Can Tong Qi (参同契) has always been famed as The supreme text of Taoist Neidan (内丹), which for some people means that the deepest secret of the art of Neidan was buried inside the text, only if one can understand the text, one will be able to achieve Immortality! Many famous Taoists had tried to decipher the text; the best so far being Qing Dynasty Taoist Master Zhu YuanYu (朱元育), his "Deciphering Can Tong Qi" 《参同契阐幽》 that I mentioned in a previous post. Famous Contemporary scholar Nan HuaiJin (南怀瑾）even gave lectures on Can Tong Qi based on Zhu's book. Nan's lecture notes were later published as "My lecture on Can Tong Qi" 我说参同契。 Not withstanding the above, most people still failed to grasp the core teaching of this text, due to its complexity.
The most important questions to answer are: What is Can Tong Qi all about? What is the organizing structure of Can Tong Qi? And finally, is it necessary to understand Can Tong Qi for successful Neidan practice?
The text that shed some light towards these questions came from Taoist Master Zhang BoDuan 张伯端 famous for his highly readable Wu ZhenPian (悟真篇). Master Zhang was frustrated as every reader in deciphering Can Tong Qi. He wrote a short verse explaining his view towards this classic. I find his verse very interesting, and I shall discuss in the next post!