[From Greek asketes: a hermit or monk; derived from askesis: practice, training, mode of life.]

  1. (ethics) Originally, an ascetic was one who practiced the mode of life of a hermit or monk, characterized by solitude, meditation, prayer, toil, fasting, and celibacy. Implicit in this lifestyle of self-discipline and self-denial is the idea that the pleasures of this world should be renounced in favor of a higher purpose such as intellectual discipline or mystical insight. Often asceticism is connected to either spiritualism or rationalism. For the opposite view, see sensualism.

The Ism Book by Peter Saint-Andre

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