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1. a person who practises great self-denial and austerities and abstains from worldly comforts and pleasures, esp for religious reasons
2. (in the early Christian Church) a monk


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Ascetics practice extremely focused religion, employing various techniques to bring about spiritual discipline. From Hindus to Buddhists, from Jews to Christians to Muslims, virtually every world religion and most indigenous ones have ascetics.

Native American vision quests included denying oneself food and water. Christian monks sat on poles and scourged themselves with whips. The Buddha himself followed the path of asceticism, reaching the point of eating just one grain of rice a day, though it was only in his abandonment of asceticism that he found enlightenment. Some Jains go to extreme degrees to break down the fleshly "crust" formed by Karma.

The idea is that by denying oneself and punishing the "flesh," the spirit will be free to dominate and come into its own. This view always sees the spirit as somehow being "trapped" in the body. The body, with its appetites and desires, is generally seen as evil. Asceticism is the attempt to break free, and it is a direct opposite to so-called wholeness religious movements.

References in periodicals archive ?
To further demonstrate the importance of the court to Bunchi's ascetic practice, Cogan cites Bunchi's decision to build her convent at Shugakuin, only three miles from the court.
Further, historical evidence of the Hindu ascetic "emerg[ing] as the symbol of dissent and protest" (Thapar, "Cultural" 13) during sociopolitical struggles (such as, most notably, in the 1857 Mutiny-Rebellion) made them suspects whenever there was a widespread movement of unrest.
Just as important, the Besht forcefully rejected and denigrated ascetic behavior based on a verse in Isaiah: "The whole world is full of His glory" (6:13).
The ascetic replied: "I'm content with what I have.
makes clear that ascetic practices have a variety of meanings depending on context.
While cremation is the most common practice among Hindus, Sai Baba was buried as it is customary for ascetics in the religion.
bar]n, warriors imaged as ascetic horsemen, fulfilled much the same function, as a had[i.
The intellectual substratum of Jasper's reflections is considerable, and philosophical arguments from Kant, Hegel, and particularly Heidegger break through the surface of the narrative and provide contours for navigating issues of ascetic judgement and of the existential condition of human beings, who paradoxically, find final resolution in the holding together of opposites, of light in darkness and of life in death.
The latter wrote a biographical sketch of their oldest sister, The Life of Saint Macrina, which provides a precious glimpse into how the growing Christian ascetic movement influenced one prominent family in the eastern Roman Empire during the latter part of the fourth century.
While the aesthetic approach begs for a more contemporary context, Stock's ascetic approach is very different from what one might assume of an approach so termed.
She believes his attempts to marry the ascetic rigor of monasticism with his extensive textual and exegetical activity bore little fruit.
David Hunter hopes to address this misrepresentation of the complicated development of ascetic orthodoxy by detailing the range of ascetic positions held in the first four centuries C.