A Reiki Master is someone who has received the ability to initiate and train Reiki practitioners from the hands of another Master, that is, someone who has been trained and qualified to teach the Reiki system.
In this sense, a Reiki Master is not someone who attained such a high spiritual level that he earned the title (as is the term “sensei” in Japan, which is an earned qualification) but refers to teaching and teaching methods.
As Reiki Masters, we are part of a community with all the other Masters around the world, and we are also linked to the past and tradition through lineage. The lineage is a series of initiations that connects us to Mikao Usui, the system’s creator. In other words, the ascending levels of my lineage are comprised of my Master, my Master’s Master, and so on until reaching the highest step, Usui.
This belonging obligates us to protect the system and transmit it following what we were taught, always with clarity and truth.
Knowing the history of Usui Reiki Ryoho allows us to understand the practice better. A major issue is the concept of a Master, Reiki Masters, or what title Mikao Usui would have. And a lot more These misunderstandings arise because when Usui Reiki Ryoho arrived in the West, it needed to be “simplified” and changed to be accepted and understood. Master Takata initiated the change process. Other western masters brought about even more changes. In Portugal, we arrived at a point where Reiki, a “laying on of hands technique,” was practiced alongside a lot of unconditional love. So far, there has been no issue, except when the Usui Reiki Ryoho began to be transformed into something it was not by combining practices, beliefs, and dogmas that have nothing to do with each other.
Usui Reiki Ryoho, which became known as Reiki, fell into a pious concept in which “guides” had to be invoked, which was a practice of “just giving without expecting to receive” – all too western concepts, in a mixture of “new age” with Christian principles. But there was a major issue here: the concept of the principles was lost, and the importance of laying hands was emphasized. Reiki has evolved from a personal transformation technique to a divine therapeutic practice, which has nothing to do with how it came to be.
Understanding Reiki’s history has helped us understand many concepts, one of which is the great prerogative of a Reiki Master. Sensei is a literal translation of Master in Japanese. This is a title bestowed upon someone by students or admirers. If this sensei truly deserves it, he can still be addressed as O-Sensei. There were (and still are) two titles in Usui Reiki Ryoho: Shihan and Dai Shihan. A Shihan is a teacher and an instructor. With Shinpiden, level 3, the practitioner may be invited to become Shihan Kaku, an apprentice, or an instructor’s assistant. He would be Shihan after completing his practice. It is unknown how the concept of the Great Teacher, or Dai Shihan, came to be or how it was attributed. We know that the Usui Masters established 21 Shihan, but we don’t know the full list.
According to Master Hiroshi Doi, much of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai documentation was lost in a fire in 1945, during World War II. The following names are found in a document on the members of the Gakkai, dated July 31, 1927, 16 months after Master Usui’s death:
- Juzaburo Ushida, President, Dai Shihan
- Four Directors, two Dai Shihan and Two Shihan;
- Twelve Administrators, three Dai Shihan and nine Shihan;
- A Manager for current affairs.
Shihan and director Chujiro Hayashi There were no women members at the time. It is estimated that there were approximately 3500 members at the time. Hiroshi Doi indicates in his fifteen-page listing that Toshihiro Eguchi was a practitioner (therapist) at the school in Kofu before leaving the URRG in 1927.
Master Hiroshi Doi reports that the most important, in his opinion, are Master Usui’s true teachings rather than a list of practitioners. Still, for historical purposes, he indicates that some of the Dai Shihan and Shihan was formed by Master Usui. Doi also hopes that one day all 21 trained Masters will be able to meet.
Shinpiden practitioners, as of July 31, 1927, were:
- Juzaburo Ushida
- Teruichi Akiyoshi
- Kan’ichi Taketomi
- Gizo Tomabechi
- Kenzo Tsunematsu
- Chujiro Hayashi
- Tetsutaro Imaizumi
- Keizaburo Eda
- Shigeki Fuji
- Umetaro Mine
- Hoichi Wanami
It is fascinating to study history because it brings us peace and wisdom. There is no need to pretend to be anything in Usui Reiki Ryoho, the method you practice, but we need to transform ourselves and grow, which is accomplished through the five principles. The Secret Art of Inviting Happiness, along with the techniques and therapeutic practice, calls us to this work. Everything must be combined for us to grow.
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