born in Tokyo on 15 September 1880. He graduated from naval school in 1902 and by the time that he was doing his Masters training with Usui in 1925, he was 45 years old, a former Director of Ominato Port Defense Station at the foot of Mt Osore in northern Japan, Captain of the Imperial Navy, a naval doctor and married with two children. Hayashi was one of Usui’s most senior students. Probably in part as a consequence of the high levels of attainment in the Usui system that Hayashi had reached, he was given the Buddho meditation, which Usui had practised on Mt Kurama.

As a consequence of his former role as a naval doctor and thus being imbued with the sensibilities of the medical profession, Hayashi, upon completion of his training with Usui, opened an eight-bed Reiki clinic at his home, employing up to 20 practitioners, and began to use the Usui system as a therapeutic healing method. Clients were always treated by two or more people at a time, and Hayashi kept detailed records of all the treatments that were given in the clinic. He wanted to see if the system would fit the traditional medical model when used as a healing therapy.

The information that Hayashi collected was ultimately published as a manual called Ryoho Shishin and added to Usui’s already existing notes for the system, the whole being called the Usui Reiki Ryoho Hikkei. The resultant manual was produced at Usui’s request and was used by him with his own students. It would seem that the word ‘Reiki’ (and Reiki Ryoho) as a label for Hayashi’s new therapeutic version of the Usui system was first used by Hayashi and his naval associates.

In 1930 Dr Hayashi founded his own healing society called Hayashi Reiki Ryoho Kenkyu-kai (The Hayashi Reiki Research Center). More aspects of Usui’s teachings were changed. A 40-page manual was produced for his students that listed a complex series of hand positions for various ailments. It would appear that at some point Hayashi abandoned this approach, however, and introduced the concept of free positioning of the hands.

As Hayashi moved away from the Usui model, he also began to change the way that the system was taught.  It was Hayashi who modified and systematised Usui’s teachings and created the standard hand positions, the system of three degrees and their initiation procedures, which is pretty much the system of Reiki that the West finally inherited. The 1st Degree was taught over a 5-day period, with each day’s training taking about three hours, followed by a practical session in which students gave treatments and applied what they had learnt. Students would receive the attunements (the mystical process by which students are aligned to the Universal Energy Field) from Hayashi during these sessions, which seem to have been a significantly modified form of Usui’s original reiju empowerments that may have been taught to Hayashi by Eguchi.

Also of note is the suggestion that originally Hayashi would also give four or five additional empowerments (not attunements) to his most advanced teacher-level students. These apparently formed a part of the inner teachings of the system given to him and Eguchi by Usui. It does open up speculation as to whether or not these empowerments bear any relationship to the four empowerments given in the Buddho system of healing and spiritual development which forms the basis of the inner teachings of the Reiki system as taught by Reiki Jin Kei Do.

Hayashi conducted intensive training seminars all over Japan, training hundreds of students in his system of Reiki. In total however, he only taught 17 Reiki Masters. Two of these proved to be of immense significance. One was Hawayo Takata, the woman responsible for the worldwide spread of Reiki as a therapeutic method and the other was the enigmatic abbot of a small Zen temple; Sensei Takeuchi. It was however to Takeuchi that Hayashi passed on the Buddho meditation. Takeuchi, who may have been a close friend (or possibly a relative), was not considered a ‘typical’ student by Hayashi. Perhaps others also received the Buddho but it was not passed to Mrs Takata. This was the critical difference between the teachings that were passed on to two of Hayashi’s most senior students.

With the outbreak of World War 2 and its consequent escalating savagery, Hayashi felt a strong conflict between his impending military call-up and his moral code as a Reiki practitioner. Because he had visited Hawaii in 1938 (to promote Reiki and to complete the training of Hawayo Takata) there was a distinct possibility that he would be executed as a spy if he did not go to war, and so in the presence of some of his own students and his wife at his villa in the hot spring resort of Atami, near Mt Fuji, on 11 May 1940, he took his own life. His wife Chie continued to teach Reiki in her husband’s place at the Reiki School and throughout Japan and also maintained his clinic during the 1940s, but this was not continued by their children after Chie had passed on.

portrait-of-takataHawayo Takata & the Development of the Lineage of Usui Shiki Ryoho

Hawayo Takata was the last Reiki Master trained by Hayashi and referred to her style of Reiki as Usui Shiki Ryoho. It is from her lineage that the majority of Reiki in the world is practised, and her teachings that have predominantly defined the system up until recent times.

Takata was born on the 24th December 1900 on the island of Kauai, Hawaii where she eventually married the bookkeeper of the plantation at which her father was employed. By 1930 however, Mrs Takata found herself widowed with two young daughters to look after. For the next five years,she worked hard to provide for her family, but the pressures began to take their toll. She was close to a nervous breakdown, had severe abdominal pains and had developed a lung condition. On the heels of all of this, her sister died and so Takata set sail for Japan to inform her parents who had by this time returned to their homeland. It was also an opportunity for her to take a much-needed break from the pressures of her life and perhaps seek the help that she needed to get well.

It was during this visit with her parents that she came across Dr Hayashi’s Reiki clinic. Having originally decided to receive conventional Western medical treatments, an inner voice came to her, as she lay on the operating table, that the surgery was not necessary. Takata asked her doctor if he knew of any other way of restoring her health. The doctor referred her to Hayashi’s Reiki clinic. She then refused the surgery and began a course of Reiki treatments under the care of Dr Hayashi.

Takata was originally sceptical of the claims made for Reiki and even upon feeling the intensity of the heat from the practitioner’s hands, was convinced that they were using some sort of electrical equipment to create it. Finally convinced of the genuineness of the method as by stages her health improved, Takata resolved to learn this method for herself.

In 1936, after much persuading, Hayashi taught Mrs Takata the Shoden level of Reiki (1st Degree) followed in 1937 by Okuden (2nd Degree). That year she returned to Hawaii but was soon followed by Dr Hayashi who, after much persistence on Takata’s part, finally made her a Reiki Master in 1938, with permission to begin teaching the method in the West for the very first time. Takata was the 13th and final Reiki Master to be initiated by Dr Hayashi. As a consequence of World War 2 she lost contact with Hayashi’s Reiki School and the other Japanese practitioners, and thought herself to be the last surviving Reiki Master in the world

World War 2 and the raw memories of Pearl Harbour made it difficult for Takata to teach a method whose origins were culturally embedded in Japan. America was not in the least well disposed to anything Japanese at that time, especially something as ‘out there’ as a method that relied on the transmission of an unseen, unmeasurable and mysterious energy.  It is generally accepted that this may well have been the reason why Takata so drastically altered the history of Reiki through her presentation of Mikao Usui as a Christian theologian and spiritual seeker who, in developing his healing method, had originally been motivated by the healing miracles of Christ. This fictional story, having been thoroughly dismembered by modern research, is unfortunately, still appearing in books about Reiki to this day. Testament perhaps to the widespread influence of Mrs Takata.

In spite of the difficulties in introducing Reiki to the United States, Takata persisted and trained a number of people in the first two degrees of the Usui System of Natural Healing. She also ran a Reiki clinic on Kauai but it was not until the 1970’s that she began to train new Reiki Masters herself. Between 1970 and her death in 1980, Mrs Takata trained 22 Reiki Masters and it is through these that the vast majority of the Reiki practitioners and masters in the world trace their lineage back to Dr Hayashi and Mikao Usui.

Since Takata did not publicly appoint a successor to carry her tradition of Reiki, a gathering was organised, following her death, by several of her Master students.  Although there was some dissent over the decision, it was generally agreed that Takata’s granddaughter, Phyllis Furumoto should be appointed as her successor. At times controversial in her early approach to Reiki, Phyllis is now generally regarded worldwide as the torch-bearer for the lineage of Usui Shiki Ryoho and travels the world teaching and spreading the practice that she inherited from Takata.

For a number of years it was believed that Mrs Takata had single-handedly saved Reiki from extinction as there was no-one else left in the world to transmit the teachings that had been handed down from Mikao Usui. As the 1990’s wore on, however, via the strident efforts of a handful of Reiki Masters researching on the ground in Japan, it became clear that Reiki had far from disappeared in its native land. A number of different lineages began to emerge that had been handed down via others of Usui’s students, most notably that of Toshihiro Eguchi. Also to emerge out of Japan in recent times is the lineage and tradition of Jikiden Reiki which has its roots very much in the hands-on healing practice of Reiki that was transmitted through the Hayashi line to the current lineage head; Tadao Yamaguchi.

It is however, the Takata tradition as represented by the current lineage head of Usui Shiki Ryoho, Phyllis Furumoto that dominates the world’s expression of Reiki as a therapeutic practice. Along side this and promoting a somewhat different expression of Usui’s system is Reiki Jin Kei Do. Both traditions have of course grown from Hayashi’s interpretation of the Reiki method but in Reiki Jin Kei Do we have a system that harks back very much to Usui’s original aim of creating a system for the personal liberation of the practitioner from suffering and thus the eventual attainment of enlightenment.

Seiji Takamori & the Development of the Lineage of Reiki Jin Kei Do

Almost nothing is known of Sensei Takeuchi and his engagement with Usui’s and Hayashi’s Reiki system. Indeed, the lineage of Reiki Jin Kei Do only really began to develop its own distinct identity under one of his students, the monk, healer and teacher, Seiji Takamori. It was, critically, with the passing of the Reiki system and the Buddho meditation from Takeuchi to Takamori that we begin to see a unique style of Reiki developing. One that takes on board all of the therapeutic emphases of the modified Hayashi system but one that also very much harks back to the original emphasis of Usui in his striving to present a system for the personal liberation from suffering (and eventual enlightenment) of the individual. Without Takamori, some of the original material on which Usui based his system, as well as a fundamental understanding of how Usui’s system developed may have been lost to the global Reiki community for ever.

Seiji Takamori was born in 1907 and at the age of 19 became a Zen monk under Sensei Takeuchi. Following five years of intensive meditation instruction in the Zen tradition, Takamori was introduced to Reiki by his teacher at his own request. He seems to have learnt the system incrementally over a period of three years before finally being considered a Reiki Master and empowered to teach the system to others. He was the only student to whom Takeuchi passed on the complete Reiki system as he knew it, including the Buddho meditation. His progress was regularly monitored by Takeuchi who would check the degree or intensity of Seiji’s energy transmission. During this period Seiji was required to give healing to the local village residents who supported the temple.

Seiji was something of a pioneer and had a deep commitment to exploring the nature of human consciousness and to achieving enlightenment in his lifetime. In recognising the Buddhist origins of the Buddho meditation, Seiji requested that Venerable Takeuchi allow him to search for further teachings relating to Reiki and the Buddhist material that he had been given. In receiving this permission he began a process of extensively researching the origins of the Reiki system over a period of 20 years within the Tantric and Vajrayana schools of Buddhism, which took him on a journey from Japan to northern India, Nepal and Tibet. After a few years in yogic ashrams, learning the Hindi, Sanskrit and Tibetan languages, he went up into the Himalayas to search for monks who might continue his education in meditation and healing. In an isolated part of Nepal he discovered a more complete system of healing and spiritual development that paralleled his own practice of Reiki. The order of recluse monks that he discovered knew the three cycles of the Buddho meditation and were familiar with various healing methods that relied upon the power of the mind. Their practice also included the use of two of the Reiki symbols and echoed the Buddhist teachings that Seiji had been given. It was clear to Seiji that there was a direct link between the philosophy and the symbols, yantras and mantras of this system and the philosophy, symbols and practices of the Reiki system. Indeed he realised that two of the Reiki symbols were in fact, translations of mantras used in the Buddho method.  It was Seiji’s belief that he had discovered the same or similar material within Vajrayana Buddhism that Usui had connected to and had almost certainly used in developing his system of Usui Do. He decided to stay and study with three of the monks. After a period of time, he was directed to a more senior monk further into the mountains who knew the complete system, with whom he spent a further seven years. The system that Seiji learnt is thought to be a parallel system of healing and spiritual development, passed down from the Buddha that relates to the origins of Reiki as developed by Usui and his students.

The Buddho method is a practice that develops and refines the practitioner’s awareness of and sensitivity to the energy fields of the body including the chakras, nadis and marma points through meditation and through a series of exercises specifically designed for this purpose. Critical to the Buddho system and thus to its simplified form in the RJKD system of Reiki is the development of compassion and wisdom and the integration of these qualities into the life of the practitioner.

On completion of his studies Seiji left Nepal and travelled the world teaching meditation and healing and being supported by those requesting teachings from him. In the early part of the 1970s Seiji visited Hawaii to look for Hawayo Takata.

It is believed that in exchange for possibly meditation instruction or energy empowerments, Seiji received the Master’s attunement in the Takata lineage so that he might experience the highest level of energy that she could transmit. It is important to note that Seiji was not trained by Takata and nothing of this mutual exchange of knowledge and energy informed the teachings that later became known as Reiki Jin Kei Do. Seiji was already a fully trained Reiki Master in his own right at the time of this meeting, and the mutual energy exchange that took place was simply to experience and appreciate each other’s connection to Mikao Usui and Chujiro Hayashi.

After leaving the US, Seiji travelled and taught in Asia for a period of time before returning to the US in 1990 to teach meditation. It was during this period that he met Dr Ranga Premaratna in Madison, Wisconsin, where Ranga was working as a researcher. During the visit, Seiji passed on the complete Reiki system that he had been taught and the researched Buddhist material that he had discovered in the Himalayas. Ranga was the only person to receive the full teachings from Seiji, including the complete system of the Buddho.

So another lineage of Reiki emerged from Japan, a lineage with a distinctly different ethos and approach to that of the dominant Western and the emerging Japanese lineages. This lineage is now known as Reiki Jin Kei Do (The Way of Compassion & Wisdom through Reiki) and contains within it the traditional 3-Degree Reiki system that came largely from Hayashi, and also the system of the Buddho which is only available as further studies within the lineage.

Seiji Takamori eventually died whilst sitting in meditation at a Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka in 1992 at the age of 83.

img_6282Ranga Premaratna

Ranga is from a Sri Lankan Buddhist background and has been familiar with the practice of meditation since the age of 15. During a period in 1978 in Hawaii when he began his degree studies in Food and Nutritional Science, he undertook some further studies in Buddhism and in complementary therapies such as reflexology, shiatsu and kiatsu. In 1989 Ranga received his PhD in Food Microbiology and Biotechnology from Purdue University and was offered a job at the Food Research Institute of the University of Wisconsin. He accepted the offer, and with his wife Mae moved to the beautiful town of Madison.

As he continued his meditation practice he constantly had the feeling that there was a healing method that involved the use of the hands that was unlike anything he had come across before and then he came across a poster advertising a Reiki class in a new age shop in Madison and immediately signed up for it. Maybe this was the method that he had been looking for?  In November 1989, Ranga began his Reiki training in the Takata lineage of Western Reiki with Elka Petra Palm from West Germany, from whom he received both the 1st and 2nd Degrees. Almost a year later, after seeing another advertisement in the same shop he went on to take his Masters level training with another Takata lineage teacher, Beth Sanders. Initially impressed with the energetic experience and the way that it helped with his meditation practice, Ranga developed a sense of unease about some of the material that was being presented to him, particularly in relation to the Reiki symbols that were being described by Petra Palm and Sanders as Sanskrit in origin, which clearly they were not. Nor in fact were the so-called Tibetan symbols passed on to him by Sanders as a part of his Master’s training, Tibetan at all. As a consequence of the dubiousness of this material, Ranga felt that perhaps he had been too hasty in his search for a teacher and so decided to simply work with what he had, integrated with his meditation practice. He undertook a nine-day intensive meditation programme and asked to be guided to the teacher who could show him the right path.

A few days later, towards the end of November 1990, Ranga came across Seiji Takamori in a park as Seiji engaged in the Chi Nadi exercises that form a part of the Buddho system of healing. Ranga described his experience of this moment:

Each arm movement seemed to generate surges of energy that I could feel from a distance. Just watching this man move from one powerful action to the next sent shivers throughout my body.

 Ranga was ultimately trained in the complete Reiki system and the older healing method on which elements of the Reiki system were based that Seiji had rediscovered in the Himalayas.

Seiji asked Ranga that he continue the work of healing and the transmission of the knowledge imparted to him to those who were ready. Seiji believed that the time was right to spread this ancient method of Buddho into the modern world where people would be ready to receive the knowledge of this healing system for their own benefit and to help those that would be attracted to the method as a way of life.

Following the completion of training Ranga went on to teach this new lineage of Reiki to his old Reiki Master, Beth Sanders and then left the USA to seek a new life in Australia.

Upon his arrival in Sydney in 1992 Ranga began to teach the new lineage on a wider basis along with the Buddho method. At first, the lineage did not have a name but in 1997 Ranga began to call the method Reiki Jin Kei Do and thus began a process of defining the specific orientation of the lineage and teachings. RJKD does share a common ancestry with Takata lineage Reiki through the person of Chujiro Hayashi, and as such reflects his approach to the system. RJKD however, impregnated as it is with the philosophy and orientation to practice that is derived from Usui’s origination material of the Buddho does have an entirely unique emphasis within the global plethora of Reiki systems. Reiki therapeutics is not regarded as a focus of the system, but merely another tool for exploring and developing an understanding of oneself through the expression of universal compassion for other beings.

In 2006, a critical event took place in Australia in the ongoing evolution of the Reiki method. The two lineage heads of Usui Shiki Ryoho and Reiki Jin Kei Do; Phyllis Furumoto and Ranga Premaratna shared a platform together at a significant Reiki gathering. This was the first time that the two had met in a public arena to represent their particular orientations to the practice of Reiki. The following article, which originally appeared in Reiki Magazine International’ in February 2007, discusses the importance of that meeting for these two lineages and for the wider world of Reiki.

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About Steve Gooch

Steve Gooch was born in March 1962 in Rugby, Warwickshire in England and grew up there with his two brothers and sister. He moved to Corsham in Wiltshire and attended Bath Academy of Art, where he studied sculpture and printmaking, before going on to work on projects for the artists Joe Tilson and Nick Pope. He also helped with the publication of a limited edition folio of Paul Eluard’s poetry. Steve moved to London to study for a postgraduate teaching certificate and then worked as a teacher of art in the UK. He gained his MA in Education with the Open University and also studied the discipline of Reiki with his Reiki teachers in Newcastle upon Tyne. His daughter Marianne was born in 1994. For a period of time, Steve devoted himself to teaching Reiki in his hometown of Rugby, before moving to Egypt, where he resumed his career as an art teacher, becoming the Head of Art in a prestigious British International School in Cairo. He continued to teach Reiki, introducing the discipline for the first time to Egypt. He also wrote extensively on the subject for various Egyptian English-language magazines. Returning to the UK, Steve’s son Sam was born in 2004. Not wanting to go back into the teaching profession, Steve took a job as a chef in a vegetarian restaurant and wrote his first book ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do: The Way of Compassion & Wisdom’. It was the world’s first book on that particular tradition of Reiki and is still considered to be the standard reference work on the subject. Steve them moved to Sudan, where he was again Head of Art at the prestigious Unity High School, and built an online living history for the school, called 'The Unity High School Archive'. It was in the process of building this archive that Steve uncovered a major scandal involving senior members of the Anglican Church, local dignitaries, and members of the faith communities. As a consequence, he got to know the head of the Secret Police in Khartoum quite well and then promptly left the country. Steve moved back to Egypt and took up a post as Head of Art in a school in Alexandria. Very much involved in the Reiki community in the UK, however, he founded the national organisation ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do UK’ and became the editor of ‘Focus: The Journal of Reiki Jin Kei Do UK’, and then set up the global ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do International’. He also set up the global video-arts project '12seconds for Peace'. The concept grabbed the attention of a number of big names in the peace movement, including Nobel Peace Prize nominees, and threatened to go viral. Circumstances (revolutions and social unrest) put it on the back-burner. Likewise, a major peace initiative called the 'Global Concert for Peace', scheduled for the summer of 2013, which would have been the world's biggest musical event, also went on the back-burner. Steve moved to Saudi Arabia for a little over a year in 2014, before returning to Egypt to take up a senior management position in another British International School in Cairo. Finally, after a year of professional purgatory in which he realised that there is no such thing as a good British International School in Egypt, he decided ‘enough is enough’ and quit the teaching profession for good to focus on his writing, art and Reiki classes. He is currently living in Cairo and writing ‘The Temple of the Djinn’, which is loosely based on the events that he uncovered during his time in Sudan. He is also teaching Reiki and working freelance for a variety of Egyptian magazines. He misses the UK and is looking forward to spending more time in his home country with his children. He'd also like to find time to paint and make sculpture.
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