Historical Records of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Part 2)
(Minghui.org) Continued from part 1
V. Yu Yingzong's Comments On Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Old Book of Tang
The following story is from the Old Book of Tang, one of the most important official historical records from ancient China. Xu Yingzong was a government official during the Tang Dynasty, as well as a doctor at a government-run clinic. In the year 618, there was an outbreak of tuberculosis in Shaanxi Province that killed many people. While the disease stumped a lot of doctors, the success rate of Xu Yingzong's therapy was almost 100%.
One of Xu's friends told him, “Your therapy is so amazing, why don't you write it down and publish it?”
Xu Yingzong answered, “The efficacy of the therapy depends on the doctor's judgment and thoughts. Using the diagnostic skill of 'pulse-taking' is very tricky, because the situation changes case by case. There is no universal diagnosis or therapy. So, it is hard to pass on therapy and diagnosis skills using words. One can only reach a good understanding by practicing it a lot and thinking deeply.”
“There have been so many doctors in history. The difference between the good ones and the bad ones lies in their diagnosis skills, because diagnosis is the first and most important step of the whole treatment. If the doctor makes a correct diagnosis, then only one or two herbs will heal the disease. But if the doctor cannot figure out the real cause of the disease, the treatment will not work, no matter how many herbs are used.”
It is just like hunting without knowing where the rabbits are. If you send out a lot of hunters, shooting randomly, you may catch one or two rabbits. But that is just luck. Wouldn't it be too casual if you treat patients this way?”
“All I am trying to say is that the 'pulse-taking' diagnosis is very subtle and complex. It cannot be taught or passed on by words. So, I cannot write books about my therapies.”
VI. The Story of Sun Simiao in the Old Book of Tang
Sun Simiao is one of most famous and influential traditional Chinese medical doctors in history. He was called the “king of herbs” or the “divine doctor.” The emperor of the Sui Dynasty tried to hire him as a government official, but Sun rejected the invitation.
He told his friends, “I will not work for this government. Fifty years from now, there will be a new dynasty, and we will have a sage as the emperor. Only then, will I come out and help him.”
Fifty years later, Tang Taizong, the most revered emperor in Chinese history, became emperor. He invited Sun Simiao to the capital. Emperor Tang was amazed at how young Sun looked.
Tang Taizong said, “I've always respected cultivators. Today, I am very impressed by Mr. Sun and this confirms my respect.”
Sun Simiao was born in the year 581 and passed away in 682. One month after he passed away, his appearance did not change and his body did not decompose, but became very light. When he was put into a coffin, the people carrying it only felt the weight of his clothes. Everybody was amazed.
(To be continued)