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 #8
Chapter Two
At a Crossroads


The transition from the martial arts to the healing arts unfolded gradually. I continued to practice the same martial art forms Shifu Tan taught me as well as the same meditations and breathing techniques, but he stopped teaching me new forms. Instead my master asked me to join him in the boiler room whenever someone came in for a treatment. At first I merely watched him work while he explained the techniques he was using, and eventually I began to assist him by pressing various energy points during a healing session.

A month before my fifteenth birthday, Shifu Tan announced, “Today I will be giving you a special empowerment called Guan Ding. This experience is the first of several empowerments intended to awaken your healing powers.”

I sat down on the floor in the boiler room. Shifu Tan touched my third eye with his index finger. A powerful vibration jolted from his fingertip into my head. It felt like an electric current that flowed steadily from his arm straight into my brain. As the intensity of the energy increased, the electrical impulse began to flow down my neck and chest into my arms, my torso, and down my legs. Every energy channel inside my body was aglow. I was growing lighter and brighter until I felt myself dissolving. An invisible hand suddenly seemed to lift me higher and higher. I lost awareness of the outer world. I was like a cloud of sweet bliss riding across a vast, illuminated inner sky. Then even that sensation melted away. The cloud dissipated and I merged into the blissful sky. There was love everywhere. Nothing else, just love.

When I opened my eyes, Shifu Tan was there. “Jihui, I have planted a spiritual seed in you. Over time it will sink deep roots and grow stronger. When you are older there will be a second, more powerful empowerment, a practice called Biguan. I will let you know when the time arrives. For now, just continue to meditate as before.”

The Guan Ding empowerment transformed me. I felt blissful cur- rents of Qi flowing through me all the time. I basked in the sweet afterglow of my newfound happiness until a few months later when Shifu Tan broke some bitter news that rattled me to the core.

The Rainbow Tree

“I received a letter last week informing me that Jiuyi Temple has reopened,” Shifu Tan said. “I have to return.”

The news stunned me. Although the Cultural Revolution had recently ended and people everywhere were celebrating the social changes, I never imagined that the newfound freedoms would separate me from my master.

“Ten years have passed since I left,” he continued, “and the boiler room has become my second home, but as a senior monk it is my duty to go back and rebuild. It is not your destiny to follow me to the monastery and become a monk. I know you would come if I asked you to, but I want you to stay in Xiangtan. All my disciples are uneducated mountaineers and monks, and I would like you to pursue a university degree. China is going to go through many changes. The world is transforming quickly. Doors will open for you and your des- tiny lies through them. So it is essential for you to stay here, study diligently, and strive to pass the university entrance exam.”

I heard Shifu Tan’s words, but they didn’t register. I had spent time with him every day for the last seven years. He was like a second father to me. The boiler room was our sacred temple. I couldn’t envision my life without him.

“While I am gone you will meditate regularly and keep practicing the techniques I’ve taught you. During winter breaks and summer vacations you will rejoin me at the monastery, and I will continue to teach you.”

“Yes, Shifu,” I said. My voice was hollow and flat.

“In the monastery I will be known by my monk’s name, Xiao Yao, but I will still be your Shifu. I realize that many things will change for both of us, but in the end it will all work out fine.”

On the way back home that day, I cried.

A month later my entire family accompanied Xiao Yao to the train station. I spent all of the little money I had saved on a gift, a diary. I inscribed the front page: To My Beloved Master. Have a good journey, Jihui.

My sister and mother knitted him a brown wool sweater, and they gave him a basket of food for the trip.

Xiao Yao’s eyes moistened. The conductor announced the train’s departure. My master boarded. The whistle blew. He waved good-bye from the window, and moments later the train was gone.

A few days later I returned to the boiler room and saw the new boiler room attendant shoveling coal into the burners. That’s when it really hit me. My master was gone. After that I hardly ever returned to Yi Suo.

After my master left I became more involved at school. I joined the track team and discovered that I excelled as a hurdler. I was relatively short for the sport, but my martial arts training compensated for my size. I also focused more energy on my studies. That year I took English as my second language. The teacher was an inspiring man named Li Yuntao. He was passionate about the subject and enchanted us with classical stories like Hamlet and The Prince and the Pauper. I decided that if I were ever accepted to a university, I would major in English literature.

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

Click on the following to read:   Installment #1    lnstallment #2    lnstallment #3    lnstallment #4    lnstallment #5    lnstallment #6     lnstallment #7

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.


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 4: Black History Month