杏林- Chinese philosophy and culture

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xìnglín 杏林

Apricot Trees / Venerable Doctors with Good Skills

杏树林,对德行高尚、医术精湛的医生的美称,亦指代医学医药界。据东晋葛洪(281?—341)《神仙传》记载,三国时期名医董奉隐居庐山,无偿给人治病,只要求重症治愈者种杏五棵,轻症治愈者种杏一棵。几年后,他的住处就有了大片茂盛的杏树林。他用杏子换粮食,储存起来,用于救济贫苦人及其他需要帮助的人。后来,人们用“杏林”代指医德高尚、医术精湛的医生,近代一些医药团体和专业报刊也常以“杏林”取名,“杏林”遂成为医学医药界的代名词。它是“悬壶济世”理念的另一种表达形式。

This term refers to venerable doctors with good skills and by extension the entire profession of Chinese medicine. According to Biographies of Deities and Immortals by Ge Hong (281?–341), the famous doctor Dong Feng of the Three Kingdoms period lived on Mount Lu where he treated patients free of charge. All he asked from those who recovered from a serious illness was to plant five apricot trees and those who recovered from a minor ailment to plant one such tree. After some years, a lush wood of apricot trees appeared. He traded apricots for grain which he saved up to help the poor and needy. Later, people used apricot trees to refer to virtuous doctors with good skills, and in modern times, some medical organizations and journals in China used the designation “apricot trees” as their names. This term has become a synonym for Chinese medicine.

引例 Citation:

◎君异居山间,为人治病,不取钱物,使人重病愈者使栽杏五株,轻者一株。如此数年,计得十万余株,郁然成林。……买杏者皆于林中自平量之,不敢有欺者。君异以其所得粮谷赈救贫穷,供给行旅。(葛洪《神仙传》卷十)

(董奉住在山里,为人治病,不收钱财,只是让重病治愈者种杏五棵,轻者种杏一棵。这样几年下来,总共有十万余棵杏树,长成了茂盛的杏林。……买杏子的人都在林中自己称量,没人敢弄虚作假。董奉用换来的粮食救济穷人,还供往来旅客取用。)

Doctor Dong Feng who lived in a house on a mountain treated patients free of charge. He only asked his patients to plant apricot trees in exchange: five trees for patients of serious illness and one tree for patients of light illness. Several years later, 100,000 apricot trees were planted, forming lush woods… People came to buy apricots and weighed them by themselves, and no one cheated. Doctor Dong used the money to buy grains to give to the poor and travelers passing by. (Ge Hong: Biographies of Deities and Immortals)

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