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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 ?
15) Not surprisingly, some continued ascetic practices.
bar]d were said to have learned ascetic praxis in exchanges with Chris-tian monks" (p.
This depiction of an early bodhisattva movement emerging firmly within the mainstream, albeit on its ascetic edges, is entirely plausible.
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.
They are sacrificing these ties and dedicating themselves to the service of every one," said Swami Avdheshanand, another ascetic of the Juna Akhara.
In the Hindu (2) renunciant traditions, ascetic practices (tapasya) are presented as requisite for perceiving one's true nature as Atman, or individual soul or Self, as well as for facilitating knowledge and realization of the Absolute.
In part I Brakke focuses primarily on ascetic authors and their construction of monastic identity as revealed in conflict with demons.
She drew to get a grip on reality; in adulthood she developed into a disciplined ascetic and a successful celebrity painter.
After a Christian upbringing and classical education, he embarked on ascetic journeys in both West and East, learning Hebrew in Syria and hearing the heretic Apollinaris preach at Antioch where he was ordained.
Light dapples through the slots, casting rippling shadows around the concourse and adding a sensual caress to the ascetic palette of concrete, timber and glass.
Take, for example, Katharina Fritsch's Monch (Monk), 1999, caught between Sylvie Fleury's wall painting Egoiste, 1993, and Thomas RufFs photographs of constellations (18h24/-35[degrees], 1990, and 22h00/-50[degrees], 1992): a metaphysical portrait of an ascetic torn between the ego and the world.