Asceticism is derived from the Greek word “askesis”, meaning practice, bodily exercise, and athletic training (Cambell). Early Christians adopted this concept to foretell of the spiritual things in order to acquire habits of virtue. Virtue is the behavior showing high moral standards. There also is natural asceticism in meaning it is for self-improvement and aims directly to natural virtues such as temperance, patience, and chastity. The following will explain what asceticism is, why asceticism is practiced, and the nature of asceticism practices in Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
Practicing Asceticism is an attempt in someone’s life to achieve various goals like working on the inner self as a “whole” to achieve liberation and self-restraint. Even the ancient Greeks even practiced asceticism; athletes who participated in the Olympic Games disciplined themselves in order to elude from common pleasure. Having the attachment to material things meant that one cannot concentrate on the important things that needed to be done. Athletes who restrained themselves from normal pleasure were able to achieve mental concentration which aided in thought of everyday tasks that needed to be done. Sophists, who were teachers, writers, and lecturers, instructed others on the concept of askesis (Eliot). These trainers of askesis were paid in return of the service they provided. Asceticism among the Buddhists and Hindus, is a form of expression is practiced around the world from many different backgrounds and religions.
Also, ancient Israelites restrained themselves from sexual intercourse when going to war in order to maintain mentality of the situation (Cambell). Askesis, deriving from the word asceticism, is ex...
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Campbell, Thomas. "Asceticism." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 9 Dec. 2013
Devinda, Monk. The 13 ascetic practices. N.p., 2007. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
Ed. Jayram V. N.p., 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.
Eliot, Sir Charles. HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM. 1921. Vol. 1. London: ROUTLEDGE & KEGAN PAUL LTD, 1954. 3 vols. wisdom library. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
Lanman, Charles R. "Hindu Ascetics and their Powers." xlvi. Print.
Queen, Christopher. "Asceticism." Scholarly Journals 49.1 (1999): 75-78. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
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