Walks in the Apricot Forest: Huangpu Tan

Liu Mei

PureInsight | February 23, 2004

[In Chinese, "Apricot Forest" is another term for the medical community. The Apricot Forest series of articles tells stories about famous Chinese doctors who were well known for their extraordinary abilities to cure diseases. For more details see: http://www.pureinsight.org/pi/articles/2003/1/23/1368.html]

[PureInsight.org] Xianren, mother of Emperor Gao Zong of the Song Dynasty, had an eye disease and experienced intense pain in her eyes. Doctors from all over the capital city failed to cure her eye disease. The Emperor then issued an imperial edict, summoning excellent doctors from outside the capital. Mr. Zhang Ran, governor of Linan, recommended Taoist Huangpu Tan. Doctor Tan, a native of Jiajiang County in Sichuan Province, had an excellent reputation as a medical doctor.

Emperor Gao Zong summoned Huangpu Tan to the imperial court and asked what methods he used to cure diseases. Huangpu Tan answered, "A heart with no pursuit makes the body peaceful and healthy. An emperor with no pursuit makes all under the sky well maintained and in order." Satisfied with the doctor's answer, Huangpu Tan was led to the Palace of Benevolent Tranquility, where the Emperor's mother resided, to treat her eye disease. The disease was immediately cured. The emperor was very pleased and offered him many gifts. But the doctor accepted none.

The Emperor then sent him on a special mission to Mount Qingcheng in Sichuan Province to seek protection from holy spirits by paying respect with incense and prayers . When the doctor returned to the capital city, the Emperor brought the doctor in for another meeting to inquire about the secret of longevity. Huangpu Tan said, "First of all, you must give up all desires and not indulge yourself. There are thousands of books on how to refine dan, but none is as effective as following one word: "concentrate." His reply won the Emperor's praise and admiration. The Emperor personally wrote down two Chinese characters that meant "A Clear and Clean Mind" as the name for the little thatch hut where Huangpu Tan lived. The Emperor also had a portrait of Huangpu Tan painted and hung up at his palace where he resided.

Mr. Li Dao, a local official in south Jing, always respected Huangpu Tan and each year Huangpu Tan went to visit him. On the first year of the Longxing Era (1163 A.D.), Li Dao went to the capital city to meet the Emperor. Emperor Gao Zong and Emperor Xiao Zong asked him about Mr. Huangpu Tan. To show respect both Emperors addressed him as Mr. Huangpu Tan rather than just his name.

Huangpu Tan was also good at predicting the future by reading one's face. He once did a face reading for one of Li Dao's daughters, and foretold that she would one day become "mother for all under the sky", which meant empress. Indeed, she turned out to be the empress of Emperor Guang Zong of the Song Dynasty.

(From The History of the Song Dynasty.)

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2004/2/1/25630.html

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