Monday, 28 March 2011

The Society of Muni


The concept of muni is one of the most archaic concepts in the Indian thought. Even Buddhism uses it in a religion – ethical sense. The history of yogi (the religious practitioner) goes back to the pre-aryan civilization. We hare no reason to doubt that the concept of muni also old like that. The Vedic literature rarely refers to munis but often references are given to logins Brahmin priests did not appreciate the muni way of life. Therefore they look at the muni ridiculously. muni belongs to the religious views of the pre-vedic culture. The yoga way of life came to be interrelated in Vedic literature as the last stage religious practice of those Brahmin priests who lead a Luxurious secular life. The idea muni was different for the fact that he process spiritual advancement traveled in the sky and his hear was long. He had no relationship with the secular society. He lived in secluded places such as cave, jungle ate and he liked silence. Thus the muni was seriously different from the Brahmin priest.

According to åggaJJasutta of DN a new definition of the term Brahmin has been given. In the early stage of human history when the society was becoming more and more complex, some virtuous men decided to be separated from average society and to develop their lives for spiritual advancement. They meditated in thatched cottages and their practice is explained as.

PApake akusale dhamme bAhentiti kho Vasettha brahanAtvava paThamaM akkhAraM upanibbattaM

= O Vasetthe? The priest conversion of language was born as bra mina for they were giving up unwholesome factors that are evil.

This example shows that even the term brAhmaNa is not of Vedic origin. The term was used for the Vedic priest not in a spiritual sense but in an official sense.

Buddhist monks look the form of muni (silent - sage) in the early of development of their society. The pre-buddhist sages were wonderers and they led homeless lives. They were searchers of Truth and we find many discourses in Buddhist canon which relieve the nature of munis. The åTThakavagga of the ßuttanipAta is one such collection the suttas.

·    KhaggavisAasutta
·    µunisutta
·    PadhAnasutta
·    ßelasutta are some of then.

      These sages who did not wish for human social life spend their lives in the jungle, Caves Mountains and forest etc. The Buddhist way of muni though was comprehensive and matured. It observed the weakness of contemporaries   and built up an ideal society of them. ∂hammapada observes the nature of these sages as follows.

ña Monena muni hoti - mUlharUpo aviddasu
yo ca tulanva paggayha - varamAdAya paNDito – (268)

= One does not become a sage by silence who is dull and ignorant,
But he who is holding balance is the highest sage.

PApAni parivajjeti - samuni tena so muni
yo munati ubho loke - muni tena pavuccati – (269)

= He comprehends the evils by that he is the best sage,
 Who understands the both worlds is the sage by that he is called.
                                                                             Munivagga 13, 14)

The life of the muni is very simple. He depends on begged food. According to the ∂hammmapada the ideal sage wanders among people maintenance food etc like bee tikes nectar from a flower without harming its beauty or fragrance.

YathApi bhamaro pupphaM - vannagandhaM ahethayaM
paleti rasamAdAya - evaM gAme muni care  -(49)

=As a bee without harming the flower its coilour or scent,
Having taken the nectar flies away thus the sage wanders in the village.     

                                                                  (Dhp.Pupphavagga verse 6)

The lay society on the other hand was very supportive towards the sages. They offered foods, clothing and medicines etc with a great sense of respect. TheragAthApAli records one incident of utterance which explains how the food of the sages is prepared.

Paccati munino bhattaM - thokaM thokam kule kule
piNDikAya carissAmi - atthi junghA balaM mama

= The food of the sage is cooked little by little from house to house wandered for alms food. I have the power of calf.

This verse clearly displays the simple way of life sages. On the other hand it is evidence of the culture of contemporary society that was very supportive towards sages.

The µunisutta of ßuttanipAta clearly outlines some fundamental characteristic of the life of the sages.

1.  EkaM carantam - solitude life
2.  µuniM – silent (discipline in speech)
3.  åppamattaM- heedful
4.  ñindApasaMsAsu avedhamAnaM - not change by blame and praise
5.  ßIhovasaddesu asantusanto- The sage is not shaken by eighth worldly conditions like a lion not shaken by sounds.
6.  VAtova jAlamhi asajjamano- like that wind that can not be tied by the net the sage is not attached to world.
7.  PadumaM va talehi alimpamAno- like a lotus lives in but untouched by water, the sage lives untouched by the world.
8.  ñetaraM aJJesaM - leads others.
9.  ånaJJasaM- can not be led by others.

The khaggavisanasutta of the Sn outlines the solitude quality ob the sage
ßamsagga jatassa bhavanti sneha snehavayam dukkhamidam pohoti
adinavam snehajam pekkhamano eko care khaggavisanakappo

= Of the one who has contacted the love is born, due to love the suffering arises, looking the bad consequences born of love, the sage wander alone as the rhinoceros

What is meant by in Buddhist practice is spiritual fulfillment of given religious aim. Prior to the complexity to that developed in the Buddhist monastic life in the later time. The entire life of Bhikkhu was devoted for spiritual objectives.

It seems that the pre-buddhist concept of muni received the new life with the teaching of the Buddha. The commentary in the µahAniddesa on the Guhatthakasutta of the Sn classified the practice of muni (moneyyavata) into three.
1.  KAyamoneyya
2.  Vacimoneyya
3.  µanomoneyya

1. KAyamoneyya is defined as refraining from killing, stealing, adultery and practicing wholesome deeds with body. It further includes observing the body with impermanent. The most profound KAyamoneyya is entering into fourth trance for that occurs in inhalation and exhalation.

2. Vacimoneyya means refraining from verbal misconduct (vaciducarita) and practicing good conduct with speech. The most profound of Vacimoneyya is entering into second trance. For the verbal formations of (vacisamkhara) is ceased at this trance. Vacisamkhara is two folds.

1. Initial application (vitakka)
2. Substantial application (vicara)

3. µanomoneyya means refraining from mental misconduct (manoducarita) and practicing the manoducarita. The most profound level of manomoneyya is entering into the ninth trance, the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling (nevasannavedayitanirodha samapatti).

The µahaniddesa also mentions the six kinds of Munis
1.  ågaramuniYe te agarika ditthapada vinnatasasana (these laymen who have right view and know the dispensation)
2.  ånagaramuni Ye pabbajita ditthapada vinnatasasana (these ordained ones who have right view and have seen the dispensation)
3.  ßekhamuni ßattasekha sekhamunino (seven trainees and trainee sages)
4.  åsekhamuni årahanto asekhamunino (the worthy one who is trained)
5.  Paccekamuni Paccekabuddha paccekamunino (solitude enlightened ones are solitude sages)
6.  µunimuni µuni munino vuccanti tathagata arahanto sammasambuddha (the highest muni means the well Gone ones and the fully enlightened ones)

This classification shows the Buddhist concept of muni the well practiced lay man also is included in that. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Bookmark Digg Bookmark Bookmark Facebook Bookmark Reddit Bookmark StumbleUpon Bookmark Yahoo Bookmark Google Bookmark Technorati Bookmark Twitter Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...