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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 ?
The second, that Judas ascetically mortified himself in a renunciation meant to bring about the kingdom of heaven.
57) Lucas' work was different again: he portrays himself as a seer, in some senses (though he would no doubt retreat from such a description) a holy figure, ascetically devoted to his work and inviting his readers/followers to explore his enlightenment as he relives it in oblique, if not obtuse, and encoded forms.
Ascetically thin and magnificently tortured, Rouve, known mostly for comic roles, is a hollow dandy on the razor's edge.
Ascetically, the FLESH needs to suffer in order for his SOUL to reach a higher level.
director Robert Bresson, who "created an ascetically transparent
Features of Softline quarter-turns include ascetically pleasing to both touch and look, built-in finger-pull giving the user both finger-pull and traditional opening option with no additional assembly or cost, compression of up to 6 mm is achieved with an assortment of cams.
The arts and creativity are important economically as well as ascetically.
A few ascetically thin young men make conversation, and one man, with cavernous eyes and a figure as exaggeratedly elongated as in an El Greco painting, surveys the room.
42) O'Meara has shown that this is a typical emphasis of the Dominican school of moral theology, which "did not end with an ascetically developed set of virtues with a high degree of will power or rational discussion, but with a familiarity with the divine that is intuitive and instinctive.
Now its stock is way down and Cheney, once the proud standard-bearer of the corporate cause, is ascetically devoting himself to foreign-policy issues.
Thus, rather than ask the advanced democracies to ascetically elevate their values above their interests, supporters of Democracy Inc.
Postulating that behind the mask of Avellaneda hid an ecclesiastical figure (possibly a Dominican friar), my dearly missed friend insisted on the need to read the latter's work in the light of the numerous ascetically oriented Counter-Reformation tracts which had inundated Spain from the middle of the sixteenth century.