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Taoist Darkness Technology

According to the Tao, transformation occurs when we fully embrace the darkness, and that darkness ultimately gives way to light.

Across spiritual traditions worldwide, techniques involving darkness have been employed in the pursuit of enlightenment. In Europe, these practices often took the form of underground networks of tunnels. They found expression in the Pyramids in Egypt, while the catacombs served a similar purpose in Rome. The Essenes, near the Dead Sea in Israel, utilized caves for their spiritual pursuits. Caves have historically held significance in the Taoist tradition, particularly in higher-level practices. Within these caves, individuals undertake the final stages of their spiritual journey, meditating and fasting. These caves are considered channels of Earth’s energy.

In the depths of darkness, our mind and soul can explore the vast realms of psychic and spiritual experiences. In this primordial state, we reconnect with our true selves and divinity. It’s a place where glimpses of the past and future, the true purpose of existence, and the order of the universe become clear. In this process, we metaphorically return to the womb, the cocoon of our material existence, and to the original darkness of nature.

Complete darkness profoundly impacts the sensory perceptions of the body and brain. All visual references vanish, and we gradually lose contact with the external world, turning our senses inward. In response, the brain’s major cortical centers shut down, dampening mental and cognitive functions in favor of heightened emotional and sensory states. Our sense of smell and finer psychic perceptions become more acute. Lucid dreams surface, blending with our conscious awareness. Ultimately, we awaken to the awareness of the Source, the spirit, and the soul. We descend into the void, into the profound inner darkness.

Darkness activates the deepest centers within the brain, specifically the glands of the Crystal Palace, establishing a connection with the Original Source. The pineal gland links us to Universal Energy, while the hypothalamus gland enables us to project our soul or spirit upwards and receive the descending Universal Energy. The pituitary gland becomes the receptor of the Cosmic Force, which is used to launch the spirit into the earthly or human plane for exploration and travel.

The glands of the Crystal Palace are buried deep within the brain. They include the pineal, hypothalamus, thalamus, and pituitary glands.

Enlightenment through the Darkroom is a four-part training taught in a specially designed, light-and-sound-sealed, and ventilated building in Tao Garden. Specially cooked food, drinks, and custom-prepared detox pills are served in special containers; you only need to concentrate on your meditations and observations while in the darkroom.

In parallel to our on-site darkroom, we have been broadcasting this special training to those who want to experience this in their places since 2021.

Part 1: Lesser Enlightenment of Kan and Li

Harnessing the Power of Kan and Li

The Lesser Enlightenment of Kan and Li practice combines the compassion of the heart energies (yang/fire) with sexual energies originating in the kidneys (yin/water) to form and feed the soul or energy body. Practice of the Chinese formula uses darkness technology to literally “steam” the sexual energy (jing) into life-force energy (Qi) by reversing the location of Yin and Yang power. This inversion places the heat of the bodily fire from the heart center beneath the coolness of the bodily water of the sexual energy of the perineum, thereby activating the liberation of transformed sexual energy.

The birth of the soul is not a metaphor. It is an actual process of converting energy into a subtle body. Developing the soul body is the preparation for the growth of the immortal spirit body in the practice of the next training, Greater Enlightenment of Kan and Li.

Moving the Fire down and Water up.

Part 2: Greater Enlightenment of Kan & Li

Techniques for Creating the Immortal Self

In this part, Master Chia teaches how these advanced formulas are used for astral flight and the realization of the Wu Wei state. Building on the Lesser Kan and Li formulas for developing the soul body, this part is focused on how to use Greater Kan and Li formulas to create the immortal spirit body. Used by Taoist masters for thousands of years, these exercises are for advanced studies of Taoist Inner Alchemy.

We learn how to harness the energies of the Sun, Moon, Earth, North Star, and Big Dipper and transform them to feed the soul body and begin developing the immortal spirit body. We then learn how to reverse yin and yang power through energetic work at the solar plexus, thereby activating the liberation of transformed sexual energy, and how to open the heart center and connect astral energy with the energies of animals, children, and plants to grow the immortal fetus or spirit body.

Eight Pillars of Health with their
correspondences to the Eight Forces. 

Part 3: Greatest Enlightenment of Kan & Li

Gathering the Cosmic Light

In this part of the series, Master Chia explains how to establish the cauldron at the Heart Center to collect cosmic light, activate the Cranial and Sacral Pumps, and align the Three Triangle Forces. He then discusses how to merge energy at the Heart Center to birth the immortal spirit body, allowing to draw limitless energy from the Cosmos with the proper Pi Gu diet and herbs to use with Kan and Li practice. After mastering the practices of Lesser Kan and Li and Greater Kan and Li, the student is now ready to refine the soul and spirit made possible through the practice of the Greatest Kan and Li.

We learn how to establish the cauldron at the Heart Center to collect cosmic light, activate the Cranial and Sacral Pumps, and align the Three Triangle Forces. Master Chia explains how merging energy at the Heart Center leads to the birth of the immortal spirit body, uniting you with the Tao and allowing you to draw limitless energy and power from the Cosmos.

Location of the Nine Spirits within the body.

Part 4: Sealing of the Five Senses

Advanced Practices for Becoming a Taoist Immortal

In the last part of the series, Master Chia reveals the 9 formulas for the Sealing of the Five Senses practice, including strengthening the senses and activating the Thrusting Channels. He then explains how abuse of senses leads to energy loss and degradation; for example, thinking too much hurts the mind, hearing too much hurts the liver, or talking too much hurts the heart. Master Chia talks about transmuting warm Qi into energy for the immortal spirit body, created through mastery of the three Kan and Li practices.

In ancient times, the Sealing of the Five Senses involved both Taoist Inner Alchemy and physical sealing of the sensory organs to prepare the master for extended periods of astral travel and meditation, during which he would remain completely motionless for years at a time. In modern times, physical sealing of the senses with wax is no longer required; however, in order to accumulate profound energy and gather cosmic light for the immortal spirit body, one must stop the energy losses that occur through the senses.

An advanced practice for those who have mastered the three Kan and Li practices, the Sealing of the Five Senses is the final step on the Taoist path to Immortality.

Connecting to the Seven Stars of the Ursa Major.

Preparations for the Dark Room Retreat

Our mindset and attitudes upon entering a Dark Room retreat will help set the stage for our immersion into darkness. It would be wonderful to enter with a sense of clarity, openness, joy, and of resting in our true nature, but this is more the fruit of the retreat than a prerequisite. Nevertheless, some of the attitudes that can help set the stage include:

  1. Looking forward to a wonderful rest and vacation from the pressures of everyday life.
  2. Curiosity about what will arise.
  3. Longing for the clarity, wisdom and fruits of the practices of the retreat.
  4. Dedication to growth.
  5. Treating whatever arises as an opportunity to learn.
  6. Connecting to your teachers and the teachings.
  7. A sense of support from the community.
  8. Service to the larger community and the world and wishing to be a beneficial presence.
  9. Confidence stemming from the fact that others have successfully navigated through such retreats for thousands of years and have returned with immense treasures through their commitment and efforts. Gratitude for this opportunity to learn, to grow, and to create benefit and beauty for oneself, others, and the World.

Inner Preparations – Practice at Home

  1. Each participant should practice the Cosmic Inner Smile, Six Healing Sounds, Fusion of the Five Elements, Microcosmic Orbit, Iron Shirt Qigong and Tao Yin, which bring the body into a state of balance and tuning. A physically fit vehicle is the foundation stone from which to launch astral travel into multi-dimensional orbits and higher cortical activity.
  2. All participants are encouraged to engage in a healthy preparatory diet and bowel cleansing process, commencing 4 weeks before the retreat. Diet should be rich in Vitamin D, beta-carotene like choleric, calcium (2,000 gm), magnesium (500 mg) and zinc (20 mg/day).
  3. We suggest that participants increase their daily intake of seaweed and blue green algae approximately four weeks before the retreat. Bring a sufficient supply of vitamins, seaweed and blue green algae along with you. This will enable essential amino acids and enzymes required by the body and third eye, to produce the all-important neurotransmitters of the ‘Internal Alchemical Elixir’.
  4. Participants should endeavor to disperse all emotional troubles with friends and family members, prior to the retreat.

Outer Preparations – Practical Advice

  1. We recommend that you arrive at Tao Garden several days before the retreat, to settle yourself, continue the purification process, and to become accustomed to the physical environment and retreat layout. This will facilitate your day-to-day life in complete darkness.
  2. It is imperative to leave any light-emitting device outside of the Dark Room retreat. The eyes and our perception will become extremely sensitive to the least bit of illumination; even the faintest leakages of light, such as a watch dial or LED, will disturb the environment. Therefore, please do not bring: illuminated clocks and watches, flashlights, flash cameras, palm pilots, cell phones, etc.
  3. Make sure that all clothing and personal items that you will need for the period of the retreat are in order. Create a way of laying out the different items so that you can easily determine what you are selecting. Organization and order can make everyday functioning much easier.
  4. Bring eye-shades with you to Tao Garden, such as the blind-folds that you might wear during travel to help sleep. The eye-shades will be worn during the retreat to soften the eyes and remind the eyes that they are unnecessary in the Dark Room, breathing their habitual pattern of use.
  5. Medications and vitamins require special care. It may be helpful to contain daily doses in separate vials, medication boxes, or plastic zip-lock bags. A multi-vitamin supplement is useful, and special supplements of vitamin D are particularly important to make up for the lack of exposure to sunlight.
  6. It is important to take care of any personal business before entering the retreat, such as letters, phone calls, etc., and to plan on total isolation from the outside world for the duration of the retreat.
  7. Bring sunglasses and eye-shades with you to Tao Garden. The 7th, 14th and 21st evenings are opportunities to terminate the Dark Room Retreat. You will leave through a reflexive tunnel, wearing sunglasses to readjust to the light.

Benefits of the Dark Room Experience

The experiences of each person will vary depending on their stage of spiritual development and maturity. At the same time, most people, even beginners, will receive great benefits, which may include:

  1. Relaxation. This is one of the foundations for all other work. During the early days of the retreat, catching up on sleep, allowing the eyes to recuperate from the over-stimulation of our visual world, releasing the grip of mental concerns, plans, and agendas, and simply letting the energies settle creates the best vacation you may ever have.
  2. Once relaxed and feeling at home in the dark, the Inner Lights may appear as well as possible images of space teachers, deities, colours, and shapes. Imbalances in one’s energies can manifest as dull colors.
  3. Over time, as one becomes more open, balanced and awake, images clear as day may appear, not inside the mind’s eye but outside in the space of the retreat.
  4. Advanced practitioners may experience some of the following: Dreams and sleep become more lucid. A state of continuous consciousness arises in which there is no break in conscious awareness; meditation can continue during sleeping and non-sleeping hours.
  5. The Taoist Secret of Love and the Healing Love become very active, so that working with sexual energies and engaging in creative work become easier and more powerful.
  6. Dreams will often take the form of teachings or participation in great mythological stories.

Dark Room Nutrition

Food is specially prepared to meet the requirements of the body, mind, and spirit in attaining the goals of dark room enlightenment. Fresh juices and soups are served for “breakfast” and a light organic meal is prepared for the afternoon. The diet consists of simple, often liquid foods. Seaweed and blue green algae meet many of the general dietary requirements, supplying high concentrations of the eight essential amino acids required by the body (see below). Fresh juices, especially from the noni (Morinda) fruit, supply the metabolic enzymes necessary for developing the neuro-endocrine system to its highest potential.

Sufficient levels of tryptophan are especially important for the Dark Room experience. Tryptophan is one of 20 amino acids, which are the basic building blocks of proteins. It is one of the eight “essential” amino acids, meaning it cannot be synthesized by the body from other amino acids, and must therefore be ingested in foods. Adults need from 3.5 mg/kg/day to 350-500 mg of tryptophan per day. (,)

As tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier, it is converted to serotonin with the assistance of vitamins B6, B12 and folate. Tryptophan is also converted in the body to niacin (vitamin B-3) and picolinic acid. Giving high doses of vitamin B-6 along with tryptophan increases its conversion to niacin and decreases its uptake into the nervous system. Low blood tryptophan levels have been reported in depressed patients and are corrected with tryptophan supplementation. Tryptophan is better absorbed in the brain when consumed as part of a high carbohydrate meal.

Some of the tryptophan-rich foods available at Tao Garden, and recommended for the Dark Room retreat, are listed below, along with several other tryptophan-rich foods.

Tryptophan-Rich Foods at Tao Garden

  • Seaweed, blue-green algae
  • Tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, soy beans
  • Brown rice
  • Bananas, dates, figs
  • Peanuts
  • Watermellon seeds
  • Fish and other seafoods
  • Chicken

Other Tryptophan-Rich Foods

  • Cottage cheese
  • Milk and milk products
  • Malt
  • Legumes
  • Almonds, soy nuts
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Animal protein: beef, turkey …

Levels of tryptophan in some common foods:

  • Fish & other seafoods 800-1,300 mg/lb
  • Meats 1,000-1,300 mg/lb
  • Poultry 600-1,200 mg/lb
  • Peanuts, roasted w skin 800 mg/lb
  • Sesame seeds 700 mg/lb
  • Dry, whole lentils 450 mg/lb


Accessory Vitamins

B6 (pyridoxene); Sources: Meats, fish, green leafy vegetables, legumes, bananas, whole grains   
B12 (Cobalamin); Found almost exclusively in animal products (meats, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, yeast, cheese) (

Some References on Tryptophan:

Blue Green Algae

Algae are the fundamental basis of the entire food chain – the foundational nutrient source for creating and renewing all life on earth. Blue green algae are the cr?me de la cr?me of all algae, one of the planet’s most powerful foods. This single-celled organism (actually a bacterium) is richly endowed with a vast array of easily assimilated nutrients including essential fatty acids, active enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, proteins, complex sugars, and phytonutrients.

Blue green algae have an amino acid profile that is nearly in exact proportion to the requirements of the human body. It contains over 60 minerals and trace minerals in naturally chelated form so the body can absorb them into the cells. With the exception of vitamins D and K, all vitamins are present to provide fuel for our cells (Vitamin D and K are produced naturally by our body). Blue green algae contain the Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) Omega-3 and Omega-6, and are one of the highest known natural food sources of beta carotene (a cell regenerator and potent neutralizer of free radicals) and chlorophyll (excellent chelating ability to escort toxins out of the body). The food is also 97% assimilable, digestible and useable by the body.

Spirulina, a spiraled blue green alga, is one of the most common nutritional varieties of blue green algae. A spirulina factory is located outside of Chiang Mai (see

Some references and sources:

The Maximal Activation of the Pineal

Master Mantak Chia, I congratulate you for your book and your very very interesting and original experiment. I am glad that our research fields overlap in some essential points. In this letter there are approach two points of view – two


Dear Master Mantak Chia, I believe with conviction in the worth of your original experiment: “lighting” – “illumination” in the darkness” and your relevant observations from 1 till 12th day. I suppose that you found out – discover – an old mechanism of ENDOGENOUS REANIMATION able to recover some patients from coma state (the hypothermic coma most probably).

THE MAXIMAL ACTIVATION OF PINEAL ignored currently (in investigation and therapy) may save life of some comatose patients. PINEAL HORMONES may bring back the consciousness of comatose patients, before they will be cut off (disbranched) from the lung-heart machine (cord pulmon artificial). I think that in the very core of problems (reanimation) there are out-side ensure the vital functions and ethologic treatment increasing of serotonin storage (as quickly as possible) – which support the maximal pineal hormones synthesis, rising thermo genesis (heart, liver, cerebral flow temperature), rising antioxidant protection, control of metabolic tisular acidosis and so on.

My self, I have seen the “WHITE LIGHT” being in a deep coma (1977), now I understand from your experiments that I am alive thanks to the pineal: melatonin, pinolin, triptamin (5-MeODMT), DMT (dimetiltriptamin) over 25 mg; (pinolin by inhibition of monoaminoxidase activates the synthesis of melatonin from serotonine). In patient fed parenterally for longer time, symptoms of selenium deprivation (myocardiopathy, muscular pains) disappear immediately after administration of perfusable solutions of seleno-methionine (evidently under control of plasmatic selenium is level) – the measure of pineal hormone before and after perfusion may be very relevant for us.

I consider that what you noticed from 1 – 12th day in darkness, spread much more quickly in coma – my case – only in 3-5 hours, MAO inhibition by pinolin increases the amount of catehols – preventing the terminal collapses.

Thanks to Adrian Cranta- only (evidently) if Pineal helps the recovering. THE MAXIMAL ACTIVATION OF THE PINEAL IS IN THE VERYCORE OF THE MECHANISM OF ENDOGENOUS REANIMATION are able to recover patients from the coma state.

Subject II: SELENIUM (orgastical) AND PINEAL-MELATONIN HAVE COMPLEMENTARY EFFECTS – ACT SYNERGILY WITH A GREATER EFFICIENCY. Especially for the elderly; it is a connection between the decline of the Pineal and high oxidative stress, high hypothermic risk – drop of conversion T4 to T3 drop BBT, immunity, scavenger activity etc.


  1. antioxidant protection and scavenger activity (serotonin versus OH and GSHPx versus H2O2.
  2. decrease nocturnal cardiac attacks (melatonin chez l’homme cardiaque est jusque 5 fois plus bas la nuit);
  3. increase conversion T4 to T3 by Melatonin, it is facilitate by tirozin 5′ diodinase (a selenoenzyme,
  4. decrease hypothermic noctural cardiac risk – higher at old age, in cold time and perioperator (major surgery),
  5. reduit le risk de trombose cerebrale (melatonine fluidifle le sang pendant la nuit, est antiplaquette et anticoagulant versus tromboxane B2;
  6. diminish maladaptation at night work – increase the subjective alertness, cognitive performance etc, this way are reduced mistakes, accidents (pilots, drivers, surgeons in ward etc);
  7. melatonin retablit le sommeil profound et paradoxal si precieux pour les veillards;
  8. increase immunity – IgG synthesis, melatonin stimuler la production d’anticorps (lymphocytes T, B); lorqu’ on enteve la glande pineale qui produit melatonine durant la nuit chute l’immunite.

Myself and high specialists in biochemistry (chemiluminescense oxidative stress, serotonin, pineal hormones may helps you – collaboration – if you are interested in a cooperation, I can send to you the list of our works on this field of research – together, probably we will be more efficiently.

Again, my congratulations Prof. Mantak Chia , for your relevant experiment.

Sincerely yours,


*The drop of serotonin in favour of adrealines at depressive patients increase incidence of suicides.

*Rising of plasmatic level of T3 increase the uptake of glucose – essential of brain functional performance, very important for regaining the consciousness in coma state.

Fig. I Congestive heart failure (CHF) degree III-IV (NYHA)
Diastolic volume – DV
Systolic volume – SV

(before treatment)

(after ORGA-SEL)
DV CHF > DV by 33.5%DV decreases by 15.08%, but DV CHF > DV N by 18.41%
SV CHF > SV N by 67.9%SV decreases by 26.3%, but SV CHF > SV N by 41.6%

Witness                Congestive heart failure – degree III-IV

(normal)                A. before ORGA-SEL B. after ORGA-SEL
                            (100 ug/day; 30 days)

Congestive heart failure (CHF) – the heart is dilated and its performances are inpaired
     A. Before ORGA-SEL
          DV is > by 33.5% vs normal (N) DV
          SV is > by 67.9% vs normal (N) SV

     B. After ORGA-SEL
          DV is diminished by 15.8%
          SV is diminished by 26.8%

     Other findings : a decrease in the shortage rate, and an increase in the ejection fraction, which reflects and improvement of inotropism an increase in the contractile strength.The oxidative stress decreased from III rd degree to II nd degree (FR decreased by 44%)

Related Workshops

Greatest Kan & Li
Used by Taoist masters for thousands of years, these exercises are for advanced students of Taoist Inner Alchemy and mark the beginning of the path to immortality. Greatest Kan & Li offers the opportunity to unite with the Tao – achieving true immortality by allowing past and future, Heaven and Earth, to become one. By learning to tap the natural energies of the Sun, Moon, Earth, Stars and environmental forces around us, the practitioner attains the ability to develop and nurture a solid spiritual body.
Sealing of the Five Senses
In ancient times, the Sealing of the Five Senses involved both Taoist Inner Alchemy and physical sealing of the sensory organs to prepare the master for extended periods of astral travel and meditation, during which he would remain completely motionless for years at a time. In modern times, physical sealing of the senses with wax is no longer required; however, in order to accumulate profound energy and gather cosmic light for the immortal spirit body one must stop the energy losses that occur through the senses.
Darkroom Retreat
All ancient civilizations went into the dark. There they found truth, wisdom and enlightenment. Following the path of ancient Taoist sages, Mantak Chia created the largest and most advanced darkness facility in the world at his home, Tao Garden. Darkness provides the perfect laboratory for Inner Alchemy practices. Previously these teachings were limited to small numbers, but now for the first time these teachings are accessible online and Master Mantak Chia will guide you through the higher level practices as you recreate a darkroom in your own home.
Greater Kan & Li
Taoists believe that the soul and spirit come from the stars and ultimately must return to them to find their origins. To do this, one must first gather and refine the energies of the soul and spirit until they are as pure as the Original Force. By harnessing energy from the Earth, the planets, the Big Dipper and the North Star, we gain spiritual power and the ability to merge with stellar forces. This is the way to achieve oneness with the Tao, and ultimately giving us liberation. These meditation practices are targeted upon strengthening the body and the spirit on all levels.
Lesser Kan & Li
Kan and Li’s lower Light meditation “water and fire” combines the compassion of the energies of the heart (yang / fire) with the sexual energies coming from the kidneys (yin / water). The practice of the Chinese formula Siaow Kan Li (mixed yin and yang) uses the technology of darkness to literally “transform” the sexual energy (jing) into vital energy (chi) by reversing the location of yin and yang power. This inversion places the heat of the body fire in the centre of the heart under the cool body water of the sexual energy in the perineum, thus activating the release of the transformed sexual energy.

Related Books

The Practice of Greater Kan and Li: Techniques for Creating the Immortal Self
A guide to Taoist exercises to return to the Wu Wei state of mind and create the immortal spirit body
Greatest Kan and Li: Gathering the Cosmic Light
A fully illustrated guide to the most advanced Kan and Li practice to birth the immortal spirit body and unite with the Tao
Sealing of the Five Senses: Advanced Practices for Becoming a Taoist Immortal
An illustrated guide to follow the path to the Immortal Tao