Mikao Usui was the founder of Reiki 靈氣, used as an alternative therapy for the treatment of physical, emotional, and mental diseases. It is believed that the aim of Usui’s teachings was to provide a method for students to achieve connection with the “universal life force” energy that would help them in their self-development.
Usui was also a Shintô priest. Shintô 神道 is a form of Japanese shamanism, which literally translates as ‘The Way of the gods‘ and revolves around the kami (‘gods’ or ‘spirits’) that are believed to inhabit all things. Since Usui was a monk of Tantric Buddhism in the Tendai school, he dealt with various healing arts, magical Taoism and the ‘way of the magicians‘ known as Shugendô. 修験道.
Shamanism is also represented in the Kanji characters for Reiki 靈氣, as they represent an ancient symbol of rain magic. Shown in this symbol is a shaman touching the earth and performing rituals to make it rain. Here, rain is not always meant as just water, but rather a blessing coming down from heaven to earth.