mu
see also: Mu, MU
Pronunciation
  • (British) IPA: /muː/, /mjuː/
  • (GA) IPA: /mju/
Noun

mu

  1. The 12th letter of the Modern Greek alphabet.
Translations
  • French: mu
  • German: My
  • Portuguese: mi
  • Russian: мю
Pronunciation
  • (British) IPA: /muː/
  • (America) IPA: /mjuː/, /muː/
Interjection
  1. (Zen Buddhism) Neither yes nor no.
    • 1974, Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:
      Mu means "no thing." Like "Quality" it points outside the process of dualistic discrimination. Mu simply says, "No class; not one, not zero, not yes, not no." [...] It's a great mistake, a kind of dishonesty, to sweep nature's mu answers under the carpet.
    • 1979, Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid:
      Achilles: Oh, but MU is Jōshū’s answer. By saying MU, Jōshū let the other monk know that only by not asking such questions can one know the answer to them.
      Tortoise: Jōshū “unasked” the question. […]
      Achilles: […] And the answer of “MU” here rejects the premises of the question, which are that one or the other must be chosen.
    • 1996, Dan Simmons, "Looking for Kelly Dahl", The Year's Best Science Fiction, page 424 ↗:
      "Mu," said Kelly Dahl.
      On one level mu means only yes, but on a deeper level of Zen it was often used by the master when the acolyte asked a stupid, unanswerable or wrongheaded question such as "Does a dog have the Buddha-nature?" The Master would answer only, "Mu," meaning—I say "yes" but mean "no," but the actual answer is: Unask the question.
    • 2002, Norman Waddell and Masao Abe, The Heart of Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō, page 72 ↗:
      The Fifth Patriarch's utterance You say mu [Buddha-nature] because Buddha-nature is emptiness articulates clearly and distinctly the truth that emptiness is not "no". In uttering Buddha-nature-emptiness one does not say "half a pound." One does not say "eight ounces." One says "mu."
    • 2010, Joan Price, Sacred Scriptures of the World Religions, [https://books.google.com/books?id=J0eycqQq9U4C&lpg=PA70&dq=%22'Has%20a%20dog%20the%20Buddha%20nature%20or%20not%3F'%20Joshu%20said%2C%20'Mu%22&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=%22'Has%20a%20dog%20the%20Buddha%20nature%20or%20not?'%20Joshu%20said,%20'Mu%22&f=false page 70]:
      A monk once asked Master Joshu, 'Has a dog the Buddha Nature or not?' Joshu said, 'Mu!'
Noun

mu (uncountable)

  1. (Zen Buddhism) Nothingness; nonexistence; the illusory nature of reality.
Synonyms Noun

mu (plural mu)

  1. A unit of surface area, currently equivalent to 666 and 2/3 meters squared.
    • 2007 — Chang Liu, “Peasants and Revolution in Rural China: Rural Political Change in the North China Plain and the Yangzi Delta, 1850-1949”, page 87 ↗
      Of 114 village farming families, only ten had more than 30 mu of land and only five had more than 60 mu.

Mu
Proper noun
  1. A hypothetical continent that allegedly existed in the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.
Noun

mu (plural mus)

  1. μ a mu particle

MU
Proper noun
  1. Abbreviation of North Maluku, a province of Indonesia.



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