(29.1) Huà Tuó 華佗 [Yuánhuā 元化]

Huà Tuó appellation Yuánhuā was a Pèi state Qiáo man, originally named Fū. (1) He traveled and studied in Xú lands, simultaneously learning several classics. Pèi Chancellor Chén Guī nominated him as Filial and Incorrupt, Excellency Commandant Huáng Wǎn summoned him, all he did not accept. He knew vital cultivation methods, at the time people believed him over a hundred years old but with the appearance of a young adult.

He also was proficient in drugs, his treatments of illness, mixing of broths did not exceed a few kinds, he by heart knew the dividing of dosages, never again weighing, boiling through to then drink, explained its restrictions, left the residence and at once it was healed.

If using moxibustion, he did not exceed one or two places, each place did not exceed seven to eight applications, the illness also would in answer be removed.

If using needles, it also did not exceed one or two places, applying needles saying: “It should draw by this amount, if it reaches, say so.” The sick person would say: “It has reached.” In answer he would then pull out the needle, the illness also was resolved. If the illness was amassed inside, where needles and drugs could not reach, and must be cut open, then one would drink his numbing boiled powder, at once one would be intoxicated like one dead and unaware, and then he would cut and take out. If the illness was in the intestines, then he would break open and wash, sew the abdomen and apply ointment, four to five days it would resolve and not hurt, the person also would not feel it, and within a moon, then it would be normal.


  • (1) Your Servant Sōngzhī cites: The ancient form of “fū” with “zhuān” mutually resembled, those writing books often cannot distinguish them. Considering that Tuó’s appellation is Yuánhuā, his name should be Fū.

〔一〕 臣松之案:古「敷」字與「專」相似,寫書者多不能別。尋佗字元化,其名宜為旉也。

A former Gānlíng Chancellor’s wife was pregnant for six moons, the abdomen hurt and was not at ease, Tuó inspected the veins, and said: “The fetus is already dead.” He had someone hand feel to know where it was, if it was on the left it was male, if on the right then it was female. The person said: “On the left.” Therefore he made a broth to expel it, indeed the expelled was a male form. At once [she] healed.


County official Yǐn Shì’s four limbs ached, inside of mouth was dry, did not wish to hear people’s voices, could not urinate. Tuó said: “Try making hot food. If he sweats then it will heal, if he does not sweet, after three days he will die.” At once made hot food and sweat did not come out, Tuó said: “The internal vitality is already cut off inside, he will cry tears and die.” Indeed it was as Tuó said.


Officials Ér Xún and Lǐ Yán together stopped by, both with headaches and body hot, their pains the same. Tuó said: “Xún should flush it, Yán should sweat it.” Someone criticized the difference, Tuó said: “Xún’s is outside formed, Yán’s is inside formed, therefore treating them is different.” At once each were given their drugs, the next morning both rose.


Yándú’s Yán Xīn with several people together inquired after Tuó, when they arrived, Tuó said to Xīn: “Is your body’s inside good or not?” Xīn said: “As usual.” Tuó said: “You have serious illness visible in your face, do not drink more alcohol.” The gathering completed and they returned, traveling several lǐ, Xīn suddenly had head dizzy and fell from carriage, someone supported him back, carried him home, and during the night he died.


Former Supervisor Dùn Zǐxiàn obtained illness and already recovered, visited Tuó to check veins, said: “[You are] still weak, not yet recovered, do not do laborious tasks, [if you] manage internals [have intercourse] then death. At death, [you] will spit out tongue of several cùn.” His wife heard his illness was already gone, from over a hundred lǐ came to inspect him, stopped for the night and had intercourse, within three days [he] fell ill, all like Tuó said.


Supervisor Xú Yì fell ill, Tuó went to examine him. Yì said to Tuó: “Yesterday [I] had Medical Department official Liú Zū needle stomach tubes and finished, then aches and coughs, wishing to lie down [I] cannot be at ease.” Tuó said: “The stab did not hit the stomach tubes, it mistakenly hit the liver, in eating daily decrease [portion], in five days it cannot be saved.” Then it was as Tuó said.


Dōngyáng’s Chén Shūshān’s small son of two years fell ill, when urinating always first cried, daily becoming leaner and weaker. Asked Tuó, Tuó said: “[When] his mother was carrying him, his yáng vitality inside flourished, in the milk is weak and cold, the son obtained the mother’s cold, and therefore causes him to not timely heal.” Tuó gave four ingredient female round pill, in ten days then it resolved.


Péngchéng woman in the night in the lavatory had scorpion sting her hand, groaned and shouted without relief. Tuó had warmed broth almost hot, soaked hand inside, in the end [she] was able to sleep, merely had nearby people regularly change the broth, [when] the broth cooled [then] warmed it, and at dawn it was healed.


Army official Méi Píng fell ill, removed name [from registers] and returned home, home was in Guǎnglíng, had not yet arrived by two hundred lǐ, stopped at a kinsman’s residence. Very soon, Tuó happened to arrive at the host’s residence, the host had Tuó examine Píng, Tuó said to Píng: “[If] you had earlier met me, it would not be like this. Now the illness is already bound, hurriedly leave to be able to with your family meet, in five days death.” Immediately returned, as Tuó had calculated.


Tuó walked on the road, met one person ill with blocked throat, in eating food not able to swallow, family members on carriage carried wishing to go see a doctor. Tuó heard his groan, stopped the carriage and went to inspect, said to them: “Previously by the road there was a pastry seller with garlic pulverized into a large past, from him obtain three shēng and drink it, the illness will on its own leave.” At once did as Tuó said, at once vomited one snake, hung on carriage side, wished to meet Tuó. Tuó had not yet returned, small children played in front of the door, saw him, and said to themselves: “Seems to have met our grandpa, the carriage side ill was he.” The ill one came forward to enter to sit, saw Tuó’s north wall had that snake’s sort of several tens.


Also there was a prefecture administrator ill, Tuó believed this man after a rage would then recover, and so greatly received his gifts but did not apply treatment, and soon left, leaving a letter to curse him. The prefecture administrator indeed was greatly angry, order people to chase and capture and kill Tuó. The prefecture administrator’s son knew this, had had them not chase. The administrator’s rage was extreme, spat black blood of several shēng and healed.


Also there was a scholar official who was uncomfortable, Tuó said: “Your illness is deep, should break open abdomen to take out. However your lifespan also will not exceed ten years, the illness cannot kill you, endure the illness for ten years, your lifespan will also be exhausted, it is not worth then cutting open yourself.” The scholar official could not endure the pain and itch, and certainly wished to remove it. Tuó therefore applied hand, the illness was removed, in ten years he indeed died.


Guǎnglíng Administrator Chén Dēng fell ill, inside chest was bothered and sick, face red and unable to eat. Tuó inspected veins and said: “Inside your stomach are worms of several shēng, wishing to become internal ulcer, it is from eating raw things.” At once made broth of two shēng, first drank one shēng, waited and then completely drank it. In a short while, vomited out three shēng of worms, red heads all moving, half the body was raw fish slices, the aches then healed. Tuó said: “This illness in three years will then develop, meet a good doctor then it can be treated.” In that time it again occurred, at the time Tuó was not there, it was as said and he died.


Tàizǔ heard of and summoned Tuó, Tuó always was at his left and right. Tàizǔ suffered headaches, every time it occurred, his heart in chaos and his eyes dazed, Tuó needled diaphragm, [immediately] at his hand it recovered. (1)


  • (1) Tuó Biézhuàn states: There was someone ill in both legs and crippled and unable to walk, on carriage visited Tuó, Tuó saw and said: “[He has] already had enough needles and moxibustion and taken medicine, no longer need wait to observe veins.” Then had [him] release clothes, dotted back several tens of places, mutually apart some by one cùn, some by five cùn, the vertical and curves not mutually matching. Said to moxibustion these each ten applications, the moxibustion applied and healed and then [he] walked. After the moxibustion the locations shifted to be interspersed on the spine by one cùn, up and down running to the extremities straight and uniform, like a measuring rope.

〔一〕 佗別傳曰:有人病兩腳躄不能行,轝詣佗,佗望見云:「己飽針灸服藥矣,不復須看脈。」便使解衣,點背數十處,相去或一寸,或五寸,縱邪不相當。言灸此各十壯,灸創愈即行。後灸處夾脊一寸,上下行端直均調,如引繩也。

General Lǐ’s wife’s illness was severe, called Tuó to observe veins, said: “Injured pregnancy and the fetus not expelled.” The General said: “There was indeed injured pregnancy, the fetus was already expelled.” Tuó said: “Citing the veins, the fetus is not yet expelled.” The General believed it was not so. Tuó left, the wife slightly had small improvement. After over a hundred days it again moved, and then called Tuó, Tuó said: “These veins are like previously having fetus. Previously there was going to birth two infants, one infant first came out, the blood came out extremely much, the later infant could not be born. The mother was not self aware, the adjacent people also did not not notice, it was not again drawn out, and therefore could not be born. The fetus is dead, the blood veins will not return to normal, certainly drying out the mother’s back, and therefore causing many back pains. Now take broth, and also needle one place, this dead fetus will certainly come out. The broth and needle were applied, the woman was in pain like wishing to give birth. Tuó said: “This dead fetus is long dried up, and cannot on its own come out, it is appropriate to have someone take it out.” Indeed obtained one dead boy, hands and feet completely formed, colored black, length about one chǐ.


Tuó’s decisive skill, was all of this sort. However he originally was a scholar, due to medicine met with business, and he was always regretful. Later Tàizǔ personally governed, obtained illness very serious, and had Tuó specially diagnose. Tuó said: “This recent trouble is resolved, the long term matter if treated can be delayed by years and moons.” Tuó was for a long time far from home and thought of returning, and therefore said: “[I] just obtained a family letter, and wish to temporarily go back and that is all.” Arrived at home, claimed his wife was ill, repeatedly requested time and did not return. Tàizǔ repeatedly wrote to call him, and also ordered the prefecture and county to send him. Tuó begrudged his ability and hated salaried service, and still did not set out on the road. Tàizǔ was greatly angry, sent someone to go investigate. If the wife was indeed ill, bestow small beans of forty hú, and pardon the time limit; if it was deception, then arrest and send him. Therefore sent him over to Xǔ prison, in interrogation he confessed. Xún Yù pleaded, saying: “Tuó’s methods are true skill, what people’s lives hang on, it is appropriate to tolerate and forgive him.” Tàizǔ said: “No worries, is Heaven’s Under yet without this rat’s sort?” Therefore condemned Tuó. Tuó facing death, produced a one juàn book to the prison official, saying: “This can save people.” The official feared the law and did not accept, Tuó also did not force it, and asked for fire and burned it. After Tuó died, Tàizǔ’s headaches were not removed, Tàizǔ said: “Tuó was able to heal this. The petty man cultivated my illness, wishing to thus make himself important, however if I did not kill this sir, yet in the end he would not have cut off its origins for me and that is all.” When later his beloved son Cāngshū was ill, Tàizǔ sighed and said: “I regret killing Huà Tuó, to cause this son to by illness die.”


Previously, army official Lǐ Chéng bitterly coughed, day to night not rising, at times spitting pus and blood, and about this asked Tuó. Tuó said: “Your illness is in the intestines, what your coughing spits, is not from the lungs. Giving you powder of two qián, after finishing spitting up two over shēng of pus and blood, quickly self-care, in one moon you can have small improvement, well for yourself care, one year then healthy. In eighteen years it will again have small relapse, taking this powder, will also be effective and again recover. If not obtaining this drug, then it will be death.” Again gave two qián of powder. Chéng obtained the drug and left. In five to six years, among his intimates was one with illness like Chéng’s and said to Chéng: “You now are strong, I am about to die, how can you bear to without distress leave drugs, (1) to wait for the inauspicious? First lend it to me, I will recover, and for you from Huà Tuó again ask for it.” Chéng gave it to him. Then arriving at Qiáo, it happened that Tuó met with arrest, hurriedly and unable to follow the request. After eighteen years, Chéng’s illness indeed relapsed, he was without drugs to take, so that he died. (2)


  • (1) Your Servant Sōngzhī cites: the ancient language had “hide” as “leave.”

〔一〕 臣松之案:古語以藏為去。

  • (2) Tuó Biézhuàn states: Someone during Qīnglóng met Shānyáng Administrator Guǎnglíng’s Liú Jǐngzōng, Jǐngzōng said in Zhōngpíng days he repeatedly met Huà Tuó, his times of treating illness and handling veins, his examinations like a spirit.
  • Lángyá’s Liú Xūn became Hénèi Administrator, had a daughter in years of almost twenty, left leg knee had an ulcer, itching but not hurting. The ulcer healed for several tens of days and again relapsed, was like this for seven to eight years, invited Tuó to have him inspect, Tuó said: “It is easy to treat it. Obtain rice chaff yellow color dog of one, good horses of two.” With a rope fastened the dog’s neck, had the horse walk and pull the dog, when the horse was used up then switched, calculated the horse walked over thirty lǐ, the dog could not walk, again had a pedestrian drag it, calculating to fifty lǐ. Then with a drug had the girl drink, the girl then laid down and became unconscious. Therefore took a large knife and cut the dog’s belly near to in front of the rear legs, where the cut opening was, had it expanded two to three cùn. Stopped it at once, there was something like a snake from the wound coming out, then with an iron hammer strike the snake head, the snake in the skin flailed around a good while, then quickly did not move, then pulled it out, length of three chǐ, it simply was a snake, but the eyes did not have pupils, and also backward scales and that is all. With ointment powder applied to the ulcer, seven days it healed.
  • Also there was someone with headache and dizziness, head could not be raised, eyes could not see, for accumulated years. Tuó had all clothes removed and hung upside down, having the head be from the ground by one to two cùn, with moistened cloth wiped the body, had him spun around, inspecting the various veins, completely producing multiple colors. Tuó had his disciples of several people with knife cut veins, the multiple colored blood was exhausted, [when] saw red blood, then [took him] down, with ointment rubbed about, sweat on its own came out all around, had him drink pavilion dog blood powder, he stood and was healed.
  • Also there was a woman always ill for repeated years, the world called it the cold and hot drop illness. During winter eleventh moon, Tuó had her sit in a stone trough, at dawn used cold water to pour, saying to do so one hundred times. The first seven to eight pours, she wanted to die, the one pouring was afraid, and wished to stop. Tuó ordered to fill the count. Reaching to the eightieth pour, hot air then steamed out, clamoring up two to three chǐ high. At one hundred pours, Tuó then had them light fire to warm bed, thick covers, and after a long while sweat came out, applied powders, the sweat dried and then she healed.
  • Also there was someone ill with sharp pain halfway in the belly, in over ten days, hair and eyebrows fell off. Tuó said: “It is the spleen half decayed, can cut open the abdomen to treat it.” Had him drink drugs to lie open, cut open abdomen to inspect, the spleen indeed was half rotten. With a knife severed it, scraped off the bad flesh, with ointment covered the sores, had him drink drugs, in a hundred days was recovered.

〔二〕 佗別傳曰:人有在青龍中見山陽太守廣陵劉景宗,景宗說中平日數見華佗,其治病手脈之候,其驗若神。琅琊劉勳為河內太守,有女年幾二十,左腳膝裏上有瘡,癢而不痛。瘡愈數十日復發,如此七八年,迎佗使視,佗曰:「是易治之。當得稻穅黃色犬一頭,好馬二疋。」以繩繫犬頸,使走馬牽犬,馬極輒易,計馬走三十餘里,犬不能行,復令步人拖曳,計向五十里。乃以藥飲女,女即安臥不知人。因取大刀斷犬腹近後腳之前,以所斷之處向瘡口,令去二三寸。停之須臾,有若蛇者從瘡中而出,便以鐵椎橫貫蛇頭。蛇在皮中動搖良久,須臾不動,乃牽出,長三尺所,純是蛇,但有眼處而無童子,又逆鱗耳。以膏散著瘡中,七日愈。又有人苦頭眩,頭不得舉,目不得視,積年。佗使悉解衣倒懸,令頭去地一二寸,濡布拭身體,令周匝,候視諸脈,盡出五色。佗令弟子數人以鈹刀決脈,五色血盡,視赤血,乃下,以膏摩被覆,汗自出周匝,飲以亭歷犬血散,立愈。又有婦人長病經年,世謂寒熱注病者。冬十一月中,佗令坐石槽中,平旦用寒水汲灌,云當滿百。始七八灌,會戰欲死,灌者懼,欲止。佗令滿數。將至八十灌,熱氣乃蒸出,囂囂高二三尺。滿百灌,佗乃使然火溫床,厚覆,良久汗洽出,著粉,汗燥便愈。又有人病腹中半切痛,十餘日中,鬢眉墮落。佗曰:「是脾半腐,可刳腹養治也。」使飲藥令臥,破腹就視,脾果半腐壞。以刀斷之,刮去惡肉,以膏傅瘡,飲之以藥,百日平復。

Guǎnglíng’s Wú Pǔ and Péngchéng’s Fán Ē all followed Tuó in study. Pǔ depended on adhering to Tuó’s treatments, and many were saved and relieved. Tuó said to Pǔ: “The human body wishes to obtain movement, but should not be pushed to the limit. Movement then grain and breath is able to digested, blood vessels flow, illness is unable to appear, just like a door hinge does not decay. Therefore the ancient immortals made stretching exercises, bear neck and owl turns, to stretch and draw waist and body, moving the various joints, to make it difficult to age. I have one method, named the Five Animal Performance, first is tiger, second is deer, third is bear, fourth is ape, fifth is bird. It also can be used to remove illness, and benefit feet and legs, to match stretching exercises. If in the body is unwell, rise and do one animal performance, moistening so sweat comes out, then on top apply powder, the body becomes light and convenient, and the belly’s inside wishes for food.” Pǔ enacted this, his years were over ninety, his ears and eyes were acute, his teeth completely firm. Ē was good at needle skills. Ordinary doctors all said between the back and chest organs could not be rashly needled, the needles did not pass four fēn, but Ē needled back to enter one to two cùn, jùquē chest organ needles descended five to six cùn, and yet the illness then all healed. Ē from Tuó sought what could be ingested to benefit people, Tuó gave him lacquer leaves and blue-green glutinous powder. Lacquer leaves fragments of one shēng, blue-green glutinous powder fragments of fourteen liǎng, to be used generally, saying if long ingested it removed the three parasites, benefited the five organs, lightened body, and caused the head to not whiten. Ē followed these words, and lived to over a hundred. Lacquer leaves are found everywhere, blue-green glue are in Fēng, Pèi, Péngchéng, and Zhāogē region. (1)


  • (1) Tuó Biézhuàn states: Blue-green glue, is also called ground knot, also called yellow sesame, governs the five organs, benefits vital energy. It originally was produced by one lost in the mountains, saw immortals ingest it, and about this informed Tuó. Tuó believed it good, and then told Ē, Ē also kept it secret. Recently someone saw Ē was old but his energy strong and flourishing, wondered at this, and therefore asked Ē what he ingested, and because of intoxication he mistakenly informed him. The method once revealed, of men many ingested it, and all had great results.
  • Wén-dì Diǎnlùn discusses Xì Jiǎn and others’ matters stating: “Yǐngchuān’s Xì Jiǎn was able to abstain from grains, eating poria [Wolfiporia extensa]. Gānlíng’s Gān Shǐ also was good at enacting energy, old [but] with youthful appearance. Lújiāng’s Zuǒ Cí knew repairing and stretching techniques. All became military officials. Previously, at [Xí] Jiǎn’s arrival, market poria prices suddenly multiplied. Consultant Cadet Ānpíng’s Lǐ Tán learned his abstaining from grain, eating poria, drinking cold water, his insides leaked, so that he almost lost his life. Later [Gān] Shǐ came, of everyone none did not like owl look and wolf turn, breathing and spitting out. Miilitary Planner Libationer Hóngnóng’s Dǒng Fēn did this excessively, his breath blocked and was disconnected, after a long while he revived. Zuǒ Cí arrived, and also they competed to learn his mending and stretching techniques, so that eunuch Yán Jùn went to go ask. Eunuchs truly have nothing to do with these techniques. People in chasing trends, reaches even to this. During Guānghé [178-184], Běihǎi’s Wáng Hépíng also was enjoyed Dào techniques, himself acting as an immortal. Jǐnán’s Sūn Yōng when young served him, followed him to the capital. It happened Hépíng fell ill and died, Yōng therefore buried him at Dōngtáo, with book of over a hundred juàn, and drugs of several pouches, all sent off with him. Later a disciple Xià Róng said the body was robbed. Yōng to the present regrets not taking the treasured book and immortal drugs. Liú Xiàng was confused by the Hóngbǎo story, Jūn Yóu was dazzled by Zǐzhèng speech, the ancient to the present’s stupid and deceived, how can it only be one person!”
  • The King of Dōng’ē [Cáo Zhí] composed Biàn Dào lùn that states: “The world’s specialist scholars, my King [Cáo Cāo] all recruited. Gānlíng had Gān Shǐ, Lújiāng had Zuǒ Cí, Yángchéng had Xì Jiǎn. Shǐ was able to perform breath stretching exercises, Cí knew bedroom techniques, Jiǎn was good at abstaining from grain, all claimed to be three hundred years old. In the end the reason for gathering them in Wèi state, was truly fear of these men’s sorts, joining treachery to cheat the masses, enacting witchcraft to confuse the people, how could it be to wish to see immortals at Yíngzhōu, seek Ān Qī on the island, release gold chariot and tread cloud carriage, and discard six steeds and glorify flying dragons? In our family the King and the Heir-Apparent [Cáo Pī] and the remaining brothers all believe it laughable, and do not believe it. However [Gān] Shǐ and the rest knew the Ascended’s treatment of them had standards, offers did not pass being staff officials, rewards were not given without achievement, islands are difficult to find and travel, the six embroiders difficult to obtain and girdle, and in the end did not dare advance empty boastful speech, or produce unusual claims. I once tested Xì Jiǎn by cutting off grain for a hundred days, personally going to his residence, his walking and rising and resting was all as usual. A man not eating for seven days then dies, but Jiǎn was like this. However it is not certain to increase lifespan, it can [only] treat sickness and not fear famines. Zuǒ Cí was good at cultivating bedroom techniques, when trained it could extend life, however if one was without will to conserve semen, none was able to enact it. Gān Shǐ was old but had youthful appearance, naturally various technical scholars all together joined him. However Shǐ’s claims were complicated with few truths, and often had strange words. I once dismissed my left and right attendants, and alone with him talked, asked of his conduct, with warm expression to entice him, and beautiful speech to guide him, Shǐ said to me: ‘My original teacher was surnamed Hán appellation Shìxióng, I once with my teacher at the South Sea crafted metals, beginning to end about four [years], throwing several tens of thousand jīn of metal into the sea.’ He also said: ‘In the various Liáng’s times, the Western Region Hú came to tribute fragrant rugs, belts, cut jade knives, at the time I regret not getting any.’ He also said: ‘To Chēshī’s west was a state, a boy was born, budding off the back out of the spleen and wishing to eat, when young able to use crossbow.’ He also said: ‘I obtained carp fish five cùn of one pair, gave one a boiled drug, and threw both into a boiling broth, the one with the drug flailed tail and swelled gills, swimming up and down, like in a pool, the other was already cooked and could be eaten.’ I at the time asked: ‘Can what you said be tested or not?’ He said: ‘This drug from here is over ten thousand lǐ, and must go out the passes; if I Shǐ do not personally go it cannot be obtained.’ His words were without exhaustion like this, difficult to all record, therefore I roughly bring up the most strange. If Shǐ had encountered Qín Shǐhuáng or Hàn Wǔdì, then again he would be Xú Fú and Luán Dà’s sort.”

〔一〕 佗別傳曰:青黏者,一名地節,一名黃芝,主理五藏,益精氣。本出於迷入山者,見仙人服之,以告佗。佗以為佳,輒語阿,阿又祕之。近者人見阿之壽而氣力彊盛,怪之,遂責阿所服,因醉亂誤道之。法一施,人多服者,皆有大驗。文帝典論論郤儉等事曰:「潁川郤儉能辟穀,餌伏苓。甘陵甘始亦善行氣,老有少容。廬江左慈知補導之術。並為軍吏。初,儉之至,巿伏苓價暴數倍。議郎安平李覃學其辟穀,餐伏苓,飲寒水,中泄利,殆至隕命。後始來,眾人無不鴟視狼顧,呼吸吐納。軍謀祭酒弘農董芬為之過差,氣閉不通,良久乃蘇。左慈到,又競受其補導之術,至寺人嚴峻,往從問受。閹豎真無事於斯術也,人之逐聲,乃至於是。光和中,北海王和平亦好道術,自以當仙。濟南孫邕少事之,從至京師。會和平病死,邕因葬之東陶,有書百餘卷,藥數囊,悉以送之。後弟子夏榮言其尸解。邕至今恨不取其寶書仙藥。劉向惑於鴻寶之說,君游眩於子政之言,古今愚謬,豈唯一人哉!」東阿王作辯道論曰:「世有方士,吾王悉所招致,甘陵有甘始,廬江有左慈,陽城有郤儉。始能行氣導引,慈曉房中之術,儉善辟穀,悉號三百歲。卒所以集之於魏國者,誠恐斯人之徒,接姦宄以欺眾,行妖慝以惑民,豈復欲觀神仙於瀛洲,求安期於海島,釋金輅而履雲輿,棄六驥而美飛龍哉?自家王與太子及余兄弟咸以為調笑,不信之矣。然始等知上遇之有恆,奉不過於員吏,賞不加於無功,海島難得而游,六黻難得而佩,終不敢進虛誕之言,出非常之語。余嘗試郤儉絕穀百日,躬與之寢處,行步起居自若也。夫人不食七日則死,而儉乃如是。然不必益壽,可以療疾而不憚饑饉焉。左慈善修房內之術,差可終命,然自非有志至精,莫能行也。甘始者,老而有少容,自諸術士咸共歸之。然始辭繁寡實,頗有怪言。余常辟左右,獨與之談,問其所行,溫顏以誘之,美辭以導之,始語余:『吾本師姓韓字世雄,嘗與師於南海作金,前後數四,投數萬斤金於海。』又言:『諸梁時,西域胡來獻香罽、腰帶、割玉刀,時悔不取也。』又言:『車師之西國。兒生,擘背出脾,欲其食少而弩行也。』又言:『取鯉魚五寸一雙,合其一煮藥,俱投沸膏中,有藥者奮尾鼓鰓,游行沉浮,有若處淵,其一者已熟而可噉。』余時問:『言率可試不?』言:『是藥去此逾萬里,當出塞;始不自行不能得也。』言不盡於此,頗難悉載,故粗舉其巨怪者。始若遭秦始皇、漢武帝,則復為徐巿、欒大之徒也。」

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