Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: An Annotated Translation of Huang Di’s Inner Classic – Basic Questions: 2 volumes

Paul U. Unschuld
Hermann Tessenow
in Collaboration with Zheng Jinsheng
Copyright Date: May 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 1560
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  • Book Info
    Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen
    Book Description:

    A foundation of Chinese life sciences and medicine, the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen is now available for the first time in a complete, fully annotated English translation. Also known as Su Wen, or The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic, this influential work came into being over a long period reaching from the 2nd century bce to the 8th century ce. Combining the views of different schools, it relies exclusively on natural law as conceptualized in yin/yang and Five Agents doctrines to define health and disease, and repeatedly emphasizes personal responsibility for the length and quality of one's life. This two-volume edition includes excerpts from all the major commentaries on the Su Wen, and extensive annotation drawn from hundreds of monographs and articles by Chinese and Japanese authors produced over the past 1600 years and into the twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94818-1
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Volume I
    • Front Matter
      (pp. 1-4)
    • Table of Contents
      (pp. 5-8)
      (pp. 9-26)

      This is the first of two volumes of an annotated English translation of the ancient Chinese life sciences text Huang Di nei jing su wen (short: Su wen). In contrast to the available translations, this version is the outcome of a full application of rigorous philological principles. Furthermore, as shall be indicated in detail below, it takes the views of numerous Chinese and Japanese scholarly and clinical authors into consideration so that readers of these volumes will always have a choice between our interpretation of debatable text passages, and the views of others. This translation was not prepared primarily with...

    • Annotated Translation of Su wen 1 through 52
      • Chapter 1 Discourse on the True [Qi Endowed by] Heaven in High Antiquity
        (pp. 29-44)

        In former times there was Huang Di.

        When he came to life, he had magic power like a spirit.²

        While he was [still] weak³, he could speak.

        While he was [still] young⁴, he was quick⁵ of apprehension.

        After he had grown up, he was sincere and skillfull.⁶

        After he had matured⁶, he ascended to heaven.⁸

        Now, he asked the Heavenly Teacher:⁹

        “I have heard that

        the people of high antiquity,

        in [the sequence of] spring and autumn, all exceeded10 one hundred years.

        But in their movements and activities there was no weakening.

        As for the people of today,

        after one...

      • Chapter 2 Comprehensive Discourse on Regulating the Spirit [in Accordance with] the Qi of the Four [Seasons]
        (pp. 45-58)

        The three months of spring,

        they denote effusion and spreading.¹

        Heaven and earth together generate life;

        the myriad beings flourish.²

        Go to rest late at night³ and rise early.⁴

        Move through the courtyard with long strides.⁵

        Dishevel the hair⁶ and relax the physical appearance,⁷

        thereby cause the mind [to orient itself on] life.

        Give life and do not kill.

        Give and do not take.

        Reward and do not punish.

        This is correspondence with the qi of spring and

        it is the Way to nourish life.

        opposing it harms the liver.

        In summer, this causes changes to cold,⁸ and

        there is...

      • Chapter 3 Discourse on how the Generative Qi Communicates with Heaven
        (pp. 59-82)

        Huang Di:


        since antiquity, that wich communicates with heaven,

        the basis of life,

        is based in yin and yang.

        Between heaven and earth and

        within the six [cardinal points] uniting [the world]

        all the qi within the nine regions ²,


        communicate with the qi of heaven.⁴

        If this [qi of heaven] is offended repeatedly,

        then evil qi harms man.

        [Hence] this [qi of heaven] is the basis of one’s lifespan.⁶

        The qi of the hoary heaven,

        it is clear and pure, and as...

      • Chapter 4 Discourse on the True Words in the Golden Chest
        (pp. 83-94)

        Huang Di asked:

        “Heaven has eight winds.¹ The conduits have five winds.²

        What does that mean?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The eight winds bring forth evil [qi].

        They become the [five] winds in the conduits.

        They affect the five depots.

        The evil qi brings forth diseases.³

        < As for the so-called ‘to grasp the dominations among the four seasons,’

        spring dominates late summer,

        late summer dominates winter,

        winter dominates summer,

        summer dominates autumn and

        autumn dominates spring.

        These are the so-called ‘dominations among the four seasons‘⁴ >

        The East wind is generated in spring;

        [it causes] a disease in the liver.

        The transporters⁵...

      • Chapter 5 Comprehensive Discourse on Phenomena Corresponding to Yin and Yang
        (pp. 95-126)

        Huang Di:

        “As for yin and yang, they are

        the Way of heaven and earth,¹

        the fundamental principles [governing] the myriad beings,²

        father and mother to all changes and transformations,³

        the basis and beginning of generating life and killing,⁴

        the palace of spirit brilliance.⁵

        To treat diseases, one must search for the basis.⁶


        the accumulation of yang, that is heaven;

        the accumulation of yin, that is the earth.

        Yin is tranquillity, yang is agitation.

        Yang gives life, yin stimulates growth.

        Yang kills, yin stores.⁷

        Yang transforms qi, yin completes physical appearance.

        Cold at its maximum generates heat;

        heat at...

      • Chapter 6 Discourse on the Division and Unity of Yin and Yang
        (pp. 127-136)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard:

        heaven is yang, the earth is yin;

        the sun is yang, the moon is yin.

        Longer months and shorter months, 360 days

        constitute one year,² and

        man corresponds to this too.³


        the three yin and the three yang [of man] do not correspond to the [one] yin

        and [one] yang [of heaven].

        What is the reason for this?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “As for the yin and yang [correspondences in man],

        count their [associations] and [you] can [reach] ten;

        expand these [associations] further⁴ and [you] can [reach] one hundred.

        Count these [associations] and [you]...

      • Chapter 7 Further Discourse on Yin and Yang
        (pp. 137-154)

        Huang Di asked:

        “Man has four regulars and twelve verticals.¹

        What does that mean?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The four regular [movements in the vessels] correspond to the four seasons; the twelve vertical [vessels] correspond to the twelve months.

        The twelve months correspond to the twelve vessels.²

        The [movement in the] vessels may be yin or yang.

        if one knows the yang [nature of a movement], one [also] knows the yin [nature of a movement];

        if one knows the yin [nature of a movement], one [also] knows the yang [nature of a movement].³

        Altogether, there are five yang [movements in the...

      • Chapter 8 Discourse on the Hidden Canons in the Numinous Orchid [Chambers]
        (pp. 155-162)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I should like to hear [the following]:

        How do the twelve depots² engage each other,

        and what is their hierarchy?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “An encompassing question, indeed!

        Please let me speak about them one by one.³

        The heart is the official functioning as ruler.

        Spirit brilliance originates in it.⁴

        The lung is the official functioning as chancellor and mentor.

        order and moderation originate in it.⁵

        The liver is the official functioning as general.

        Planning and deliberation originate in it.⁶

        The gallbladder is the official functioning as rectifier.

        Decisions and judgments originate in it.⁷

        The dan zhong is...

      • Chapter 9 Discourse on the Six Terms [of a Year] and on Phenomena [Associated with the Condition] of the Depots
        (pp. 163-184)

        Huang Di asked:²

        “I have heard:

        In heaven one relies on six [times] six terms,

        on the earth one relies on nine [times] nine [geographic regions] to set up calculations.⁴

        I do not know what this means.”⁶

        Qi Bo responded:

        “A brilliant question, indeed!

        Please let me speak about them one by one.


        as for ‘six [times] six terms,’

        as for ‘nine [times] nine to set up calculations,’

        it is with these [figures]...

      • Chapter 10 The Generation and Completion of the Five Depots
        (pp. 185-202)

        The correlate of the heart are the vessels;¹

        its splendor [appears in] the complexion;²

        its ruler are the kidneys.³

        The correlate of the lung is the skin;⁴

        its splendor [appears in] the body hair;⁵

        its ruler is the heart.⁶

        The correlate of the liver are the sinews;⁷

        its splendor [appears in] the nails;⁸

        its ruler is the lung.⁹

        The correlate of the spleen is the flesh;10

        its splendor [appears in] the lips;11

        its ruler is the liver.12

        The correlate of the kidneys are the bones;13

        their splendor is the hair on the head;14

        their ruler is the spleen.15



      • Chapter 11 Further Discourse on the Five Depots
        (pp. 203-210)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard:

        of the prescription masters¹

        some consider the brain and the marrow to be depots;²

        others consider the intestines and the stomach to be depots;

        still others consider them to be palaces.

        May I³ ask about these contradictions;⁴

        all say of themselves they are right.⁵

        I do not know the Way of their [reasoning];

        I should like to hear an explanation for this.”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The brain, the marrow, the bones, the vessels, the gallbladder,⁶ and the female uterus,⁷

        these six are generated by the qi of the earth.

        Their storing is associated with...

      • Chapter 12 Discourse on Different [Therapeutic] Patterns Suitable [for Use in Different] Cardinal Points
        (pp. 211-218)

        Huang Di asked:

        “When physicians treat diseases,

        one identical disease may be treated differently¹ in each case,

        and is always healed. How is that?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “Physical features of the earth let it be this way.²

        The fact is,

        the region of the East,³

        this is where heaven and earth give life first.

        [This is] the land of fish and salt;

        beaches border on the water.

        Its people eat fish and crave for salty [meals].

        All of them consider their place of residence as comfortable and they regard their food as delicious.⁴

        As for the fish, it lets one...

      • Chapter 13 Discourse on Moving the Essence and Changing the Qi
        (pp. 219-232)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard that,

        when [the people] in antiquity treated a disease,

        they simply moved the essence and changed the qi.¹

        They were able to invoke the origin and [any disease] came to an end.²

        When the people of nowadays treat a disease,

        [they employ] toxic drugs to treat their interior and

        [they employ] needles and [pointed] stones to treat their exterior.³

        Some are healed; others are not healed.

        Why is this so?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “People in antiquity lived among their animals.

        They moved and were active and this way they avoided the cold.

        They resided...

      • Chapter 14 Discourse on Decoctions and Wines
        (pp. 233-246)

        Huang Di asked:

        “To prepare decoctions and wines from the five grains,¹ how is that done?”²

        Qi Bo responded:

        “One must³ take paddy,⁴ and

        burn paddy straw [to cook] it.

        As for the paddy, it is complete;

        as for the paddy straw it is hard.”⁵

        [Huang] Di:

        “How can this be?”

        Qi Bo:

        “[Paddy] receives a harmonious [blend of the qi of] heaven and earth and

        the appropriate [qi of] high and low,

        hence it can reach completion.

        [Paddy straw] is cut for harvest at the right time,

        hence it can reach hardness.”⁶

        [Huang] Di:

        “When the sages in high...

      • Chapter 15 Jade Tablet Discourse on the Essentials
        (pp. 247-256)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard:

        the [texts] To Estimate and Measure and The Strange and the Normal,

        what they expound is not identical.¹

        How are their [contents] to be used?”²

        Qi Bo responded:

        “As for To Estimate and Measure,

        this [text expounds how] to measure whether a disease is at the surface or in the depth.

        As for The Strange and the Normal, this [text] discusses strange diseases.³

        Please, let me speak about the perfect numbers of the Way.⁴

        The Five Complexions,

        The Changes in the [Movements in the] Vessels,

        To Estimate and Measure, and

        The Strange and the...

      • Chapter 16 Discourse on The Essentials of Diagnosis and on Exhaustion in the Conduits
        (pp. 257-272)

        Huang Di asked:

        “The essentials of diagnosis, what are they like?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “In the first month and in the second month,

        the qi of heaven begins to spread;

        the qi of the earth begins to be effused;

        the qi of man is in the liver.¹

        In the third month and in the fourth month,

        the qi of heaven spreads properly;

        the qi of the earth is effused firmly;²

        the qi of man is in the spleen.³

        In the fifth month and in the sixth month,

        the qi of heaven is abundant;

        the qi of the earth has moved...

      • Chapter 17 Discourse on the Essentials of Vessels and the Subtleties of the Essence
        (pp. 273-300)

        Huang Di asked:

        “What are the laws of diagnosis?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The laws of diagnosis [are as follows].

        As a rule, it is at dawn,²

        before the yin qi has begun its movement,

        before the 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 the blood move in disorder,³

        that, hence,

        one can diagnose an abnormal⁴ [movement in the] vessels.

        Squeeze⁵ the vessels [to determine whether their movement] is excited or quiet,


        observe the essence...

      • Chapter 18 Discourse on Phenomena [Reflecting the Status of] Qi in a Normal Person
        (pp. 301-322)

        Huang Di asked:

        “What is [the movement in the vessels of] a normal person [like]?”¹

        Qi Bo responded:

        “In man,

        during one exhalation, the vessels exhibit two movements.²

        During one inhalation, the vessels exhibit two movements too.

        Exhalation and inhalation constitute one standard breathing period.

        If the vessels exhibit five movements,

        this is an intercalation [of a fifth movement] because of a deep breathing.³

        That is called ‘normal person.’⁴

        {A ‘normal person’ is not ill.}

        As a rule, one takes [someone] who is not ill [as a standard] to assess a patient‘s [condition].

        The physician is not ill.

        Hence one...

      • Chapter 19 Discourse on the Jade Mechanism and the True [Qi of the] Depots
        (pp. 323-350)

        Huang Di asked:

        “In spring, the [movement in the] vessels resembles a string.

        How can it be string[-like]?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “In spring, the [movement in the] vessels is a liver [movement].

        The East is wood;

        this is whereby the myriad beings come to life first.

        Hence, when this qi comes, it is soft, weak, light, depleted, and smooth.

        It is straight and extended.

        Hence, it is called ‘string[-like].’

        [A movement] contrary to this [indicates] disease.”

        [Huang] Di:

        “How can it be contrary?”

        Qi Bo:

        “When this qi comes replete and strong,

        this is called ‘greatly excessive.’

        The disease is...

      • Chapter 20 Discourse on the Three Sections and Nine Indicators
        (pp. 351-368)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard about the [art of the] nine needles from you, Sir.²

        [Its applications] are manifold and comprehensive,

        they are innumerable.

        I should [now] like to hear the Way of the essential,

        to entrust it to children and grandchildren;³

        to transmit it to later generations;

        to attach it to the bones and their marrow, and

        to store it in liver and lung.

        [I shall] smear blood around my mouth when [I] receive [this knowledge],⁴

        [I will] not dare to let it leak [to others] carelessly.

        To have it conform to the Way of heaven,⁵

        it must...

      • Chapter 21 Further Discourse on the Conduit Vessels
        (pp. 369-382)

        Huang Di asked:

        “As for [the differences between] the places where people live, between their being active or quiet, brave or timid,¹

        does the [movement in the] vessels change, too, because of these [differences]?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “Whenever a person is frightened, fearful, angry, or overworked,²

        whether one is active or quiet, all this causes changes.


        when one walks at night,

        then the [resulting] panting originates from the kidneys.³

        When something makes one fall, [causing] fear [that one is injured], the [resulting] panting originates from the liver.⁵


      • Chapter 22 Discourse on How the Qi in the Depots Follow the Pattern of the Seasons
        (pp. 383-400)

        Huang Di asked:

        “To correlate the physical appearance of man with the pattern of the four seasons and five agents and to treat [him accordingly],¹ how [should one proceed] to comply with [these] and how does one oppose [them]?

        The meaning of achieving and of missing [a success],

        I should like to hear about these matters!”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “As for the five agents,

        these are metal, wood, water, fire, and soil.

        Alternately they resume high and low ranks.

        Through them one knows [whether a patient] will die or survive.

        Through them one decides about completion or destruction and


      • Chapter 23 Wide Promulgation of the Five Qi
        (pp. 401-412)

        Where the five flavors enter:

        Sour [flavor] enters the liver.

        Acrid [flavor] enters the lung.

        Bitter [flavor] enters the heart.

        Salty [flavor] enters the kidneys.

        Sweet [flavor] enters the spleen.

        These [relationships] are called “the five enterings.”

        When the qi in the five [depots] have a disease:²

        In the heart it causes belching.³

        In the lung it causes coughing.⁴

        In the liver it causes talkativeness.⁵

        In the spleen it causes swallowing.⁵

        In the kidneys it causes yawning <[and] it causes sneezing.>⁷

        In the stomach it causes qi to move contrary [to its regular course], it causes hiccup <[and] it causes...

      • Chapter 24 Blood and Qi, Physical Appearance and Mind
        (pp. 413-418)


        as far as the regular numbers of man are concerned:

        The major yang [conduits] regularly [contain] much blood, little qi.

        The minor yang [conduits] regularly [contain] little blood, much qi.

        The yang brilliance [conduits] regularly [contain] much qi, much blood.

        The minor yin [conduits] regularly [contain] little blood, much qi.

        The ceasing yin [conduits] regularly [contain] much blood, little qi.

        The major yin [conduits] regularly [contain] much qi, little blood.

        These are the regular numbers of heaven.¹

        Foot major yang [conduits] and [foot] minor yin [conduits] constitute exterior and interior.

        [Foot] minor yang [conduits] and [foot] ceasing yin [conduits]...

      • Chapter 25 Discourse on Treasuring Life and Preserving Physical Appearance
        (pp. 419-432)

        Huang Di asked:

        “Covered by heaven and carried by the earth,

        all the myriad beings have come to existence.

        None has a nobler position than man.²

        Man comes to life through the qi of heaven and earth;

        he matures in accordance with the laws of the four seasons.³

        Rulers and common people,

        they all wish to preserve [their] physical appearance.⁴

        [As far as] the diseases of the physical appearance [are concerned, though,]

        no one knows their nature.

        Excessive [qi] staying [in the body] move⁵ deeper day by day.

        They attach themselves to the bones and the marrow.

        In my heart...

      • Chapter 26 Discourse on the Eight Cardinal [Turning Points] and on Spirit Brilliance
        (pp. 433-446)

        Huang Di asked:

        “ ‘The application of the needle,

        it must be based on laws and rules.’²

        Now, what are the laws and what are the rules?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “[In piercing one should take] heaven as law and the earth as rule.

        Combine them with ‘the luminaries of heaven.’ ”³

        [Huang] Di:

        “I should like to hear of this comprehensively.”

        Qi Bo:

        “All laws of piercing

        require an observation of the qi of sun and moon and stars,

        and of the eight cardinal [turning points] of the four seasons.⁴

        When the qi is determined, one [can] pierce the [patient].⁵...

      • Chapter 27 Discourse on the Division and Union of True [Qi] and Evil [Qi]
        (pp. 447-458)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard of [the art of] the nine needles [outlined in] nine chapters.²

        You, Sir, have subsequently multiplied them by nine.³

        Nine times nine is 81 chapters.

        I have understood their meaning entirely.

        The classic says:

        [In case of] qi abundance and weakness,

        [in case of] a shift towards imbalance left and right,

        regulate the below with the above,

        regulate the right with the left.

        [In case] there are surplus and insufficiency,

        supplement and drain at the brooks and transporters.⁴

        This I have come to know.

        All these shifts towards imbalance of the camp and guard...

      • Chapter 28 Discourse Thoroughly Deliberating upon Depletion and Repletion
        (pp. 459-478)

        Huang Di asked:

        “What is that to say: depletion, repletion?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “When evil qi abounds,¹ then [this is] repletion.

        When the essence qi is lost,² then [this is] depletion.”³

        [Huang] Di:

        “[States of] depletion and repletion, what are they like?”

        Qi Bo:

        “A qi depletion is a lung depletion.

        When the qi moves contrary [to its regular course], the feet are cold.⁴

        When it is not its time, then [the patient] will survive.

        When it is its time, then he will die.⁵

        The same applies to all the other depots.”

        [Huang] Di:

        “What is that to say: ‘doubled...

      • Chapter 29 Discourse on the Major Yin and on the Yang Brilliance [Conduits]
        (pp. 479-486)

        Huang Di asked:

        “The major yin [conduit] and the yang brilliance [conduit] constitute exterior and interior; they are the vessels of spleen and stomach.

        [And yet,] the diseases generated [in them] are different!

        How is that?”¹

        Qi Bo responded:

        “Yin and yang [conduits occupy] different positions.²

        Alternately they are depleted or replete.³

        Alternately [the movement of their contents] is contrary to or complies with [the regular course].

        Some [i.e., the yin vessels] follow the inside;

        some [i.e., the yang vessels] follow the outside.

        What they follow is not identical.

        Hence [their] diseases have different names.”⁴

        [Huang] Di:

        “I should like...

      • Chapter 30 Explanation of the Yang Brilliance Vessel
        (pp. 487-490)

        Huang Di asked:

        “When the foot yang brilliance vessel has a disease,

        [the patient] has an aversion to [other] people and to fire.¹

        When he hears the sound of wood,² he is frightened to scare, and neither bells nor drums can make him move.

        Why is it that he is frigthened when he hears the sound of wood?

        I should like to hear the reason of this?”³

        Qi Bo responded:

        “As for the yang brilliance [conduit], this is the vessel of the stomach.

        The stomach is soil. Hence, when [the patient] hears the sound of wood and is frightened,


      • Chapter 31 Discourse on Heat
        (pp. 491-498)

        Huang Di asked:


        as for heat diseases,

        they all are of the type ‘harm caused by cold.’²

        Some are healed, some end in death.

        When they end in death, this happens always within six or seven days.

        When they are healed, this takes always ten days or more.

        Why is that?

        I do not know an explanation of this;

        I should like to hear a reason for this.”³

        Qi Bo responded:

        “As for the great yang [conduit],

        it is connected with all the yang [conduits].⁴

        Its vessel is linked to the wind palace.

        Hence, it rules the qi of...

      • Chapter 32 To Pierce Heat
        (pp. 499-514)

        When the liver has a heat disease,

        the urine turns yellow first.¹

        The abdomen has pain; [the patient] lies down often and the body is hot.²

        When the heat is fought [by the proper qi],

        [the patient] talks crazily and is frightened.

        The flanks are full and have pain.

        The hands and the feet move restlessly.

        [The patient] cannot sleep peacefully.³

        On geng and xin [days] this is severe;

        On jia and yi [days the patient] sweats profusely.⁴

        When the qi moves contrary [to its regular course], then death occurs on geng and xin [days].⁵

        Pierce the foot ceasing yin...

      • Chapter 33 Discourse Deliberating upon Heat Disease
        (pp. 515-526)

        Huang Di asked:

        “Someone suffers from warmth.

        When sweat has left [his body], the heat returns always¹ and

        the [movement in the] vessels races.

        The disease is not weakened by the sweating.²

        [The patient] utters crazy words and cannot eat.

        What is the name of this disease?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The disease is named ‘yin yang interaction.’

        If it comes to [such] an interaction, [the patient] will die.”³

        [Huang] Di:

        “I should like to hear an explanation of this.”

        Qi Bo:

        “That because of which sweat leaves man is generated by grain; grain generates essence.⁴

        Now, when evil [qi] and...

      • Chapter 34 Discourse on the Assessment of Movements Contrary [to their Regular Course]
        (pp. 527-534)

        Huang Di asked:

        “When a person’s body is unusually warm or unusually hot,²

        what causes it to be hot,³ and [why does he experience] vexation and fullness?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The yin qi is diminished and the yang qi dominates.

        Hence, [the body] is hot, and [the patient experiences] vexation and fullness.”⁴

        [Huang] Di:

        “When a person’s body is not cold because of [inadequate] clothing and when inside there is no cold qi,⁵

        how can cold emerge from inside?”⁶

        Qi Bo:

        “This person has much blocked qi.⁷

        [His] yang qi is diminished; [his] yin qi is present in large quantities....

      • Chapter 35 Discourse on Malaria
        (pp. 535-552)

        Huang Di asked:


        all [cases of] jie and malaria are generated by wind.¹

        Their collecting and being active occurs at [specific] times.²


        Qi Bo responded:

        “When malaria begins to break out,

        it first emerges from the finest body hair.

        [The patient] stretches and yawns and then [the disease] is active.

        [The patient] shivers from cold and his jaws chatter.³

        Both the lower back and the spine experience pain.

        When the cold leaves, then [the patient feels] hot everywhere in the inner and outer [regions of his body].

        His head aches as if it [were about to] burst.


      • Chapter 36 To Pierce Malaria
        (pp. 553-566)

        Malaria of the foot major yang [conduit]:

        it lets a person have lower back pain and a heavy head.

        Cold rises from the back.²

        [Patients] are cold first and afterwards hot.³

        The heat is intense as in harm caused by summerheat.

        When the heat stops, sweat leaves [the body].

        [This disease] is difficult to bring to an end.⁴

        Pierce [the foot major yang conduit] into the cleft. Let blood.⁵

        Malaria of the foot minor yang [conduit]:

        it lets a person’s body experience jie-yi.⁶

        Neither the cold nor the heat are severe.⁷

        [Patients] hate to see [other] people.

        If they see...

      • Chapter 37 Discourse on Qi Recession
        (pp. 567-574)

        Huang Di asked:

        “The five depots and six palaces, when they move cold and heat among each other,

        how [is that]?”¹

        Qi Bo:

        “When the kidneys move cold to the spleen,²

        [this results in] yong-abscesses, swelling, and being short of qi.³

        When the spleen moves cold to the liver,

        [this results in] yong-abscesses, swelling, and sinew cramps.⁴

        When the liver moves cold to the heart,

        [this results in] craziness and ge-zhong.⁵

        When the heart moves cold to the lung,

        [this results in] fei-xiao.⁶

        {As for fei-xiao, one drinks one [part] and urinates two [parts].

        This is fatal and cannot be...

      • Chapter 38 Discourse on Cough
        (pp. 575-582)

        Huang Di asked:

        “When the lung lets a person cough,

        how is that?”¹

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The five depots and six palaces, they all [may] let a person cough, not only the lung.”²

        [Huang] Di:

        “I should like to hear about the appearances of these [coughs].”

        Qi Bo:

        “Skin and body hair are the correlates of the lung.

        Skin and body hair are the first to receive evil qi.

        This way, the evil qi [enters the lung] from its correlates.³

        When cold beverages or food have entered the stomach and

        when [the cold] has followed the lung vessel to ascend...

      • Chapter 39 Discourse on Pain
        (pp. 583-598)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard:

        those who know how to speak about heaven,

        they must have experienced man.

        Those who know how to speak about the past,

        they must have become one with the present.

        Those who know how to speak about [other] people,

        they must have dealt with themselves sufficiently.²

        Thereby [their understanding of] the Way is free of confusion and the essential numbers [can be known] to their full extent.

        This is the so-called understanding.³

        Now I ask you, Sir:

        to bring about [a situation where]

        from words one can obtain knowledge,

        from inspection one can obtain...

      • Chapter 40 Discourse on Abdomen and Center
        (pp. 599-612)

        Huang Di asked:

        “Someone suffers from [the following]:

        heart and abdomen¹ are full [to the extent that] if one has had breakfast, then he cannot eat in the evening.²

        Which disease is that?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The name is drum[-like] distension.”³

        [Huang] Di:

        “To treat it, how to proceed?”

        Qi Bo:

        “Treat it with wine made from chicken droppings.

        One dosis [lets the disease improve] noticeably; a second dosis [lets the disease] end.”⁴

        [Huang] Di:

        “When occasionally it manifests itself again,

        why is that?”

        Qi Bo:

        “In this case, beverages and food [have been consumed] without restraint.

        Hence, occasionally one...

      • Chapter 41 To Pierce Lower Back Pain
        (pp. 613-624)

        When it is the foot major yang vessel that lets a person’s lower back ache, [then there is pain] pulling on the nape, the spine, the sacrum, and the back as if there was a heavy [weight].¹

        Pierce the major yang [vessel] in the cleft right into the conduit.Let blood.²

        In spring, avoid the appearance of blood.³

        When it is the minor yang [vessel] that lets a person’s lower back ache, [then there is pain] as if someone had pierced with a needle into this [person’s] skin, and

        [the patient is] continously unable to bend down and up and


      • Chapter 42 Discourse on Wind
        (pp. 625-638)

        Huang Di asked:

        “When wind harms a person,

        it may cause cold and heat; or

        it may cause a heated center; or

        it may cause a cold center; or

        it may cause li-wind;¹ or

        it may cause unilateral withering; or

        it may cause wind.²

        These diseases are all different.

        Their names are not identical.

        In some cases [the wind] internally reaches the five depots and six palaces.

        I do not know any explanation of this;

        I should like to hear an explanation of this.”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “When wind qi is stored in the skin,

        it cannot penetrate into the...

      • Chapter 43 Discourse on Blocks
        (pp. 639-652)

        Huang Di asked:

        “How does a block emerge?”¹

        Qi Bo responded:

        “When the three qi wind, cold, and dampness arrive together,² they merge and cause a block.³

        In case the wind qi dominates, this causes ‘moving block.’

        In case the cold qi dominates, this causes ‘painful block.’

        In case the dampness qi dominates, this causes ‘attached block.’ ”⁴

        [Huang] Di:

        “That there are five [types] of this [disease], why is that?”⁵

        Qi Bo:

        “If one encounters these [qi] in winter,⁶ this leads to bone block.

        If one encounters these [qi] in spring, this leads to sinew block.

        If one encounters...

      • Chapter 44 Discourse on Limpness
        (pp. 653-664)

        Huang Di asked:

        “When the five depots let a person [suffer from] limpness,

        how is that?”²

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The lung rules the body’s skin and body hair.

        The heart rules the body’s blood and vessels.

        The liver rules the body’s sinews and membranes.

        The spleen rules the body’s muscles and flesh.³

        The kidneys rule the body’s bones and marrow.⁴


        when the lung is hot and when the lobes burn,

        then the skin and the body hair are depleted and weak.

        [The skin is] tense [and the body hair is] thin.

        When [the heat] is stuck,⁵

        then [this] causes...

      • Chapter 45 Discourse on Recession
        (pp. 665-676)

        Huang Di asked:

        “The cold and the heat [variants] of recession,

        what [causes them]?”¹

        Qi Bo responded:

        “When the yang qi weakens below,

        then this causes cold recession;

        when the yin qi weakens below,

        then this causes heat recession.”²

        [Huang] Di:

        “As for the heat of heat recession,

        it always rises from the lower side of the feet.


        Qi Bo:

        “The yang qi rises from the outside of the five toes.

        The yin vessels gather at the lower side of the feet and come together in the center [of the sole] of the feet.


        when the yang qi...

      • Chapter 46 Discourse on Disease Manifestations
        (pp. 677-688)

        Huang Di asked:

        “When someone suffers from stomach duct² yong-abscess, how is this to be diagnosed?”³

        Qi Bo responded:

        “To diagnose this [disease] one must examine the [movement in the] stomach vessel.⁴

        [The movement in] this vessel should be in the depth and fine.

        When it is in the depth and fine, the qi moves contrary [to its normal course].⁵

        When it moves contrary [to its normal course], the [movement in the vessel at] man‘s facing is extremely abundant.

        When it is extremely abundant, then there is heat.⁶

        {Man’s facing is [associated with] the stomach vessel.}

        Once there is a...

      • Chapter 47 Discourse on Strange Diseases
        (pp. 689-704)

        Huang Di asked:

        “Someone has a doubled body. In the ninth month [that person] turns mute.¹

        Why is that?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The network vessel of the uterus² has been interrupted.”³

        [Huang] Di:

        “Why do you say so?”

        Qi Bo:

        “The network [vessel] of the uterus is tied to the kidneys.

        The minor yin vessel penetrates the kidneys and is tied to the base of the tongue.

        Hence, [that person] cannot speak.”⁴

        [Huang] Di:

        “To treat this, how to proceed?”

        Qi Bo:

        “Do not treat.

        Recovery will set in in the tenth month.⁵

        The Laws of Piercing states:

        Do not...

      • Chapter 48 Discourse on Very Strange [Diseases]
        (pp. 705-718)

        Liver fullness, kidney fullness, and lung fullness are all [instances of] repletion.

        {That is, they cause swelling.}²

        Lung congestion: [the patient] pants and [experiences] fullness in the two upper flanks.³

        Liver congestion: [the patient experiences] fullness in the two upper flanks.

        When he lies down to sleep, he is frightened.

        He is unable to pass urine.⁴

        Kidney congestion: [the patient experiences] fullness from the lower [sections of the] flanks to the lower abdomen.⁵

        Of the [two] lower legs, [one is] large and [one is] small.

        The thigh bones and the shins experience severe lameness. [The disease] changes into unilaterial withering.⁶...

      • Chapter 49 Explanations on the Vessels
        (pp. 719-732)

        Major yang:

        As for the so-called “swollen lower back and buttock pain,”² [that is to say:]

        The first month is major yang, is yin. {Yin is major yang.}³

        In the first month the yang qi comes out above while the yin qi abounds.

        The yang has not reached its own turn [of domination] yet.⁴


        [people suffer from] “swollen lower back and buttock pain.”⁵

        As for the disease “unilateral depletion causing limping,”⁶ in the first month, the frozen yang qi breaks open and the earth qi comes out.⁷

        As for so-called “unilateral depletion,” [that is to say:]⁸

        The winter cold...

      • Chapter 50 Discourse on the Essentials of Piercing
        (pp. 733-736)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I should like to hear about the essentials of piercing.”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The diseases include [those] at the surface and [others] in the depth;

        piercing includes shallow [piercing] and deep [piercing].

        Always go to the respective structures;¹

        never go too far on this way.²

        If one goes to far on this [way], then [this results in] internal harm;

        if one does not reach it, then [this] generates external congestion.

        Once there is a congestion, then evil will follow there.³

        When [the proper measure of] shallow or deep [piercing] is not achieved,

        contrary [to one’s intentions] this...

      • Chapter 51 Discourse on the Restrictions of Piercing
        (pp. 737-740)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I should like to hear about piercing the shallow and the deep sections.”²

        Qi Bo responded:

        “When piercing the bones, do not harm the sinews.

        When piercing the sinews, do not harm the flesh.

        When piercing the flesh, do not harm the vessels.

        When piercing the vessels, do not harm the skin.³

        When piercing the skin, do not harm the flesh.

        When piercing the flesh, do not harm the sinews.

        When piercing the sinews, do not harm the bones.”⁴

        Huang Di:

        “I have not yet understood what that is to say.

        I should like to hear its...

      • Chapter 52 Discourse on Prohibitions in Piercing
        (pp. 741-752)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I should like to hear about prohibited techniques [in piercing].”²

        Qi Bo responded:

        “[Each] depot has an important [location where it can be] harmed;³ [these locations] must be inspected!

        The liver generates life on the left;⁴

        the lung stores on the right.⁵

        The heart commands in the exterior;⁶

        the kidneys govern the interior.⁷

        The spleen serves as their messenger;⁸

        the stomach serves as their marketplace.⁹

        Above the ge-huang, in the middle there are father and mother.10

        To the side of the seventh joint, in the middle there is the small heart.11

        To take these [morphologies] into account...

      • BIBLIOGRAPHY Vol. 1 Su wen Chapters 1-52
        (pp. 753-798)
  2. Volume II
    • Middle Matter
      (pp. 1-6)
      (pp. 7-8)
    • Annotated Translation of Su wen 53 through 71, 74 through 81
      • Chapter 53 Discourse on the Aims of Piercing
        (pp. 11-14)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I should like to hear about the essentials of depletion and repletion.”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “When the qi is replete, the physical appearance is replete;

        when the qi is depleted, the physical appearance is depleted.

        That is the regular [association]; [any situation] contrary to this is disease.²

        When the grain abounds, the qi abounds;

        when the grain is depleted, the qi is depleted.

        That is the regular [association]; [any situation] contrary to this is disease.

        When the vessels are replete, the blood is replete;

        when the vessels are depleted, the blood is depleted.

        That is the regular...

      • Chapter 54 Explanations on the Needles
        (pp. 15-24)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I should like to hear

        an explanation of the ‘nine needles’ and

        the Way of depletion and repletion.”¹

        Qi Bo responded:

        “As for

        ‘when piercing a depletion, then replenish it,’

        [that is, pierce until] there is heat below the needle.

        {When the qi is replete, then heat is present.}²

        As for

        ‘when there is fullness, then discharge it,’

        [that is, pierce until] there is cold below the needle.

        {When the qi is depleted, then cold is present.}³

        As for

        ‘what is densely compacted and old, eliminate it,’

        [that is,] let the bad blood.⁴

        As for

        ‘in case...

      • Chapter 55 Discourse on Rules of Extended Piercing
        (pp. 25-34)

        In case an expert in piercing does not² diagnose [but prefers to] listen to the patient’s statement: “It is in the head. The head has an illness, pain.”³ and if on behalf of this he needles him ,⁴ when the piercing reaches to the bones, the disease ends.

        {As for the skin, it is the way.}⁶

        For treating cold and heat which have entered the depth [of the organism and] have concentrated [there],...

      • Chapter 56 Discourse on Skin Sections
        (pp. 35-42)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard [the following]:

        the skin has divisions and sections,¹

        the vessels are arranged as conduits,²

        the sinews have knots and form networks,³ and

        the bones have measures [of varying lengths].

        The diseases generated in these [body parts] are all different.

        They are distinguished in accordance with the divisions and sections where they are situated,

        wether they are on the left or on the right, above or below, in a yin or in a yang [section].

        The begin and the end of the diseases,

        I should like to hear the Way of this.”⁴

        Qi Bo responded:...

      • Chapter 57 Discourse On Conduits and Network [Vessels]
        (pp. 43-46)

        Huang Di asked:


        the network vessels differ with respect to the five colors they manifest.¹

        They vary in that they are green-blue, yellow, red, white, or black.

        What is the reason?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The conduits have a regular color,

        while the network vessels have no regular [color. Their color] undergoes changes.”²

        [Huang] Di:

        “What are the regular colors of the conduits like?”

        Qi Bo:

        “The [color associated with the] heart is red.

        The [color associated with the] lung is white.

        The [color associated with the] liver is green-blue.

        The [color associated with the] spleen is yellow.

        The [color...

      • Chapter 58 Discourse on Qi Holes
        (pp. 47-60)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard, there are 365 qi holes¹ to correspond to one year.

        I do not know their locations yet.

        I should like to hear about them comprehensively.”

        Qi Bo paid reverence twice knocking his head on the ground and responded:

        “An embarrassing question, indeed!²

        Who except a sage emperor could penetrate this Way so thoroughly.


        please, let me pour out my thoughts,³

        and provide a complete account of all their locations.”

        [Huang] Di brought his hands up to his chest, went to and fro, and rejected

        [Qi Bo‘s praise]:

        “That you, Sir, have opened the...

      • Chapter 59 Discourse on Qi Palaces
        (pp. 61-72)

        There are 78 holes on the foot major yang vessel where qi is effused:²

        One each at the tips of the two eyebrows.³

        Into the hair and to the nape [in a mutual distance of] three and a half inches, [there are] five [holes] side by side, three inches away from each other.⁴

        {Those [lines] where floating qi is in the skin⁵ are altogether five lines. [Each] line has five [holes]. Five times five are 25.}

        One each on both sides of the large sinews in the center of the nape.⁶

        One each on both sides of the wind palace.⁷...

      • Chapter 60 Discourse on Bone Hollows
        (pp. 73-88)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard, the wind is the origin of the one hundred diseases.²

        To treat it with needles, how to proceed?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “When wind enters [the body] from the outside,

        it lets a person shake from cold.

        Sweat leaves [the body] and the head aches.

        The body [feels] heavy and has an aversion to cold.³

        Treat [this] at the Wind Palace.

        Regulate the [patient’s] yin and yang.⁴

        If there is an insufficiency, supplement [it];

        if there is a surplus, drain [it].

        When massive wind [causes] neck pain,

        pierce the Wind Palace.⁵

        {The Wind Palace is...

      • Chapter 61 Discourse on Holes [to treat] Water and Heat.
        (pp. 89-100)

        Huang Di asked:

        “The minor yin, how is it that it rules the kidneys;

        The kidneys, how is it that they rule the water?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “The kidneys are the extreme yin.

        Extreme yin is abundant water.

        The lung is the major yin.

        Minor yin is a winter vessel.¹

        Hence, its basis is in the kidneys,

        its end is in the lung.²

        Both accumulate water.”³

        [Huang] Di:

        “The kidneys, how can they generate diseases by assembling water?”

        Qi Bo:

        “The kidneys are the gates of the stomach.⁴

        Hence, when the gates do not [open] freely,

        water assembles and follows...

      • Chapter 62 Discourse on Regulating the Conduits
        (pp. 101-130)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard of a statement in the Laws of Piercing:

        ‘A surplus, drain it;

        An insufficiency, supplement it.’

        What is that to say: ‘surplus’?

        What is that to say: ‘insufficiency’?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “There are five [states of] surplus and

        there are also five [states of] insufficiency.

        What is it that [you, Huang] Di, would like to ask?”

        [Huang] Di:

        “I should like to hear all about it.”

        Qi Bo:

        “The spirit [may] be present in surplus and it [may] be insufficient.

        The qi [may] be present in surplus and it [may] be insufficient.

        The blood...

      • Chapter 63 Discourse on Misleading Piercing
        (pp. 131-148)

        Huang Di asked:

        “I have heard about misleading piercing, but

        I have not grasped its meaning yet.

        What is that to say: misleading piercing?”

        Qi Bo responded:


        when an evil settles in the physical appearance,

        it will first lodge in the skin and its hair.

        It stays there [for a while] and does not leave.

        Then it enters [more deeply] and lodges in the tertiary vessels.

        It stays there [for a while] and does not leave.

        Then it enters [further] and lodges in the network vessels.

        It stays there [for a while] and does not leave.

        Then it enters...

      • Chapter 64 Discourse on Opposition and Compliance in Piercing in [the Course of] the Four Seasons
        (pp. 149-158)

        When the ceasing yin [qi] is present in surplus,¹ the [resulting] disease is a yin block.²

        When it is present insufficiently, the disease generated is heat block.³

        When [the vessels] are smooth, then the disease is fox [type] elevation illness wind.

        When they are rough, then the disease is accumulated qi in the lower abdomen.⁴

        When the minor yin [qi] is present in surplus, the [resulting] disease is skin block {inconspicuous papules}.⁵

        When it is present insufficiently, the [resulting] disease is lung block.⁶

        When [the vessels] are smooth, then the disease is lung wind elevation illness.

        When they are rough,...

      • Chapter 65 Discourse on Tip and Root and on the Transmission of Disease [Inside the Organism]
        (pp. 159-172)

        Huang Di asked:

        “Diseases have tip and a root;²

        in piercing there is opposition and compliance.³

        How is that?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “All formulas of piercing

        require one to distinguish yin and yang.⁴

        Front and back correspond to each other,⁵

        opposition and compliance can be applied.⁶

        Tip and root mutually shift [positions].⁷

        Hence, it is said:

        in some cases, it is at the tip and it is searched for at the tip;

        in some cases, it is at the root and it is searched for at the root;

        in some cases, it is at the root and it is searched...

      • Chapter 66 Comprehensive Discourse on Arrangements of the Principal [Qi] of Heaven.
        (pp. 173-188)

        Huang Di asked:

        “ ‘Heaven has the five agents;

        they control¹ the five positions.²

        Thereby [the five agents] generate cold, summerheat, dryness, dampness, and wind.³

        Man has the five depots;

        they transform⁴ the five qi,

        thereby generating joy, anger, pensiveness, anxiety, and fear.’⁵

        The discourse states:

        ‘The five periods succeed each other and each of them governs [one of] these [segments of the year].

        When the days of an annual cycle⁶ are completed, the cycle commences anew.’⁷

        That I have come to know already. I should like to hear [now] how this is linked to the manifestations of the three...

      • Chapter 67 Comprehensive Discourse on the Progression of the Five Periods
        (pp. 189-212)

        Huang Di sat in the Hall of light.²

        In the beginning he rectified the mainstay of heaven.³

        He looked down [from his elevated seat] and observed the eight farthest [regions].⁴

        Having carried out investigations, he established the five constants.⁵

        He summoned the Heavenly Teacher and asked him:⁶

        “A discourse states:

        ‘the movement and resting in heaven and on the earth,

        the spirit brilliance sets up their arrangement.

        As for the rise and descent of yin and yang,

        cold, summerheat [and the remaining of the six qi] appear as their manifestations.’⁷

        I have heard from you, Sir, the numbers [associated with]...

      • Chapter 68 Comprehensive Discourse on the Subtle Significance of the Six [Qi]
        (pp. 213-240)

        Huang Di asked:

        “Alas! Profound is the Way of heaven, indeed!

        ‘As if one faced drifting clouds,

        as if one looked into a deep abyss.’


        when looking into a deep abyss, it is still possible to fathom [its depth];

        when facing drifting clouds, no one knows their farthest extension.¹

        You, Sir, have repeatedly² spoken about the Way of heaven which should be attentively accepted. I have heard [it] and [I have] stored it. In my heart, [though,] I feel strange about it. I do not know what it means. I should like you, Sir, to pour out your mind...

      • Chapter 69 Comprehensive Discourse on Changes [resulting from] Qi Interaction
        (pp. 241-284)

        Huang Di asked:

        “The five periods govern successively.¹

        Above they correspond to the annual cycles of heaven.²

        Yin and yang leave and return;³

        cold and summerheat, if one comes up the other will follow.⁴

        True [qi] and evil [qi] strike at each other.⁵

        Inner and outer [regions] part from [each other].⁶

        The [contents of the] six conduits are stirred like waves.

        The five qi shift towards imbalance.⁷

        Great excess and inadequacy,

        domination alone and appropriated [territory],⁸

        I should like to speak about their beginning,⁹

        and also about their regular designations.

        May [I] hear [about them]?”10

        Qi Bo paid reverence by...

      • Chapter 70 Comprehensive Discourse on the Five Regular Policies
        (pp. 285-356)

        Huang Di asked:

        “The extension of the Great Void is boundless.

        The five periods turn [around in cycles, one] pressing [another].¹

        They differ in their weakness and abundance;

        decrease and increase follow each other.

        I should like to hear: what are the names, what is the arrangement of the [years of] balanced qi?”

        Qi Bo responded:

        “A brilliant question, indeed!

        [A year of the] wood [period with balanced qi] is called ‘extended harmony.’²

        [A year of the] fire [period with balanced qi] is called ‘ascending brilliance.’³

        [A year of the] soil [period with balanced qi] is called ‘perfect transformation.’⁴


      • Chapter 71 Comprehensive Discourse on the Policies and Arrangements of the Six Principal [Qi].
        (pp. 357-534)

        Huang Di asked:

        “The transformations of the six [qi] and the [catastrophic] changes of the six [qi],² domination and revenge, excess and order,³

        the earlier and the belated⁴ [formation of] sweet, bitter, acrid, salty, sour and bland [flavors],⁵ –

        I have come to know all this.


        the transformations of the five periods,

        sometimes they follow the qi of heaven,⁶

        sometimes they oppose the qi of heaven;⁷

        sometimes they follow the qi of heaven and oppose the qi of the earth;⁸

        sometimes they follow the qi of the earth and oppose the qi of heaven;

        sometimes they agree, sometimes they do...

      • Chapter 74 Comprehensive Discourse on the Essentials of the Most Reliable
        (pp. 535-642)

        Huang Di asked:

        “The five qi interact and unite and

        they may abound or be depleted alternately.

        This I have come to know.¹

        The six qi govern separate [time sections].

        When they control heaven and earth,

        what [effects are brought about] by their arrival?”²

        Qi Bo paid reverence twice and responded:

        “A brilliant question, indeed!

        The great arrangements of heaven and earth,

        this is what all men and spirits correspond to.”

        [Huang] Di:

        “I should like to hear,

        ‘upper conjunction [results in] luminosity,

        lower conjunction [results in] obscurity.’

        what does that mean?”³

        Qi Bo:

        “This is ruled by the Way....

      • Chapter 75 Discourse on Making Known the Perfect Teachings
        (pp. 643-650)

        Huang Di sat in the Hall of light.³

        He summoned Lei Gong and asked him:

        “Do you know the Way of medicine?”

        Lei Gong responded:

        “When reciting [the texts, I] am not yet⁴ able to explain [them].

        When explaining [them, I] am not yet able to differentiate [their contents].

        When differentiating their [contents, I] am not yet able to understand [them].

        When understanding [them, I] am not yet able to elucidate [them].⁵

        [My knowledge] is sufficient to treat the common officials;

        it is insufficient to treat princes and kings.⁶

        I should like to be taught to determine the measures of...

      • Chapter 76 Discourse on Demonstrating a Natural Approach
        (pp. 651-664)

        Huang Di sat leisurely.²

        He summoned Lei Gong and asked him:

        “Having been taught the art and reciting the written records,

        it appears you are able

        to consider a broad variety of teachings,³

        to reach [an ability] to compare the likes,⁴ and

        to penetrate and become one with the structures of the Way.

        Speak to me about where you excel.

        The five depots and the six palaces,

        the gallbladder, the stomach, the large and the small intestines,

        the spleen, the uterus, and the urinary bladder,

        the brain, the marrow, the snivel, and the saliva,

        weeping, sadness, and grief, as well...

      • Chapter 77 Discourse on Expounding the Five Faults
        (pp. 665-678)

        Huang Di:

        “Alas! How profound!

        As unfathomable,¹

        as if one looked into a deep abyss,

        as if one faced drifting clouds!


        when looking into a deep abyss,

        it is still possible to measure [its depth];

        when facing drifting clouds,

        no one knows their farthest extension.²

        The art of the sages,

        it establishes a model for all mankind.

        Judgment and mind

        must be based on laws and rules.

        If one follows the classics and observes the calculations and

        accordingly practices medicine,

        this will be beneficial to all mankind.³


        the practice [of medicine] has five faulty and four virtuous [ways...

      • Chapter 78 Discourse on Evidence of the Four Failures
        (pp. 679-686)

        Huang Di was in the Hall of light; Lei Gong sat in attendance.

        Huang Di:


        the written records you have penetrated and the [therapeutic] tasks you have accepted, are many.²

        Attempt to speak [to me] of

        the meaning of achieving or missing [success].

        That by which one achieves it.

        That by which one misses it.”³

        Lei Gong responded:

        “[I have] followed the classics⁴ and [I have] received [instructions in medical] practice.⁵

        All these [modes of learning] are said to result in success in all [cases treated].

        [Nevertheless, I] occasionally commit a mistake.

        Please, may I hear an explanation of...

      • Chapter 79 Discourse on Yin and Yang Categories
        (pp. 687-704)

        At the first arrival of the first month of spring,¹

        Huang Di sat leisurely.²

        While he looked down [from his elevated seat] and observed the eight farthest [regions]³ and

        rectified the qi of the eight winds,⁴

        he asked Lei Gong:

        “The categories of yin and yang and

        the Way of the conduit vessels,

        that is what is ruled by the five inside.⁵

        Which depot is the most precious?”

        Lei Gong responded:

        “Spring, [that is] jia and yi, [that is] green-blue

        Inside it rules the liver.⁶

        It governs for 72 days;

        this is the season ruling the vessels.

        [I, your] subject...

      • Chapter 80 Discourse on Comparing Abundance and Weakness
        (pp. 705-718)

        Lei Gong requested to ask:

        “The large or small amounts of qi,

        which [of their movements] are contrary [to their regular course] and

        which [of their movements] follow [their regular course]?”

        Huang Di answered:

        “Yang [qi] follows the [course on the] left;

        yin [qi] follows the [course on the] right.¹

        In the old, it follows the [course] above;

        in the young, it follows the [course] below.²


        in spring and summer,

        an association with yang is life;

        an association with autumn or winter, this is death.³

        In the opposite [case],

        an association with autumn or winter is life.⁴



      • Chapter 81 Discourse on Explaining the Subtleties of Essence
        (pp. 719-730)

        Huang Di was in the Hall of Light.

        Lei Gong requested:

        “[I, your] subject, give² instructions [in medical practice and thereby] I transmit it.

        When I give lessons, they are based on the discourses in the classics, [including]

        the Natural Approach and the Patterns of Physical Appearance,

        Yin and Yang and Piercing and Cauterization, as well as

        the nourishing effects of drugs prepared as decoctions.³

        When I give treatments, [though,] they show [instances of] exemplary and [others of] non-exemplary [therapies];⁴

        I cannot yet definitely achieve success in all [cases I treat].

        When[you] have spoken before of

        sadness and grief, joy...

      • BIBLIOGRAPHY Vol. 2 Su wen Chapters 53-71 and 74-82
        (pp. 731-754)