Thursday, January 25, 2007

Of students and masters (4)

If we happen to browse through various Tao forums, we sometimes find Daoist students arguing over whose teachers and what techniques are better for neidan practice and enlightenment. The arguments often turned heated and can run into pages. Valid arguments are quite acceptable because it forms part of cultivation – the cultivation of life – and has something to teach students and masters.

In case readers are unaware, Daoist immortals on occasions send their senior disciples to meet elders of other temples – Daoist or Buddhists – for a lengthy closed door discussion on Tao.

However quite a number of Western Daoist students tend to mix up Chinese martial arts and various types of meditation with neidan practice. The muddle, if any, could be caused by unscrupulous ‘masters’, whether Chinese or Western, who had misled Western students over the past several decades by making false claims that their practice(s), sexual or otherwise, are the thing to learn to become a Daoist immortal.

It is also heartening to see that some of these students had become wiser and chose to denounce their former ‘masters’ and even ‘grandmasters’ to be fakes to pre-warn other would be students. These students and/or instructors had to go through ‘the school of hard knocks’ to learn that and have grouped together to try to heal other former students of these fakes. At least one knows for sure that what had been written on these ‘masters’ in previous entries had been vindicated.

According to the ancients, neidan practice involves dual cultivation – of essence and of life. There is no sex cultivation. Neidan cannot be taught by remote control, via the net, through videos or books – real Daoist texts and ancient Chinese/Buddhist/Hindu books or classics excepted.

Chinese martial arts like Qigong, Tai Qi (Tai Chi Chuan), Neigong and various other popular forms of Kung Fu which involve meditation and exercises to accumulate Qi do not constitute neidan practice. Notwithstanding what their experts or real masters may claim and even if their strong Qi can move objects or heal people. However it is good for health and knowledge if students can study with these martial arts experts and masters. It will also lay a good foundation for neidan practice.

Therefore it is important not to confuse Chinese martial arts with neidan practice. Only with clarity can we really discern what we had hoped to learn. Otherwise we will still be considered muddled.

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