Taoist Master Mantak Chia is a major pioneer in awakening the West into the Way of the Tao over the last 20 years. He is co-author of over ten books on qigong and its inner meditative aspect, neigong. He is the first to openly initiate westerners into the secret methods of Taoist inner alchemy, the ancient methods for healing the split between body/mind and sexuality/soul. It’s a path that leads to long life and a deep blissful, spirtual rebirth.
His books include Awaken Healing Energy of the Tao, the first book in English on opening the Microcosmic Orbit, a kind of unifying “chakra” or wheel that connects all the meridians and energy centers of the body. I co-authored with him a revolutionary approach to connecting sexual energy to physical and spiritual health: Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy, followed by Healing Love: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy.
Other books focused on different types of qigong: Iron Shirt Chi Kung, Bone Marrow Nei Kung, Transform Stress into Vitality (Six Healing Sounds), Fusion of the Five Elements (mind training of the vital organ qi and emotional qi), Chi Nei Tsang (Deep Organ Massage) and Tai Chi Chi Kung. His specialty is in teaching people how their “energy body” — the collective meridians and deep qi channels that connects the body-mind — can be activated to function as one smoothly functioning whole.
I was one of a small group of western students who helped him found the Healing Tao Center in 1982. We were tucked into a tiny cubbyhole in New York’s Chinatown — a little place with a big vision. Today, the International Healing Tao has over 1000 instructors worldwide on every continent teaching the classical Taoist approach of harmonizing “water and fire” — male and female, yang and yin.
It has given me and hundreds of thousands of others a practical way to manage our health, our emotions, our sexuality, and our minds. It led to my spiritual experience of nature (body nature and worldly nature) as an energy doorway that connects me with “God” in every moment. This is the humble simplicity and beauty of the Tao, the Natural Way. Here is Mantak Chia’s account of how he came to the Way:
Mantak’s Chia’s Story
I am Chinese, and grew up in Thailand. My mother was a Christian chaplain, but I was surrounded by Buddhist monks who taught me meditation at age six. I watched other Chinese do chi kung in the parks, but didn’t get deeply into it until I went to Hong Kong to attend high school. One of my classmates took me up into nearby mountains where a Taoist adept lived in a simple hut. His name was One Cloud, and he was 90 years old though he looked thirty years younger.
I was impressed by his kind smile and gentle strength. He lived simply, ate simply, a diet with no salt. He taught me about taoist alchemical salt, which is heated in bamboo, and used as a solvent to aid meditative practice. I visited White Cloud once or twice a week for almost four years.
He took a liking to me, seemed to think I had the patience to learn something deeper from him than other students. He taught me the classical seven Inner Alchemy formulas of Immortality that he himself had used to stop eating food . He said he had existed solely on chi (qi) for many years when he lived in the mountains of north China. He started eating again when the Japanese started bombing and he came down out of the hills. He believes that his liver was contaminated by bad food at that time, which may have been a cause of his eventual death at age 96.
I had returned to Thailand, and opened my own Natural Healing Center in the mid 70’s in which I taught qigong, tai chi, and the beginning levels of inner alchemy — the Inner Smile and Microcosmic Orbit. I was amazed at how many people got healed. I thought of One Cloud often, of his beautiful smile and his teaching me to smile into the body’s vital organs and the dan tiens (energy centers). I preferred his light-hearted Tao teachings to the local Buddhist monks, who were stern and took themselves too seriously.
I also appreciated my mother’s Christian teachings, but the Tao teachings were always practical and wise and gradually became my main focus. I think the qigong principles of harmony and balance are very similar to the Christian teachings on love, they are just expressed in a more concrete energetic form. I don’t see any difference between the idea of universal qi and Holy Spirit.
I also noticed many monks would go see a Chinese doctor when they got sick, suggesting they knew that chinese medicine, based on principles taken from qigong, had a deep understanding of the body. When I was 21, a western style doctor told me I would die from an inherited kidney problem. So I found another Taoist teacher who showed me how to rejuvenate my kidneys by recycling my sexual energy. I believe it saved my life, and I have taught it to thousands of other people and seen how it helped them also.
For me, this is the real joy of teaching qigong and neigong. I get to watch so many people heal and blossom like a flower when they experience their connection to the flow of qi.