One Hundred Days of Darkness and Light

One Hundred Days of Darkness and Light
is the first section in Robert Peng's book,
The Master Key

Installment #4

Chapter One
The Mysterious Mr. Tan 


The following day I returned to the boiler room with mixed feelings, dreading Horse Stance and excited about Tiger Fist Form. Holding the position was unbearable, and as promised, Mr. Tan increased the duration by one minute. Over the next few mornings my enthusiasm waned steadily. I dreaded the short trip to the boiler room and I no longer ran there. I was losing heart, and in the back of my mind I began to wonder whether Mr. Tan was really a martial arts master or just a cruel prankster. 

Then one morning Shifu Tan changed the regular routine and asked me to follow him inside the boiler room. There was an axe leaning against the wall, and he told me to pick it up. Then he took off his shirt. 

“Swing the axe with all your strength and hit me right here,” he said, pointing to his chest. 

At first I thought he was kidding, but he looked at me seriously. I didn’t know what to do. 

“Don’t worry. You won’t hurt me,” he assured me. 

I lifted the axe in the air and squeezed the handle. 

“Hit me hard,” he instructed.

I waited for him to change his mind, but he didn’t. Finally, I swung down hard. The blade hit him squarely in the chest. I felt as though I had struck a hard object, not soft flesh. The axe was wedged into his breastbone. He stood calmly but I was terrified. I quickly pried the axe loose to minimize any damage. But there was no blood. Only a white mark remained, disappearing after a few seconds, leaving no trace of the impact. 

 “Do it again,” he said.

I lifted the axe incredulously, and this time I swung harder. The results were the same.

“Go ahead, again, as hard as you can.” 

Without fear, I swung the blade again with all my power. “Do it one last time.” 

I did. Afterward, he put his shirt back on. “Come with me,” he said. 

I followed him outside, and he led me to a sandalwood tree in the garden behind the boiler room. He pointed to the trunk. There were four blunt axe marks on the bark. Fresh sap was dripping down. 

“Practice with sincere wholeheartedness, and miracles will happen,” he said. 

After that day I practiced Horse Stance with renewed enthusiasm. Shifu Tan gradually increased the duration to twenty grueling minutes. He placed two bowls of water on my thighs, and he lit an incense stick under my bottom to keep my body from moving out of position. I learned to endure the agonizing pain. 

About three weeks later I arrived as usual for my morning practice and assumed the Horse Stance position. After ten minutes I experienced a pleasant sensation building around the area on my midriff that Shifu Tan had asked me to focus on, the Lower Dantian. The feeling spread down my legs and negated the burning sensation. My body grew lighter and lighter. I felt as though I were riding effortlessly on an invisible horse. The tingling sensation in my Lower Dantian intensified, and I slipped into a trance. 

When I emerged from it, the sun was shining high up in the sky, and Shifu Tan was standing in front of me. 

“Jihui, you’ve been standing in Horse Stance for four hours,” he said, genuinely pleased. 

From that day on I could stand in Horse Stance for long periods of time without tiring. The pleasant sensation now spread throughout my body each time. I enjoyed holding the posture for an hour or longer. 

The part of my daily routine I had hated most had become my favorite. Around this time my mother grew suspicious. 

“Where do you disappear to so early every morning?” she asked. 

“I go jogging and exercise,” I answered, remembering my promise to Shifu Tan about keeping the training a secret. 

“What about your—?”

“Mother, I feel fine now. My heart doesn’t hurt anymore.” 

She didn’t quite believe me.

The following day I mentioned the conversation to Shifu Tan. 

“Ask your parents to visit me tonight at the boiler room. And come with them.” 

After dinner my parents curiously followed me to Yi Suo. We entered through the main gate. I led them to the boiler room and knocked on the door. 

Shifu Tan opened it.

“Please come in,” he said warmly. 

My parents entered. “Jihui, you wait outside,” he instructed. 

My father and mother spent two hours with Shifu Tan. When the door opened again, they were all smiling. 

“Jihui, keep training with Shifu Tan, and make sure you don’t slack off!” my father exhorted. Then they bowed reverently to him. 

Two weeks later Shifu Tan formally initiated me as his disciple. I dedicated tea to Heaven and Earth, knelt down, and swore my loyalty to him as the fiery boilers watched. On that day my teacher became my master.

To be continued in the next issue of Catalyst...

Click on the following to read:   Installment #1    lnstallment #2    lnstallment #3

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 access 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."

Click here to visit Robert’s website.

Click here to watch and participate in Robert’s 8-minute Qigong practice, Scooping Universal Qi to Empower our Wisdom, Love & Vitality.


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This article appears in: 2019 Catalyst, Issue 24: Best of 2019