Extra Treatises Based On Investigation & Enquiry

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Translation by Yang Shou-zhong & Duan Wu-jin
Blue Poppy Press, 1993
140 pages

With this book, Blue Poppy offers yet another translation of an important Chinese classic, in this case a companion volume to the longer Heart & Essence of Dan Xi's Methods of Treatment (reviewed in JCM No. 45, May 1994). Zhu Dan-xi is best known for his statement that "Yang normally has a surplus, while yin is normally insufficient" and is remembered therefore principally as the progenitor of the School of Enriching Yin. In fact, as the translators point out, Zhu integrated other important theories of his predecessors, namely that most disease involves an element of evil heat, particularly yin fire or damp heat (although Zhu emphasised also the role of ministerial fire in such heat), that many diseases require tonification of the Spleen and Stomach, and that attacking evil qi is an important treatment principle (with the proviso that the zheng qi is not thereby injured). For these reasons, Zhu's work may be considered as the culmination of Jin/Yuan medicine. The essays that comprise this text address difficult questions in medical practice, usually presented first with a rejection of others' simplistic theories, followed by his own theories (backed by references to the medical classics) and case histories illustrating his treatment approach.

The discussions and case histories cover a range of diseases and topics ranging from treatises on the Choppy Pulse and the Face and Nose Blackened Once Exposed to Cold, to Hardness of the Breasts, Ministerial Fire, Nurturing the Aged etc. Some are difficult to understand, especially the prescriptions, whilst some are delightful and easy to appreciate. In all cases, Zhu's confidence in his own opinion and knowledge, his assiduous application of theory and practice, his individuality, his poetic and forceful language and his rather stern approach to life shine forth. He advocated restraint in eating, drinking and sexual behaviour: "The human body is precious because it is inherited from one's parents. Yet there are no end of cases where the body is damaged for the sake of the mouth. Because a person has a body, hunger and thirst arise repeatedly, and subsequently (one) does have to eat and drink in order to continue their life. (However) one can see that, in the muddle-headed, it is because of indulgence in good tastes which leads to excess of the five flavors that diseases spring up in swarms" and:

"It is observed that those muddle-headed (ones who) submit to their passions and resign themselves to (sexual) desire, with only the fear that their excessive (desire) cannot be satisfied, (thus cause) an abundance of dry toxins (to be generated in their bodies) ... Keep away from the bed curtains and the libidinous heart will be with-drawn".

Elsewhere, he speaks of the Su Wen in terms any modern practitioner will understand:

"It is terse in wording and profound in meaning. (But) because it is farther and farther from the time (when it was composed, various) interpolations, errata, and deletions are not seldom encountered (when trying to read it). Thus it has become unreadable except by us (learned) Confucianists. Students hope to seek easy gains with comfort. (However,) when they see that this book is like a boundless ocean and reads as tastelessly as chewing wax, they abruptly declare that (such) ancient works are not appropriate for modern times".

Finally, to give the flavour of his approach to clinical practice, here is his Treatise on Difficult Delivery:

"Difficult delivery is commonly seen only in those with depression and oppression as well as the leisured rich and noble families that are well attended. It never happens to the poor, humble and toiling. (Current) books of formulas only provide one approach, (using) Shou Tai Yin (Thin the Foetus Drink). This formula was designed for Princess Hu Yang. (However) it provides a far from perfect theory. Why is this? This is because, despite having this formula, (delivery) may be no easier than before. A clan cousin of mine who was beset by (the past experience of) a difficult delivery had chosen to abort each time she conceived (rather than experience another difficult delivery). I took great pity on her. Seeing that she was fat in form and labored at sewing and knitting, (I) had mused (on her case) for 10 days when I suddenly realised that her (condition) was just opposite to that of Princess Hu Yang who was well attended, who certainly had replete qi, and whose qi could be made peaceful and calm by consumption so that she would have easy delivery. (However, because of this cousin's) fat form I realised (she) had qi vacuity and (because of her) sitting for long (periods) I realised (her) qi did not circulate. (Further, this prolonged sitting then) made (her) qi even weaker. Thus prolonged sitting and the fat form of the mother caused the fetus (in the uterus) to be unable to move itself. (Therefore), it was necessary to supplement the mother's qi and then the child might become strong and easily delivered. At that time, she was in her fifth or sixth month of pregnancy. (I) prescribed her more than 10 doses of Zi Su Yin (Perilla Drink) from the Da Quan Fang (Complete Collection of Formulas) with certain qi-supplementing medicinals added. This resulted in her getting a (baby) boy without hitch in labor. (I) have since prescribed this formula with additions and subtractions in accordance with the mother's form, color and character and with reference to the seasons, and none of the takers have failed to respond well. Based on this, (I) have named this formula Da Da Sheng San (Major Expedite Delivery Powder)".


Editor's Preface v Editor's Preface v
Zhu Dan-xi's Preface ix

Prologue to Admonitions on Food & Drink and Sexual Desire 1
Admonitions on Food & Drink 2
Admonitions on Sexual Desire 3
Treatise on Yang Being Superabundant and Yin Being Insufficient 4
Treatise on the Necessity of Tracing the Root in the Treatment of Disease 9
Treatise on the Choppy Pulse 12
Treatise on Nurturing the Aged 14
Treatise on Being Tender Toward the Young 21
Treatise on Yin Hidden Internally in the Summer Months 26
Treatise on Master Chen's Formulary for Pox Sores 29
Treatise on Painful Wind 35
Treatise on Quartan Ague 39
Treatise on Not Attacking Those with Damaged Stomach Qi in Spite of Replete Disease Evil 4
Treatise on Observing the Form & Colors Before Examining the Pulse & Inquiring into Signs in the Treatment of Disease 47
Treatise on Not Abiding by Prohibitions & Commandments in Great (i.e. Serious) Disease 50
Treatise on Vacuity Disease & Phlegm Disease Resembling Ghost Possession 52
Treatise on the Face & Nose Blackened Once Exposed to Cold 56
Treatise on Spontaneous Dropping of the Fetus(i.e. Miscarriage) 57
Treatise on tiffficult Delivery 58
Treatise on Dribbling (Urination) Due to the Bladder Having Been Damaged During Difficult Delivery 60
Treatise on Deviated Uterus Disease in Pregnant Women 61
Treatise on Hardness of the Breasts 62
Treatise on Gestation 64
Treatise on the Ren Ying & Qi Kou 66
Treatise on Spring Diffusion 68
Treatise on Mellow Wine Being Fit to Drink Cold 70
Treatise on the Necessity of Differentiating Yong & Ju in Accordance with Channels & Connecting Vessels 72
Treatise on Pi Yue Wan (Spleen Constraint Pills) 76
Treatise on Drum Distention 79
Treatise on Shan Qi 85
Treatise on Qin Gui Wan (Gentiana & Cinnamon Pills) 87
Treatise on Aversion to Cold Being Non-Cold
Disease and Aversion to Heat Being Non-Heat Disease 90
Treatise on Purplish or Black Menstrual Flow 94
Treatise on Gypsum 96
Treatise on Disease Necessarily Advancing in Case of a Large Pulse 98
An Analysis of Paragraphs and Sentences Concerning Disease Causes in the Sheng Qi Tong Tian Lun ("Treatise on the Communication of Life Qi with Heaven") 99
Treatise on Emptying the Granary 104
Treatise on Ministerial Fire, 109
Treatise on a Large Left (Pulse) Being Favorable for the Male & a Large Right (Pulse) Being Favorable for the Female 115
Treatise on Eating Bland (Food) 117
Treatise on Counterflow Swallowing (i.e. Hiccough) 121
Treatise on (the Art of) Inside the Chamber Supplementation & Boosting 124
The Theory of Heavenly Qi Pertaining to Metal 127
Commentary Treatise on Zhang Zi-he's Attacking (Method) 128

Index 137

More Information

Translation by Yang Shou-zhong & Duan Wu-jin

Blue Poppy Press, 1993

140 pages


Author Translation by Yang Shou-zhong & Duan Wu-jin
Publication Date 1 Jan 1970
Publisher Blue Poppy Press
Number of Pages 140
Book Format paperback
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