Huangdi Neijing Explained Huangdi Neijing, literally the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor or Esoteric Scripture of the Yellow Emperor, is an ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia. The work is composed of two texts—each of eighty-one chapters or treatises in a question-and-answer format between the mythical Yellow Emperor and six of his equally legendary ministers. Collectively, these two texts are known as the Neijing or Huangdi Neijing. In practice, however, the title Neijing often refers only to the more influential Suwen.
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One possible reason for using this device was for the anonymous authors to avoid attribution and blame see pages in Unschuld for an exposition of this. The Neijing departs from the old shamanistic beliefs that disease was caused by demonic influences. Instead the natural effects of diet, lifestyle, emotions, environment, and age are the reason diseases develop. According to the Neijing, the universe is composed of various forces and principles, such as Yin and yang , Qi and the Five Elements or phases.
These forces can be understood via rational means and man can stay in balance or return to balance and health by understanding the laws of these natural forces. Man is a microcosm that mirrors the larger macrocosm. The principles of yin and yang, the five elements, the environmental factors of wind, damp, hot and cold and so on that are part of the macrocosm equally apply to the human microcosm.
So suggestive are parallels with third and fourth century BCE literature that doubt arises as to whether the Suwen might be better ascribed to the third century BCE, implying that certain portions may be of that date. He is also of the opinion that "no available translation is reliable. Unschuld says several 20th-century scholars hypothesize that the language and ideas of the Neijing Suwen were composed between BCE and CE, and provides evidence that only a small portion of the received text transmits concepts from before the second century BCE.
Its contents were then brought together by Confucian scholars in the Han Dynasty era. Because of this, they consider the Neijing to have been compiled after the Mawangdui texts. Wang Bing collected the various versions and fragments of the Suwen and reorganized it into the present eighty-one chapters treatises format. Treatises seventy-two and seventy-three are lost and only the titles are known. Originally his changes were all done in red ink, but later copyists incorporated some of his additions into the main text.
However, the version discussed below restored almost all of his annotations and they are now written in small characters next to the larger characters that comprise the main or unannotated Suwen text. See Unschuld, pages 40 and Wang Bing made corrections, added two "lost" discourses, added seven comprehensive discourses on the five phases and six qi, inserted over commentaries and reorganized the text into twenty-four juan books and eighty-one treatises.
See Unschuld pages 24, 39 and In his preface to his version of the Suwen, Wang Bing goes into great detail listing the changes he made. A note in the preface left by the later editors of the Chong Guang Bu Zhu Huangdi Neijing Suwen version compiled by editorial committee which was based on an entry in Tang Ren Wu Zhi Record on Tang [Dynasty] Personalities states that he was an official with the rank of tai pu ling and died after a long life of more than eighty years.
See Unschuld, page Recent studies The Chinese medicine history scholars Paul Unschuld, Hermann Tessenow and their team at the Institute for the History of Medicine at Munich University have translated the Neijing Suwen into English including, an analysis of the historical and structural layers of the Suwen.
Significant portions of the above Suwen translation but with only a fraction of the annotations are currently available in Huang Di nei jing su wen: Nature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text. See Unschuld in cited references below. Only the first two discourses out of the total eighty-one are translated.
ISBN X. An edited version of the Neijing with the treatises reordered by topic. About a percent of the Neijing both Suwen and Lingshu is translated. Includes annotations and commentaries by translator.
ISBN Complete translation of both Suwen and Lingshu. Contains the Neijing text in simplified Chinese characters, along with alternate variants of Neijing text also in simplified characters. The alternate variants of the Neijing are not translated, only the main version is translated.
None of the commentary by Wang Bing is translated. Analysis and history of the Suwen. Includes significant portions of the Suwen translated into English. University of California Press, December, , pages. Includes an extensive introductory study with illustrations.
The first published English translation of the Suwen. Originally copyrighted in Wiseman et al. Further, the second paragraph in the above translation states the doctor is to observe the five colors of the patient, something that is not going to be accurately done at - a.
To correctly perceive the colors of the complexion without bias, natural lighting i. It may also mean the essence of the mind or emotions. To regard long for short, to regard white for black, if this [occurs] then the essence is feeble-and-declining! Translation and notes by Robert A. Threlfall, January 24, As a rule, it is at dawn, before yin qi has begun its movement, before yang qi is dispersed, before beverages and food have been consumed, before the conduit vessels are filled to abundance, when the [contents of the] network vessels are balanced, before the qi and blood move in disorder, that, hence, one can diagnose an abnormal [movement in the] vessels.
Squeeze the vessels, whether [their movement] is excited or quiet, and observe the essence-brilliance. Investigate the five complexions. Observe whether the five depots have a surplus or an insufficiency, whether the six palaces are strong or weak, and whether the physical appearance is marked by abundance or decays. In this situation can the pulse condition be diagnosed effectively. When these aspects are considered comprehensively, one can judge the date of the death or survival of the patient.
One should examine the five colors and the five viscera, whether they suffer from excess or whether they show insufficiency, and one should examine the six bowels whether they are strong or weak. One should investigate the appearance of the body whether it is flourishing or deteriorating.
One should use all five examinations and combine their results, and then one will be able to decide upon the share of life and death. Contains Neijing Suwen text in simplified characters, variants, annotations both by present day author, Wang Bing and other sources and Modern Chinese translation.
Contains comprehensive index pages of Neijing Suwen terms. All Chinese in simplified characters. Dictionary of Neijing terms in simplified Chinese. Series: Sibu Beiyao. Zibu, volumes OCLC control number: Note, this volume is in the zishu zibu division of the series. The zibu is one of the four traditional divisions of a Chinese library concerning works related to areas of education, Chinese medicine, agriculture, military strategy, astrology, mathematics and so on.
All characters in traditional complex form. Note on Pinyin and Chinese characters in article All Chinese characters are in traditional complex form, except for Chinese book titles which are as published and thus in simplified form.
All pinyin terms are rendered without tone marks, but are otherwise according to the orthographic rules in Appendix I of ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary but contemporary pinyin book titles are as published.
Huangdi Neijing Lingshu Vol I. in English
One possible reason for using this device was for the anonymous authors to avoid attribution and blame see pages in Unschuld for an exposition of this. The Neijing departs from the old shamanistic beliefs that disease was caused by demonic influences. Instead the natural effects of diet, lifestyle, emotions, environment, and age are the reason diseases develop. According to the Neijing, the universe is composed of various forces and principles, such as Yin and yang , Qi and the Five Elements or phases. These forces can be understood via rational means and man can stay in balance or return to balance and health by understanding the laws of these natural forces. Man is a microcosm that mirrors the larger macrocosm. The principles of yin and yang, the five elements, the environmental factors of wind, damp, hot and cold and so on that are part of the macrocosm equally apply to the human microcosm.
Sivin argues that they are most likely from the 1st century BCE. Unschuld is supported by many other scholars in his arguments that the language and ideas of the Suwen date is between BCE and CE. Scholars of excavated medical texts, Donald Harper, Vivienne Lo and Li Jianmin, agree that the systematic medical theory in the Neijing shows significant variance from texts found in the Mawangdui tomb which was closed in BCE. The 1st covers the history and background of the text, the 4th is a dictionary and the 2nd and 3rd volumes are the translation itself. Volume I can be considered the best resource for the history of the Su Wen and for a history of the versions of the text. Translation No recommended translation.
Huangdi Neijing Explained