AND "TELLERS OF VERY
Copyright © 2012 James Deacon
to being a good storyteller lies
the ability to seamlessly blend truth
- to convincing and emotionally-engaging effect"
the years since Takata-sensei's passing (in 1980) many new and varied
forms of Reiki have come into existence.
Some are simply new
to teaching the art of Reiki Ryoho, for example, utilising
entrainment methods drawn from such disciplines as NLP, etc.
Some are the result of
blending the art of Reiki, as taught by Takata-sensei, with elements
drawn from other therapeutic and/or spiritual traditions – their
originators being quite open and clear regarding the fact that these
new systems are their own creations.
Yet other new styles of
Reiki claim to be based on “channeled” teachings, whether from
Mikao Usui, or other dis-incarnate sources...
Then there are those new
styles which claim to be 'rediscovered' early expressions of
Usui-sensei's teachings. In some cases these are presented as
therapeutically-focussed practices, in others, Spiritual disciplines
in which the therapeutic element (if one exists at all,) is presented
as simply a side-effect
of the spiritual practices.1
In this “rediscovered
teachings” category, there are often many commonalities:
(though not all) of the individuals responsible for the initial “discovery” of
these systems claim to have, by sheer good fortune, accidentally
“bumped into” (or as a result of their “honoured status” due
to being some form of high-ranking martial artist or such like, to
to,) one or more Japanese men or women whom, so they claim, are
(extremely long-lived) students who either were trained directly by
Usui-sensei, or alternatively, had trained with (previously unknown)
masters who were themselves trained directly by Usui sensei.
Conveniently, these ancient “Original Students” are
(almost) always the bearers of hither-to unknown teachings which
supposedly constitute the true core of Usui-sensei's system
in a slight deviation from this common storyline, one individual
claimed that it was his
who had come into contact with certain custodians of a box containing
diaries and various other personal writings belonging to Usui-sensei
– writings which supposedly revealed the “true nature” of his
common theme is that in most cases the 'Original Student” seems to
confirm to the fortuitous individual who has been lucky enough to
encounter them, that Usui-sensei just happened to belong to the
particular spiritual tradition which the lucky individual also
happens to have leanings towards.
with Taoist-related interests claim their teachers have confirmed
that Usui-sensei's system was Taoist in origin.
who were known to have Tendai Buddhist leanings before their supposed
encounter with their particular 'Original Student' claim that their
teacher confirmed that Usui was a Tendai Buddhist and his teachings
were Tendai in origin.
others with Shingon Buddhist leanings before their supposed
encounter... well, you get the idea.
* * *
Now in general, the
stories these individuals tell are often very compelling - full of
intriguing anecdotal accounts.
fact it must be said, gathering together some of the stories told by
these individuals about the various “rediscovered” systems, it
a bit like a handful of outline-notes for a yet-to-be-written Dan
concerning a 'secret' lineage of Masters who were Usui-sensei's
of a hidden shrine (housing some of Usui-sensei's ashes, and the
original handwritten version of the Reiki Principles) - its location
known only to an honoured few…
of still-surviving Buddhist nuns who had worked with Usui-Sensei
during the 1920's…
at the existence of a 'lost' Reiki symbol, known only to
Tales of chance meetings with some of
of 'Secret Usui Diaries' and other Reiki-related documents - locked
away in a Japanese Temple...
other accounts of 'Secret Usui Diaries'
Reiki-related documents - though this time, claimed to have been
discovered in a box, purchased from some Japanese monks after WWII…
of clandestine meetings with a couple of Usui-sensei's students in
Italian hotel rooms...
westerners receiving Reiki training in Japan in the 1950's...
of the discovery of long-lost Buddhist Reiki-Sutras...
that Reiki was based on a Tibetan Tantric Buddhist text, supposedly
part of a cache of Buddhist documents brought to Japan by the founder
of Shingon Buddhism...2
of how Usui-sensei's development of Reiki Ryoho had been strongly
influenced by the Sonten-worshipping 'Kurama-Kokyo'
occupy the temple on Mount Kurama...3
of a fortuitous encounter on a North African beach with a
septuagenarian Japanese student of Toshihiro Eguchi, who was also
trained in the original system as taught by Usui-sensei…
about the existence of
a secret Japanese
mantra (closely guarded by the senior monks at the Kurama Temple)
which activates a deeper level of all the Reiki symbols...
Accounts of a secret
meditation' supposedly practiced by Usui-sensei on Kurama-Yama and
passed on by him to Chujiro Hayashi who in turn shared it with a Zen
of the discovery of an obscure lineage of lamas in the Himalayas who
recognised both the 'Buddho meditation' symbols and also some of the
Reiki symbols as being elements of their own ancient healing
more accounts of the discovery of Usui-sensei's
references to apparent documentary evidence that Reiki came
originally from China…
of how Usui Sensei was a high level martial arts practitioner...
of meetings with a Yoda-like character, supposedly Usui-sensei's one
and only true successor...
* * *
many instances, the individuals responsible for 'discovering' these
long-lost lineage-systems are often quite charismatic; they can seem
very genuine and come across as very
open-hearted in their willingness to share; and (for a time at least)
the story that they tell may seem quite plausible
- that is,
until people begin to get a feeling something isn't quite right,
start to look deeper, and begin to ask questions...
take many months, it may not happen for some years, but when the veil
of illusion begins to slip...
Usually it begins with little
Often a whole series of little
things - issues with
the story they tell – a story, which, by its very nature must
constantly develop as the supposed “Original Student” reveals
more and more information and takes the individual through further
levels of training.
Perhaps the individual will
contradict something shared on a previous occasion.
people will notice factual inaccuracies is some piece of
there may be issues with accounts relating to supposed details in the
life of the “Original Student” - for example things that a
Westerner, not well-versed in subtle aspects of Japanese culture
might get wrong, but that a native Japanese who had been alive during
the late Meiji or early Taisho eras would certainly not.
attempt to understand better, another Reiki practitioner might simply
ask a seemingly innocuous question, only to find themselves suddenly
greeted with excessive defensiveness.
practitioners will question why they have never been permitted to see
certain original documents (supposed extracts from which have been
shared by the individual in order to lend weight to their claims) –
only to be fobbed off with excuses, with reassurances that they will
get to see the documents – eventually, when the time is right, or
when the get permission to share them, or when...
In some cases, there may
have been promises (or at least hints) to a senior student that they
are to be honoured with a meeting with the “Original student” –
but of course the meeting is, for some or other reason postponed,
perhaps again and again.
All manner of reasons for this may be
cited; common ones seem to be: issues related to the health /
age-related frailty of the “Original student”; or in the case of
the “Original student” being a member of a particular Buddhist
order, restrictions imposed by their superiors at their Temple; or
issues of some or other imagined nature concerning formal matters of
Of course, another more final option would
be to announce that the very aged “Original Student” had sadly
finally passed away (however, not before they had shared the entirety of their
teachings with the fortunate individual).
Some individuals, realising that the game
was almost up have sought ways to get themselves out of the
One or two have simply slipped off the radar.
Others – well
perhaps they might announce that there would be no further sharing of
the teachings, citing as a reason, that the “Original Student”
had (for example) decided that perhaps the time was not right to
reveal more; or had decided that teaching the material was actually
in some way holding the individual back – that it was time for them
to move on to a new phase in their own personal spiritual
are however several instances of individuals who have not gotten out
in time - whose deception has
been exposed for what it is.
or two cases have been well documented, and occasionally come up in
conversation in various online Reiki discussion groups.
other cases, it seems, have been more or less forgotten – nothing
more than “yesterday's news”.
sadly, human nature being what it is, it would be perhaps a little
naïve to hope that the Reiki community has seen the last of such
to such revelations are many and varied.
disbelief often turns to confusion, shock, sadness, anger – perhaps
it seems, the majority of people who were used and abused by such
individuals will – after perhaps a period of dishearted-ness, and
possible wariness about putting their trust in other teachers, move
through the experience, treat the whole thing as a learning
opportunity, and get on with their lives.
Some perhaps will
adopt the attitude that while it is important to walk through life
with an Open Heart, it in no way detracts from our
spirituality if we
also walk in “a Street-smart
State of Mind”
in some instances, those who have made a considerable investment (whether
financial or emotional) in
teachings, go into denial, refuse to
believe that they have been the victims of a complex deception, and
into a mindset of attempting to somehow validate the teachings
justify their belief in and commitment to the individual who has
perpetrated the deception ( - often coming up with some quite eccentric
reasons and excuses in the process.) .
In a few cases, some of these people
will continue to present the discredited teachings as being 100%
is perhaps to be wondered
if these people truly do
believe in the validity of the 'teachings' or if this is merely a
pretence and they are simply focussing on the potential financial
gain to be made from continuing to perpetuate the deception.
* * * *
just why are
individuals drawn to make up stories about the 'true' nature of Mikao
Usui's teachings in the first place; to invent fictitious lineages, to
“Original Students”, and put words in their mouths?
motivates them to do these things – to take advantage of the
trusting nature of good-hearted Reiki folk?
such individuals perhaps have some deep-rooted need to feel
A need to feel Special?
Is it in some way a
confused attempt to gain a level of respect and admiration from
others in the Reiki community, based on their (imagined) discoveries
Is the desire for esteem so strong that
they will seek to convince others that they have been singled out as
being worthy to receive direct instruction and training in the 'inner
mysteries' of their art?
it perhaps flatter their ego to have other people believe that they
are somehow unique; or at least that they are part of a 'very
privileged few' who are granted the rare honour of direct access to
special people and teachings - access which is not directly available
[Even though publicly they may pretend to play down
the persona of 'high standing', prominence, and supposed importance
which they have in reality worked so hard to create]
individuals might be using such fabricated stories as a way of
'giving weight' to their own ideas, by pretending these are really
the teachings of someone else
– someone supposedly holding an
important central position within the traditions –
someone supposedly close to the source – close to the
And of course, financial gain may also play a significant part.
So many people are thrilled by the idea of learning “secret
traditions” within a particular art or discipline.
How many would be enticed to invest in a particular course of training,
specifically because it is presented as being part of the “un-polluted,
original teachings” of Mikao Usui?
there is the whole issue of “uso
expression, originally a concept from Buddhist thought, refers to the
idea of “skilful
or expedient methods” (upaya
in Sanscrit, hoben
in Japanese) of
teaching the Dharma
its original context, “uso
mo hoben” speaks to the belief that,
that under certain circumstances, even a lie (uso) may
used as a means to draw someone to the Buddhist path.4
that are not true may never-the-less lead one to the Truth.”
example, a particular individual who holds certain spiritual or
religious beliefs may feel justified in 'pretending' that Usui-sensei
was a follower of that particular tradition, and that he taught
certain related practices, beliefs and principles.
this deception, their hope may be that some people will be drawn to
the study of the specific tradition, become immersed in its
practices, beliefs and principles, and thus be brought closer to the
deception-creator's own particular understanding of the “Truth”.
course, while such individuals may genuinely begin with the original
noble concept behind “uso
it is all too possible that, somewhere down the line, as they
continue to develop and expand upon their imaginative story, even
they themselves may eventually become “lost in the lie”.
* * * * *
There is more yet to be written on this
subject. "Watch this space" ]
nearly (but not entirely) every case, such styles have been
“rediscovered” by Westerners.
2 - at
a time before Tantric Buddhism - originating in
had even arrived in Tibet!
even though this particular sect did not take possession of the
Kurama temple until nearly a quarter of a century
Sadly though, in the modern era the original sentiment behind the
phrase “uso mo hoben”
has become twisted, and the expression has
become an excuse for lying whenever one feels it is convenient to do
“lying is simply a
convenient means to an end”