holy man, a sage, wise man.
The term which was specialised in Brahmanism has acquired a general meaning in Buddhism & is applied by the Buddha to any man attaining perfection in self-restraint and insight. So the word is capable of many-sided application and occurs frequently in the oldest poetic anthologies, e.g. Snp.207–Snp.221 (the famous Muni-sutta mentioned Divy.20, Divy.35; Snp-a.518; explained Snp-a.254–Snp-a.277), Snp.414, Snp.462, Snp.523 sq., Snp.708 sq., Snp.811 sq., Snp.838, Snp.844 sq., Snp.912 sq. Snp.946, Snp.1074 & passim (see Pj. Index p. 749); Dhp.49, Dhp.225 Dhp.268 sq., Dhp.423
■ Cp. general passages & explains at Pv.ii.1#13; Pv.ii.13#3 (explained at Pv-a.163 by “attahitañ ca parahitañ ca munāti jānātī ti muni”); Mil.90 (munibhāva “munihood,” meditation, self-denial, abrogation) Dhp-a.iii.521 (munayo = moneyya-paṭipadāya maggaphalaṃ pattā asekha-munayo), Dhp-a.iii.395 (here explained with ref. to orig. meaning tuṇhībhāva “state of silence = mona)
The Com. & Abhidhamma literature have produced several schedules of muni-qualities, esp based on the 3 fold division of character as revealed in action, speech & thought (kāya˚, vacī˚, mano˚). Just as these 3 are in general exhibited in good or bad ways of living (˚sucaritaṃ & ˚duccaritaṃ), they are applied to a deeper quality of saintship in kāya-moneyya, vacīmoneyya mano-moneyya; or Muni-hood in action speech & thought; and the muni himself is characterised as a kāya-muni, vacī˚ & mano˚. Thus runs the long exegesis of muni at Cnd.514a = Mnd.57. Besides this the same chapter (514b) gives a division of 6 munis viz. agāra- muni, anagāra˚; (the bhikkhus), sekha˚; asekha˚; (the Arahants), pacceka˚; (the Paccekabuddhas) muni˚; (the Tathāgatas)
■ The parallel passage to Cnd.514#a at AN.i.273 gives a muni as kāya-muni, vācā & ceto˚ (under the 3 moneyyāni).
cp. Vedic muni, originally one who has made the vow of silence. Cp. Chh. Up. viii.5, 2; Pss. of the Br. 132 note. Connected with mūka: see under mukha. This etym. preferred by Aufrecht: Halāyudha p. 311 Another, as favoured by Pischel (see under munāti) is “inspired, moved by the spirit.” Pāli explains (popular etym.) are given by Dhammapāla at Vv-a.114 & Vv-a.231 see munana