Master Duan Zhi Liang 1909 - 2016
Master Duan Zhi Liang - 1909 - 2016
Although my heart is a bit heavy, I send you my warm wishes from here in Roma, Italy where I am visiting family and preparing to teach a series of Qigong Workshops in Umbria and Tuscany before heading to Poland, Spain, China, Thailand, Bhutan, and the U.S. I hope to see you during this tour…
The other day I received news that dear 107 year-old Master Duan Zhi Liang has passed away from this dimension on 12 July 2016. Master Duan was featured on our Qigong documentary, “Qigong – Ancient Chinese Healing for the 21st Century” after I lived in his clinic and studied with him for two years in Beijing.
For these past 20 years, Master Duan’s teachings and influence has been a deep part of my training and development. I could easily write a book of my experiences with him alone. They would weave stories such as when he stayed with me and Daisy in Toronto and he appeared on the front page of the Toronto Star Newspaper and hundreds of people came to the park each morning to practice Qigong. Other stories included sleeping on the massage table in his clinic years earlier while he slept in a chair where he would wake me with his pipe smoke in the middle of the night and beckon me to sit across from him. A most curious stream of transmissions would be “downloaded” into my awareness – what the ancient Taoists would call the “Yi.” These were like 4-dimensional movies that ran the gamut of philosophy, medical theory, non-verbal energy, and imagery. We would cover the windows each night so that the roaming Red Army officers who patrolled the area wouldn’t be able to look in and see that I was there as Master Duan had little trust of authorities. Though this was quite Taoist, he never fully identified with that since his Catholicism was such a strong influence on his spirituality. It’s curious that I am writing this from Roma because Master Duan would always orient himself in a particular direction wherever we practiced Qigong in China. When I asked him, he said that we must face in the direction of “Loma.” Of course that is Mandarin for the city of Rome… “Roma” in Italian language, the direction of the Vatican.
Master Duan always made fun of my name "Francesco" basically because in Mandarin (along with having a few teeth missing) you don't pronounce "f" so that's a big reason why I went with "Garri" - Duan reminded me that the Chinese characters that make "Ga" and "Ri" translate to "covered with luck" so I received the name gladly. This was the kind of playful nature he had in everything he did (when he wasn't yelling at me for one reason or another :)) Either way, I always felt pretty lucky...
Sadly, I have a Rosary that was blessed by the Pope, which I was planning to give to Master Duan when I brought this year’s Study Group to come see him. That Rosary will never make it into his prayers on this dimension… but I trust in my heart that the energy of this intention will swirl with his as his spirit continues the dance he started when he first began studying with his Grandfather at the age of 7… 100 years ago… so his passing at 107 gave him a sweet century of Qigong practice and study…
I have written Master Wan – another of the Masters I featured in the Documentary that aired on PBS-TV - to please get me more precise details on this sad news. Of course 107 years on this planet represents quite a full life - and I have intuitively felt that Master Duan would not be long on this planet after I talked with him in September when I was last in Beijing for our Qigong Study & Healing Trip... but it still comes as a surprise and saddens my heart.
Though we will not have time in person to study with him as we planned in Beijing for this year’s Study Trip, we will use that day to honor him and practice his Wuji Hundun Qigong form. Master Wan has also studied with Master Duan as I have, so he will be able to provide additional perspective on the Wuji Hundun Qigong form on this Trip.
Teachers may pass from this physical world, but they never "leave." That is the deepest blessing of a good teacher - they remain in our hearts to continue gifting us with their teachings forever... as long as we open our hearts to them.
Thank you for sending your prayers to Master Duan and his family (most of whom he has outlived) and thank you for keeping up your Qigong practice – whatever form it is – as that is what we can do best to honor a Master like Duan Zhi Liang who devoted his whole life – 100 years - to Qigong personal practice, teaching, and healing. It is our honor and responsibility now to truly apply his teachings in a meaningful way for our health and for the health of those around us.
Thank you for your caring and support… and as it goes in the ancient Italian salutation, “Cent Anni!” - which means “One Hundred Years” – used when you give a toast wishing for another “100 years” more of this wonderful moment we celebrate… May it be so, with Qigong, and any joyful healing and personal empowerment… “Cent Anni” to the sweet spirit of this wise Master. Xie Xie (thank you) Master Duan.
If you’d like to view the segment of our Qigong Documentary featuring Master Duan, I have made it available for free by clicking here ...and thanks for joining my YouTube Channel as I will be adding more videos over time.
Pace ed amore…
Francesco Garri Garripoli
Here's a photo of Master Duan and myself back in 1998 in Beijing, 4 years after I began studying with him...
The full documentary "Qigong - Ancient Chinese Healing for the 21st Century" is available by request.