The Physician’s Virtue-Power
In this talk, Dr. Wilms will be exploring the unique twist on medical ethics that is expressed in the traditional Chinese concept of 醫德 yīdé. How does this concept, which is the conventional modern translation of the Western, biomedical understanding of “medical ethics,” differ from our standard assumptions? And what might we be able to learn from traditional (small “t”) Chinese medicine, to expand the biomedical and popular understanding of this concept?
As a student and translator of the great 7th-century medical sage Sun Simiao for the past thirty years, I will introduce the audience not only to Sun Simiao’s writings on medical ethics, but also bring in classical Daoism and Confucianism, and perhaps even touch on Buddhism. What are the various dimensions of this Chinese concept of dé 德, which is usually translated into English as “virtue,” “power,” or even “potency,” in classical Chinese philosophy? And how was this term used in traditional medical literature to conceptualize the role of the medical provider, whether shamanic healer, exemplary scholar-physician, or Buddhist publisher of midwifery treatises? It is my deep conviction that Chinese medicine has so much more to contribute to our current world than the formulas and acupuncture protocols that students learn in institutional education. In this talk, I invite you to join me in considering some of the more esoteric, but not less important gifts expressed in the classics of Chinese medicine.
About Dr. Sabine Wilms
After starting her undergraduate studies in Germany, Sabine Wilms spent two years in Taiwan, studying modern and classical Chinese language. She then moved to the US to complete a PhD in Asian Studies and Medical Anthropology, and has lived there most of the time since. While her academic background has given her a solid foundation in early Chinese philosophy, science, and cosmology and therefore in a historically and culturally sensitive approach to classical Chinese medicine, she also enjoys approaching Chinese medicine as a living, clinically effective, and ever-changing response to any cultural environment. Some of her favorite topics are gynecology and reproduction, pediatrics, medical ethics, and “nurturing life,” as understood in the broadest sense by the great medieval “King of Medicinals” Sun Simiao. Sabine is happiest when engaging in a dialogue with practitioners on how to make this ancient wisdom come to life in our modern times. Besides writing and publishing books on Chinese medicine through her company Happy Goat Productions, and lecturing and mentoring in the US and around the world through her “Imperial Tutor” mentorship program, Sabine loves raising happy goats.
Her most recent publications include Celestial Secrets: A Dunhuang Manuscript of Medicinal Decoctions for the Zangfu Organs; Channeling the Moon: A Translation and Discussion of Qi Zhongfu’s Hundred Questions on Gynecology, Parts One and Two; Humming with Elephants: A Translation and Discussion of the Resonant Manifestations of Yin and Yang; Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica; Twelve Characters: A Transmission of Wang Fengyi’s Teachings; Let the Radiant Yang Shine Forth: Lectures on Virtue by Liu Yousheng, translated by Sabine Wilms and Liu Zuozhi; and Venerating the Root: A Translation of Sun Simiao’s Writings on Pediatrics, Parts One and Two, all published through her own Happy Goat Productions.