Mantak Chia

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Mantak Chia
Born (1944-04-04) April 4, 1944 (age 70)
Bangkok, Thailand
Residence Chiangmai, Thailand
Nationality Thai
Ethnicity Chinese
Occupation Author, teacher, and healer
Known for Taoism and Qigong
Children Max Chia

Mantak Chia (Chinese: 謝明德, Pinyin: Xiè Míngdé, born April 4, 1944 in Bangkok, Thailand) is a Taoist Master. He is best known for his teaching Taoist practices under the names of Healing Tao, Tao Yoga, Universal Healing Tao System and Qigong. Throughout decades of teaching, he has run numerous workshops, written a series of books, and published a number of training videos. For this reason, some people call him an author, a teacher or a healer. He views himself primarily as a teacher, "who helps his students empower themselves through cultivation of their qi (Chinese: 氣,Wade-Giles: ch'i) energy."[1]


Mantak Chia was born to a Chinese family in Thailand in 1944. He was raised in a Christian family. His father was a Baptist minister, breaking with a long tradition of Taoist healers.[2] He began studying the Buddhist method of "still the mind" at the age of six, and later he studied Muay Thai boxing, T'ai chi ch'uan, Kung Fu and Taoist and Buddhist practices, including Zen, from several masters. Of all his masters, the most influential one was Yi Eng (White Cloud), an eremitic member of the Dragon's Gate sect of the Quanzhen (Complete Perfection) school of Taoism[3][4] (Chinese: 道家全真龙门派), who taught Mantak Chia a complete Taoist training system and authorized him to teach and heal.

Later, he studied Western anatomy and medical science for two years to better understand the physiological mechanisms behind healing energy.

He established his first Universal Healing Tao school in Thailand in 1974, after systematizing his knowledge of Taoism. He founded the Universal Healing Tao Center (originally named the Taoist Esoteric Yoga Center) in New York in 1979. The center attracted a broad variety of European and American students, and some of them greatly helped him in teaching Taoist practices to western students. He returned to Thailand in 1994 and began to build the Universal Tao Training Center—Tao Garden—in Chiang Mai. His primary teaching programs are held in the Tao Garden, but he tours to Europe and North America annually to teach and promote the Healing Tao practices.[5]

He has worked closely with his students with background in Western esoteric studies, such as Michael Winn, Eric Yudelove and Dennis Lewis, to successfully convey the Taoist theories and practices to Western audiences. Another student, Lee Holden, served as editor of numerous projects, with whom he also co-authored Simple Chi Kung. His ex-wife Maneewan Chia also co-authored several publications.

Spiritual Core[edit]

Chia's teaching system develops integrated physical, mental and spiritual (energy) bodies internal to human beings. The focus is on developing human life energy — qi — for self-healing and life enhancement. For a simple interpretation, Chia describes qi as human primordial life force, a part of the primordial force of the whole universe.[6]


Chia describes his lineage as "Inner-Alchemy-Just-Practice Taoist." It emphasizes any knowledge and any method that are effective to refine the states of inner experience and consciousness that are the birthright of all humans and that are accessible by all, without unnecessary rituals. After having inherited the complete Taoist internal spiritual cultivation system from his master, Yi Eng, Chia followed the master's instruction to teach it to others.[6]

Nine Step-by-step Formulas[edit]

Formula 1: Primordial Force Activation[edit]

This formula has a variety of practices. Mantak Chia puts them roughly into three categories:

  • Basic Practices I.
Name Book Video Short Description
Inner Smile Cosmic Inner Smile Yes
Six Healing Sounds Cosmic Healing Sounds Yes
Microcosmic Orbit Yes Circulate qi in the governor and functional channels. Fundamental to more advanced practices.
Chi Self-Massage Chi Self-Massage: The Taoist Way of Rejuvenation Yes
  • Basic Practices II. This set is also called "QiGong for healing" for their strong qi development.
Name Book Video Short Description
Deep Abdominal Breathing Deep Abdominal Breathing, Energizer and Empty Force Breath.
Laughing Chi Kung
Activating the Stem Cells Yes
Elixir Chi Kung Yes
Tan Tien Chi Kung
Iron Shirt Chi Kung I, II, and III Iron Shirt Chi Kung, Bone Marrow Nei Kung Yes Develop chi, align body structure, strengthen tendon and bone, and rejuvenate bone marrow.
Tai Chi Chi Kung I and II Yes
Tao Yin Yes
  • Medical QiGong. This set has its values in certain treatments.
Name Book Video Short Description
Chi Nei Tsang I and II Yes
Cosmic Healing Chi Kung I and II Yes
Karsai Nei Tsang Yes

Formula 2: Basic Sexual Alchemy Practices[edit]

Taoists believe that sexual organs and kidneys store Jing (Chinese: 精), and Jing can be transformed into Qi and Shen (Chinese: 神) by taoist sexual practices.

Name Book Video Short Description
Male Sexual Alchemy Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy, The Multi-orgasmic Man Yes Control ejaculation (avoid semen loss) and transform the sexual energy up into chi and spiritual forces.
Female Sexual Alchemy Healing Love through the Tao: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy, The Multi-orgasmic Woman Yes Control menstruation (avoid blood loss) and transform the sexual energy up into chi and spiritual forces.
Dual-Cultivation The Multi-orgasmic Couple Yes Exchange Yin and Yang in whole body orgasms or valley orgasms.

Formula 3: Fusion of Five Elements and Eight Pakua (Chinese: 八卦) Forces[edit]

Name Book Video Short Description
Fusion I, II and III Fusion of the Five Elements, Cosmic Fusion, Fusion of Eight Psychic Channels Yes Refine organs' energy and open more qi channels.

Formula 4: Lesser Enlightenment of Kan and Li[edit]

Name Book Video Short Description
Inner Sexual Alchemy Lesser Kan and Li Fuse qi from the heart with sexual energy.

Formula 5: Greater Enlightenment of Kan and Li[edit]

Name Book Video Short Description
Sun, Moon and Planets Alchemy Greater Kan and Li

Formula 6: Greatest Enlightenment of Kan and Li[edit]

Name Book Video Short Description
Planets, Star and Soul Alchemy Greatest Kan and Li

Formula 7: Sealing Five Senses[edit]

Name Book Video Short Description
Star and Galaxy Alchemy Sealing of the Five Senses

Formula 8: Congress of Heaven and Earth[edit]

Name Book Video Short Description
Heaven and Earth Alchemy

Formula 9: Union of Human and Tao[edit]

Basic Explanation of the Nine Formulas[edit]

The practices in the first two formulas are probably the most famous parts of Mantak Chia's teaching. However, they are not the core of the system. The purpose of the two formulas is to invoke one's awareness of chi, to strengthen it, and to open important qi channels in one's body, such as the governor and functional channels. These practices lay a solid foundation for further practices in later formulas, if one wishes to advance.

Sexual energy plays very important roles in qi cultivation. Taoism believes that sexual energy accounts for a large part of the energy that a human body generates or absorbs; a person cannot achieve spiritual fulfillment without conserving and leveraging the power of sexual energy. The first step of traditional inner alchemy (Chinese: 内丹) is transmuting the material carrier of sexual energy (Jing) into Chi. The basic sexual practices in the second formula can lay a solid foundation for the transmutation. However, because sex is a "hot" topic in a society, teaching sexual practices might be controversial. Nevertheless, besides being indispensable for spiritual development, sexual practices are beneficial to both good relationship and health if they are done right.

The third formula, Fusion, really starts inner alchemy practices. Inner alchemy traditionally has three stages: transmuting Jing to Chi, transmuting qi to shen, returning shen to void. Qi and shen are inner life energies with shen at a more refined level, and both originate from the same original universe force, which can only be reached by completely removing one's own consciousness. In Kan Li practices, one should have developed strong qi and strong mental power so that intercourses of polarities of life energies take place inside one's own body, analogous to intercourses of a female and a male which leads to a birth of a child. The intensive activities of internal life energy create an inner energy body which becomes the center of further practices, and eventually the inner body leads to immortality, reaching Tao. Cultivating the inner body and merging into immortality are the central training practices of inner alchemy, which require great dedication and determination.[6] It is hard to describe the effects of Chi, Shen, and Tao without experiencing or being aware of them. These practices are beyond mundane description and imagination (existing sciences cannot explain), and a person has to be seriously trained in order to be aware of or experience these effects.

However, a practitioner does not have to worry about the inner alchemy practices, if his or her goal is not pursuing the Tao but seeking life enhancement techniques or overall health. One can simply keep practicing the first two or three formulas without any harm.

Relationship to Religions[edit]

Chia states that the system is not religious and that practitioners "can be Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and still enjoy the benefits in the framework of [their] own belief system." In an interview, Chia stated that he teaches "how to control and harness the sexual energy".[7]

Basic Sexual Alchemy[edit]

This is probably the most famous part of Chia's teaching, which drew much attention from scholars. Section Different Views below lists some of observations from the public literature. This section introduces sexual practices taught in the Healing Tao system.

According to Mantak Chia, the primary purpose of conducting sexual practices is to save and transform sexual energy into more refined energy (transmuting jing into qi). In the genuine Taoist thought however, this is only possible if the sexual essence is spiritually guided and purified by the heart, only then can its virtue transform into qi. That's why the Taoists who want to achieve true inner cultivation only practice any sexual methods, with utmost care and respect towards their sexual partner. Solo cultivation involves transforming essence in one's own body in solitude. Both paths require a Yin phase in which the practioiner gathers and grounds the transformed essence in their lower Dan Tien. Preserving this essential purity throughout the whole practice requires deep compassion and stillness in the Heart-mind.

Sexual practices in Mantak Chia's teachings include techniques for men, women and couples.

Different Views[edit]

James Miller thinks that Mantak Chia's teachings of qi and cosmology is similar to the Taoist instructor Hua-ching Ni, but Chia's books lack discussion of philosophy, ethics or everyday practical advice. The system Chia presents is a narrowly focused system of QiGong rooted firmly in neidan.[3]

Machacek and Wilcox think that Chia's study of Taoist sexuality has the trend in Taoist writings intended for a Western audience, a combination of theoretical knowledge and personal experience, which leads to a proliferation of subjective and modern "love manuals" and expositions on the Taoist way of love.[8]

King's College scholar Peter B. Clarke thinks that Chia's Healing Tao is one of the few Thai new religious movements to have achieved an international following.[9]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Chia & Winn (1984). Pg IV.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Miller (2006). Pg 268.
  4. ^ Kohn (2008). Pg 221.
  5. ^ Mantak Chia's World Tour Schedule
  6. ^ a b c Chia, Mantak. "The Spiritual Core of Master Mantak Chia's Teaching" Universal Tao.
  7. ^ Larthe (1999).
  8. ^ Machacek & Wilcox (2003). Pg 96.
  9. ^ Clarke (2006). Pg 277.


  • Clarke, John James. The Tao of the West: Western transformations of Taoist thought. Routledge, 2000. ISBN 0-415-20619-7.
  • Clarke, Peter Bernard. New religions in global perspective: a study of religious change in the modern world. Routledge, 2006. ISBN 0-415-25748-4.
  • Kohn, Livia. Chinese Healing Exercises: The Tradition of Daoyin. University of Hawaii Press, 2008. ISBN 0-8248-3269-8.
  • Larthe, Christopher. "Mantak Chia – A Modern Taoist Master". Positive Health, July 1999 (Issue 42).
  • Machacek, David W. & Wilcox, Melissa M. Sexuality and the world's religions. ABC-CLIO, 2003. ISBN 1-57607-359-9.
  • Chia, Mantak and Winn, Michael. "Taoist Secrets of Love – Cultivating Male Sexual Energy". Aurora Press, 1984. ISBN 0-943358-19-1.
  • Miller, James. Chinese religions in contemporary society. ABC-CLIO, 2006. ISBN 1-85109-626-4.
  • Chia, Mantak and Stone, Sarina. "Smiling Anatomy for Children, Level 1". Empowerment Through Knowledge, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9826384-0-8.
  • Chia, Mantak and Stone, Sarina. "Smiling Anatomy for Children, Level 2". Empowerment Through Knowledge, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9826384-1-5.
  • Chia, Mantak and Stone, Sarina. "Smiling Anatomy for Children, Level 3". Empowerment Through Knowledge, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9826384-3-9.

Further reading[edit]

  • Chia, Mantak & Maneewan. Fusion of the Five Elements I: Basic and Advanced Meditations for Transforming Negative Emotions (Taoist Inner Alchemy Series). Healing Tao Books, 1991 (Reissue edition). ISBN 0-935621-18-0
  • Chia, Mantak. Cosmic Healing I: Cosmic Chi Kung. Universal Tao Publications, 2001. ISBN 974-87672-5-6.

External links[edit]