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  • Writer's pictureLim SJ


Updated: Feb 10, 2021

In this blog, we shall discuss the preface of Shang Han Lun. I have seen many lectures on Shang Han Lun, and I observed that preface is always ignored. The preface is just advice to the readers and not a part of the actual training, so skipping it will not harm. But I believe that the preface is the most precious thing for those about to start the study.

Zhang Zhong Jing is very respectable in Chinese medicine, but unfortunately, there are not many records. We only know that he was from He Nan province and became a government officer in Chang Sha. Other than this piece of information, we don't know anything about him. The preface of Shang Han Lun carries the necessary advice that taking care of our body is essential, never let any quack doctor control your health. This book teaches us that we can take care of our health without anyone’s help; in fact, we can even treat those who are dear to us without relying on anyone. I will upload the preface of all the chapters on the web. Please reach out and study them.

Now I will explain the preface to you. At the beginning of the preface, Zhang Zhong Jing takes the name of a famous ancient doctor Biân Què. In the 4th century BC, doctor Biân Què traveled to far off places and treated various patients. He was the first doctor to classify multiple disciplines of medical science. Once, he went to the state of Guó. At that time, the state was preparing for the funeral of the royal prince. But Biân Què observed that the inner thigh and groin area of the prince were warm. Immediately, he informed the same to the royal family. He suggested that the prince was in a deep coma and could be treated. The royals then entrusted Biân Què with the prince's life. Biân Què performed acupuncture on the prince's head and brought him back on his feet. Since then, many people would call Biân Què the Doctor Who could bring back the dead.

Once Biân Què met Marquis Huán of Qí, he observed something odd with Marquis Huán's health. But Marquis concocted wrong understanding of Biân Què's warning. He thought that Biân Què is trying to make some money by claiming that he is sick. Persistent with his claims, Biân Què warned Marquis again, for the disease was getting more profound now. Yet also, Marquis ignored his plea. Biân Què realized that the King is beyond saving, and so, he left!

Zhang Zhong Jing Was fascinated by the treatments performed by Biân Què. Eventually, Zhang Zhong Jing developed the first comprehensive diagnostic system in medical history. He created the 6 section diagnosis system, supplemented with five organ systems and various diseases. He perfected this ability to predict the illness like Biân Què. Zhang Zhong Jing's procedures are the primary records of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, CPS, and artificial respiration.

In Ganotherapy, we diagnose people and study the language of the body. We can trace this tradition back to Zhang Zhong Jing and Biân Què. In traditional Chinese medicine, we honor Zhang Zhong Jing as the father of Diagnostic and Herbal formulation. The study of Shang Han Lun can make you understand the body's language and predict the health problem. We always say that prevention is better than cure, but without prediction, how to prevent? So, the prediction of health problems is the first step in prevention.

Zhang Zhong Jing would always stress the importance of diagnosis before the application of herbs and medicine. Many of his diagnostic techniques are even more advanced than the so-called modern medicine. I suggest you study the same along with the Shang Han Lun. Zhang Zhong Jing lamented that people at that time no longer research and care for their health. He would say that the people of those times would never learn about diagnosis and herbal formulas and were incapable of treating themselves and others. This lamentation is genuine until today, where people spend more time choosing their clothing and hairstyle, and too less on choosing good food and taking good care of their health. Zhang Zhong Jing's preface also points out an essential fact that anybody can learn about herbs and treat themselves and others. Treatment is not the monopoly of doctors.

Zhang Zhong Jing also complains that people were desperate for fame, power, position, and profit. This scenario is real even today. Many people are rushing through this rat race, chasing the rainbow in their life, making money and losing their health, and then losing what they earned to treat their health. If you cannot take care of your health when a severe illness strikes, you will panic and surrender your precious body in the hands of others. Zhang Zhong Jing advises us not to run after the superficial glory for material gain and forget the health.

I want to give you some advice on the best methods of studying. It is to check the subject rigidly and to review it well. And the last is to learn a topic widely but never deeply. Zhang Zhong Jing Uses this advice to conclude his preface, and it is good advice indeed.

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