A week passed ever so quickly when you sojourned in an active Daoist forum. Membership there has increased by another 4,500 registrants to almost 13,000 in less than four months since my joining in February. Most threads of interest are constantly commented on by practitioners daily from all over the world. While most of the members comprise of Americans and Europeans, a few of them live in and post from China where they are taught by Chinese masters on Huashan and some from Quanzhen. Compared to those who live and train in the West, one can notice the subtle differences in their training and cultivation. It means that China still has many masters who cultivate and are familiar with neidan (inner alchemy) practice.
Of course like everywhere in the world, there are also unscrupulous masters in China who are out to make a fast buck and collude with Westerners to prey on innocent and gullible students. The worst thing is that from their comments, some of these students really believe that learning and doing physical qigong exercises can lead them to enlightenment or immortality. They are also charged exorbitant prices for learning basic breath control and hotchpotch meditation in China where it should be free or at the most, charged a nominal fee for the training. Those who are already learning in China have also confirmed that the training is free or at a nominal charge.
Whether my various comments on the relevant threads can help caution forum members of these snake oil peddlers or not is uncertain. It looks more like another generation of Westerners, possibly fewer than the previous generation, would be misled by unscrupulous masters from the East and the West. This would be the third generation if we count the Beatles and the so-called hippies who loved Transcendental Meditation ™; and the fast fading fad with Micro Cosmic Orbit (MCO) meditation including that of ‘angelic dual cultivation’ taught by ‘masters and grandmasters’ online and in the West. This never ending search for enlightenment and immortality continues. (Think of the times since Qin Shih Huangdi)
Few really have any inkling of what the ancients taught. When many including the so-called masters still do not understand what dual cultivation is, can they truly hope to attain immortality?
Go find a real master of neidan in China; unless fellow students willingly want to be misled, pay exorbitant fees, or get sexually abused, and at the end of the day learned nothing. If they feel traumatic or become mentally insane after learning and practising the wrong type of breath control meditation, they can always blame it on their fate, if they really want to. But is fate really to be blamed?