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Nan-ching—The Classic of Difficult Issues

Nan-ching—The Classic of Difficult Issues

translated and annotated by Paul U. Unschuld
Copyright Date: 1986
Edition: 1
Pages: 700
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  • Book Info
    Nan-ching—The Classic of Difficult Issues
    Book Description:

    The classic of difficult issues.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-90767-6
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. PART I. Prolegomena

    • 1. Introductory Remarks
      (pp. 3-10)

      TheNan-chingis an ancient Chinese medical classic; it was compiled, probably, at some time during the first or second century A.D. For the past eight or nine centuries, theNan-chinghas been overshadowed by the reputation and authority of the “original” classic, theHuang-tinei-ching (“The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic”) with its two largely different segments, theHuang-ti nei-ching su-wen (orSu-weri) and theHuang-ti nei-ching ling-shu (orLing-shu). The present edition of theNan-chingcombines a translation of its textus receptus and of selected commentaries by twenty Chinese and Japanese authors of the past seventeen centuries with an interpretation by...

    • 2. The Historical Significance of the Nan-ching
      (pp. 11-16)

      The prehistory of theNan-chingas a work marking the apex of the application of the concepts of yinyang and of the Five Phases to medicine in Chinese antiquity may have begun at some time in the third century B.C. with the emergence of the medicine of systematic correspondence. As far as we can judge from the evidence available today, before the third century B.C., health care in China was based on a recognition of an ancestral responsibility in matters of illness and health (a doctrine that seems to have dominated during the Shang and early Chou), and on an...

    • 3. The Contents of the Nan-ching
      (pp. 17-28)

      An innovative diagnostic approach and a coherent concept of needling therapy are, on first glance, the two central messages conveyed by theNan-ching; they represent, however, but two ingredients of a virtually complete conceptual system of medical care that also includes a detailed discussion of physiology, etiology, and pathology.

      As is the case with the editions of theSu-wenand theLing-shuthat are extant, the textus receptus of theNan-chingconsists of eighty-one sections. In theSu-wen, all eighty-one sections are designated by a specific topic to which is added consistently the termlun論 (“discussion” or simply “on...”);...

    • 4. The Origin of the Nan-ching
      (pp. 29-34)

      The compilation date of theNan-chingremains a matter of controversy Three decades ago, Fan Hsing-chun suggested that theNan-chingwas written at some time during the era of the Six Dynasties, probably during the fifth or sixth century A.D.²⁵ In an essay elucidating his arguments, Fan Hsing-chun quoted Liao P’ing 廖坪 (1851–1914?), who was the first to propose such a late compilation date. Among other arguments, Liao P’ing pointed out that a new attitude toward women, beginning at the time of the Ch’i and Liang dynasties, had forced physicians to modify their diagnostic techniques: “Since the times of...

    • 5. The Reception of the Nan-ching in Later Centuries
      (pp. 35-53)

      The message offered by theNan-chingmust have been quite convincing in at least one respect. Vessel diagnosis concentrating on the wrists was adopted not only by many physicians (who were criticized by Chang Chi—or by a later commentator to his preface—for an all too simplistic practice both of diagnosis in general and of wrist diagnosis as well) but also by the leading pre-Sung authors of medical works with sections on diagnosis that have been transmitted to us from pre-Sung times. This applies—in addition to the Shang-hanlun—to theChia-i ching屮乙經 and theMai-ching脈經...

      (pp. 53-60)
  4. PART II. Text, Translation, Commentaries, and Notes

    • Preliminary Note
      (pp. 62-64)

      The oldest version of theNan-chingdocumented today is probably Li Chiung’s edition of 1269; it is preserved in thecheng-t’ungedition of theTao-tsangof the mid-fifteenth century. If not marked otherwise, I have made use of theTao-tsangversion as the basis of the present edition. The textual differences among theTao-tsangversion and other early editions available today (such as the 1590 printing of Hua Shou’sNan-ching pen-ior the 1472 Japanese printing of Hsiung Tsung-li’sWu-t’ ing tzu su-chieh pa-shih-i nan-ching)are almost negligible (references to those differences will be found in the Notes). It is...

    • Chapter One The Movement in the Vessels and Its Diagnostic Significance
      (pp. 65-284)

      The first difficult issue: (1) All the twelve conduits have [sections where the] movement [in these] vessels¹ [can be felt]. (2) Still, one selects only the “inch-opening” in order to determine whether the [body’s] five depots and six palaces [harbor a] pattern² of death or life, of good or evil auspices. What does that mean?

      (3) It is like this. The “inch-opening” constitutes the great meeting point of the [contents passing through] the vessels; it is the [section of the] hand-great-yin [conduit where the] movement [in that] vessel [can be felt]. (4) When a [normal] person exhales once, [the contents...

    • Chapter Two The Conduits and the Network-Vessels
      (pp. 285-340)

      The twenty-third difficult issue: (1) Can one be instructed on the measurements of the three yin and three yang vessels of the hands and feet?

      (2) It is like this. The vessels of the three hand-yang [conduits] extend from the hands to the head. They are five feet long. Five [feet] times six amounts to threechang. (3) The vessels of the three handyin [conduits] extend from the hands into the chest.¹ They are three feet five inches long. Three [feet] times six amount to one chang eight feet; five [inches] times six amounts to three feet. Together this is...

    • Chapter Three The Depots and the Palaces
      (pp. 341-448)

      The thirtieth difficult issue: (1) In general, the constructive influences and the protective influences follow each other proceeding [through the organism]. Is it not so?

      (2) It is like this. The scripture states: Man receives his influences from the grains. (3) The grains enter the stomach, from which they are transmitted further to the five depots and six palaces. (4) All the five depots and six palaces are supplied with influences [by the stomach]. (5) The clear [portion] turns into constructive [influences]; the turbid [portion] turns into protective [influences]. (6) The constructive [influences] proceed inside the vessels; the protective [influences]...

    • Chapter Four On Illnessess
      (pp. 449-544)

      The forty-eighth difficult issue: (1) A person may have three [kinds of] depletion and three [kinds of] repletion. What does that mean?

      (2) It is like this. The [movement in the] vessels may display depletion or repletion; the [course and the nature of an] illness may reveal depletion or repletion; and the examination [of the patient] may reveal depletion or repletion. (3) As for [the display of] depletion or repletion by the [movement in the] vessels, a soft [movement] indicates depletion, a tight and firm [movement] indicates repletion. (4) [There are three possibilities for a display of] depletion and repletion...

    • Chapter Five Transportation Holes
      (pp. 545-582)

      The sixty-second difficult issue: (1) The [vessels associated with the body’s] depots have five [holes each; these are the] “wells,” “brooks,” [etc]. Only the [vessels associated with the body’s] palaces have six [holes each]. What does that mean?

      (2) It is like this. The palaces are yang. The Triple Burner passes [its influences] through all the yang [conduits and palaces]. Hence an [additional] transportation [hole] has been established, named “origin.” [When it is said] “the palaces have six,” this is so because the [three sections of the] Triple Burner have one influence in common, which is added [to those of...

    • Chapter Six Needling Patterns
      (pp. 583-650)

      The sixty-ninth difficult issue: (1) The scripture states: In case of depletion, fill it. (2) In case of repletion, drain it. (3) When neither a repletion nor a depletion are present, remove the [illness] from the conduits. What does that mean?

      (4) It is like this. In case of depletion, fill the respective [conduit’s] mother. (5) In case of repletion, drain the respective [conduit’s] child. (6) One must fill first and drain afterward. (7) The removal of [an illness] from the conduits [themselves] because neither a repletion nor a depletion is present is [appropriate] if a regular conduit has fallen...

  5. Appendixes

    • Appendix A Survey of Commentated Nan-ching Editions by Chinese Authors from the Third through Twentieth Century
      (pp. 653-661)
    • Appendix B Chinese Twentieth-Century Essays on the Nan-ching
      (pp. 662-664)
    • Appendix C Commentated Nan-ching Editions by Japanese Authors in the Takeda and Fujikawa Libraries, as well as Lost Titles of Past Centuries
      (pp. 665-669)
    • Appendix D Chang Shih-hsien’s (1510) Graphs Depicting the Eighty-One Difficult Issues
      (pp. 670-726)
  6. Glossary of Technical Terms in the Nan-ching
    (pp. 727-748)
  7. Index to Prolegomena, Commentaries, and Notes
    (pp. 749-760)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 761-762)