I would like to comment briefly on that sentence and propose a different translation of it. I propose an alternative translation with two important differences. There are other passages in the Nei Jing that would support this view. Firstly, the Ling Shu is very much an acupuncture text and therefore the reference to concentrating when needling makes sense.
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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. 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. The German scholar Paul U. 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 According to Unschuld pages 39 and 62 Wang Bing's version of the Suwen was based on Quan Yuanqi's early sixth century commented version of the Suwen consisting of nine juan books and sixty-nine discourses.
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. Not much is known about Wang Bing's life but he authored several books.
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 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. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the county in China, see Suwen County. Han dynasty topics.
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A Manual of Acupuncture digital subscriptions represent the ultimate learning resource for students and practitioners alike. The following article was first published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine number , June This article comprises the Introduction excerpted from the new English language translation of the Huang Di nei jing su wen by Paul Unschuld. The publication of an English language version of the Huang Di nei jing ling shu is a major event for the Chinese medicine community. We have chosen to share the introduction to this work in the Journal of Chinese Medicine due to its long history of publishing and reviewing the finest translators, authors and clinicians in the Asian medical field. In his definitive translation of the Ling shu, Paul Unschuld achieves an academic, standard rendition that is suitable for both research and clinical reference.
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