Origin of the Word "Apricot Forest"

PureInsight | January 23, 2003

[PureInsight.org] In Chinese, "Apricot Forest" is another term for the medical community. Medical professionals often call themselves "persons of the Apricot Forest".

"Apricot Forest" originally came from Dong Feng, who was a highly skilled doctor in the period of the Three Kingdoms (220 – 280 A.D.). Dong Feng, also named Jun Yi, was born in Fujian. Dong Feng and other two well-known doctors, Zhang Zhong Jing and Hua Tuo, were called the "Three Miracle Doctors" in that period. Dong Feng once practiced medicine in Mountain Lu, where his deeds were praised and he became a legend.

A story about Dong Feng's medical practice was recorded in Chapter 12 of Legends of Supernatural Beings. Dong Feng lived in the mountains and did not farm. During the day, he treated patients but charged no fees. When he cured patients with serious illnesses, he would ask them to plant five apricot trees; when he cured patients with general illnesses, he would ask them to plant one tree. Many patients came to see him and he was very busy every day. After several years, those trees created a forest. In the forest, there were many birds and beasts playing, and when apricots were mature, he built a warehouse. He put a notice to the public: "Those who want to buy apricots do not need to tell me but could just leave a liter of rice in exchange for a liter of apricots." At times, a greedy person would give less rice and would take more. But whenever this happened, a tiger from the forest would chase and roar at those greedy people. They were frightened and would hurriedly dump some apricots that they took on the side of the road. Surprisingly, when they arrived home and weighed the remaining apricots, they found that the apricots were exactly equal to the rice they contributed. When people stole the apricots without paying, the tiger would even chase them to their homes. The persons were scared so they returned the stolen apricots and apologized. Then the tiger would forgive them. The rice that was exchanged for the apricots was used to help the patients with financial difficulties. Dong Feng's apricot forest saved numerous lives.

Note from the author: The series of Stroll Alone the Apricot Forest are written in the form of a relaxed and unrestrained style to discuss the human body, life, and the truth of the universe with its readers. Its purpose is to talk about the essentials of the Chinese medicine, the legend of well-known medical professionals and the unique opinions of the writers.

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