Sun Simiao (581-682AD) is one of the great luminaries of Chinese medicine; a doctor so revered he has been titled China’s ‘King of Medicine’ due to his extensive contributions to Chinese medical texts, his widespread influence and the extraordinary care he gave to his patients.
He wrote a text called ‘On the Absolute Sincerity of Great Physicians’, effectively the Chinese Hippocratic oath, still required reading for Chinese physicians. As with the preceding oath, through repetition we are pulled into compliance:
“I promise to follow the way of the great physician. I will serve to live in harmony with nature, and teach patients to do the same.
“I will stay calm and completely committed when treating disease. I will not give way to personal wishes and desires, but above all else hold and nurture a deep feeling of compassion.
“I will be devoted to the task of saving the sacred spark of life in every creature that still carries it. I will strive to maintain a clear mind and be willing to hold myself to the highest standards.
“It will be my duty to diagnose suffering and treat disease. I will not be boastful about my skills and not driven by greed for material things.
“Above all, I will keep an open heart. As I move on the right path I will receive great happiness as a reward without asking for anything in return.”