angela627 Post time 2012-2-16 16:39:07

Idioms: 玩火自焚 wán huŏ zì fén Whoever plays with fire shall perish by it

During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.), prince Zhouyu of the State of Wei killed his brother, Duke Huan of Wei, and became the new emperor. Zhouyu was a tyrant, oppressing his people and indulging in wars of aggression. By launching wars, he tried to divert his people's attention and reduce their discontent with him.

The Duke of the State of Lu learned about Zhouyu's usurpation of state power and his ambitious plan to annex other states. He then asked one of his officials, "Could Zhouyu, in your opinion, attain what he aims for?" The official answered, "He indulges in wars and brings his people much disaster. He won't get their support. And he's capricious, so few of his close friends follow him. He will never achieve his ambition. Moreover, war is like fire. If one launches wars endlessly without restraint, he'll eventually burn himself."

As it turned out, with the help of the State of Chen, the people of Wei overthrew Zhouyu and killed him in less than a year.

Later, people use the idiom to say that those who do evil will ultimately ruin themselves.

wán huŏ zì fén
玩火自焚


       春秋时期,卫国的公子州吁杀死了他的哥哥卫桓公,成了卫国的国君。州吁是个暴君,他压迫百姓,到处侵略别的国家。他想利用战争来分散百姓的注意力,减少人们对他的不满,从而巩固他的专政。

       鲁国的君王知道州吁篡夺了王位,还企图吞并其他国家,就问他手下的一名官员:“你认为州吁的目的能达到吗?”那位官员说道:“州吁到处打仗,给人民带来了灾难,人民不会支持他。他这个人又反复无常,身边没有什么亲信,他不可能实现自己的野心。而且,战争就像火,无休止地打仗,最后,火会烧到自己身上。”

       果然,不到一年,卫国人民就在陈国的帮助下推翻了州吁的统治,并处死了他。

       后来,人们用这个成语来比喻干害人的勾当,最后受害的还是自己。

míng zhēng àn dòu
明争暗斗
both open strife and veiled rivalry

yǒu yăn wú zhū
有眼无珠
have eyes but no pupils; have eyes but see not; undiscerning
xiōng duō jí shăo
凶多吉少
bode ill rather than well; be faced with a precarious situation; be fraught with grim possibilities

huà xiăn wéi yí
化险为夷
turn danger into safety; get out of the jaws of danger

tóng gān gòng kŭ
同甘共苦
share weal and woe; share comforts and hardships; go through thick and thin together

qiú tóng cún yì
求同存异
seek common ground while reserving differences

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