Mantak Chia was born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1944. His pursuit of Taoist teachings led him to meet the White Cloud Hermit Master Yi, a Taoist Master living in the mountains near from Hong Kong.
Over a period of five years, Master Yi transmitted to Master Mantak Chia the most sacred and closely held Taoist practices, formulas and methods of internal alchemy, culminating in the Reunion of Heaven and Man.
The author of dozens of books, booklets, videos and CDs describing these practices, Master Mantak Chia has taught hundreds of thousands of eager students the principles of Taoist internal practice over the past 40 years.
Following is an excerpt from a recent Blog Talk Radio interview with Mantak Chia:
Lama Tantrapa: What is the purpose of qigong practice?
Mantak Chia: The initial purpose of qigong practice is to become stronger, to heal yourself, and increase your wisdom and knowledge. The early stages are like Taiji, and afterwards we can begin what we call supreme inner alchemy practice.
Excerpted from Professor Lu Zuyin’s “Scientific Qigong Exploration”, a survey of qigong research experiments conducted in China between 1978 and 1992.
Scientific research in the last ten years has captured many external qi phenomena and qualitatively recognized certain characteristics of external qi. On the whole, research on external qi is still at a qualitative stage. It is not easy to establish quantitative laws and phenomenological theories thereby moving to a quantitative stage.
The difficulty is mainly due to insufficient investigation of external qi and the resulting lack of scientific means to express the level of external qi. With more than a thousand qigong schools and numerous different qigong methods, it is difficult to establish common standards.
In addition, a qigong master’s qi-emission power is closely related to his own physical, mental, emotional state at the time of qi emission. As a result, each external qi emission is at best only roughly the same, and it is not as precisely reproducible as an instrument. Experiments seeking basic laws of external qi are not easy to accomplish because they require tens or even hundreds of strictly repeated experiments.
[As demonstrated by our previous experimental results,] qigong is more advanced than contemporary science, thus it is difficult to fit into the framework of contemporary science. However, like all fields of scholarship, if qigong research does not pass strict scientific examination, it will not survive in contemporary society, let alone be accepted in international academic circles. This is a fundamental contradiction.
BLACK BELT – That uniform accessory most coveted by students of martial arts, who, upon receiving it, pretend it never held any interest at all.
PRACTICE – To endlessly repeat the same sequence of movements, always hoping for different results. (See also: INSANITY.)
KATA – An awful form of dance, often assumed to divulge some hidden meaning after sufficient PRACTICE.
Many martial arts bloggers (Striking Thoughts, Mokuren Dojo and Dojo Rat to name a few) have published their opinions on the veracity of chi projection, empty force (ling kong jing) and no-touch knockouts. Naturally, I have a few opinions of my own–but I do not intend to share them here and now. No, my purpose today is a humble and scientific one: to gather data.
The plural of anecdote is data, right? So, please take this multiple choice poll.
The following passage is excerpted from “The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine” by Anne Harrington—a recent addition to my recommended reading list.
The End of Medical Exorcism in Europe
Appreciating the interweaving religious, philosophical and political stakes [in 18th century medicine] is important, because it can help us make sense of an episode whose significance we might otherwise misinterpret: the showdown between the German exorcist Father Johann Joseph Gassner and the Viennese physician Anton Mesmer.
Gassner was an exorcist whose ability to cast out devils was legendary. People came from all over to be healed, and in dramatic public performances—witnessed by crowds from all sectors of society—Gassner would oblige. Official records were made; competent witnesses testified to the extraordinary happenings. All agreed on the basic facts. On being presented with a supplicant, Gassner would typically wave a crucifix over his or her body and demand in Latin that, if the disease he was seeing had a “preternatural” source, this fact must be made manifest. The patient would then typically collapse into convulsions, and Gassner would proceed to exorcise the offending spirit.
Sometimes he added flourishes to this basic routine: in one dramatic instance, for example, he ordered the demon inside a woman to increase the poor woman’s heartbeat and then to slow it down.
A Socratic Dialogue
Master Po: Grasshopper, soon you must leave the mountain. We shall now begin preparations for the day that you accept disciples of your own.
Kwai Chang Caine: Be not concerned, master. I have committed each of your Kung Fu fighting techniques to memory.
Po: Grasshopper, these techniques are trifles. It is most important to transmit wude, the moral principles of Kung Fu.
Caine: Yes master, I have also memorized the 377 rules of virtuous conduct, and I will require my students to do the same. Rule number one: “Don’t show up drunk.” Rule number two…
Po: Stop right there. It is not the teacher’s job to recite these rules; it is the teacher’s job to embody them. They are descriptive, not prescriptive. Wude is not something you do, it is something you are.
Caine: Master, I do not understand. On the day I arrived in the temple, I took an oath to follow these rules. Are they not important?
Po: Grasshopper, that stuff is just for the newbies. It is time for you to receive the inner gate teaching on martial morality.
Can the fire of man breathe within the waters of woman? Only if she allows. From Eden’s Gate, through Taoist teachings, through sexual revolutions and on into time eternal, women have been, are, and always will be the masters of ultimate sexuality.
Totally Nude Tai Chi is the most comprehensive, and most bizarre martial arts instructional video I have ever reviewed. Five naked female models demonstrate Tai Chi theory, the solo hand form, sword and saber practice, circle walking and palm changes, push hands and fighting applications, all within one hour.
In medical science, one must pay attention not to plausible theorizing, but to experience and reason together.
The James Randi Educational Foundation has not validated any extraordinary human ability; ergo, none is likely to exist.
— Anonymous crank
Are psi and other forms of mental kung fu real? Some research suggests that they are, but to properly evaluate the data, you need a solid background in experimental design, statistical probability, and the subject itself. Science is hard.
Supposition and common-sense appeals are easy, and unlike research data, they always support the desired outcome. A suitable bit of folk wisdom can be found to justify any emotional investment.
For example, if you want to master a difficult new skill, you’ll remember that practice makes perfect; later, if you become frustrated and finally give up, it is only because you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This is all ex post facto rationalization—not reason, and certainly not science.
So belief and disbelief are not two poles on the spectrum of opinion, or two sides of the same coin. They are both on the same side of the coin. There is nothing inherently rational about a default to skepticism, it’s just another bias.
Maybe we can do better than that.
Welcome to the third edition of Qigong and Energy Arts Forum. This main topic of this edition is science and skepticism.
Chi debunked? by Bob Patterson (Striking Thoughts)
Martial Development has a challenge for skeptical martial artists: Prove that chi is scientifically impossible. Naturally, since I consider myself to be an open-minded skeptic and a martial artist, I had to take a crack at this one.
From a scientific perspective, “chi” has not made it past the hypothesis stage…
Clearing the Air on George Dillman and Chris Thomas by Rick Fryer (Kicks Boxes)
Char-la-tan (n.) a person who pretends to be an expert in something or to have more skill that is really the case; quack; fake. That’s how Websters defines the word charlatan, but many martial artists on websites and forums like Bullshido.com or FightingArts.com would like to define it as ‘George Dillman,’ or as my instructor, ‘Chris Thomas’…