About the founder
Reiki is a healing technique founded by Mikao Usui (15 Aug 1865-9 Mar 1926) in Gifu prfecture in central Japan. Often Mr Usui is regarded almost as a mystical figure, but he did actually exist!
Details of Mikao Usui’s life is depicted in This Is Reiki: Transformation of Body, Mind and Soul from the Origins to the Practice, by Frank Arjava Petter, which I highly recommend reading. Below accounts are also from this book.
Usui Sensei (sensei means “teacher” but in this context used as Mr with respect) received Buddhist education as a child, and when he grew up, he had varying jobs. One of his jobs he had was being a private secretary to a well-known politician, Count Shinpei Goto (1857-1929).
Usui Sensei had the privilege of traveling overseas which back then was impossible for ordinary Japanese citizens. He also established strong relations with the imperial army and navy officials, which later became vital to the spread of reiki.
After being in politics, Usui Sensei also tried having his own business, but he faced financial challenges and eventually went bankrupt. This caused Usui Sensei great distress and he went into a three-year retreat in 1919 at a zen temple in Kyoto.
Reiki as an outcome of meditation
After his three-year retreat, he had not reached Anjin Ryumei (acceptance of destiny/fate, but also to find absolute inner peace, and ultimately enlightenment.
He went to Mout Kurama, north of Kyoto, and sat in gassho position (sitting with hands put together in front of your heart) without food and water. After 20 ydays, a lightnight struck and he became unconscious. When he woke up, he had acquired the reiki knowhow.