Alchemical Meditations


Descendant Taught By During

Steven Sy

Master Mantak Chia

Steven Sy

Michael Winn

Michael Winn

Master Mantak Chia

Master Mantak Chia
Master Yi Yun [One Cloud] 1958-1963
Master Yi Yun [One Cloud] Grandmaster [of no name] 1929-1932
Grandmaster [of no name] His Master ???
. . . . . . . . .
(Immortal) Lü Dongbin (attributed) (Immortal) Zhongli Quan circa 815
(Immortal) Zhongli Quan ? ?


The alchemical formulas for spiritual immortality come from a secret hermit tradition in China.
They were passed down from hermit to hermit over the centuries, and are now taught by the Spiritual Tao.

Their history is attributed to the legendary Immortal Lü Dongbin, who received these teachings from the legendary Immortal Zhongli Quan around the year 815.

As the legend goes (in one of many differing accounts of the so-called Yellow Millet Dream) Lü Dongbin was travelling to the city to take an imperial service exam so that he could become a government official. On the way, he stopped at a tavern and met a strange old man, the Immortal Zhongli Quan. Zhongli Quan began to prepare some millet (grain) for them to eat, and as Zhongli Quan was talking to him, he fell asleep. He then dreamt of his future. In his dream, he had continued on to the city, took the exam, and passed it with flying colors. He was awarded a prestigious office, married a beautiful woman, and had two children. However, as this dreamed life continued, he saw that his success attracted the jealousy of others. Later, he ended up getting falsely accused of crimes. Then his wife betrayed him, his children got killed by bandits, and he became poor and homeless. In the end, he ended up dying on the street. At this point, he awoke and was surprised to see that he did not live an entire life. In fact, the yellow millet was still cooking on the stove. At that point, he instantly decided to change the path of his life and instead become a student of Zhongli Quan. Zhongli Quan taught Lü Dongbin the alchemical formulas for spiritual immortality, and Lü Dongbin became a legendary immortal in his own right.

Over the generations, the alchemical formulas for spiritual immortality were passed down in secret from hermit to hermit in the mountains of China.

We come to the 1920s. The location is Jilin, China . . . which is in northern China near the border with North Korea . . . a region often called Inner Manchuria. In a mountain cave on Changbai Shan (Long White Mountain) resided a hermit that was trained in the alchemical formulas. This grandmaster had no name, as he did not wish to be named. This grandmaster was to become Master Yi Yun [One Cloud]'s teacher.

Master Yi Yun [One Cloud], born in 1880, was a monk who studied in an old Daoist temple. He was taught chanting, tai chi, qigong, and other things. However, after being in the temple thirty years, he wanted to learn some higher level practices. After talking to an old Daoist master, he was told that if he wanted higher level practices that he would have to leave and find a teacher in the mountains to progress further. Yi Yun then left for the mountains. However, every time he would get close to where the masters would be, he would run out of food and have to come back. Eventually, he met a medicine man who taught him how to eat roots and drink dew (in order to travel lightly). After learning this, he found several masters meditating in caves, but many of them would not return from their deep meditations. Finally, in 1929, after traveling for 10 years, he came upon the grandmaster in this system, who was also meditating in a cave. He dusted off the grandmaster's body and took care of him. Then the grandmaster came back out of meditation, and Yi Yun told him that he wanted to learn from him. The grandmaster told him that he felt that this would be the last time he would return to his body, so the grandmaster agreed to teach him. He then taught Yi Yun the alchemical formulas over a period of 3 years. At some point, Yi Yun came down from the mountains to buy something, but the Japanese army had invaded the area [this was the invasion of Jilin . . . the prelude to the Second Sino-Japanese War]. He hid in a tree for seven days, but could not return to the mountains. Instead he walked by foot, following the Chinese army in retreat, back to Hong Kong.

Master Mantak Chia was born in Thailand in 1944, and started learning meditation and martial arts at a very early age. Having been captivated by stories about mastery of qi, he visited several Daoist temples looking for instruction. However, these temples told him he would have to be formally initiated into the temple as a Daoist monk in order to receive instruction, so he left empty-handed. Later in 1958 as a student in Hong Kong, he was outside with seven other Thai friends talking about qi. A classmate (Mr. Cheng Sue-Sue) told them that he could bring them to see his master, and his master could show them qi. It was agreed that they would meet the next day at ten. However, when the next day came, only Mantak Chia was there to go see the master. Nonetheless, Mantak Chia was then introduced to Master Yi Yun, who was 78 at the time. Master Yi Yun then told him that if he wanted to feel energy, that he should concentrate on his dantian. If he felt some energy, then he should come back and tell him about it. After spending most of the night meditating, Mantak Chia felt heat growing inside of him. On the second night, he felt the energy move. He then went and told Master Yi Yun, who was impressed. It was after this that Mantak Chia became his student. Mantak Chia then learned the alchemical formulas from Master Yi Yun over the next five years. Mantak Chia returned to Thailand, and Master Yi Yun later left his body at age 96 in 1976. Putting together additional teachings of martial arts and energy techniques from other masters, Mantak Chia began teaching his system, which incorporated his enormous body of knowledge. In 1976, Mantak Chia came to the United States, and in 1979 started teaching in New York first to Chinese students, and then in 1981 to Western students as well. 1981 is considered the birth of his system in America. Mantak Chia later returned to Thailand in 1994, where he has continued to teach--both in Thailand and in a sequence of workshops in countries all over the world.

Michael Winn, born in 1951, accidently induced his first kundalini awakening in 1978 after practicing a breathing technique he learned from Rajneesh's book "The Book of Secrets". This lead him into various yogic paths before settling down on Daoist alchemy that he learned from Mantak Chia in New York during 1981-1985. Winn has incorporated qigong and Western psychology into his teaching of the alchemical formulas. Every summer Winn organizes the Healing Tao Summer Retreats Program, which is a summer program of about 25 different week-long retreats covering qigong, Daoist alchemy, Tai Chi, martial arts, and more--as well as teaching his own local workshops in North Carolina during other parts of the year.

Steven Sy began learning from Michael Winn's home study course in Fall 2006 before attending live retreats in 2007. Subsequently Steven began taking other classes in Master Mantak Chia's system from other instructors, such as Master Mantak Chia, Marie Favorito, David Twicken, Karin Sörvik, and Minke de Vos. Steven's training is on-going, and he now offers coursework himself through the Spiritual Tao name.


Last Revised 10/20/2017