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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Personal Responsibility and Being Reiki: further discussion

Once again we must thank Heather Alexander for the post that started a great discussion on personal responsibility, being Reiki, nonduality, and more. And we thank Reiki authors Pamela Miles and Bronwen and Frans Stiene for contributing their comments. This week we hear from Pamir Kiciman of Reiki Help blog, who is also a featured contributor on

I too wanted to respond when I saw the tangent the dialogue took in the other post, but was concerned about continuing a polarizing conversation which doesn't serve Reiki well. However, since the cat's out of the bag...

I feel like 'medical' Reiki has been greatly advanced by someone like Pamela & this is a very good thing. She has carved out a special place in the interface of these two worlds. I respect that enormously.

I do agree that the evolutionary practices of Reiki are integral to its hands-on practice, and that without these practices hands-on Reiki is untethered.

I also feel that only the hands-on practice of Reiki isn't sufficient for true personal evolution.

As for the historical context...I can understand how right around WWII one might practice caution with a teaching of Japanese origin. What I don't understand is why Takata, who taught into the 70s, didn't bring the West up to speed on the uniquely inner & nondual practice of Usui's Reiki.

The answer seems to be that what she received from Hayashi didn't include these teachings.

Takata has a revered place in the history of Reiki. Yet, I'm frustrated by her legacy which is repeated stubbornly in book after book, and website after website, perpetuating core untruths about Reiki & Usui's history.

As for America being exposed to nonduality (apart from the names cited by Bronwen & Frans)...

Wikipedia: The first Japanese temple in Hawaii was built in 1896 near Paauhau by the Honpa Hongwanji branch of Jodo Shinshu. In 1898, Japanese missionaries and immigrants established a Young Men's Buddhist Association, and the Rev. Sōryū Kagahi was dispatched from Japan to be the first Buddhist missionary in Hawaii. The first Japanese Buddhist temple in the continental U.S. was built in San Francisco in 1899.

The American Transcendentalists and associated persons, in particular Henry David Thoreau took an interest in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. In 1844, The Dial, a small literary publication edited by Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, published the first English version of a portion of the Lotus Sutra; The poet Walt Whitman also admitted to an influence of Indian religion on his writings.

Perhaps the most significant event in the 19th century history of Buddhism in America was the Parliament of the World's Religions, held in Chicago in 1893. Although most of the delegates to the Parliament were Christians of various denominations, the Buddhist nations of China, Japan, Thailand, and Sri Lanka sent representatives. Buddhist delegates included Soyen Shaku, a Japanese Zen abbott; Zenshiro Noguchi, a Japanese translator. (End Wikipedia.)

This list is long and the story of American Buddhism continues strong to this day.

The Parliament of the World's Religions held in Chicago in 1893, also brought Swami Vivekananda to the States, representing Yoga & Advaita Vedanta, the yogic version of nonduality.

The Yoga tradition was later firmly established in the US by Paramahansa Yogananda, who lived out his years in America, establishing the headquarters of his work in Los Angeles.

As with Buddhism, American Yoga thrives today.

It seems to me that it's high time to stop being a Takata apologist, and take seriously the place Reiki & Usui have in the world's wisdom traditions.

Thanks, Pamir. If any other readers would like to contribute to this discussion, just add them as comments to this post on our web site, or email them to


Blogger David Bandas said...

I find all of these discussions, particularly this last one by Pamir, puzzling and vexing. If it's "high time to stop being a Takata apologist," it's high time to stop being a Takata basher.

The teachings of Mikao Usui are closely guarded by the Usui Reiki Gakkai in Japan. It is a closed society, and very little information seems to come forth from that source. Why not please address this secrecy and stubborness where it is held?

The implication that Takata somehow purposefully withheld the truth from her students regarding "nonduality" or whether Hayashi was *really* a doctor seems ludicrous to me.

I just observed a Reiki I class which was attended by six students under the age of 14. They were very excited to learn the practice taught by Hawayo Takata. Perhaps they have been initiated into a practice which they may find not only physically comforting, but which may lead them more deeply into themselves and a more esoteric personal practice. Or not. Hands on Reiki may very well be the stepping stone for "true personal evolution." This has most definitely been true for me.

If it weren't for Takata, teaching the Reiki she practiced with an amazing amount of energy and dedication, and left up to the holders of Usui's teachings in Japan, the Usui Reiki Gakkai, I would not have this beautiful practice I cherish so highly today.

Trying to retrofit what is slowly emerging in bits and pieces about the way Usui practiced Reiki into what Takata taught and practiced, and then implying that she somehow withheld the truth is disingenuous.

I would never dare apologize on her behalf for anything!

David Bandas

10:19 AM  
Blogger David Bandas said...

P.S. I truly appreciate the thoughtfulness and clarity of this thread, and the generous contributions by the writers. Upon further reflection, it is so wonderful to see the discussion of Reiki explore its more spiritual aspects.

Unfortunately, it pushed some of my buttons generally unrelated to the subject at hand. I apologize for my harsh tone.

More discussions seem to end with questions about what Takata knew, or with what she decided to teach. For me, the elephant in the room is what is known and practiced by the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, and why their secrecy isn't questioned more.

Yes, we are Reiki. Apparently, I personally am Reiki mixed with a little vinegar!

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi David: I'm not really sure why Takata was brought in to the first response to Heather's post, it wasn't about Takata. It felt like the assumption of an apology and I've seen it elsewhere many times.

As for bashing, as a dedicated Reiki practitioner and teacher I know that bashing does not work.

I didn't say Takata left anything out. The research & commonsense indicates that what she learned from Hayashi wasn't the nondual teachings of Usui Sensei.

These teachings predate the formation of the Gakkai anyhow, made available to us by some of his still living (or were until very recently) students.

I appreciate your second comment and the self-correction therein. My take on all of this can be found in my latest post on my own blog:
Modern Reiki

6:38 PM  

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