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Removing quote in Islam[edit]

We need to get rid of that quote about asceticism in Islam:

"Asceticism is not that you should not own anything, but that nothing should own you." -Ali ibn Abi Talib[17]

It is completely irrelevant to the category, its only relevancy being that it is supposedly a quote attributed to the Islamic leader Ali ibn Abi Talib, yet are we then to put all quotes by Christians, etc., on asceticism? There needs to be a better explanation of asceticism in Islam beyond a quote, which is referenced to a rather strange website called Urban Asceticism - which does not look legitimate to be referencing.

Therefore I am removing it. - Lauriestien (talk) 06:57, 4 March 2011 (UTC)


I'm sorry I don't know how to edit these pages well but I have to comment.

Whoever is writing these articles is doing a fantastic job! Thank you, thank you, thank you, a millions times, thank you. A pleasure to read and very clarifying. Having very clear, concise and accurate verbal thought strings really helps. I get the feeling someone has direct experience with what they are writing about as opposed to just dry scholarly speculation. Very inspiring and beneficial. I've found the same to be true with many (almost all) of the articles on Buddhism. I especially appreciate the article on 'Dhyāna in Buddhism' and 'View (Buddhism)'. Sorry if this post isn't appropriate here or out of place. If there is a proper forum for comments like this I'd like to know. Feel free to delete if necessary. -- (talk) 02:32, 29 January 2011 (UTC) "There is no place for asceticism in Islam." (Prophet Muhammad)

Title change[edit]

This page title needs to be changed to "Asceticism." The "-ism" form of the term is more representative of the material in the article and that which needs to be added. There is no need for a separate article entitled "Ascetic."

Agreed, be bold --Doc (?) 11:57, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Done -- sannse (talk) 22:37, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)


This statement in the beginning is ridiculous "Indian religions (including yoga) teach that salvation and liberation involve a process of mind-body transformation that is effected through practicing restraint with respect to actions of body, speech and mind, whereas Christianity mandates that Jesus does this for them." It assumes an incredibly Protestant conception of Christianity... Christian asceticism has a long, important history as is talked about below. So why this incorrect statement in the intro? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:23, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

I deleted part of the article that stated "the Roman Catholic concept of chastity directly contradicts the bible." ... I find it hard to imagine that this claim is neutral (but if I'm wrong please reinstate with appropriate references to the theology literature.) Hughjonesd (talk) 14:35, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

First paragraph[edit]

What are "worldly pleasures"? Might it be enough to say that some religions (link religion) qualify? Examples such as monks can follow. Salvation from what? Liberation from what? Mind-body transformation - define. As is it asks more questions than it answers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:49, 16 September 2010 (UTC)


"Those who practice ascetic lifestyles do not perceive their practices as virtuous and pursue this life style with the aim of becoming egoless."

Contrast this with the practice of Nietzsche, who was anything but anti-ego. The quoted statement is unsupported and should be discarded.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:01, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


I can find nowhere that Rousseau actually said Calvinists "live like monks within the world."


"...there arises in him a strong aversion to the inner nature whose expression is his own phenomenon, to the will-to-live, the kernel and essence of that world recognized as full of misery. He therefore renounces precisely this inner nature, which appears in him and is expressed already by his body, and his action gives the lie to his phenomenon, and appears in open contradiction thereto." "Thus he resorts to fasting, and even to self-castigation and self-torture, in order that, by constant privation and suffering, he may more and more break down and kill the will that he recognizes and abhors as the source of his own suffering existence and of the world's."

Removed: Sephardic vs Ashkenazic[edit] added this text:

"It can be argued, however, that while Judaism outwardly claims to oppose asceticim, nonetheless, many ascetic practices made their way into normative Judaism through contact with ascetic cultures, i.e. Ashkenazic Judaism's contact with the Christian world. Evidence for this can be seen in the fact that Sephardic Jews, whose main contact with other cultures was through the less ascetic societies of the Arabic-speaking world, tend to interpret the Torah in a far less ascetic way."

I removed it. First it has weasel words "it can be argued" - who says so? Second it rasies the point that ashkenazic Judasim has more ascetic pratices then sefardic. This is interesting but I would like a specific example. I know quite a bit about both and have never heard of such a difference. I would let the weasel words go, if there was a specific example, but without one this section doesn't actually have any real content. 02:05, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

what about adding Nazarite as an example of Asceticism in Judisiam ? rkmlai 21:35, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Max Weber and translation issue[edit]

This is Talcott Parsons' footnote on "worldly asceticism", from The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism:

This seemingly paradoxical term has been the best translation I could find for Weber's innerweltliche Askese, which means asceticism practiced within the world as contrasted with ausserweltliche Askese, which withdraws from the world (for instance into a monastery). Their precise meaning will appear in the course of Weber's discussion. It is one of the prime points of his essay that asceticism does not need to flee from the world to be ascetic. I shall consistently employ the terms worldly and otherworldly to denote the contrast between the two kinds of asceticism.

-Rbean 22:41, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

I am glad to see that this issue had been raised. Claiming that modern Judaism flat out rejects asceticism is rather irresponsible. It is openly debated in the Talmud in several places (notably Ta'anit 10b) and in Gitten there is the famous story of R' Tzadok who fasted for forty years so that Jerusalem wouldn't be destroyed. Classic ascetic concepts can be found in Sha'arei Teshuva (Gates of Repentence), Orchos Tzadikim (Ways of the Righteous), Messilas Yesharim (Path of the Straight Ones) and other accepted writings. It's hard to understand the concept of "Prishus" (abstaining, removing oneself) or "Kedusha" (seperating oneself) without drawing somewhat from the tenants of asceticism. Perhaps what is meant by "asceticism is utterly rejected by modern day Judaism" is that most practices such as voluntary fasting and self-denial are considered (, by many modern rabbis,)unadvisable for all but the most spiritually attuned nowadays.


The sentance on Stalin in the role of asceticism in secular society is absurd and the sentance should be deleted. Stalin's early life consisted of many earthly pleasures - only restricting himself and other members to obstain from alcohol at serious party functions. (talk) 06:40, 4 April 2010 (UTC)


What about Jainism?--Sonjaaa 15:43, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

I would second this. Jainism is definitely a unique ascetic religion, I'd like to see some info on this page --Jackson 11:19, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Jainism most definately should be addressed nov 2006

Argeed Jainism is probably the most devot to Ascetism Feb 2007

I have inserted a page on Jainism --Anishshah19 10:23, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Why do you separate Jainism and Hinduism when defining asceticism? Are their views of worldly possessions different? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:50, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Also, the Jainism part of this article seems to prolong the importance of asceticism in practicing Jain philosophy as if boastfully "owning" asceticism. This article is biased in that all these examples of asceticism are unnecessary. The definition of worldly possessions does not change within similar religions such as these two dharmic religions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:57, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Christianity? Or gnosticism?[edit]

This is one of the many core differences between Judaism and Christianity, which holds that the world is basically evil (original sin) and is to be avoided. In contrast Judasim holds that only by living in the world and enjoying it can the world be spiritually elevated.

It seems to me that this is an inaccurate understanding of Christianity. It is gnosticism, in fact, that teaches that the material world is evil.

Anyone have any thought on this, and/or how it should be modified? akavlie 10:06, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I've heard many references in Cristianity about the world being evil, many of them quoted from the Bible. However the stress tends to be that the "things of this world" are to be avoided, and that Christians are to live within this world, but be apart from the evils in it. --Ollock 17:24, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

That's not Christianity it's Protestantism which has nothing to do with Christian principles, it's just individuals misinterpreting books. 00:05, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

That's offensive, untrue, and irrelevant.

God did not create the world evil, but that is in no way any commandment that we should make money, or engage in worldly pleasures. This new philosophy that being rich is the product of spiritual superiority is a complete attempt at justifying immense wealth. In other words, money isn't evil, but it can be the root of evil depending on how it's used. Everything God created is good, it cannot be bad, what can be bad is when people choose to abuse it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:27, 28 June 2008 (UTC)


First, Akavalie is correct, the idea that the world is evil is Gnostic, and specifically heretical to Christianity. Christianity, like Judaism, teaches that God created the world "and saw that it was good." The entry still suggests that this is "one of the core differences" between Christianity and Judaism, which is just false. This seems to me essentially a misunderstanding (which indeed may be shared by some Christians as well as by others) of Christian asceticism and the ways Christians have traditionally talked about asceticism. At any rate I'm not aware that the idea of the world as evil is actually a part of any major Christian theology.

Second, I feel like this article is a lacking in neutrality and even in comprehension of its subject. Its tone to me reflects distaste and skepticism toward asceticism. The section on Judaism fairly praises that faith for its ostensible rejection of asceticism, which is simply untrue since Judaism incorporates many ascetical disciplines such as fasting and dietary restrictions. So this reflects a poor understanding of even the dictionary definition of asceticism, and it seems to me that authors have wanted to use this article to make a case against asceticism. At the same time, it does a poor job describing the rationales for asceticism and its place within spiritual practice--the section on Christianity, my own tradition, sheds almost no light on this at all.

I hesitate to go in and make edits myself with my own particular understandings, but for what it's worth this is my stab at the traditional functions of ascetical practice in the Catholic Christian tradition. The measure of Christian spiritual practice is growth of selfless, generous love in the person. Inborn and acquired desires and appetites and worldly attachments stand in the way of our ability to love and give freely. Ascetical practices from Lenten fasting to the "evangelical counsels" of poverty, chastity, and obedience practiced by religious are profitable if and only if practiced as acts of humble, self-giving love for God and for neighbor. Lenten fasting is to be practiced together with prayer and almsgiving. To fast because you think fasting in and of itself is virtuous or because food or appetite is bad is just pride or loathing; to fast as an act of penitence for one's acknowledged selfishness, as a joyful act of faith and turning toward God, and in preference to feed others rather than oneself, is an act of love. The fruits of good ascetical practice are humility and charity, as well as peace, freedom from the anxiety of clinging to and striving after the things of the world, and grateful joy in all things, such as St. Francis of Assisi was famous for. The counterintuitive blessedness of humility and sacrifice is very significant to Christianity, as reflected for instance in the Beatitudes. Asceticism is not ultimately a running away from the world, but a way to an even deeper, warmer and more clear-eyed intimacy with it.

So, asceticism is not always easy to understand, and yes sometimes it's neurotic and fearful, but it can have a very positive role in spirituality. Maybe someone else will know how to change the article to neutrally reflect its fuller meaning.

--Elizdelphi 17:56, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

I very much agree that an ascetic life leads one a "very positive role in spirituality" as you call it, this because Jesus was against many indulgent pleasures. One should not immerse themselves in bodily pleasures, nor food or drink, etc. However, the ascetic life is perhaps more gruesome, one does not just strive for a "mean" with pleasures of touch but perhaps avoids them entirely to a point of deficiency. This can be observed in obstinacy, in which the Jewish tradition is very much against. The church is very much in favor of virginity and the earliest Christians, most notable Paul, believed obstinacy was the preferable route simply because it wouldn't matter if you had Children; Jesus' return was imminent. (See Paul of Tarsus_ Eschatology). An ascetic life errs on the side of deficiency in pleasures albeit they are only pleasures of sense. Even the most ascetic life, perhaps that of a monk, entailed indulgence of beer during lint... this in essence catapulted the immergence of beer (it was however mentioned in Gilgamesh), but Monks would use beer as a way to get on without eating food.. this was no normal beer.. rather very very thick.. and one can only imagine the consequences of its alcohol content. Saints like Augustine would actually abstain from pleasures of the sense, albeit he was perhaps guilty of sadism as his doctrine on original sin was revolutionary for the church. This doctrine, as malevolent as it seems, declares all those baptized and in the church as potential peoples for salvation... it however is not guaranteed as those saved are pre-selected and most are doomed to hell. This sadistic idea is very much in line with the burning of witches in early America, even those who believed "witches didn't exist" were compromising their livelihood... witchery is blatantly condemned in Deuteronomy (for more interesting tidbits see Wikipedia’s criticism of Christianity). I think perhaps the most appropriate question to ask in regards to a "obstinate" life is what makes certain pleasures good or bad, it of course depends on which ones... and "why" an ascetic life leads one more into a positive role in spirituality. It is of course a neccessity for humans to have some pleasure in life, as not all pleasures are bad (surely love for another individual is not a bad pleasure)... and why those who adopt only a select few ascetic principles are hypocritical. The ascetic life is very much against all pleasures, it is perhaps blind to which ones one should endorse, it errs to the deficiency of how a man should live. 19:45, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Just to correct one of numerous inaccuracies in this comment, St. Augustine cannot be said to have come up with a new idea in speaking of what is termed "original sin" (the sin of Adam and Eve which we inherit, being born sinners), because this idea is implicit in Scripture. In Psalm 51 for instance the psalmist says (to God) "That you may be justified when you give sentence, and be without reproach when you judge, oh see, in guilt was I born, a sinner was I conceived." St. Paul says in Romans 5:19 "For just as through the disobedience of one person (Adam) the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one (Christ) the many will be made righteous." Moreover, the statement that "the ascetic life is very much against all pleasures" is a misunderstanding, not in keeping with an authentic understanding of the ascetical teachings of such authoritative Christian teachers as for instance St. John of the Cross, a Doctor of the Church. The word asceticism means "training," for instance in the sense of athletic training. St. Paul refers in well known passages of his epistles, to discipline of body and soul, making specific comparison to athletes who "deny themselves all sorts of things" in order to succeed athletically. For St. Paul his self-denial is for the sake of subjugating his body ("the flesh" seems to have its own unruly desires) to the dictates of reason because he wants to persevere in faith, in proclaiming the Gospel according to his understanding of God's command to him, and in heroic virtue. In this article's discussion of Christian asceticism, there should be reference to this kind of Scriptural basis.--Elizdelphi (talk) 01:04, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
To shun all pleasure is neuroticism, not asceticism. Anybody whose supposed "ascetical discipline" is loveless, oppressive, obsessive/compulsive, masochistic or neurotic rather than life-giving needs to stop it and/or get some counseling. To bring the conversation back to the wiki, it's important that the article reflect ascetical practices as practices of spiritual life and growth, rather than a philosophical or neurotic rejection of all pleasure or of the world.

The body is actually very important in Christianity, The Risen Christ appears in "body and soul". And also the world is not evil, the world is a creation of God and therefore cannot be evil. But evil entered the world and mankind has enough knowledge to discern what is good and what is bad. The view on Christianity doesn't reflect what the Church states.

"this because Jesus was against many indulgent pleasures. One should not immerse themselves in bodily pleasures, nor food or drink, etc."

I'd like to raise the story when Jesus turned wine into a water at the wedding in Canaa...It seems odd that jesus who was-according to current theological understanding-married and valued the idea of providing wine for guests at a wedding would be against such pleasures. Through the bible story, it is even said that the wine was of exceptional quality and that the guests complimented on the savoury nature of the wine... I believe that christianity doesn't condemn bodily pleasures....

Jesus was married? that is a theory and not an accepted belief among christians. Just because a book about DaVinci was a hit and turned into a bad movie doesn't mean that Jesus was in fact married, nor do i believe you will find many priests or ministers that will say that he was married. They may say that it was possible, but they will usually never say that he was married. Now, if he was married does that change anything about who he was and what he did for mankind? It doesn't change my view at least.


Nietzsche wrote a good deal about asceticism as a manifestation of the will to power, as well as a denial of life. I'm prepared to give a treatment of his discussion here, if people think its relevant to the "critics" section. --Jackson 11:19, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

it is relevant--fred

yeah, lets hear more -- lostgodnotes

Dispute tags[edit]

Very insightful comments, Elizdelphi. I do not feel that I am qualified to make extensive changes to the article, either... at least not outside the Christianity section. I am tempted, though, to just wipe out the Judaism section in hopes that it will be rewritten more accurately.

For now, I'm going to tag it with factual accuracy and neutrality tags.

akavlie 04:17, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Ascetism Article[edit]

I,m not a scholar in theology or related but as an interested atheistic party I would like to thank the writer or writers for at least conveying conceptually what Ascetism is (referring to the constructive critism previously added by those vasltly more learned than myself). I have a question though. Is the practice of Ascetism not a more life long binding to a practice of humility or seperation from "worldliness" rather than a traditional fast, for example, to show solidarity or improve performance? My question is based on the fact that most binding doctrines are meant to be heart felt rather than followed as part of a social tradition (I would guess). I would summarise my question with the statement Christmas vs Christmas presents? I know nothing about Judaism and therefore cannot relate the question in similar terms - Apologies to those who take offense in this.

Lawrence —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:00, 10 April 2007 (UTC).

The Rembrandt painting[edit]

The Rembrandt painting has nothing to do with asceticism. The old philosopher is meditating in a rather comfortable looking middle class household. He is not doing anything particularly ascetic. Just sitting there and meditating is not an act of asceticism. I suppose you could argue he's being ascetic for the moment, because he's not eating or drinking or watching TV otherwise making merry - but that's really stretching the definition of asceticism! In that case, you take a picture of anyone sitting in a cubicle and call the person an ascetic. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DoktorMax (talkcontribs) 04:59, 30 April 2007 (UTC).

Personally I view the painting as a contemplation of the estrangement of the philosopher. Many philosophers would take up residence with upper class families while they wrote their works. Although they live comfortabley, they were intellectual outcasts among those around them. For that reason I see the Rembrandt as appropriate.Billiam25 04:04, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Platonic origins??[edit]

In the beginning of the article one can read: "The roots of asceticism in the ancient world are based in Plato's dualism and Pythagoreanism. In Plato's dualism matter and the physical world were seen as evil and opposed as spirit and divine order; sexual activity was seen as a contaminant on the soul."

Now, seriously, someone better provide a source to this because otherwise it should be removed.

I can give you arguements against any "dualism" in christian asceticism really easily and what other asceticism can one have in mind when he talks about "platonic origins"? For example Peter Brown in his book "The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity" (ISBN 0571143989 - of the print I have) has pages 235-237 specificly about the potential dualism and the concludes with a "No". Christian asceticism isn't dualistic, rather body and soul are seen as closely related. Androg 22:20, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

I have to agree that the paragraph you have quoted is rubbish. No source is cited, because no credible source would say such a thing. The "ancient world," even if this term is limited to the Greek-speaking ancient world, included varieties of asceticism that had nothing to do with Plato. I will remove the offending paragraph.--DoktorMax 20:37, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Ok, sounds good. I originally thought I'll wait about a week for a reply and if no one replies I'll just remove it myself. :) Androg 20:27, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with the assertion that there was no dualism in Christian asceticism. In "A History of Western Philosophy" Bertrand Russell argues the opposite. He writes that “The dualism of the spirit and the flesh is to be found in Plato, and was emphasized by the Neoplatonists; it is important in the teaching of Saint Paul; and it dominated the Christian asceticism of the fourth and fifth centuries.” Page 303. Bertrand fleshes out this point and I could cite other quotes, but I don’t have my notes on me. I think it is important to understand Christianity in light of its philosophical routes. Obviously the quote I gave is from 1945 and I’m not aware of the current state of scholarship on this topic. However, I think it would be helpful if there was at least some information on Plato’s influence on asceticism. This information could also include the fact that this interpretation is contested by some scholars, the above cited book by Peter Brown being an example. I will add this myself if no one objects. It could be in a subheading titled “Platonic Influence?”.

Found my notes. Russell writes about Plato’s conception of an ideal philosopher saying “the philosopher must not care for the pleasures of love, or for costly raiment, or sandals, or other adornments of the person. He must be entirely concerned with the soul, and not with the body: ‘he would like, as far as he can, to get away from the body and to turn to the soul’. It is obvious that this doctrine, popularized, would become ascetic, but in intention it is not properly speaking ascetic.” page 135. How could this not have influenced Christian asceticism? I need to research this more and I will read what Peter Brown wrote, but it seems like there are pretty good reasons to think that Platonism did influence Christian asceticism. The Church fathers (at least Origen and Augustine) privileged him above all other philosophers, as did countless other Christian thinkers, so shouldn't we be open to the idea that asceticism was influenced by Platonism. At least it should be presented as a possibility.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:13, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Characterized by[edit]

Asceticism describes a life characterized by... (Needs Admin attention, recommend deletion of last sentence first paragraph: no context and inflammatory) "It also means that theres alota vagina in your butt hole." Burnette 23:20, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

"Secular motivation"?[edit]

The entire section entitled "secular motivation" is junk. I think it should be deleted. To the Einstein who observed that hackers value their projects and that athletes watch their diets: What does this have to do with asceticism? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:45, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Actually the insight that athletes watch their diets really is relevent. The word "asceticism" means training, for instance in the sense of athletic training. One Scriptural basis of Christian asceticism is in the epistles of St. Paul, for instance he more than once compares his self-discipline in the service of the Gospel to the self discipline of athletes, for instance Cor 9:25 "Athletes deny themselves all sorts of things. They do this to win a crown of leaves that wither, but we a crown that is imperishable." The body is trained to be subject to the dictates of reason, in order that one may live an authentically Christian and virtuous and unselfishly loving life. --Elizdelphi (talk) 01:36, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

The page has this statement: "Askesis is a Greek Christian term".

The "christian" source is disputed. This is unsupported.

The cult of Asclepius has farore claim on the term, seeing that the cult was ubiquitous in the ROman empire (500BCE-500CE), that its temples and shrines were places of healing, that the "Asclepia" was often associated with gymnasia (and execise routines), but more so because the attendants of the Healing cult temples were involved in both healing and in ascetic practices.

They were called "thereapeutae". These are mentioned by Philo, but independent to Asclepius, because there were many cults -- Asclepius was just one of the more popular (according to the archaeological records, etc)

Askesis is not a Greek Christian term, it is a Greek term. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:03, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Asceticism in Judaism[edit]

On the asceticism in Judaism page, someone wrote:

Nor may the Essenes be classed among the order of ascetics. While some of their institutions, notably celibacy, appear to lend support to the theory that would class them as such, their fundamental doctrines show no connection with the pessimism that is the essential factor in Asceticism.

There is clearly a false dichotomy between optimism and pessimism in the asceticism in Judaism article. It's true that Paul, our earliest known Christian witness, called the devil the prince of this world, but he also said that Christ would return to redeem the world he created. The article is also very misleading to compare Christianity with Buddhism. While Buddhism says that matter is intrinsically evil, Christians have not said that. Only Gnostics have. The very fact that Christians expect God to redeem the world he created is a strong case for optimism and the goodness of the world, not pessimism or dualism (you would expect God to do away with the world at the end of time if the world were really undesirable). The concept of sin in the world creates philosophical tension; it doesn't mean that the world is intrinsically evil.

Any thoughts on modifying the page? Spontaneous Generation 10:01, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 03:47, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

What was this past edit saying?[edit]

Kshaw5's only edit they ever made to Wikipedia has confused me. I am not sure which way their previous edit was saying. At first, I thought of editing the verb tense of "discredit" to "discredited." That did not seem right. I considered editing "has generally discredit" to "generally discredits." The rest of the sentence still seems odd. I realize it is a run-on sentance. The sentence construction creates the confusion: is the "The Prayer of Jabez" reference discrediting asceticism or instead supporting it but being discredited by mainstream Christianity? A reader might be able to figure out the meaning. Yet the sentence construction is needlessly difficult. After this confusion, I also think that this whole sentence really needs a source citation anyway. Because of its confusion and no citation, maybe it should just be deleted. Opinions anybody? Hopewatchful (talk) 17:56, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I just made the change about this, here. If anyone has a better way to word, go at it. I would have no problem with that. I just cleaned up what was there into a more readable alternative. Hopewatchful (talk) 19:44, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Recent additions[edit]

Please justify the use of With Respect to sex as you have been requested, anon. Also, Flood himself says that the Kesins and Munis were non-Vedics (note he himself says that they were not necessarily non-Aryan, others have however come to that conclusion). Mitsube (talk) 20:52, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

If Flood really claims as you say, please write the text down so we know you're not lying.

Also, if really the Kesins and Munis were non-Aryan then why were they not referred to by a non-Sanskrit title rather than the Sanskrit 'Kesin' and 'Muni'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:28, 26 January 2009 (UTC)


The tone of this article is pretty biased. "This is to be understood not as an eschewal of the enjoyment of life but a recognition that spiritual and religious goals are impeded by such indulgence."

A "recognition" that one impedes the other? How about an opinion or a belief.

There's much the same elsewhere. (talk) 14:56, 27 January 2009 (UTC)


I first posted some comments about this article in 2006 but made no edits to the article, now, having read the various comments, I am venturing to make some edits. First, I simplified the introduction, particularly removing a KJV Bible quote pf Timothy: 4:1-3 which didn't seem to belong there and was perhaps inserted by a Protestant Christian opposed to the idea of asceticism, I am going to re-use this same quote (in a modern translation) further down in the article where I am adding information on the Biblical basis of Christian asceticism, which was formerly absent from the article. I added an explanation of who Max Weber and David Mcclelland were and retitled their section "Sociological and Psychological Views" I am not familiar with them so I left it pretty much alone. I removed Fr. David Augustine Baker from a list of mystics under the "religious motivation" heading simply because of his obscurity in relation to the others who are all well known figures, I also clarified the reference to "Anthony the Great" as to who was being referred to (since this saint is better known in the west as St. Anthony of the Desert, and should not be confused with the well known and much later Franciscan St. Anthony of Padua). In the sections for the specific religious traditions, I made edits only to the section titled "Roman Catholicism." I retitled the section "Christianity" and wrote about the Biblical motivations of Christian asceticism, and a little bit about both Catholic and Protestant attitudes toward asceticism, which it might be very good for knowledgeable people to flesh out further. Please let us be attentive to representing the thought of the various traditions authentically and without bias. I have tried my best, in good faith, to write something truthful, and I expect that others will help to make it even better. I have left the remainder of the original "Roman Catholicism" section largely intact to cover the early Christian history of monastic type asceticism which is what it is largely about. I feel it could also certainly be improved, but that's enough for me for now. To summarize again, I've tried to add some Biblical citations and flesh out at least minimally the contemporary Catholic and Protestant angles on this. Formerly there was not any real discussion of differences within Christianity.--Elizdelphi (talk) 05:32, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Questionable statement needing verification[edit]

How does abstaining from worldly pleasures bring about greater freedoms, greater peacefulness of mind, freedom from temptations, and/or power of thought? I am going to try and find a secondary or tertiary source on this. Whether the sources will confirm or deny this idea based on extensive research is unclear to me. However, I can't help but question the validity of this statement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by BlueLinkAddict (talkcontribs) 12:47, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Historical inaccuracy[edit]

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this comment. The text states: The Hassidean sect, founded by the Ba'al Shem Tov in the 18th century, attracted observant Jews to its fold and they lived as holy warriors in the wilderness during the war against the Seleucid Empire.

The war against the Seleucid Empire took place roughly two millenia prior to the Ba'al Shem Tov. Chasidism is pietistic, not ascetic, although given the conditions under which Jews lived in Eastern Europe in the 17th through 19th centuries, there was probably quite a bit of "making a virtue of necessity." In any event, the statement as it stands is incorrect. Bob Rabinoff — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:17, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Does generalizing about religion really work[edit]

Let me begin by expressing my appreciation for all the effort and thought that has already gone into this article.

That said, I did read the article and feel a little out of synch with it. The problem I believe is in trying to suggest--as the article does in several places--that any religion, whether it be Judaism, Christianity or Buddhism or particularly Hinduism, consists of any single consistent philosophy. All of the major religions have developed divisions over time that can be almost diametrically opposed in some parts of their philosophy to other divisions within the same religion. Christianity has sects that believe in an embodied evil--Satan--and that is clearly dualistic, and it has others that clearly reject such dualism. There is just no value here in trying to suggest that one view is more representative than another. It is a waste of breath.

So with asceticism, it would seem that much of the discussion above could solved if there were only references to where asceticism arises within each belief, and avoid any temptation to suggest whether it is representative or not.

But asceticism can be undertaken for different reasons. In much practice, asceticism is undertaken simply as a way of defeating attachment to pleasures; in other practices, it is a form of self-punishment--"temptation" is seen as a sin of the flesh.

Perhaps I'm getting to far afield here. Hope the comments add something.

-- (talk) 06:41, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Section on Secular ascetism? Suggestion[edit]

This section is a miscellany of unreferenced examples of non-spiritual abstinence, most for limited periods of time, added by an unregistered editor. Abstinence is not as extreme as ascetism, which is more a lifestyle of "severe self-discipline... from all forms of indulgence..." (Oxford Dictionary of English).

This and the following section on "Religious versus secular motivation" should be deleted unless we can find authoritative sources that explain what secular ascetism looks like and who practises it. Even then, we need to be careful as I suspect it is WP:FRINGE. Ascetism, as the ODE, states is "typically for religious reasons [as in] a life of prayer, fasting and manual labour." --Bermicourt (talk) 14:25, 18 February 2014 (UTC)