Phyllis Lei Furumoto 1948 – 2019
Phyllis was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1948. A family story is that her grandmother, Hawayo Takata, wanted to name her granddaughter after the booming city of Dallas, as she was named after the big island of Hawaii. However, someone else prevailed and the newborn baby was named Phyllis. Lei is the Hawaiian word for the flower wreath that is a well-known symbol of Aloha in Hawaii. Throughout her childhood she often treated her grandmother with Reiki but did not attend a class. At the age of 30, she accompanied her Grandmother Takata on a teaching trip to Puerto Rico. It was there that she first learned about Reiki, learned about the practice, and heard the stories of Reiki. This was a turning point for Phyllis and, a year later, she made the commitment to continue a path of Reiki and mastery.
In December 1980, Hawayo Takata died, leaving 22 masters to carry on her work. For some of the masters, she had told them clearly that her successor was Phyllis. For others, they had heard nothing. According to Barbara Weber Ray, she had been told that she would be the successor. This seemed to be the beginning of a break in the solidarity of the circle of masters. Through the next years, as Phyllis was recognized by many of the masters, two distinct practices emerged, one emphasizing the 4 aspects of the practice and the other concentrated on Reiki practice as a healing technique. Through the next decades the practice Takata Sensei brought to the shores of the American islands of Hawaii, spread around the world into many cultures, into many different variations of practice, and into the hearts of millions of people. Phyllis has been able to carry the practice through the differences. The practice of Reiki in its multifaceted forms has gone through growing pains, separation, and hopefully in the next years, will come back to living in harmony and respect for each other. This is the practice of Reiki.
Several years ago, Phyllis was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a year of treatment and rest, Phyllis began to travel and teach extensively around the world again. With her diagnosis, the question of who was to succeed her as Lineage Bearer of Usui Shiki Ryoho became a common question in the Reiki community. Some years later her cancer metastasized. Luckily the treatment she received allowed her to continue working and traveling. She also began to prepare the Reiki community by involving them in the process of succession. Phyllis became weaker over the time and in mid-February 2019 she decided to discontinue her cancer treatment and prepare for her time of transition.
She and Paul Mitchell had planned two events in March 2019 in Arizona. The first event Paul did alone in consultation with Phyllis. The second event took place in her home where she was able to meet with the group for short periods of time. It was in her home, in the presence of the group of Reiki masters pictured below, that she acknowledged her successor. The announcement below is in her own words.
I would like to announce that on March 15, 2019 in a ceremony in my home in Green Valley, Johannes Reindl from Austria was recognized by me, Phyllis Lei Furumoto, as my successor and Lineage Bearer for Usui Shiki Ryoho.
With Joy and Excitement,
© Romualdo Farias
Johannes was born in October 1977 in Linz, Austria and grew up in a little village nearby.
Through his parents’ best friend he got in touch with Reiki at a very young age. Being curious about what Reiki is, he decided to “do” what this best friend was doing when he once was grown up.
Later at the age of 17 he learned first degree Reiki and felt, what many of us feel when learning Reiki: “I am home”. He continued to practice Reiki and a year later he took second degree. Another few years later he got in touch with the more global Reiki Community when he went to “The Way to Harmony – Ki-Aikido”-Workshops with Paul Mitchell in Wettenbostel, Germany. There he got to know Phyllis Furumoto during a Reiki Summer camp. Not knowing what to study and what professional career he wanted to choose he got inspired by Phyllis’ request to work as an interpreter for her. Through this experience he decided to study to become a sign language interpreter at home in Austria. After a few years of studies, he ever since was working as a sign language interpreter for many years and later taught at the University and other forms of professional training for sign language interpreters students in Austria.
Sometimes when some are asking: “Why did you wait so long to become a master?” he replies: “I did not wait, I was practicing.” Looking back, he sees that the time of being of service and working in the background as interpreter, organizer and helping hand at events offered by the OGM and at other Reiki events, was part of his preparation for mastery as well as learning the joy of being at service for others.
After many years of practice of Reiki in October 2013 he asked Phyllis to become her student and to prepare with her for mastery. After 4 years of preparation, he was initiated in Kyoto, Japan as a Reiki Master by Phyllis Furumoto. During the time of preparation for mastery he was also part of the succession core team, the group which prepared with Phyllis for the process of succession. When in February 2019 Phyllis called him to ask if he could come to Arizona to serve as an interpreter for French he had no idea that in March 2019 Phyllis would recognize him as her successor as Lineage Bearer. To accept this recognition and to step into this role and to continue the work of his predecessors in the Spiritual Lineage had been, and still is, a profound change and turning point in his life. To accept this honor and to grow in this he holds in what he had learned in his first degree class: “Reiki will support you in your path and Reiki will call you and in times when you might think “this is too much for me” Reiki will make you grow and go beyond what you might hold true for you.”
Paul David Mitchell
Paul Mitchell learned Reiki from Hawayo Takata in 1978. He later became one of the twenty-two Masters she initiated before she died in 1980. He shared the Office of the Grandmaster with Phyllis Lei Furumoto and, as Head of the Discipline of Usui Shiki Ryoho (Usui System of Natural Healing), holds the place for maintaining the teaching and practice of the system as taught by Hawayo Takata.
Paul designs and facilitates workshops, retreats, and intensives that support the Reiki student community in deepening their practice. He is committed to the healing, growth, and spiritual development that is the promise and potential of the practice of Reiki.
Background and Training
Paul grew up in California and entered the Catholic seminary at fourteen with the desire to become a priest. At twenty-four he left the seminary, feeling that life called him to some other form of service. He continued his education and earned a degree in philosophy at the University of San Francisco. Paul was teaching religion in a Catholic boy’s high school and studying for a master’s degree when he heard Hawayo Takata give a talk on Reiki.
That summer, in 1978, he took the first degree Reiki class with her and then second degree a year later. Mrs. Takata initiated him as a Reiki Master shortly thereafter, in 1979. At that point Paul began his lifelong career, offering Reiki treatments and teaching classes. He was a founding member of The Reiki Alliance, an international organization of Reiki Masters dedicated to the practice of Reiki held by Hawayo Takata and her successor Phyllis Furumoto. Paul is the author of the student book, The Usui System of Natural Healing, which is published in nine languages and distributed by The Reiki Alliance. His articles appear in Reiki publications internationally.
Joyce came to Reiki because all she ever wanted was a sailboat. Her yacht broker, Jean Ferris, was showing her boats for sale in Honolulu in 1987. At that time, Joyce was in pain and discomfort from a herniated disk from years of working as a carpenter in commercial construction. After looking at a few sailboats, Joyce was in Jean’s office and Jean said that her Reiki Master was coming to teach a Reiki class. Jean said that Reiki helps to support our personal healing and this might be helpful for Joyce’s back. As Joyce is a “do it yourself” person, this sounded good. Then and there, she registered for the First Degree Reiki class with Helen Haberly.
After several months of self-treatments, Joyce’s back was pain free. She worked through the emotional abuse of being a woman in construction, and her healing process led her to understand that she loved building, but needed another environment for her skills. With a friend, she created Hui Kamana Builders in 1990, and brought the energy of Reiki into her business, work and play. At this time, Joyce was initiated into Second Degree.
For the next several years, she did Reiki treatments in the community, organized classes for Jean and Helen, as well as hosting Reiki Exchange for students in her home. Organizing and attending many First and Second Degree classes gave Joyce the chance to work with the energy of Reiki and support students in their healing journey. In 1997, after a Way to Harmony week with Paul Mitchell, Joyce made her commitment to become a Reiki Master and began a professional treatment practice. This time of offering Reiki treatments to the public gave her a living experience with how Reiki works with different people in all healing processes. Joyce connected with Phyllis Furumoto and after four years of being a Master candidate with her, was initiated as a Master in 2002.
Joyce’s master practice has been a combination of teaching First and Second degree classes in Hawaii and other states, offering Reiki sessions in addition to being connected and committed to the global Reiki community. For many years, she supported Phyllis to help organize teaching events and traveled with her to many countries.
During this time of working together, it became apparent to both Joyce and Phyllis, there was a deep, personal connection growing between them. After time, contemplation, self-treatments and awareness, they chose to welcome and nurture a loving, intimate relationship with each other. In 2014, in Abique, NM, Joyce and Phyllis were married.
Beginning in 2015, Joyce worked with Phyllis in creating pilgrimage tours for Reiki students to Kyoto to share the culture of Japan as well as having an experience of Mt. Kurama.
In 2017, Phyllis asked Joyce to share the Takata Archive Project to communities to which she is invited.
After Phyllis’ death, Joyce is recognized as part of the OGM, is beneficiary for the estate of Phyllis Furumoto and serves to help create space for students and masters to deepen their understanding of Usui Shiki Ryoho.
Joyce now lives in Hawaii, creating a new life as a single person, living another path of Mastery during a time of great change and new development.