Mikao Usui

Dr Mikao Usui  1865 – 1926


Dr Mikao Usui

Dr Mikao Usui was born on the 18th August 1865 in Japan and was the founder of the Usui System of Reiki or Usui Shiki Ryoho.  He is also often referred to as Usui Sensei, (Sensei meaning one who teaches).


He came from a fairly wealthy Buddhist family, who encouraged him to study, both academically and physically.  Whilst finishing his studies at a traditional Japanese Tendai Buddhist Monastery, Usui also mastered Samurai swordsmanship and Kiko, the Japanese form of Chi Kung.  Usui was interested in different types of medicine, energy movement and religions, reading widely on all subjects.  Usui was looking to find a way to heal himself and others, using his hands, that didn’t deplete his own energy levels and he devoted many years searching for a system.  His open minded approach towards other belief systems and religions is why Reiki is accessible to everyone.  It has no religious attachments.

As part of his search, Usui traveled to China and the West to study their medicines and disciplines.  He undertook a great many different types of work, eventually leading him back to Buddhism.  Usui became a Tendai Buddhist monk and lived in a monastery near Mount Kurama, where he continued his studies.

It was whilst he was living at the monastery, that Usui decided to attend Isyu Guo, a 21 day training course, to seek enlightenment.  This involved living in a cave on Mount Kurama and fasting, meditating and praying for the days.  It is said that passed uneventfully.  However, on the morning of the 21st day, Usui experienced a mystical event ‘seeing’ ancient Sanskrit symbols, which he acknowledged would help him develop the healing system he was looking for.  After this event, Usui set up a clinic in Kyoto, where he began to heal and teach people.

The success of this clinic, allowed Usui to travel all over Japan, taking his Reiki with him.  As well as teaching others how to heal themselves, he also offered healing sessions at a relatively cheap price or even for free, which meant anyone could receive healing.

Usui’s main teachings were very focused on how to heal yourself, first and foremost, which continues today in the First Degree of Reiki (Reiki One).  His belief being that to be able to heal others, you first need to have healed yourself.  Please see Overview of Usui’s Teachings  By the time of his death on the 9th March 1926, Usui had trained around 16 Reiki Masters, one of whom was Dr Chujiro Hayashi.  This would guarantee that Usui’s healing system would live on.