Guide Praying 101 for Spiritual Enlightenment

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Don't have an account? Sign Up. Update your profile Let us wish you a happy birthday! Add your birthday. Buy it Again. Most of the austerities and ascetic practices can be traced back to Vardhaman Mahavira , the twenty-fourth "fordmaker" or Tirthankara who practiced 12 years of asceticism before reaching enlightenment. Jain texts such as Tattvartha Sutra and Uttaradhyayana Sutra discuss ascetic austerities to great lengths and formulations.

Six outer and six inner practices are most common, and oft repeated in later Jain texts. The Jain text of Kalpasutra describes Mahavira's asceticism in detail, whose life is a source of guidance on most of the ascetic practices in Jainism: []. The Venerable Ascetic Mahavira for a year and a month wore clothes; after that time he walked about naked, and accepted the alms in the hollow of his hand. For more than twelve years the Venerable Ascetic Mahivira neglected his body and abandoned the care of it; he with equanimity bore, underwent, and suffered all pleasant or unpleasant occurrences arising from divine powers, men, or animals.

Both Mahavira and his ancient Jaina followers are described in Jainism texts as practicing body mortification and being abused by animals as well as people, but never retaliating and never initiating harm or injury ahimsa to any other being.

Praying 101 for Spiritual Enlightenment

In Jain monastic practice, the monks and nuns take ascetic vows, after renouncing all relations and possessions. The vows include a complete commitment to nonviolence Ahimsa. They travel from city to city, often crossing forests and deserts, and always barefoot. Jain ascetics do not stay in a single place for more than two months to prevent attachment to any place.

They do not touch or share a sitting platform with a person of the opposite sex.

Asceticism - Wikipedia

Jain ascetics follow a strict vegetarian diet without root vegetables. Pushpendra K. Jain explains:. Clearly enough, to procure such vegetables and fruits, one must pull out the plant from the root, thus destroying the entire plant, and with it all the other micro organisms around the root. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be plucked only when ripe and ready to fall off, or ideally after they have fallen off the plant.

In case they are plucked from the plants, only as much as required should be procured and consumed without waste. The monks of Shvetambara sub-tradition within Jainism do not cook food, but solicit alms from householders. Digambara monks have only a single meal a day.


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During such an encounter, the monk remains standing and eats only a measured amount. Fasting i. Fasts last for a day or longer, up to a month. Shvetambara monks and nuns wear only unstitched white robes an upper and lower garment , and own one bowl they use for eating and collecting alms.

Male Digambara sect monks do not wear any clothes, carry nothing with them except a soft broom made of shed peacock feathers pinchi to gently remove any insect or living creature in their way or bowl, and they eat with their hands. Other austerities include meditation in seated or standing posture near river banks in the cold wind, or meditation atop hills and mountains, especially at noon when the sun is at its fiercest.

When death is imminent from an advanced age or terminal disease, many Jain ascetics take a final vow of Santhara or Sallekhana , a fast to peaceful and detached death, by first reducing intake of and then ultimately abandoning all medicines, food, and water. In Inca religion of medieval South America, asceticism was practiced. Historical evidence suggest that the monastic tradition in Taoism practiced asceticism, and the most common ascetic practices included fasting, complete sexual abstinence, self-imposed poverty, sleep deprivation, and secluding oneself in the wilderness.

According to Stephen Eskildsen, asceticism continues to be a part of modern Taoism. In Zoroastrianism , active participation in life through good thoughts, good words and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep the chaos at bay. This active participation is a central element in Zoroaster 's concept of free will. In the Avesta, the sacred scriptures of Zoroastrianism, fasting and mortification are forbidden.


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  • Early 20th-century German sociologist Max Weber made a distinction between innerweltliche and ausserweltliche asceticism, which means roughly "inside the world" and "outside the world", respectively. Talcott Parsons translated these as "worldly" and "otherworldly"—however, some translators use "inner-worldly", and this is more in line with inner world explorations of mysticism, a common purpose of asceticism.

    Wealth is thus bad ethically only in so far as it is a temptation to idleness and sinful enjoyment of life, and its acquisition is bad only when it is with the purpose of later living merrily and without care. Weber claimed this distinction originated in the Protestant Reformation , but later became secularized, so the concept can be applied to both religious and secular ascetics.

    The 20th-century American psychological theorist David McClelland suggested worldly asceticism is specifically targeting worldly pleasures that "distract" people from their calling and may accept worldly pleasures that are not distracting. As an example, he pointed out Quakers have historically objected to bright-coloured clothing, but wealthy Quakers often made their drab clothing out of expensive materials. The color was considered distracting, but the materials were not.

    Amish groups use similar criteria to make decisions about which modern technologies to use and which to avoid. In the essay, Nietzsche describes how such a paradoxical action as asceticism might serve the interests of life: through asceticism one can overcome their desire to perish from pain and despair and attain mastery over oneself. In this way one can express both ressentiment and the will to power.

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    Nietzsche describes the morality of the ascetic priest as characterized by Christianity as one where, finding oneself in pain or despair and desiring to perish from it, the will to live causes one to place oneself in a state of hibernation and denial of the material world in order to minimize that pain and thus preserve life, a technique which Nietzsche locates at the very origin of secular science as well as of religion.

    He associated the "ascetic ideal" with Christian decadence. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the emphasis of art and beauty, see Aestheticism and Aesthetics. Pursuing enlightenment, Buddha first practiced severe asceticism before recommending a non-ascetic middle way. People by era or century. Desert Fathers.

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    Contemporary papal views. Aspects of meditation Orationis Formas , See also: Ascetical theology and Degrees of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. See also: Dervish , Faqir , and Sufism. Main article: Asceticism in Judaism. See also: Tapas Sanskrit , Sannyasa , and Ataptatanu. Female Asceticism Indeed, Vedic literature does provide irrefutable evidence for the existence of both female celibate students and female renouncers in ancient India.

    Main article: Jain monasticism. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Asceticism in the Graeco-Roman World. Cambridge University Press. Tucker The Encyclopedia of Middle East Wars.

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