The Four Lapses of Physicians from the Yellow Emperorís Classic


HUANG Di received Lei Gong in the Great Hall and asked, "You have studied all the important medical classics and you have had much experience in medical practice. Tell me about your successes and failures and the reasons behind them."

††††††††††††††† Lei Gong answered, "I have practiced by following the principles of the classics and performed techniques taught by my teachers, but clinically my results are still far from satisfactory. Why is this?"

††††††††††††††† Huang Di replied, "It is because you are young and inexperienced. It is also because you have allowed some anecdotes you have heard to confuse your analytical perception. When a physician is unable to attain consistent cures it is often because of a lack of focus in the evaluation and analysis of the patient's outwardly manifested symptoms and signs and inwardly generated pathology. Therefore, he or she hesitates and makes mistakes.

††††††††††††††† "A lack of understanding in the transmutation of yin and yang in diagnosis is the first blunder of a physician.

††††††††††††††† "Administering medicine without proficiency in knowledge and skills, thereby causing injury to patients, is the second blunder of a physician.

††††††††††††††† "Ineptitude in the investigation into the etiology of an illness by neglecting to take into consideration the patient's social and material circumstances, immediate environment, dietary habits, emotional tendencies, and possible toxic contaminations constitutes the third blunder of a physician.

††††††††††††††† "Being boastful of lucky cures, falsely exaggerating the nature of an illness, haste and carelessness in one's action, and disparagement of the reputation of the teacher are the traits that comprise the fourth blunder of a physician."

††††††††††††††† Huang Di fumed to Lei Gong and reflectively remarked, "Alas! The way of healing is so profound. It is deep as the oceans and boundless as the skies. How many truly know it?"


From Yellow Emperor's Classics p294, Chapter 78,