“We wish there were no illnesses in the world, even though the drug shelves were covered with dust” is a pair of couplets written by a scholar in Tongzhi era of Qing Dynasty. The couplets highly praise the noble medicine virtues and feelings of “doing good to society and keeping people healthy” practiced by Tongrentang people.
Its literal meaning is that even though the drugs on the shelves are covered with dust because no one buys them, we do not wish any people catch diseases so that our business will be prosperous. This represents the concept of benevolent and boundless love, and the vivid embodiment of justice and benefits including “put righteousness first” and “to value justice above material gains”. It is a perfect integration of “benevolence”, “virtue” and “kind-heartedness”. It is also the best interpretation to the business purposes proposed by Mr. Yue Xianyang, that is “among things which can preserve peoples’ health and do good to society, medicine is the best”. It is the source of Tongrentang’s corporation spirit of “cultivate both noble morality and benevolence to do good to society and to keep people healthy”.