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ASCETICISM

This concept is related etymologically to the Greek term askŽsis (to exercise). Thus an ascetic is analogous to a spiritual athlete in Greek parlance. More specifically, an ascetic exercises behavior that is intended to control his body and mind. This regimen assumes a variety of practices: selfdenial of food and sleep, vows of celibacy and silence, and renunciation of the world; it also includes various forms of bodily mortification, such as self-flagellation, offering of pieces of one’s flesh, and other forms of self-inflicted pain.