Episode 6: 开天辟地 Heaven Separated From Earth

This is the first idiom I'm introducing a Chinese idiom in 2016. I figured...what better way to kick off the year with a Chinese myth! Funny enough, this myth is also an idiom, which means it has 4 characters: 开天辟地. The literal translation is: heaven separated from earth. 

开天辟地

神话中传说,世上最早时,天地浑然一体。不分天地,不分上下左右,世界像个鸡蛋,天地地开创人盘古就在蛋里。

一万八千年后,盘古突然醒起来了,从蛋里走出来。他什么都看不见,闷的难受极了。他变出一把神斧,朝鸡蛋壳用力一劈,劈开了混沌。

蛋里淡淡的烟云冉冉上升,变成青天。浑浊的沉渣逐渐变成了大地。从此,天和地分开了。

但是盘古担心天地会合拢,他就弯曲着背把天地撑开. 他手托青天,脚踏大地,站在天地之中。这样又过了一万八千年,天地再也不合在一起,盘古才安然死去。

他呼出的气,变成风和云。他留下的声音,变成雷霆。他的左眼变成太阳,右眼变成月亮。头发,胡子变成星星,他的血液变成江河。盘古是这样创了世界。

开创伟大事业,称开天辟地。

Heaven Separates From Earth

According to a legend long ago, the sky and the earth were glued together. There was no up, down, left or right. The world was a glob of delicious chaos…like an egg! 

18,000 years after the world was created, an entity known as Panku awoken from this egg. But he couldn’t see anything through the nebulous glob and felt the atmosphere was too suffocating. 

Now Panku was very powerful, like a super genie and he conjured up a magic axe, hacking his way out of the cloudy environment.

Shortly, the murky clouds opened up and the skies became clear. The dark muck on the ground cleared up and became dirt. He had hacked away so much the sky and the earth slowly separated.

Panku however, was concerned that without his constant hacking, the sky and the earth will eventually stick back together again. He wedged his back against the sky, and lifted his hands up to keep it in place. He placed his feet firmly on the ground and pushed the sky and earth away from each other. 

Poor Panku stayed in this uncomfortable position for another 18,000 years, making sure the sky and earth would never close ever again. 

It was in this position that Panku passed away…but his entity blended in with the world. His every breath became the winds. The sounds that he once made, became the thunder we hear. His left eye became the sun, and his right eye became the moon. His hair and his beard disintegrated and became the stars we see at night. The blood that was once coursing through his veins became the rivers and oceans. 

Moral of this idiom: This is how the Chinese explained how the world was created. But it is also used when referring to something that is unprecedented. Or, to refer to a trailblazer.