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), literally the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor or Esoteric Scripture of the Yellow Emperor, is an ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia.
The work is composed of two texts each of eighty-one chapters or treatises in a question-and-answer format between the mythical Yellow Emperor and six of his equally legendary ministers.
Since scholars believe that Zhenjing was one of the Lingshu's earlier titles, they agree that the Han-dynasty Huangdi Neijing was made of two different texts that are close in content to the works we know today as the Suwen and the Lingshu.(See Unschuld, pages 40 and 44.) According to Unschuld (pages 39 and 62) Wang Bing's version of the Suwen was based on Quan Yuanqi's (early sixth century) commented version of the Suwen consisting of nine juan (books) and sixty-nine discourses.Wang Bing made corrections, added two "lost" discourses, added seven comprehensive discourses on the five phases and six qi, inserted over 5000 commentaries and reorganized the text into twenty-four juan (books) and eighty-one treatises.The first text, the Suwen (素問), also known as Basic Questions, covers the theoretical foundation of Chinese Medicine and its diagnostic methods.The second and generally less referred-to text, the Lingshu (靈樞) [Spiritual Pivot], discusses acupuncture therapy in great detail.