In Reiki, everyone has a lineage, the line of teachers that connects them to Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki as we know it today. Below are the progenitors of our Usui Shiki Ryoho (traditional) Reiki lineage.
Mikao Usui was a school teacher in Kyoto, Japan in the late 1800s. Usui set out on a journey to learn how Jesus, Buddha, and other enlightened beings were able to heal people with touch. In his quest, he studied in several countries over many years, learned various languages, and pored over many ancient documents. Frustrated by the lack of answers on his search, he commenced a 21-day fast atop Mount Kurama, located in a rural area northwest of Kyoto City. It was on the 21st day of this fast that Usui was struck in the head by a ball of light that revealed to him much of the practice we call Reiki. He went on to practice Reiki, traveling and demonstrating Reiki extensively throughout Japan, and training many students in his method.
Among those trained by Usui was a retired Japanese naval officer and physician Chujiro Hayashi, who founded a Reiki clinic in Tokyo in the mid-1920s. Located near the Imperial Palace, his first clinic was frequented by royalty and members of the court, giving Reiki an immediate reputation and following among the educated elite in Japan. As the awareness and interest in Reiki grew, Hayashi opened more clinics, and trained increasing numbers of students. He is credited with codifying the system of hand positions commonly used in Reiki practice today, and it is believed he made a number of adjustments to Usui’s system that made it less mystical, more readily explained to doctors and patients, and more easily taught to the average student. Medical doctors would often refer difficult cases to Hayashi’s clinics, and it was through such a referral that Hawayo Takata was first introduced to Reiki.
Hawayo Takata was a Japanese-American woman from Hawaii who had numerous health problems, including a tumor, gall stones, and appendicitis. Her husband had died unexpectedly, and she was struggling to raise her two young daughters. As her health was deteriorating, Takata went to Japan seeking medical help, and through a twist of circumstances, became a patient at one of Hayashi’s clinics. After six weeks of daily Reiki treatments, Takata’s ailments healed, and she spent the following year as a student of Hayashi’s with the intention of treating herself and her family. When she returned to Hawaii in 1936, Takata began to practice Reiki, and was soon visited by Hayashi and his daughter. Hayashi lectured in Hawaii, and when he left in 1938, he certified Takata as a Reiki Master.
John Harvey Gray
In the 1970s, Takata was frequently invited to the mainland to lecture on and teach Reiki in the United States and Canada. One such trip was to the Trinity Metaphyscial Center in Redwood City, CA led by the Reverend Beth Gray. Beth and her husband John Harvey Gray both studied Reiki under Takata, and in 1976 John became the first Reiki Master initiated by Takata in California, and the third of her masters worldwide. In the 1990s, John often visited New York City, teaching Reiki in Manhattan at the studio of one of his students.
It was there that Brian Brunius attended the first and second degree Reiki classes with John. Brian later completed his Reiki Master Instructor training and 2,000 hour apprenticeship under a Reiki Master Teacher who was trained directly under John Harvey Gray.
John Harvey Gray taught more than 900 Reiki classes to over 15,000 students and gave over 10,000 private Reiki sessions in his lifetime. He was the longest-practicing Reiki Master in the Western Hemisphere. Until his death at age 93 in January 2011, John and his wife Lourdes Gray together operated The John Harvey Gray Center For Reiki Healing in Rindge, NH.
The NYC Reiki Center, founded in 2007, is a traditional Reiki private practice and school in which Brian Brunius (Reiki Master Teacher) continues the tradition of Usui Shiki Ryoho (the Usui System of Natural Healing) as passed down in his lineage. He offers private sessions for clients and Reiki classes for those who wish to learn Reiki.