Irregular Weekly Four 8: 天網恢々

"I am Christmas Cthulhu.
Fear me!"
Best holiday-themed cookie ever.

This week's four characters are:

ten mou kai kai
heaven net wide wide

(That little symbol in the fourth position means "repeat the appropriate kanji" -- in this and most cases, the previous one.)

By itself, these characters mean "Heaven's net is coarsely woven" -- as in, the holes are big -- but they are only part of a longer quote from chapter 73 of the Dao De Jing:

The way of heaven is to not fight, yet win well; to not speak, yet answer well; to not call, yet cause to come; to be lax, yet plan well. The net of heaven is coarse, but nothing escapes it.

So, when someone says 天網恢々, they aren't just saying "Heaven's net is coarsely woven", they're also saying "...but it'll get you/him/her/them in the end."

Popularity factor: 5

Pascale Soleil:

Similar sentiment to: The mills of the gods grind exceeding slow, but they grind exceeding fine.


Did your crackers and giant Japanese bread slices fall down in worship, all 'my buttery God!'?


Yes, very similar to the mills of the gods thing. I knew there was an English equivalent I couldn't remember. Thanks!

Vanessa: yep, all other food in my house went insane when Christmas Cthulhu rose from his tupperware tomb. Fortunately, I ate him before he caused too much damage. Mm.. gingerbread Cthulhu..


The latter part of the Chinese quote seems to make it into Japanese too, with the director's cut being 天網恢々疎にして漏らさず.

-- gme


Ooh, thanks gme. That looks like a straight Japanese reading of the Chinese sentence, except I don't know how they get 漏 from 失. I guess to make it work better with the net metaphor?

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