For a variety of reasons, little is known in the West about the ancient Taoist system of internal development. Like all traditions of the East, Taoism contains many practices designed to awaken an individual's deepest spiritual potential. Taoism, as with many other esoteric systems, understood that this potential included the possibility of conscious freedom in the after-death state, developed through exercises practiced in the previous life.

Toward this end, the Taoists saw the importance of working on all three levels of our being: the physical body, the soul body (sometimes referred to as our energy body), and the spiritual body (our true nature beyond the cycle of life and death).

All three are considered important in forming a ladder that we can consciously climb into the spiritual worlds and, just as important, descend back into the physical world to be creatively active. This ladder enables the Taoists to maintain a conscious link with the inner worlds and to act as the representatives of those worlds on Earth. In the after-death state, this link is maintained with the Earth world through the immortal body developed in the practice of Internal Alchemy.

Master your mind - Refine yourself

Master your mind - Refine yourself

Normal Mind (Human Mind-Mechanical Mind):   The Normal Mind worries, plans, and calculates, and greatly enjoys being in the midst of action and affairs. This land of mind is not filled with true love and compassion, but loves complicated arguments and heated discussions.

Universal Mind:   Within the mind there is yet another mind: "Heaven's Storehouse"-we fill it, yet it is never full, we drain it, yet it is never empty. It is called "the one-with-heaven". This is the consciousness of the universe. In Taoism, the goal is to tap into this level of awareness within ourselves.

Pure Mind:   The Pure Mind can see the drunkard's evil deeds without judgment. In this state, we achieve a certain control over the tendency of the mind to constantly identify with outer realities of right and wrong. From this perspective, we move past duality into wholeness.

Empty Mind:   Emptiness is a type of fasting in which we don't listen with our ears, but with our mind. We actually don't even listen with our mind, but with our spirit. We let our mind be like a clear lake, reflective, open, and fluid.

This meditation of inner alchemy involves the transformation of the body's raw energies by coupling water and fire. The 'Lesser Kan and Li' formula reverses the typical arrangement of fire (heart) over water (kidneys), initiating the healing and immortality process by placing water above fire and uniting them. This reversal allows the body's fire to consume and transform the water above, while the water, in turn, transforms the fire beneath. Without this reversal, the fire merely ascends, and cold energy descends, leading to the aging of the body.

The primary goal of 'Lesser Kan & Li' practice is to heal the organs and dissolve blockages. Initially, the elemental energies of the organs are refined and amalgamated in the coupling of fire and water. Each organ's energy is purified to its essential form (resembling a virgin child or lower animal nature), and eventually, the spirit or soul of each organ can be liberated. These individual spirits and souls are then united during the coupling process. The merging of these separated spirits and souls can create the lesser medicine, which, when exposed to the great white light (greater medicine), facilitates rebirth and the formation of the integrated spiritual body.

From another perspective, the separated and merged energies undergo refinement, with the fire transmuting into heavenly chi (represented by the trigram heaven) and the water becoming earth chi (symbolized by the trigram earth). Ultimately, heaven consumes earth, converting the two trigrams into the hexagram of heaven. This corresponds to the light yang body, which is the immortal spirit body capable of experiencing ecstatic flight or dissolution into the Wu Wei. In the practices of Greater, Greatest, and Sealing of the Five Senses, this transformative process is further reinforced and developed.

In essence, 'Lesser Kan and Li' primarily focus on initiating this transformation process by promoting healing and the dissolution of the physical body.



Lesser Inlightment

Lesser Inlightment

The ancient Taoist masters saw the whole universe as performing alchemy: separating itself into different components, interacting, and bringing them back together again.

This process involves the SHEN, the CHING, and the CHI, which we can see as spirit, body, and mind. Becoming aware of this ever-present alchemy and performing it consciously can accelerate our path toward freedom, enhancing our vibrations to a higher pattern in the continuous flowing of creation. Closely related to other categorizations such as Heaven, Earth, and man, or the three cauldrons, SHEN, CHING, and CHI are very rich concepts.

We can speak of SHEN hen as the field of awareness or pure consciousness, and CHING as the realm of substance, related to sexual energy. CHI, the mind, is the vital energy mediating between those poles, the "middle treasure." These distinctions should not lead us to forget that these are but aspects of a continuum, from the most expanded to the most condensed of its manifestations.


Among the many connotations of each of these terms, we can count the human spirit, said to sit in the heart, as Shen. Shen is the spiritual component of life, that which inspires wonder and awe, that which is beyond yin and yang. In the Chinese tradition, spirits associated with mountains, streams, stars, and so forth can also be referred to as Shen, along with the gods and deities, beneficent beings, and departed ancestors. Within the individual, Shen is manifested in personality, thought, sensory perception, and the awareness of self.

CHING the other pole of the spectrum, is the force that gives cohesion to the physical aspect of life, the glue holding the cells together. Inherited from our parents, and somehow comparable to the Western concept of genetic inheritance, Ching is said to be stored in our kidneys. Its seed shape expresses the primordial role they play in the growth, development, and reproduction of the body. Involved in the production of sperm and eggs, the limited amount of Ching we are given from conception to birth is burned up through life until its depletion results in physical death.


Where SHEN is the spirit, and CHING is our essence, CHI is both the life force and the organizing principle flowing through all things and establishing their interconnectedness. Chinese believe that every living thing (both human and non-human) has CHI. It is responsible for consciousness and mental abilities.

The realm of the unmanifested, where the SHEN "belongs," was known to the Taoists as "Early Heaven", while the realm of manifestation where our bodies evolve is "Later Heaven"; these correspond to the pre-natal and post-natal energies. From the expansiveness of infinite space, SHEN comes to the Later Heaven: life itself can be viewed as a variety that Early Heaven dreamed in order to experience polarity.

The Taoist canon speaks of the "breakaway from" and "return to" the origin. Metaphorically, this is illustrated in the Tao Te Ching as the one splitting into two, three, five, and the ten thousand things, and the subsequent "reversal." This classic also states in chapter 40, "Reversal is the way of the Tao."

Some time in the life of the human being, the same process occurs. When or how it happens is not known precisely, but it may possibly be with the first split of the egg or the first bifurcation of the Ren Mai and Du Mai meridians. Further splits happen within the human being until our link to the Original Source is lost and our sexual innocence becomes stained in worldly interactions. The "return" requires following the same route in reverse, so that the individual goes back "home."

The Kan and Li practice refers to the Taoist path of spiritual immortality and Taoist inner alchemy. It is understandable that there are different versions of how this path is replicated. After all, it is an ancient practice shrouded in mysticism and mystery. For example, Tibetan Buddhism and Hindu lore know related ideas and practices of their adepts.

Through the years, different Tao practitioners have evolved different versions of the formulas. But we all started from the same beginning. Contained herein, in outline form, is the highest Kan and Li practice as taught by Grand Master Mantak Chia of the Universal Healing Tao® System. It is intended to demystify old oral and written traditions so that any person in today's world can access the benefits of this most valuable practice.

Kan and Li

Kan and Li

Kan and Li literally mean "water" and "fire." In Taoist alchemy, the meaning of each depends on the level of meditation you are doing. In the Kan and Li formulas, they generally refer, respectively, to the cold/watery/kidneys and hot/fiery/heart energies.

Through the practice of the Fusion of the Five Elements, the human being can reach back to the split into two, and experience the polarity between fire/yang and water/yin. At the start of the Kan and Li level, the fire is above and water is below.

Since fire expresses the raising aspect of the CHI, and water its downward movement, their basic tendencies tear them apart from one another. In that situation, alchemy is not possible. There has to be a reversal of their positions within the body: fire has to go down, while water has to go up, so that an alchemical transformation can occur.

On our return journey back to the Tao, there are many seemingly fixed patterns of reality that block our progress. As Taoists, we do not struggle or fight with these seemingly impassable obstacles within our body/mind-instead, we simply identify and acknowledge the polarities present, and dissolve them. This is a necessary step in our return through the five elements and yin-yang dialectics to the ''uncarved block", the undifferentiated whole, Wu Chi, the Tao.

The KAN and LI practice places FIRE below WATER

The KAN and LI practice places FIRE below WATER

The formula, called Siaow Kan Li ("yin and yang mixed") in Chinese, involves the literal steaming of the sexual energy (Ching) and its refinement into life-force energy (chi) in order to feed the soul or energy body. One might say that the transfer of the sexual energy power throughout the whole body and brain begins with the practice of Kan and Li. The crucial secret of this formula is to reverse the usual sites of Yin and Yang power, thereby providing liberation of the sexual energy. The formula consists of:

    1. Combining male and female or water (yin/muIti-orgasmic energy) and fire (yang/compassion fire from the heart), along with all the virtue energy from all the organs, to give birth to the soul.
    2. Transforming the sexual power in to vital energy (chi). Gathering and purifying the microcosmic outer alchemical agent.
    3. Opening the twelve major channels.
    4. Circulating the power in the Microcosmic Orbit.
    5. Turning back the flow of generative force to fortify the body and the brain and to restore them to their original condition before puberty.
    6. Regrowing the thymus and lymphatic system.
    7. Nourishing and rejuvenating the organs.
    8. Sublimation of the body and soul in self-intercourse.
    9. Giving birth to the immortal soul (energy body).

This formula includes the cultivation of the root (the Hui Yin) and the heart center and the transformation of sexual energy into pure CHI at the navel center (the first cauldron). This inversion places the heat of the bodily fire (the compassion fire from the heart center) beneath the coolness of the bodily water (sexual energy from the perineum). Unless this inversion takes place, the fire simply moves up and bums the body out. The water (sexual fluid) has the tendency to flow downward and out. This formula transmutes the squandering of energy by the highly advanced method of placing water in a closed vessel (the cauldron) in the body and then cooking the sexual energy with fire beneath. If the water is not sealed, it will flow directly into the fire and extinguish it or itself be consumed. That is why the cauldron is so important in the internal process of "steaming".


Excerpts from publications by Mantak Chia
Wolfgang Heuhsen and Dr. Andrew Jan

A complete 4-days workshop video instruction from Mantak Chia himself you can find under:  Lesser Kan und Li



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