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Shennong Tastes a Hundred Grasses

Updated:  2019-01-08 15:25:14

  (China TEFL Net)

All his life, Shen Nong had a crystal abdomen, and one could clearly see all of his internal organs. At that time, humans were often getting sick and even dying because they ate things indiscriminately [not knowing if they were good or bad]. Shen Nong determinedly tasted everything everywhere; the good-tasting things he put in a bag on his left side, those were for people to eat; the bad-tasting things he put in a bag on his right side, and those were used for medicine.
The first time, Shen Nong tasted a small fresh leaf. As this leaf fell into his stomach, it cleaned every inch of his insides so that every organ top and bottom was fresh and cool, as if [the leaf] was somehow on patrol [making the rounds], so Shen Nong called it “chá” [to investigate / check], and later generations of men called it “chá” [tea]. Shen Nong put it in the bag on the right. The second time, Shen Nong tasted a little light red flower that looked like a butterfly, which was sweet and delicious, with an exotic smell that filled his nostrils, so he called it “licorice”. He put it in the bag on the left. In this way, Shen Nong diligently tasted all manner of flora, and every time he was poisoned, he used tea to rescue himself. Before long, the bag on his left contained 47,000 kinds of flowers, grasses, roots and leaves, and the right side had 398,000 kinds.
But one day, Shen Nong tasted “heartbreak grass”, and this poison was too terrible, so there wasn’t enough time to eat the tea leaves to detoxify and he died. He sacrificed himself to save humanity, so people call him the “Bodhisattva of Medicine”, and people forever commemorate him through this story.


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