The Jindan sibai zi, or Four Hundred Words on the Golden Elixir, is attributed to Zhang Boduan, the well-known author of the Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality). The association with the first master of the Southern Lineage (Nanzong) is one of the reasons of the popularity enjoyed by this work within the Taoist tradition of Neidan, or Internal Alchemy.
The text, here entirely translated with a commentary, is made of twenty poems, each containing four verses of five characters. Several verses or parts of them are repeatedly quoted in later Neidan works, often with no need of a precise reference to their source given its renown.
The commentary translated here is by Peng Haogu (fl. 1586–99). His work is one of many examples showing that commentaries to Neidan texts not only offer explications of the original texts, but are Neidan works to all effects.
This ebook is excerpted from Fabrizio Pregadio, Taoist Internal Alchemy: An Anthology of Neidan Texts (Golden Elixir Press, 2019).