Ancient Cultivation Stories: Dr. Wang Yanbo

In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), there was a Taoist monk called Wang Yanbo. He was from Jingzhou and was gifted in the practise of medicine. He had a special talent in diagnosing diseases just by reading one's pulse. His diagnoses of life-threatening diseases were often extremely accurate.

The son of Minister Pei Zhou suffered from a serious disease. Many doctors came to see him, but no one was able to give an effective treatment. Someone then suggested that the Minister invite Dr. Wang Yanbo to examine him. The Minister immediately sent people to invite Dr. Wang. The doctor took the son’s pulse and deliberated for a while. He then concluded that the boy had no organic illness. Dr. Wang prescribed several herbs. After taking them, the boy was immediately healed. The Minister saw this and enquired about his son’s illness. Dr. Wang explained that the son was reacting to poison contained in a kind of carp. At first the Minister did not believe what Dr. Wang had said. To test whether the diagnosis was true, he asked his servants to eat the same kind of carp. The Minister was then completely convinced, after the servants developed the same symptoms as his son’s.

The book Supplement to the History of Tang records another story about Wang Yanbo. One day, Wang Yanbo thought to himself that a lot of people were going to need medical treatment. He set up four large cauldrons full of different medical herbs in his courtyard and started boiling them. Suddenly a lot of people of all ages rushed in his door to ask for medical treatment. Dr. Wang pointed at the four cauldrons and said, “The people with febrile diseases should take from this cauldron; the people with cold diseases should take from that cauldron; the people with wind disease should take from the third cauldron; and the people with qi [qi (chee) In Chinese culture, it is believed to be "vital energy". It can be used to purify the body.] diseases should take from the fourth cauldron.” When the people took his herbal medicine, they were all cured.

(Source: “Miscellaneous Stories from You Yang”)

Tao (daow) - Also known as "Dao," a Taoist term for "the Way of nature and the universe"; an enlightened being who has achieved this Tao. A Taoist is one who cultivates the Tao

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