Usui Reiki is one of the lineages celebrated in the Reiki community. It is the lineage that I have been trained in and it has an interesting and mysterious origin story.
Mikao Usui was born in 1865 in a village near Nagoya, Japan. He was deeply interested in learning and studying. His studies included medicine, psychology and religion.
Throughout his life, he tried his hand at many jobs including civil servant, a company employee, prison rehabilitation and even journalism. His professional network allowed him great success as a businessman.
Eventually, he began to direct his attention toward discovering the purpose of life. He sought to obtain enlightenment and dedicated his life to achieving it. After three years of practice under a Zen teacher, he still was not successful. His teacher suggested a more severe practice in which a person experiences death.
Usui set his mind on this task and prepared for his death. In February 1922 ascended Kurama yama to fast and meditate.
In March 1922, Usui experienced a powerful light suddenly enter his mind through the top of his head and felt as if he had been struck by lightning. This caused him to lose consciousness.
As the sun rose the next day, he awoke and realized that he was now filled with a new vitality and a new level of awareness. That special state of enlightenment that he had searched for had been given to him as a gift. This new gift not only provided a new awareness, it also included powerful healing abilities.
Usui practiced this new ability with family. Through experimentation, he developed his healing system and utilized his previous studies in medicine and religion.
In April 1922, he moved to Tokyo, started a healing society and opened his first Reiki clinic where he taught classes and gave treatments.
Reiki flourished in Japan and demand became so great that he had to build a new, larger clinic in 1925. Additionally, Usui began to travel and teach. More than 2,000 students were initiated and given the approval to teach.
In March 1926, Mikao Usui suffered a stroke and died.
His teachings live on today as the Usui Reiki lineage.