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Reiki Origins - Teno Hira Ryoji

Last Updated: April 3, 2007
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In 2006 one of my Japanese students, was traveling back to Japan and I asked her to purchase some copies of certain Japanese Reiki books for me.  One was a re-publication of the book "Teno Hira Ryoji" written in 1930 by Koshi Mitsui, a student of Toshihiro Eguchi.  According to Usui student Tenon-in, Eguchi-sensei was a student of Usui Sensei from 1921 to 1926 and was one of only 2 people to complete the original Usui-Do system. 

In Dave King's recent book titled "O-Sensei: A View of Mikao Usui" he quotes an anecdote that Tenon-in wrote for Dave's 2002 URRI conference presentation (in Toronto):

"Eguchi returned (to the Usui dojo) in 1923 with his own te-no-hira system that used parts of O-Sensei’s work. It was almost a religion and part of this system was a ceremony that Eguchi had obtained from a friend named Nishida in which a form of blessing was offered to each doka. This displeased Usui a great deal but eventually Eguchi was permitted to come and teach at Usui’s centre twice a week and even do the ceremony but not chant the Komyo Kagan" (a form of prayer). This ceremony appears to be the forerunner of what was known as Denju in Eguchi- sensei's school, and Reiju in the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai.  It most likely also influenced the reiju or attunement ceremonies used by Dr. Hayashi. 

Tenon-in explained to Dave that Usui Sensei would rent out his dojo (training hall) some evenings so that others could give presentations.  Apparently his fees were expensive.  Eguchi-sensei had followed Sensei to Tokyo from Kyoto and was able to secure a position teaching at a local high school. His work in the dojo led to the healing system that became known as Usui Reiki Ryoho. 

The current version of the book "Teno Hira Ryoji" was republished in 2000 by Vortex Reiki school owner Toshitaka Mochizuki and is available (in Japanese) at the Vortex web site.  The following is from an insert he placed within the book.  It explains the source of the book and the fact that Mochizuki-san re-wrote the book in modern Japanese text so it could be more easily understood.

Teno Hira Ryoji

You must read this 
(these attached pages included with this book) 
– from Toshitaka Mochizuki

This book was first published by Arusu (a publishing firm) in Kanda, Tokyo in 1930 and became a best seller.  At the time, by putting the advertisement of all aspects in the newspaper, several ten thousand copies were sold at one stroke. 

I am pleased to re-publish such a historic document that made it possible to expand further the growing popularity of ‘Teno Hira Ryoji - Hands on Healing.’

I had shown this original book to some Reiki teachers and people who had interests in healing methods.  Everyone asked to borrow the book.  However, because this was an important document, I always turned down these requests. 

Although it was published seventy years ago, the original book still seems important for us.  So, this time, I decided to re-publish this book. 

The Author Koshi Mitsui 
and the Founder of Teno Hira Ryoji, Toshihiro Eguchi

I shall briefly introduce the author, Koshi Mitsui-sensei.  Koshi Mitsui-sensei- (1883-1953) succeeded to Shiki Masaoka (a poet) and had interests in literature.  He published literary magazines such as Akane and Life and Expression. Throughout his life, he sought to establish literary based on every day life.  He was rated as a person who tried to put those Japanese traditions to good use in the modern era. 

Toshihiro Eguchi-sensei (1873-1946) taught ‘Teno Hira Ryoji’ to Mitsui-sensei.  Successively holding various posts in Nagano prefecture, Eguchi-sensei obtained a new post as Principal of Kofu High School in Yamanashi prefecture.  He then became a member of Usui Reiki Ryoho.  From 1924 to 1926, he studied as a member under Usui Sensei.  Later, he started an independent school, ‘Teno Hira Ryoji.’ 

Koshi Mitsui-sensei, Yasukiyo Eguchi-sensei and Goro Miyazaki-sensei travelled the whole country together to teach the method of ‘Teno Hira Ryoji’.  Before the war, several hundred thousand people learned and practiced ‘Teno Hira Ryoji.’  His personality and the great aspects of ‘Teno Hira Ryoji’ influenced people. 

The reason for the book becoming a best seller was not only its wonderful contents, but also the influence of the mass media. 

 In 1929, Seikyosha (a publishing firm) published a special edition of the June issue of "Japan and Japanese" in which about 80 pages were about ‘Teno Hira Ryoji.’  Also, Mitsui-sensei contributed 890 articles regarding ‘Teno Hira Ryoji’ to "Japan and Japanese."

Other publications regarding ‘Teno Hira Ryoji’:

  • An Introduction to Teno Hira Ryoji, Toshihiro Eguchi and Koshi Mitsui, published by Arusu in 1930.
  • A Reading of Teno Hira Ryoji, Toshihiro Eguchi and Seiroku Nemoto, published by Kaiko sha.
  • Manual of Practice Teno Hira Ryoji, Koshi Mitsui and Goro Miyazaki, edited by Teno Hira Kenkyukai.
  • Talk About Teno Hira Ryoi, edited by Teno Hira Kenkyukai in 1954.
  • Study of Tanasue no Michi, the Teno Hira Ryoji Manual, Setsuo Nakakura and Goro Miyazaki, edited by Teno Hira Kenkyukai.
  • Hands-on Miracle, Goro Miyazaki, published by Kasumigaseki shobo.
  1. The text is translated into the modern Japanese so as to easily read it.  For the Gyosei of Meiji Emperor and waka poems of Koshi Mitsui, the translation is faithful to the original.

  2. .
  3. The author referred to treatment.  In the present time, treatment is the task of medical care, so a person who doesn’t have a licence of medical doctor cannot use the word, treatment. 

  4. .
  5. Toshihiro Eguchi-sensei had once belonged Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, then he established ‘Teno Hira Ryoji’ as a new group.  As a result, there were several differences between them. 

According to Hiroshi Doi-sensei in his book "Gendai Iyashino Reiki Ho", Eguchi-sensei was known to have taught at least 500,000 people. The system seemed to have greater recognition before the war than Usui Reiki Ryoho.  Mochizuki-san's comments above explain how this was possible as Eguchi seemed to allow advertising of his system and therefore it received widespread publicizing.

As far as I know, the book "Teno Hira Ryoji" has not been published in English.  Short excerpts are usually permitted to be presented in most works these days as long as credit is given to all sources, so I will share a few here.  Perhaps Mochizuki-san might be interested in the work my student and I have done thus far.

The following are some excerpts (in the boxes) that I thought you might find interesting. 
What is ‘Teno Hira Ryoho?

Teno Hira Ryoji by Koshi Mitsui‘Teno Hira Ryoho’ is a national, spiritual service ceremony.  In classical Japanese, it is Tanasue no Michi of Shikishima no Michi.  This is a ceremony of greeting among people and a ceremony of salutation between god and human.  It is a ceremony of the service that we should be humble.  The god of whom we worship is a god who is read of in the Meiji Emperor Gyoshu. 

Consequently, we read the Gyosei of Meiji Emperor and worship the Meiji Shrine.  Keeping in mind, we feel the protection of god in our hands and transmit our view to others.  This is called ‘Teno Hira Ryoji.’

There is a lot of Gyosei in the book. These are the inspirational waka poems written by the Japanese emperor Meiji, who was considered to be psychic as well. He was known to have written over 90,000 of these.  One book containing 125 of his poems ended up being copied into the Reiki Ryoho Hikkei, perhaps by Eguchi-sensei, as he seemed to be the main Usui student who promoted the use of these poems.  Tenon-in had reported that Usui Sensei was not a Meiji supporter and did not use the Gyosei in his dojo. The Hikkei is still given out  today in the URR Gakkai to their entry level students

The following passage is Eguchi-sensei's own explanation of his system of healing.
 The Meaning of ‘Teno Hira Ryoji no Kai‘
(December 1928, Toshihiro Eguchi)

Most middle class people face some difficulties with enjoying modern medical methods.  Fortunately, we have recently found for certain the easiest method of treatment of diseases.  ‘Teno Hira Ryoji’ can cure any kinds of disease by just putting the hand on the body. 

Human hands have a function of curing sickness as well as cats and dogs licking wounds.  Only some specific people, such as inter cultural or priests, had practiced the hands on healing.  It tended to be a superstitious thought even in this modern time. 

We, however, have practiced the hands on healing.  Everyone can emanate a sort of power.  Also, we found that we could cure an injury by putting the hand on the affected area.  This method of treatment doesn’t require taking medicine nor having specific medical knowledge.  Furthermore, it is easy and sure for everybody to obtain the energy.  We must practice it 30-40 minutes each day to emanate the efficient energy for treatment. 

It is possible to teach the method of emanating the energy to 20-30 people at a time.  Our aim with this technique is for it to be in wide spread use all over the country so that people can make up for any lack of efficiency of the modern medical technique, and it will be helpful to cover medical expenses in average families.  As well as the effective use of ‘Teno Hira Ryoji’, it is good to live in harmony.  There are many methods of treatment, but most groups are very strict.  People cannot become members of them, and they require difficult practices.  So, we decided to develop the easiest and surest method and to teach many people this method. 

Note that it has been reported that Eguchi-sensei left the URR Gakkai in 1927 after disagreements with it's president, Admiral Ushida.  I don't doubt that in that last paragraph he is referring to the Gakkai as one of those groups mentioned.

In the following passage Mitsui-san explains what sounds like a Denju or Reiju process.  A modern Japanese dictionary explains "michibiki" as "guidance". 
Giving another person the ability of emanating the healing energy is called ‘Michibiki.’  Also, it is an action to make power that everybody originally has and to begin to work.  Originally, its power depends on each person, either strong or weak, but more use of the energy strengthens its power. 

‘Michibiki’ is very easy.  While closing a person's eyes and doing Gassho, a well experienced teacher gives a student a ceremony.  It needs 30-40 minutes each time for ‘Michibiki’.  Most people become confident after receiving a continuous 3 day lesson. 

This healing method is effective for a various diseases. 

Keeping that explanation in mind, read the following passage which gives one person's account of his healing experiences with Eguchi-sensei, as well as his receiving of Denju from him.
An Experience with Teno Hira Ryoji
(by Junichi Tashiro)

“I was diagnosed with vertebra caries in March 1928 and was expecting 3 years to recover.  I had worked as a teacher.  Because of a hard teaching job, I decided to change my work to a writer for studying ‘Shikishima no Michi’ and establishing a new spirituality.  Chanting the Meiji Emperor's Gyosei and reading Kojiki (an old style Japanese poem book) should be included in the modern standard life of Japanese. 

 “At the time, my body got weaker and weaker so that I couldn't walk by myself.  However, I never lost my oath of loyalty to my country, Japan. 

 “Within less than 6 months of a complete rest, I could return to a teaching job in September 1928. 

“Nobody had expected my great recovery.  I had practiced ‘Teno Hira Ryoji’ since September 1928.  I received a Denju from Mrs. Mitsui on September 29, 1928.  And on September 30, I received a treatment and a Denju. 

“Eguchi-sensei came to my house one time.  For preparation, he took off his outer clothes.  Only dressed in his underwear, he began with a treatment on my head.  Placing his hand on the forehead, temples, and then under the head, he spent 30 minutes.  Then I lay on my face and he gave a treatment to the entire spine.  In particular, he did it for an hour on the affected area. 

 “After the treatment, I received a Denju.  Eguchi-sensei placed his hand on my head and then blew strongly on the top of the head.  He touched my Gassho hands and seemed to pray something.  He repeated this on me within 15 minutes.  He told me that when I received Denju for 3 continuous days, I would be capable of giving Denju to others.  After giving me a Denju, Eguchi-sensei told me that I had to practice this method and give treatment to others, as many as possible; otherwise, the effectiveness of the method would disappear.” 

The Denju ceremony described is very similar to one demonstrated by Hiroshi Doi-sensei at the URRI 2002 conference I organised with Tom Rigler in Toronto, 2002.  The blowing towards the head dantien is also part of a 1930 Hayashi Reiju ceremony.  I find it very interesting to note Eguchi's instructions concerning the new practitioner's ability to give Denju to others in a relatively short time.  I wonder what the effect of teaching the original Usui-Do symbols, especially the 4th symbol, would have had on the energy potential of Eguchi's students, as this seems to be the heart of potential within the Reiki systems. 

A good portion of the remainder of "Teno Hira Ryoji" deals with healing situations and a lot of it looks similar to that I have seen in URR gakkai related publications like Fumio Ogawa's 1986 self published book "Reiki wa Darenidemo Deru."  I hope to be able to obtain copies of other works by Eguchi-sensei and his students and get an even better picture of the early practices of one of Usui Sensei's senior students. 

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