Mikao Usui and Mt Kurama or was it Mt Hiei?!
The first time we went to Japan in 2001, we went not only to Mt Kurama but also to Mt Hiei.
Many Reiki practitioners and teachers visit Mt Kurama, as it is said to be the birthplace of the system of Reiki and also the place where Mikao Usui did his 21 day meditation retreat.
But why did we also go to Mt Hiei and why do we still recommend that students who go to Japan not only visit Mt Kurama but also Mt Hiei?
In Mikao Usui's time, the main temple on Mt Kurama, Kurama Dera, belonged to the Tendai Buddhist sect. Kurama Dera was a subordinate of Shōren-in, a temple in Kyoto that was built in the late 13th century. Shōren-in formerly was the temple of the imperial abbot of the Tendai headquarters on Mount Hiei.
(Some Reiki schools use the modern aspect of Mt Kurama within their style of teaching but when we consider history, that is not correct. Because when Mikao Usui practiced there, these aspects were very different, as Mt Kurama was so strongly associated with Tendai Buddhism.)
On our first walk around Kyoto in 2001, we stumbled upon Shōren-in and when I walked in, I fell in love with it. Each time I am back in Kyoto, I visit Shōren-in again; it is such a beautiful place and somewhere deep down, I feel it has a link to Mikao Usui.
In 2003, I was made aware that Mikao Usui had links to a very specific temple on Mt Hiei and that he did a lot of his training on Mt Hiei. But up to now I have not had any solid proof for this.
However, last month I found out something very interesting which links Mikao Usui even more to Mt Hiei. This specific evidence is very exciting and will hopefully, over time, bring us even closer to Mikao Usui's teachings and his life. But, for now, we must wait until I get permission to share this publicly.
This May, when I go for 3 weeks to Japan to undergo my own personal training, I might find out more, as one of the priests I will work with used to have a temple on Mt Hiei. So stay tuned as we slowly uncover more and more about Mikao Usui and his teachings.