Sun Ssu-miao (581-673)
From "A Thousand Golden Remedies":
Medicine is an art which is difficult to
master. If one does not receive a divine guidance from God, he will not be able
to understand the mysterious points. A foolish fellow, after reading medical
formularies for three years, will believe that all diseases can be cured. But
after practicing for another three years, he will realize that most formulae
are not effective. A physiican should, therefore, be
a scholar, mastering all the medical literature and working carefully and
A great doctor, when treating a patient, should make himself quite and determined. He should not have covetous desire. he should have bowels of mercy on the sick and pledge himself to relieve suffering among all classes. Aristocrat or commoner, poor or rich, aged or young, beautiful or ugly, enemy or friend, native or foreigner, and educated or uneducated, all are to be treated equally. He should look upon the misery of the patient as if it were his own and be anxious to relieve the distress, disregarding his own inconveniences, such as night-call, bad weather, hunger, tiredness, etc. Even foul cases, such as ulcer, abscess, diarrhoea, etc., should be treated without the slightest antipathy. One who follows this principle is a great doctor, otherwise, he is a great thief.
A physician should be respectable and not talkative. it is a great mistake to boast of himself and slander other physicians.
Lao Tze, the father of Taoism, said, “Open acts of kindness will be rewarded by man while secret acts of evil will be punished by God.”¹ Retribution is very definite. A physician should not utilize his profession as a means for lusting. What he does to relieve distress will be duly rewarded by
He should not prescribe dear and rare drugs just because the patient is rich or of high rank, nor is it honest and just to do so for boasting.
Translation by T'ao Lee (268-269)
Source: T'ao Lee, "Medical Ethics in Ancient