Mu (negative)

Mu (Japanese无) or WU ( Chinese无/无), is a word that can be loosely translated in English with no ( s ) or without. It is typically used as a prefix to indicate the absence of something (eg无线, muses "wireless" ). However, there is the word Mu also taken on its own.

Language History

The character Mu, which is among other things one of the key concepts of the Buddhist, especially the Zen school, namely the emptiness, is spoken in modern standard Chinese as wu, Japanese mu. The early - Sinitic debate was about myag. At that time it was for many (40 ) people in the forest.

In the earliest known form ( about 1100 BC) to the present meaning is such a sign, however, a dancing figure, the long tassels hanging from the sleeves, is, therefore, shamanistic dance. It continues today in the written form of the components for a kinematically indeterminate object on fire together with which it had originally nothing to do. It was only in later times two identical words were taken for this character, but maintains the underlying philosophical significance remained.

" Mu " in koans

Mu is a famous reply in koans and other questions of Zen Buddhism and refer the questioner to the nature of his own mind, the question has arisen. One of the Schlüsselkōans of Zen is the so-called self Kōan Mu ( Does a dog have Buddha nature? ) By Master Zhaozhou Cōngshěn (Japanese Joshu Jushin ), it reads:

For priest Joshu came a monk and asked him, " Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?" Joshu replied, " Mu ( Nothing / There's nothing there ). "

The answer is " Mu " In a way, both an answer and a non- s response A simple interpretation possibility of " Mu " for an answer would be: " This question arises from a dualistic mind, resulting in reality no sense ( and is therefore wrongly ) and can therefore logically not be answered with yes or no " or about " Off infinitely many points of view, one could take a thesis to answer your question, all the options are not mutually exclusive, so ultimately are more to the imagination and not bring you further; also blind you. "

Douglas R. Hofstadter goes in his famous book Gödel, Escher, Bach on the word Mu in response to Zen koans, and has thus contributed to its spread in the Western world.

" Wu " as the emptiness of the mind

Wu is also a term that is used in Chinese philosophy and in Wushu (Chinese martial arts ) for the emptiness of the mind. ( The syllable Wu (武) in the word Wushu itself not with the one here Wú (无) is identical, but merely homophonic. )

In Wushu is trying to reach the state of Wu, both in training and in combat. In order to succeed, it will attempt to empty the mind of both thoughts as well as emotions. If the mind is filled with learning of thoughts, so he can not take on, it is filled in the struggle with thoughts or emotions, so can not act within the meaning of Wu wei you.


  • 无in various forms of writing Chinese

Larger seal script

Small seal script