|Residence||Chiang Mai, Thailand|
|Occupation||Author, teacher, and healer|
|Known for||Taoism and Qi Gong|
Mantak Chia (Chinese: 謝明德, Pinyin: Xiè Míngdé, born April 24, 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 Qi Gong. He has run numerous workshops, written a series of books, and published a number of training videos. He views himself primarily as a teacher.
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. He began studying the Buddhist method of "stilling 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 meditation practices 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 (Chinese: 道家全眞龍門派), 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 created the Universal Tao Training Center—Tao Garden—in Chiang Mai. He not only teaches at Tao Garden but also tours to other countries of the world to teach and promote the Healing Tao practices every year.
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Rooted in traditional Taoist practices, 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 transformation.
Chia's lineage is that of the Dragon's Gate sect of the Quanzhen (Complete Perfection) school of Taoism (Chinese: 道家全眞龍門派). This sect takes the practical approach in studying Taoist Inner Alchemy (Chinese: 內丹實修派). It emphasizes knowledge and method that are effective to develop the states of inner experience and consciousness that are the birthright of all humans and 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.
Brief Explanation of the Nine Formulas
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 qi, to strengthen it, and to open important qi channels in one's body, such as the governor and functional channels. These practices build a solid foundation for later formulas.
Sexual energy plays very important roles in qi cultivation. Taoist practitioners believe that the sexual energy accounts for a large part of the energy that a human body generates, and a person cannot achieve spiritual fulfillment without conserving and leveraging the power of the sexual energy. The first step of traditional inner alchemy (Chinese: 內丹) is transforming the material carrier of sexual energy (Jing) into Qi. The second formula lays a solid foundation for this purpose. However, because sex is a "hot" topic in a society, teaching sexual practices might be controversial.
The third formula, Fusion, really starts inner alchemy practices. Inner alchemy traditionally has three stages: transforming jing to qi, transforming qi to shen, returning shen to void. Qi and shen are inner life energies with shen being a more refined level, and both originate from the same original universe force. In Kan Li practices, one should have developed strong qi of all kinds so that intercourses of different qi take place resulting in a qi entity, call qi pearl (Chinese: 內丹), inside one's own body. This process is often described by the analogy of intercourses of a female and a male which leads to a fertilized egg. The intensive qi activities create an internal energy body which becomes the center of further practices, and eventually, the internal body leads to Tao, reaching immortality. Cultivating the internal body and merging into Tao are the central practices of Taoist inner alchemy, which require great dedication and determination.
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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 Qi Gong rooted firmly in neidan.
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.
- Chia & Winn (1984). Pg IV.
- Miller (2006). Pg 268.
- Kohn (2008). Pg 221.
- Machacek & Wilcox (2003). Pg 96.
- Clarke (2006). Pg 277.
- Mantak Chia and Maneewan. Chi Nei Tsang: Internal Organ Chi Massage, 1990 ISBN 0-935-62146-6.
- 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.
- 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.