《黄帝内经》是我国古代文化中最灿烂的经典著作之一，也是第一部冠以中华民族先祖“黄帝”之名的传世巨著; 同时，也是中华传统医药学的现存最早的一部理论经典。《黄帝内经》成书于大约2000年前的秦汉时期, 她的博大精深的科学阐述，不仅涉及医学，而且包罗天文学、地理学、哲学、人类学、社会学、军事学、数学、生态学等各项人类所获的科学成就。令人颇感惊讶的是，中华先祖们在《内经》里的一些深奥精辟的阐述，虽然早在2000年前，却揭示了许多现代科学正试图证实的与将要证实的成就。中国古代最著名的大医家张仲景、华佗、孙思邈、李时珍等均深受《内经》思想的熏陶和影响，无不刻苦研读之，深得其精要，而终成我国历史上的一代医圣。《黄帝内经》作为祖国传统医学的理论思想基础及精髓，在中华民族近二千年繁衍生息的漫漫历史长河中，它的医学主导作用及贡献功不可没。试想，大略700年前，欧洲鼠疫暴发，有四分之一的欧洲人失去了宝贵的生命，而中国近两千年的历史中虽也有瘟疫流行，但从未有过象欧洲一样惨痛的记录，中国中医药及《内经》的作用由此可以充分展示。所以说，中华民族是世界上最优秀的民族！中华文化是世界上最优秀的文化！我们每一位龙的传人都应为我们伟大的祖国医学而感到骄傲，为我们的杰出的祖先而感到自豪，并为沉睡了两百年的祖国中医的现代化及世界化而做一些诚挚的努力, 因为仅有极少数人的努力是不足以推动这个伟大的事业的！可以预见，只有当伟大的中医真正复兴的那一天才将是整个中华民族真正意义上复兴的那一天！
The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor
黄 帝 内 经
Produced by Beijing Foreign Languages Press
Translated by Zhu Ming
The Oldest Extant Classic of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The First Word-for-Word Translation from Chinese to English.
With the rapid expansion of China's policy of openness, cultural exchange between the West and East is being greatly stimulated. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), as a distinctive element of East Asian civilization and one of the great medical traditions of the world, is attracting more and more interest. Awareness of acupuncture has spread widely in the Western society and TCM gains recognition daily. Nowadays, highly advanced Western medicine is facing a kind of great Green Revolution that aims at producing more natural drugs and medical techniques without noxious side-effects. In contrast, millennia old TCM, which successfully united all scientific achievements in ancient times, has failed to absorb modern advanced technology in recent times and is confronted with a great challenge of modernization. Therefore, it is inevitable that ancient East Asian medical understanding will combine with modern Western medical knowledge to form a glorious whole, which our contemporaries and generations to come will appreciate as a great contribution to the cause of human health.
In Western countries scholars and physicians are engaged in systematic and comprehensive study of TCM and have made rapid progress both in theory and in practice. Naturally, many of these researchers into TCM are interested in knowing its earliest sources, which have been rendered mysterious and enticing by their inaccessibility. It is unfortunate, but there are three significant cultural and linguistic barriers to easy understanding: between English language and Chinese language, between standard Chinese and TCM technical terminology, and between modern TCM terminology and archaic medical Chinese. Few of the westerners who have tried to stride over the three wide gaps have been able to successfully approach this attractive and exotic medical field. Hence, more culture brokers are needed who are sufficiently proficient in TCM, on archaic medical Chinese and in English, so that more Western people can receive adequate information about the origins of TCM.
The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor (Huang Di Nei Jing), which is also translated by Ilza Veith as The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine (1966), is the oldest extant classic of TCM and the source of theory for this independent medical system. This book is written in the form of a dialogue in which the Yellow Emperor (the legendary first ancestor of the Chinese nation) discusses medicine with his ministers and some well-known doctors. No student of TCM in China could escape knowing about this text.
I made my decision to translate The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor into English after I became a doctor of TCM from the Hunan College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and had undertaken clinical practice of TCM for many years. Fearing that my translation would do disservice to this great text, I proceeded meticulously in almost every step of my work, yet it was pushed forward slowly but surely by my loyalty to, and enthusiasm for, the masterpiece.
The Original Version
A perfect version of the original text is a precondition for a satisfactorily translated product. I choose the textbook version of The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor as my original. It was edited by the Compiling and Checking Committee of Textbooks of State Universities and Colleges organized by the Ministry of Public Health of the People's Republic of China in 1982. The chief editor, Dr. Cheng Shide, is from Beijing TCM College. This textbook explains the original articles of The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor in a scientific, orderly and concise way. It is the unquestionably authoritative and consummate source. Annotations that quote explanatory notes of many famous ancient medical masters are presented as concisely as possible, while some necessary explanations are added.
Structure of This Book
The structure of this book is to present the translations of an original article, or a section of dialogue, from The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor, followed by annotations and commentaries. This stable structure is intended to constantly clarify the reader's understanding.
Sometimes, the original article and the annotations may convey a same concept in two different forms of expression. For example, the original article says, "Open the ghost gate and cleanse the clear fu-organ," while the annotation which follows says, "Diaphoresis and diuresis." The reason for the significant difference between the translation of the original article and the annotation is that, while words "diaphoresis and diuresis" present a readily recognizable gloss in Western medical terminology, a literal translation of the original text is closer to the expression accepted by practitioners of TCM in China and comes closer to reflecting the real meaning in the context of TCM conceptualization.
Most of the original articles of The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor are quite terse. Hence, in order to make the translations of each article as close as possible to the Chinese language source, the annotations making the concepts and sentences more complete and clearer, and the commentaries summing up the gist of the articles, are usually indispensable.
Style of Translation
Literal translation, freely conveying factual information, is dependable and is the technique of translation adopted here. Many books have been successfully translated word-for-word into English and published in order to introduce TCM to the world.
However, in an ordinary situation when an ancient classic of TCM is translated, dozens of experts from many fields take part in the work. First, professors of TCM interpret the book into current Chinese; then, professors of Western medicine, historians, linguists, anthropologists, etc., who have profound knowledge of English and Chinese, but not of TCM, translate this book into English. So, it is not difficult for us to imagine that errors due to different modes of thinking may occur. The different modes of thinking, different word usages, different styles and skills of translation, etc., may perplex readers. Western readers will frequently find inconsistencies in identifying concepts, just as if a man has five different names. The mistakes in disease names used in Western medicine will twist the facts fundamentally and confuse readers, especially among scholars of Western medicine. Thus, to translate verbatim is the best but hardest choice.
The principle of literal translation penetrates the entire proceeding of my work. Unavoidably, some words have to be added or deleted on some necessary occasions in order to offer a correct and full understanding. Some examples of literal translation are demonstrated as follows:
1. 邪 之 所 凑， 其 气 必 虚。
Where evils converge, the qi must be deficient.
2. 正 气 存 内， 邪 不 可 干。
The right qi exists inside; evils cannot make disturbance.
3. 壮 水 之 主 以 制 阳 光。
Strengthen the dominance of water to control the yang light.
4. 益 火 之 源 以 消 阴 翳。
Boost the source of fire to disperse the yin shadow.
5. 五 藏 者， 所 以 藏 精 神 血 气 魂 魄 者 也。
The five zang-organs are what store the essence, spirit, blood, qi, yang soul, and yin soul.
6. 六 府 者， 所 以 化 水 谷 而 行 津 液 者 也。
The six fu-organs are what transform water and grains and move the fluids.
All terms and concepts of TCM originate from the daily speech and activities of working people. It is easy to find their equivalents in English. English is based on people's shared experience in living, just as Chinese is. Therefore, English equivalents for terms in TCM can be determined. Generally speaking, any word that clearly conveys the true meaning of a Chinese term is acceptable. However, both Chinese and English have many synonyms, so a reliable and relatively stable system of terms is required. It is a matter for rejoicing that the system of terms is becoming more and more mature now in a universally recognized way after the efforts of many people from China and abroad. I have consulted many English books about TCM published in China and overseas. Of these, I tend to favor the work of the English enthusiast, Dr. Nigel Wiseman, who has made insightful and marvelous explorations in establishing the terminological system of TCM.
It is worthwhile to mention that it is not wise for us to try to equate the terms of TCM to those of Western medicine, inasmuch as it usually leads to conceptual mistakes. In general, the anatomical terms are compatible. We had better avoid using the terms of Western medicine in TCM, especially using disease names, which often risks committing fatal mistakes, because TCM and Western medicine research the same entity from utterly different angles.
I am confident that no expression in this book will seem too thorny when a foreign reader has grasped terms that frequently appear, such as qi (气), yin (阴), yang (阳), zang-organ(脏), fu-organ(腑), triple-warmer (三焦), nutritive qi (营), and defensive qi (卫). A lucid English version, which even a foreigner without any knowledge of TCM and Chinese culture can understand with ease, is what I have done my utmost to produce. As we all know, science has no borders. TCM, the great treasure, should belong to the world's people. I am sure the comprehensive exportation of TCM will bring a brighter future to the health cause of the human race.
Many sincere thanks are extended to Prof. Tong Yao and Prof. Yao Yong, working in Shanghai University of TCM now, for their instructive advice for modification. I also want to express my special gratitude to the international scholars of TCM, Prof. Stephen R. Smith of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, USA, Dr. Isabeau Volhardt, L.AC. of University of Washington, and Dr. Kim Taylor of University of Cambridge in England for their convincing and extensive revisions of my manuscript and their cordial encouragement. The English language is also corrected by Patti J. Tobin, Justin Sattin, Barry J. Grice, Volker Scheid, John Wm. Schiffeler, Gypsy Cole, Chao Yuang-Ling, Liu Xun, and Sun Ming, whose enthusiastic support for this project is admirable. The quality of the book would not have been improved without their generous help. Being impossible to be unassailable, this book eagerly awaits more criticism from all fields.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction to The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor
1.1 Times of Compilation and Its Author
1.2 Components of the Book
1.3 Basic Academic Thoughts Found in the Theoretical System of The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor
1.3.1 Materialist Dialectics
1.3.2 The Integral Idea that Man and Nature Are Mutually Corresponding
Chapter 2. Theory of Yin-Yang and Theory of the Five Elements
2.1 Fifth Article. Great Topic on Correspondences and Manifestations of Yin and Yang. Plain Questions.
2.2 Fourth Article. Discussion of the True Speeches of the Golden Cabinet. Plain Questions.
2.3 Sixth Article. Discussion of Separation and Combination of Yin and Yang. Plain Questions.
Chapter 3. Theory of Zang-Organs and Manifestations
Zang-Organs and Fu-Organs
3.1 Ninth Article. Discussions of Zang-Organs and Manifestations Corresponding to Six. Plain Questions.
3.2 Eighth Article. Discussion of Secret Classic in Ganoderma and Orchid House. Plain Questions.
3.3 Eleventh Article. Discussion of Differentiations Among the Five Zang-Organs. Plain Questions.
3.4 Fifty-fourth Article. Natural Life-Span. Divine Pivot.
3.5 Fifty-sixth Article. The Five Flavors. Divine Pivot.
3.6 Thirty-third Article. Discussion of Seas. Divine Pivot.
3.7 Second Article. Basic Points. Divine Pivot.
3.8 Twenty-ninth Article. Discussion of Greater-Yin and Bright-Yang. Plain Questions
3.9 Twenty-first Article. Discussion of Differentiations Among the Channels. Plain Questions.
3.10 Seventeenth Article. Measurements of the Channels. Divine Pivot.
3.11 Eightieth Article. Discussion of Great Puzzlement. Divine Pivot.
Essence, Qi and Spirit
3.12 Thirtieth Article. Decisive Qi. Divine Pivot.
3.13 Eighteenth Article. Generation and Meeting of Nutritive Qi and Defensive Qi. Divine Pivot.
3.14 Thirty-sixth Article. Differentiations Among Five Metabolic Liquids. Divine Pivot.
3.15 Seventy-first Article. Dwelling of Evils. Divine Pivot.
3.16 Eighth Article. Root Spirit. Divine Pivot.
3.17 Forty-seventh Article. Root Zang-Organs. Divine Pivot.
Chapter 4. Theory of Channels and Network-Channels
4.1 Tenth Article. Channels. Divine Pivot.
4.2 Sixteenth Article. Nutritive Qi. Divine Pivot.
4.3 Seventy-eighth Article. Discussion of Nine Needles. Divine Pivot.
4.4 Fifty-first Article. Back Transport Points. Divine Pivot.
4.5 Sixtieth Article. Discussion of Holes in Bones. Plain Questions.
4.6 Thirty-eighth Article. Unfavorableness, Favorableness, Thickness, and Thinness. Divine Pivot.
4.7 Seventeenth Article. Measurements of the Channels. Divine Pivot.
4.8 Twenty-first Article. Diseases with Chills and Fevers. Divine Pivot.
Thank you profusely for your reading!