How to Download the Divine
Religion Meets the Internet in the qigong Healer Dr. Zhi Gang Sha and His “Institute of Soul Healing and Enlightenment™”
The Chinese born spiritual teacher “Dr. Zhi Gang Sha” makes up part of a growing global healers market and provides various techniques of purported ancient Chinese origin in his centres in Canada and in Europe. Most of his teachings belong to the vast and heterogeneous array of practices, methods, and beliefs which developed within the modern qigong scene that emerged in China in the second half of the twentieth century and spread into the West in close connection with the so-called “Traditional Chinese Medicine”. This article takes a look at a rather recent religious offspring with a particular focus on his innovative take on the internet. This approach has its roots in a specific history of the internet in the Chinese context which is commonly referred to as “cyber-sectarianism”. The movement founded and led by Zhi Gang Sha may be interpreted as a continuation of major techniques and strategies applied by cyber-sectarian movements which emerged during the 1990s and the 2000s.