One Hundred Days of Darkness and Light
is the first section in Robert Peng's book, The Master Key
Despite becoming close friends with the members of the track team and spending much of my free time with my classmates, I still managed to keep my Qigong practice a secret the first year of school, with one exception. After practicing in the secluded park one after- noon, I saw a brick lying on the walkway. I was buzzing with Qi and couldn’t resist. I didn’t see anyone around, so I picked up the brick and chopped it in half like a block of tofu.
“You know Qigong?” A voice said from behind me.
I turned around and recognized Dr. Zhu, one of the heads of the
university’s medical department. I nearly panicked.
“Umm . . .” I stammered.
“Answer me, young man.”
“I’ve studied a little.”
“Well, that was remarkable.” He noticed my consternation. “Don’t worry. I’m a big fan of Qigong. I believe traditional Chinese medicine has much to teach Western health care. Do you do energy healing?”
“I have some training.” Despite his enthusiasm, I remained cautious.
“That’s exciting. You must come visit me. I’d like to hear more about your training, and don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone what I saw. Not everyone shares my high regard for Qigong, you know.”
“Yes, sir. I know.”
The aura of intolerance that began during the Cultural Revolution
still permeated most of society, despite the greater freedoms that were beginning to creep into our daily lives. I desperately wanted to keep my practice of Qigong a secret for fear of being socially ostracized, or even expelled.
Fortunately Dr. Zhu kept his word, and we became friends. But despite my best efforts to keep my Qigong training private, news of my healing abilities spread during my junior year when I was faced with a moral dilemma that required me to divulge my secret to Coach Chen.
The star of the track team was a dashing sprinter named Cheng Feng. He was a talented athlete with a bright future when halfway through the fall semester he developed an infection in his big toe. At first he ignored it and continued to compete with the infection, but his condition worsened. The toe turned black and oozed a vile-smelling fluid. The pain became intolerable and Cheng Feng went to the infirmary. The university doctor gave him antibiotics, which didn’t help. Coach Chen accompanied him to the hospital to consult with an expert.
“We’re worried the infection will spread to your blood,” the doctor warned. “I strongly suggest we amputate the toe.”
Cheng Feng was devastated. And when Coach Cheng shared the news with the team, he was on the verge of tears.
“I think I may be able to help,” I told the coach privately. “How?” he asked.
“I have some Qigong training.”
Coach Chen was a modern man with a scientific outlook. He did not hold traditional Chinese healing methods in high regard. Under any other circumstance, he would have laughed in my face, but he was also a practical man. “I guess there’s nothing to lose at this point,” he said.
Cheng Feng agreed.
I removed the bandage from around his foot. The infected toe looked horrible.
I directed white-colored Qi directly into it for fifteen minutes. The following day Cheng Feng looked slightly less pale. The noxious discharge had stopped. Two days later I treated him again as Coach
Chen looked on. The next day the toe was turning pinkish.
“It’s looking much, much better,” Coach Chen said, sounding surprised. “It doesn’t hurt as much,” Cheng Feng added.
After the third treatment I could sense energetically that the vicious Qi had been neutralized. Within another week the toe healed completely. Word began to spread about my healing abilities, but instead of treating me as an outcast, people became curious and expressed a sincere interest in learning more about Qigong.
When the semester ended, I returned home for a few days and then traveled to Jiuyi Temple as I did every winter break. I arrived on a cold day during the first week of January 1985. The hike up to the temple was not easy. The trail was muddy at the base and icy higher up. The trees were bare and the gusty wind stung. Once at the temple I found Xiao Yao in his room.
“Hello, Shifu,” I said, handing him a bag of dried lychees.
He greeted me with a tender smile, “Buddha bless you.”
I updated him about my school work and told him about Cheng Feng.
“You did well.” He placed a handful of sunflower seeds and peanuts mixed with dates in my palm. “Here, have a snack.”
Xiao Yao spent the rest of the day and nearly every moment of the whole vacation with me, which was unusual. In the morning we practiced by the Rainbow Tree, and the rest of the time he reviewed everything he had ever taught me. My master didn’t teach me any new practices, which was also surprising. In the evenings we spoke for hours, reminiscing about the past and discussing personal matters. He was relating to me more like a doting parent than a Qigong master.
He often brought me back heaps of food that visiting pilgrims donated to the temple.
“Eat, eat,” he insisted.
At dusk the day before I left, he suggested, “Let’s go practice by the Rainbow Tree.”
We had never before practiced by the Rainbow Tree in the after- noon. As we arrived the sun was beginning to set. When we were done, we walked back to the monastery in the dark through the snow. After chanting in the main hall we returned to my master’s room. He seemed unusually reserved.
“Jihui, this year there might be some turbulence in your life. Don’t let any interruptions distract you from your studies. Continue to practice Qigong and study. Be strong.” Xiao Yao looked at me with loving, tender eyes.
We went to sleep early and got up before dawn. In the morning chill we went to the kitchen. Xiao Yao wrapped three warm sweet buns and placed them gently in my satchel. We walked to the main gate together, side by side.
“Good-bye, Shifu,” I said. It was very cold.
To be continued in the next issue of Catalyst...
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Robert Peng is a world-renowned Qigong Master, healer, and author of the book, The Master Key: Qigong Secrets for Vitality, Love, and Wisdom.
Click here for a free download of the audiobook, 100 Days of Darkness and Light, which is the first section in Robert's book, The Master Key.
Robert's companion resources include:
The Master Key Video Series (4 DVDs of Qigong practices)
The Master Key Audio Series (5 CDs of Qigong practices)
Qigong Ecstasy (45-minute Qigong practice video)
AM/PM Qigong (Two 30-minute Qigong routines video)
Robert was born and raised in Hunan, China. At age eight, he began an intensive apprenticeship under the close guidance of the legendary monk Xiao Yao, an enlightened master known for his profound healing ability and martial arts skill. At age 15, Robert performed a 100-day water fast in a small dark room at a secluded monastery in the remote mountains of Hunan province. He underwent a radical spiritual transformation and awakened amazing healing powers. Master Xiao Yao encouraged Robert to develop his healing skills by studying with other Chinese masters.
After pursuing his training quietly while attending university in Changsha, where he majored in English Literature, at 29 years old he began to teach publicly, and within five years had trained over 150,000 students all over China, Australia, and the U.S.
With his deep understanding and practice of Qigong, and with extensive life and teaching experience in the western world, Robert has developed a unique way to teach Qigong that people from different cultures can easily understand and follow while enjoying the real essence of this ancient Chinese healing art of wisdom, love, and vitality.
Robert has been a regular presenter at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, The Esalen Institute, Integrative Health Symposium, and many other organizations and schools.
Together with Bishop Desmond and Pema Chodron, he was honored as one of "Top Ten Heroes of 2013" for his contribution to transform "the ancient Chinese healing art of Qigong into today's fast-growing holistic practices — in addition to use as a spiritual practice for inner balance and peace, Qigong movement is gaining acceptance as a gentle movement for chronic illness and pain."
Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.
This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 16: Racial Justice and Healing