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'TAKATA REIKI'

(or: What Takata-Sensei really taught)
Copyright 2005 James Deacon


Of late there seems to be a (growing?) trend amongst some sections of the Reiki community (well, amongst sections of the online Reiki Community at least):
it seems that amongst many who consider themselves practitioners of 'proper' Japanese Reiki, there is a need to express a somewhat less than 'Reiki-like' attitude - ranging from simply dismissive to strongly derogatory - towards Takata-sensei and her teachings.


Some of these people almost fixate on the 'errors' in Takata-sensei's 'Story of Reiki' - how several details in her account are 'untrue' - i.e., at odds with currently 'accepted' versions of the tale [though these people completely overlook the fact that there is still no documentary substantiation for most of the purported 'facts' presented as the 'new', 'true', history of Reiki either!]
However, the important point which has been completely missed by these and great many other Reiki practitioners is that Takata-sensei's 'Story of Reiki' was not meant to be a concrete, factual, 'history'. Rather it was first and foremost a 'teaching-story' - part of the process of making an 'emotional connection' with new or prospective students; that it was intended as a parable to engage and teach the Heart.
And, as is the case with all good Teaching Stories, what was important in the sharing of the 'Story of Reiki' was the inner meaning - the moral - the essential truths regarding human nature that it sought to convey.
In almost every culture, it is a common feature of the Teaching Story that 'factual' details are freely modified - especially if it is felt that such modifications may help enhance the hearer's 'emotional connection' with the inner meaning of the tale...

Another major point of fixation seems to be the numerous 'original' techniques which we now 'know' to be part of 'proper' Japanese Reiki - but which, for some reason, Takata-sensei neglected to teach.

But the fact is that Takata-sensei did teach many of the socalled 'original Reiki techniques' - it was simply that she did not use Japanese terminology in speaking of them.

(And we have to remember that there has been much confusion as to which techniques are meant to be Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai techniques, and which are from Hiroshi Doi's modern, Gendai-ho Reiki system. And of those that are said to be Gakkai techniques, which are 'original' Reiki ones. For example, Doi tells us that the 'Reiki Undo' practice, was introduced to the Gakkai by former president Koyama-san. [In fact it is actually derived from 'Katsugen Undo' - a practice from the healing art of Noguchi Setai])

Now, probably the main reason for the misunderstanding as to what was part of what I will call 'Takata Reiki' and what was not, stems from the fact that not long after Takata-sensei's death, some of the 22 masters she had created began making modifications (some subtle, some notso,) to the way in which they taught Reiki and also, to the content of what they taught. Many of their students in turn made further modifications in what they passed on to their students, and so on, to the extent that there are probably relatively few amongst the newer 'generations' of Reiki masters (be they practitioners of 'Western' or 'Japanese' Reiki) who are aware of precisely what Takata actually did teach.
To some extent, Takata herself might be hardpressed to recognise her teachings amongst what passes for Usui Shiki Ryoho today!


The following are examples of versions of some of the 'original' techniques taught by Takata-sensei:

Byosen Reikan-ho: In one of her diaries Takata-sensei writes:"Going through the body in minute detail, the hands become sensitive and are able to determine the cause and to detect the slightest congestion within, whether physical or mental, acute or chronic." and also "During the treatment, trust in your hands, Listen to vibrations or reaction. If there is pain, it registers pain in your finger tips and palm. If the patient has itch, it reacts the same; if deep and chronic, it throbs a deep pain; or if acute, the pain is a shallow tingle. "
Enkaku Chiryo: 'Distant Treatment' methods. Takata-sensei referred to it as 'Absent Healing'
Ketsueki Kokan-ho: A further diary entry: "I finish the treatment with a nerve stroke which adjusts the circulation. .....I place my thumb and fore finger on the left side of the spinal column and the three fingers and palm flat on the right side of the spinal column. With a downward stroke, 10 to 15 strokes to the end of spinal cord." [She sometimes referred to this as the 'Reiki Finish']
Koki-ho: Level 2 students were taught how to heal with the breath.
Kokyu ho: Master students were taught breath empowerment techniques. In a 1935 diary entry, Takata-sensei actually mentions this technique using a variant 'romanisation' of its Japanese name: kokiyu-ho
Reiji-ho: "Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, concentrate on our thought and relax. Close your hands together and wait for the sign..........listen to your hands and allow them to guide you." In the above-mentioned 1935 diary entry, Takata-sensei also mentions this technique using a variant 'romanisation' of its Japanese name: Leiji-ho.
Reiki Mawashi: The 'Reiki Circle'
Renzoku Reiki: Takata-sensei referred to this as the 'Reiki Marathon', [though perhaps 'Reiki Relay' might have been more fitting]
Seiheki Chiryo-ho: Takata-sensei referred to it as a means of changing bad habits and concepts, and for removing addictions
Shuchu Reiki (Shudan Reiki): the 'Group Treatment'

And, as well as this matter of Takata-sensei's use of 'original' Reiki techniques, there are also other elements of 'Takata Reiki' that people are generally misinformed about.

For example, much hype has surrounded the recent 'discovery' in Japan of Hayashi-sensei's 'treatment manual' - the Hayashi Ryoho Shishin - in which he lists specific hand placements to treat certain diseases.

But Takata-sensei had been in possession of Hayashi's Ryoho Shishin since somewhere between 1938 & 1940 - the booklet was given to her by Hayashi himself. And we know she gave the booklet (written in Japanese,) to at least a few of her master-level students, though exactly how many received it is unknown*. Almost all those who did, it seems, treated it as a curiosity, 'shelved' it - possibly forgot about it. Why? Were they uninterested in Hayashi-sensei's knowledge? Was it some sort of ego thing? We cannot say.
It is possible that Takata-sensei gave them the booklet - in part at least - as a test:
Would they appreciate its significance? (It was a tangible link back to their teacher's teacher.)
Would they have 'kansha'- be grateful for this special gift?
Would anyone make the effort to get it translated? Then to actually use it; and in time, pass it on to their own students?
Or did they want everything 'handed to them on a plate' - did they want Takata-sensei to do it all for them?

Then there is the issue of Chakras - Takata-sensei did NOT teach the chakra system! Though a great many people believe she did. Rather, Takata-sensei taught the concept of the Japanese hara system and the lower (seika) tanden point (though not by that name):
"In order to concentrate, one must purify one's thoughts in words, and to meditate to let true "energy" come out from within. It lies in the bottom of the stomach about 2 inches below the navel."
However, unlike many who profess to teach original 'Japanese' practices, Takata-sense did not teach the three-Tanden ('belly', 'heart' and 'head') system - which is actually a Chinese conceptualisation, not a Japanese one.

It is also commonly claimed that Takata-sensei removed the spiritual element from the Reiki system, but on the contrary, she emphasised the Primary importance of the spiritual element - this was one of the core morals of her version of the 'Story of Reiki'.
In 'Takata Reiki' the Five Principles were key - and of the five, Takata-sensei, it seems, placed greatest importance on kansha: gratitude:
"The patient who is about to receive this treatment must purify one's thoughts, feel comfortable, and a desire to get well. One must not forget to feel grateful. Gratitude is a great cure for the mind..."

And amidst the 'hype' surrounding the 'rediscovery of Japanese Reiki', it seems, many other misunderstandings about what Takata-sensei said, did and taught have also arisen:

It was from Japanese sources we learnt about Hayashi-sensei's wife: Chie who was also a Reiki master - and how she took over the running of her husbands clinic after his ritual suicide, wasn't it?

No actually - it was from Takata-sensei. She mentions this in one of her recorded talks.

Well, we know that it was from Japanese sources that we learnt that the 'Master' level was properly called 'shinpiden'?

No - it was from Takata-sensei. She first made menton of this in a 1935 diary entry.

Ah - but at least we can say that it was only after western Reiki practitioners visited Japan that we discovered that not all Japanese Reiki Masters had died during WWII?

No - Takata-sensei again. In one of her recorded talks, Takata Sensei states that about fourteen years after Hayashi Sensei's death, she made a return visit to Japan and met with Reiki master Chie Hayashi.

Japanese sources assure us that Usui-sensei DID NOT discover the Reiki symbols in bubbles of light on the last day of his meditation on Mount Kurama - as Takata had claimed?

In yet another of her recorded talks, Takata-sensei tells the 'Story of Reiki.'
In it she states that on the last day of his meditative fast, Usui-sensei saw a vision of millions of multi-coloured bubbles; then he saw a great white light; and then he saw appearing before him: "what he had studied in the Sanscrit" in glowing, golden, Sanscrit letters.
[i.e. Usui-sensei had a vision of a piece of text he had read in a Sanscrit sutra.]
This is what Takata-sensei tells us - that he saw Sanscrit text - not the four Reiki symbols - be it in bubbles or otherwise...

 

 

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