Details about Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine Spiritual Pivot/Huangdi Neijing/Biling
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Jun 25, 2012
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Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine Spiritual Pivot/Huangdi Neijing(3 Volumes)(Library of Chinese Classics), Hardcover
Huangdi Neijing (simplified Chinese: 黄帝内经; traditional Chinese: 黃帝內經; pinyin: Huángdì Nèijīng), also known as The Inner Canon of Huangdi or Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon, is an ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia and until today. It is comparable in importance to the Hippocratic Corpus in Greek medicine or the works of Galen in Islamic and medieval European medicine. The work is composed of two texts each of eighty-one chapters or treatises in a question-and-answer format between the mythical Huangdi (Yellow Emperor or more correctly Yellow Thearch) and six of his equally legendary ministers.
The first text, the Suwen (素問), also known as Basic Questions, covers the theoretical foundation of Chinese Medicine and its diagnostic methods. The second and generally less referred-to text, the Lingshu (靈樞) [Spiritual Pivot], discusses acupuncture therapy in great detail. 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. Two other texts also carried the prefix Huangdi neijing in their titles: the Mingtang 明堂 ["Hall of Light"] and the Taisu 太素 ["Grand Basis"], both of which have survived only partially.
The earliest mention of the Huangdi neijing was in the bibliographical chapter of the Hanshu 漢書 (or Book of Han, completed in 111 CE), next to a Huangdi waijing 黃帝外經 (“Yellow Emperor’s Outer Canon”) that is now lost. A scholar-physician called Huangfu Mi 皇甫謐 (215-282 CE) was the first to claim that the Huangdi neijing in 18 juan 卷 (or volumes) that was listed in the Hanshu bibliography corresponded with two different books that circulated in his own time: the Suwen and the Zhenjing 鍼經 (“Needling Canon”), each in 9 juan. Since scholars believe that Zhenjing was one of the Lingshu's earlier titles, they agree that the Han-dynasty Huangdi neijing was made of two different texts that are close in content to the works we know today as the Suwen and the Lingshu.
The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic (Huangdi Neijing, 黃帝內經) is the most important ancient text in Chinese medicine as well as a major book of Daoist theory and lifestyle. The text is structured as a dialogue between the Yellow Emperor and one of his ministers or physicians, most commonly Qíbó (Chinese: 岐伯), but also Shàoyú (Chinese: 少俞). One possible reason for using this device was for the (anonymous) authors to avoid attribution and blame (see pages 8-14 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.
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