This article was written and Copyright (c) 2002-3 by James Deacon, who's Master-level Reiki Healing Facilitator & Practitioner of Qi-Magnetic Therapeutics. See James' site: www.aetw.org. James Deacon does not necessarily endorse the methodology, techniques or philosophy of individual modalities detailed in his articles.
Takata-Sensei brought the Reiki healing modality from Japan to the west (Hawaii) in the late 1930's (-she received her Master Level initiation from Hayashi-Sensei in 1938), and with the actual Reiki modality, came the story (- familiar, I believe to just about everyone who has ever attended a 'Takata-lineage' Reiki class -) of Usui Sensei and the origins of Reiki.
This 'authorised version' of the Reiki story remained - to all intents and purposes - unchallenged, up to and beyond Takata-Sensei's death in 1980 - in fact right up into the mid to late 1980's, when the very first snippets of 'new' information suggesting possible alternatives to the accepted history surrounding Reiki and its origins, began to surface.
Later, when it was discovered that several specific details of the 'Reiki story' as taught by Takata-Sensei, could at best, not be substantiated, and in some cases could apparently be 'proved' to be inaccurate, many Reiki practitioners felt some what disheartened, yet others perhaps even felt, in some vague sense, betrayed.
And of course there were a great many who, having previously recounted the 'Reiki story' with reverential attitude, could suddenly not disassociate themselves quickly enough from this 'misrepresentation of the facts' .
Though, later, upon reflection, many of us have no doubt come to the realisation which a few, more enlightened, souls than ourselves were aware of all along - that the 'Story of Reiki' was exactly that - a story, or more precisely a 'teaching-story' - a Parable to engage and teach the Heart ('Heart Facts'), rather than a factual history to occupy the intellect ('Head Facts').
And yet, perhaps the Heart is still being given the opportunity to learn more than the Head, if it is willing...
However, in the West we want the 'Head Facts', believing they will serve us well.
For quite some time, as rumours about someone (the 'someone' in question turned out to be Hiroshi Doi) teaching rediscovered Japanese Reiki practices, trickled out into the Reiki Community at large, many people were under the impression that all these 'Japanese Reiki Techniques' being taught by Hiroshi Doi were 'Original Reiki' - until the hype died down and it emerged that many were techniques from Doi's 'Modern (Gendai) Reiki' system
Then of course there is the matter of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai itself - the 'Original Reiki Society' (initially believed to have been set up by Usui-Sensei, then later said to have been set up by some of his students after his death) - supposedly preserving Usui-Sensei's original Reiki teachings - 'keepers of the flame' - as it were.
Again, when the hype began to die down, we discovered that this supposed 'benchmark' organization apparently does not actually teach Usui-Sensei's original system of Spiritual Development, but has, from its inception, taught what is essentially a significantly different system of energywork, which the Gakkai founders consciously evolved, based on Usui-Sensei's original system...
There were other rumours of secret Usui Diaries kept in Japanese Temples; Tendai Buddhists claiming Tendai origins for Reiki, Shingon Buddhists claiming Shingon origins; Qi Gung practitioners claiming Taoist origins; Kotodama practitioners claiming Usui Sensei taught Kotodama; martial artists claiming Usui Sensei was a high level martial arts practitioner, etc, etc.
Not unexpectedly, this new (and to a certain extent, conflicting) information gripped the hearts, minds and imagination of a great many Reikifolk, and has given rise to a whole host of magazine articles, books, lectures - even the occasional video -as well as spawning a plethora of workshops / courses teaching numerous subtly different versions of 'original Reiki techniques''.
Even now, new material continues to emerge from existing sources, and new sources are still occasionally 'stepping into the limelight' to offer up their contributions, or to corroborate, dispute or refute recent revelations from other sources.
Gradually this 'original' and often dissonant Reiki material is being (-some might say, 'creatively') woven together in an attempt to reconstruct the 'truth' about Reiki - it's origins, history, teachings and practices...
[I am reminded of something a Japanese bujutsu Sensei once taught me - about what he felt was a particularly Japanese concept (though perhaps it is far more universal) - something he referred to as tatemae, which has to do with maintaining a harmonious society. He said that for a gaijin (non-Japanese) to truly begin to understand the Japanese mind-set (and by extension bujutsu and other arts) we need to understand that, in the final analysis, Japanese consciousness is not overly concerned about 'hard-fact reality' - rather, it seeks to find a 'reality' that everyone can agree about. A compromise: an agreed version of truth - even if it is a fantasy, as long as it is one everyone consents to believe...]