Born in Bangkok to Chinese parents, Chia was born into a Christian family and identifies himself as Christian as an adult. His father was a Baptist minister. Initially, he taught the "Healing Tao" in New York.
Mantak Chia claims to make esoteric Taoist practices more accessible to a modern Western audience. He has closely worked with several students with a background in Western esoteric studies, especially Michael Winn, Eric Yudelove and Dennis Lewis. He has also led workshops on Taoist practices. Recently, in May of 2008, he led a workshop at the New York Open Center called 'Wisdom Chi Kung,' which described certain meditative techniques to help calm the mind and increase mental capacity and clarity.
Mantak and Maneewan Chia live in Thailand and have one child.