Top Ascetic Quotes

Browse top 46 famous quotes and sayings about Ascetic by most favorite authors.

Favorite Ascetic Quotes

1. "No sane man can afford to dispense with debilitating pleasures. No ascetic can be considered reliably sane."
Author: A. J. Liebling
2. "A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi."
Author: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
3. "A physical shortcoming could produce a kind of mental excess. The process, it seemed, was reversible. Mental excess could produce, for its own purposes, the voluntary blindness and deafness of deliberate solitude, the artificial impotence of asceticism."
Author: Aldous Huxley
4. "Does evil come from inside ,from the dark depths of the human soul or does it come from outside ,from the objective conditions of human life?This question divides all people into two large groups: believers and materialists. For believers all evil and good is in man. Hence denying violence because it's directed toward the outside, is a fight with an imaginary, nonexistent evil. Violence should be directed toward ourselves, inside, in the form of repentance or asceticism.To assert that evil is outside, that a man is evil because the conditions in which he lives are bad, that changes in these conditions would bring changes in man,to insist that man is a result of outside circumstances, is from the religious point of view the most godless and the most inhuman idea which has ever appeared in the human mind. Such an opinion degrades man to a thing, to a helpless executor of outside, mechanical, unconscious forces."
Author: Alija Izetbegovic
5. "The student who deceives himself into thinking that he is giving his life like an ascetic in the spirit of sacrifice for art, is the victim of a deplorable species of egotism."
Author: Alma Gluck
6. "Asceticism is giving up selfish activities, as poets know, and the wise declare renunciation is giving up fruits of action. — Krishna."
Author: Anonymous
7. "Because, my dear, in the spiritual life opposites meet. It's not the cold passionless ones who become great ascetics, but the most hot-blooded, people with something worth renouncing. That's why the church won't allow eunuchs to become priests."
Author: Antal Szerb
8. "Satan, on the contrary, is thin, ascetic and a fanatical devotee of logic. He reads Machiavelli, Ignatius of Loyola, Marx and Hegel; he is cold and unmerciful to mankind, out of a kind of mathematical mercifulness. He is damned always to do that which is most repugnant to him: to become a slaughterer, in order to abolish slaughtering, to sacrifice lambs so that no more lambs may be slaughtered, to whip people with knouts so that they may learn not to let themselves be whipped, to strip himself of every scruple in the name of a higher scrupulousness, and to challenge the hatred of mankind because of his love for it--an abstract and geometric love."
Author: Arthur Koestler
9. "Everyone praises the endurance of the ascetic, but no one appreciates the stamina of the hedonist. To laugh until the throat burns and smoke a cigar to soothe it, to black out but not pass out, to love without climax, to be immortal in the moment – what stoic has such fortitude?"
Author: Bauvard
10. "When exactly did this all change, and what were the social and theological factors that led to the change? The answer seems to be in the second century and: (1) because of the consolidation of ecclesial power in the hands of monarchial bishops and others; (2) in response to the rise of heretical movements such as the Gnostics; (3) in regard to the social context of the Lord's Supper, namely, the agape, or thanksgiving, meal, due to the rise to prominence of asceticism in the church; and (4) because the increasingly Gentile majority in the church was to change how second-century Christian thinkers would reflect on the meal. Thus, issues of power and purity and even ethnicity were to change the views of the Lord's Supper and the way it would be practiced."
Author: Ben Witherington III
11. "I think that in all descriptions of the good life here on earth we must assume a certain basis of animal vitality and animal instinct; without this, life becomes tame and uninteresting. Civilization should be something added to this, not substituted for it; the ascetic saint and the detached sage fail in this respect to be complete human beings. A small number of them may enrich a community; but a world composed of them would die of boredom."
Author: Bertrand Russell
12. "Yes, I laugh at all mankind, and the imposition that they dare to practice when they talk of hearts. I laugh at human passions and human cares, vice and virtue, religion and impiety; they are all the result of petty localities, and artificial situation. One physical want, one severe and abrupt lesson from the colorless and shriveled lip of necessity, is worth all the logic of the empty wretches who have presumed to prate it, from Zeno down to Burgersdicius. It silences in a second all the feeble sophistry of conventional life, and ascetical passion."
Author: Charles Robert Maturin
13. "The devout life does not solely entail living as a monk or ascetic, though that is fine. The devout life requires bringing God into all things."
Author: David Paul Kirkpatrick
14. "If there is no element of asceticism in our lives, if we give free rein to the desires of the flesh (taking care of course to keep within the limits of what seems permissible to the world), we shall find it hard to train for the service of Christ. When the flesh is satisfied it is hard to pray with cheerfulness or to devote oneself to a life of service which calls for much self-renunciation."
Author: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
15. "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself." The disciple must say to himself the same words Peter said of Christ when he denied him: "I know not this man." Self-denial is never just a series of isolated acts of mortification or asceticism. It is not suicide, for there is an element of self-will even in that. To deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ and no more of self, to see only him who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us. Once more, all that self denial can say is: "He leads the way, keep close to him."
Author: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
16. "There is always a danger that in our asceticism we shall be tempted to imitate the sufferings of Christ. This is a pious but godless ambition, for beneath it there always lurks the notion that it is possible for us to step into Christ's shoes and suffer as he did and kill the old Adam. We are then presuming to undertake that bitter work of eternal redemption which Christ himself wrought for us. The motive of asceticism was more limited--to equip us for better service and deeper humiliation."
Author: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
17. "Read from a distant star, the majuscule script of our earthly existence would perhaps lead to the conclusion that the earth was the distinctively ascetic planet, a nook of disgruntled, arrogant creatures filled with a profound disgust with themselves, at the earth, at all life, who inflict as much pain on themselves as they possibly can out of pleasure in inflicting pain which is probably their only pleasure."
Author: Friedrich Nietzsche
18. "Whoever approaches these Olympians with another religion in his heart, searching among them for moral elevation, even for sanctity, for disincarnate spirituality, for charity and benevolence, will soon be forced to turn his back on them, discouraged and disappointed. For there is nothing here that suggests asceticism, spirituality, or duty. We hear nothing but the accents of an exuberant, triumphant life in which all things, whether good or evil, are deified."
Author: Friedrich Nietzsche
19. "The peculiar, withdrawn attitude of the philosopher, world denying, hostile to life, suspicious of the senses, freed from sensuality, which has been maintained down to the most modern times and has become virtually the philosopher's pose par excellence—is above all a result of the emergency conditions under which philosophy arose and survived at all; for the longest time, philosophy would not have been possible at all on earth without ascetic wraps and cloaks, without an ascetic self-misunderstanding. To put it vividly: the ascetic priest provided until the most modern times the repulsive and gloomy caterpillar form in which alone the philosopher could live and creep about."
Author: Friedrich Nietzsche
20. "The Heart-mantra of Dependent Origination (rten-'brel snying-po [??????????????????]), which liberates the enduring continuum of phenomena and induces the appearance of multiplying relics ('phel-gdung [??????????] and rainbow lights, is:[O?] YE DHARMA HETUPRABHAVAHETUN TE?A? TATHAGATOHY AVADAT TE?A? CA YONIRODHO EVA? VADIMAHASRAMA?A? [YE SVAHA]('Whatever events arise from a cause, the Tathagata [Buddha, "Thus-gone"] has told the cause thereof, and the great virtuous ascetic has taught their cessation as well [so be it]')."
Author: Graham Coleman
21. "Govinda was standing in front of him, dressed in the yellow robe of an ascetic. Sad was how Govinda looked like, sadly he asked: Why have you forsaken me? At this, he embraced Govinda, wrapped his arms around him, and as he was pulling him close to his chest and kissed him, it was not Govinda any more, but a woman, and a full breast popped out of the woman's dress, at which Siddhartha lay and drank, sweetly and strongly tasted the milk from this breast."
Author: Hermann Hesse
22. "When prayer, rituals and ascetic life are just a means of self-indulgence, they are harmful rather than beneficial. This is quite obvious to people nowadays, when it is widely recognised that fixations are not the same as valuable and laudable observances. One should not pray if that prayer is vanity; rituals are wrong when they provide lower satisfactions, like emotional stimulus instead of enlightenment; he or she should not be an ascetic who is only enjoying it."
Author: Idries Shah
23. "The principle of asceticism never was, nor ever can be, consistently pursued by any living creature. Let but one tenth part of the inhabitants of the earth pursue it consistently, and in a day's time they will have turned it into a Hell."
Author: Jeremy Bentham
24. "I do not wish to criticize any system that can nourish people's spirits, but I find that a lot of New Age writing cherry-picks the attractive bits from the ancient traditions and makes collages of them; it usually excises the ascetic dimension. In general it is not rigorously thought out, but is what I would call "soft" thinking."
Author: John O'Donohue
25. "But let no one imagine that we were mere ascetics. There is no more complex pleasure than thought, and it was to thought that we delivered ourselves over."
Author: Jorge Luis Borges
26. "Since we nowadays think that all a man needs for acquisition of truth is to exert his brain more or less vigorously, and since we consider an ascetic approach to knowledge hardly sensible, we have lost the awareness of the close bond that links the knowing of truth to the condition of purity. Thomas says that unchastity's first-born daughter is blindness of the spirit. Only he who wants nothing for himself, who not subjectively 'interested,' can know the truth. On the other hand, an impure, selfishly corrupted will-to-pleasure destroys both resoluteness of spirit and the ability of the psyche to listen in silent attention to the language of reality."
Author: Josef Pieper
27. "The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization. As he crosses threshold after threshold, conquering dragon after dragon, the stature of the divinity that he summons to his highest wish increases, until it subsumes the cosmos. Finally, the mind breaks the bounding sphere of the cosmos to a realization transcending all experiences of form - all symbolizations, all divinities: a realization of the ineluctable void."
Author: Joseph Campbell
28. "Your ability to withstand pain is your claim to fame. It is ascetic, holy. It is self-control. It is masochism, and masochism pleasurable to many, but we don't like to think about that. We don't like to think that a person could have a twisted autoerotic life going on, be both a top and a bottom, and experience both at once: the pleasure of beating the hell out of a body shackled at the wrists, and the pleasure of being the body and knowing we deserve each blow."
Author: Marya Hornbacher
29. "God, who is faithful, allows his friends to fall frequently into weakness only in order to remove from them any prop on which they might lean. For a loving person it would be a great joy to be able to achieve many great feats, whether keeping vigils, fasting, performing other ascetical practices or doing major, difficult and unusual works. For them this is a great joy, support and source of hope so that their works become a product and a support upon which they can lean. But it is precisely this which our Lord wishes to take from them so that he alone will be their help and support . . . in no way do our works serve to make God give us anything or do anything for us. Our Lord wishes his friends to be freed from such an attitude, and thus he removes their support from them so that they must henceforth find their support only in him."
Author: Meister Eckhart
30. "...first of all, the source, goal, and content of human life is not spirituality or religion, liturgical ritual or ascetical regimes, but the living God Himself."
Author: Olga Savin
31. "Mastering our emotions has nothing to do with asceticism or repression, for the purpose is not to break the emotions or deny them but to "break in" the emotions, making them teachable because they are tamed."
Author: Os Guinness
32. "The ascetic remembrance of death is opposed to akedia, to anxiety, to depression, and becomes a powerful reminder of eternity, its joyful nostalgia."
Author: Paul Evdokimov
33. "I never did calligraphy... But handwriting is an entirely different kind of thing. It's part of the syndrome of modernism... It's part of that asceticism."
Author: Paul Rand
34. "In Nietzsche's usage, the word 'Christianity' does not even refer primarily to the religion; using it like a code word, he is thinking more of a particular religio-metaphysically influenced disposition, an ascetically (in the penitent and self-denying sense) defined attitude to the world, an unfortunate form of life deferral, focus on the hereafter and quarrel with secular facts"
Author: Peter Sloterdijk
35. "The stakes in this game are not low. Our enterprise is no less than the introduction of an alternative language, and with the language an altered perspective, for a group of phenomena that tradition tended to refer to with such words as 'spirituality', 'piety', 'morality', 'ethics' and 'asceticism'. If the manoeuvre succeeds, the conventional concept of religion, that ill-fated bugbear from the prop studios of modern Europe, will emerge from these investigations as the great loser. Certainly intellectual history has always resembled a refuge for malformed concepts - and after the following journey through the various stations, one will not only see through the concept of 'religion' in its failed design, a concept whose crookedness is second only to the hyper-bugbear that is 'culture'."
Author: Peter Sloterdijk
36. "The de-spiritualization of asceticisms is probably the event in the current intellectual history of mankind that is the most comprehensive and, because of its large scale, the hardest to perceive, yet at once the most palpable and atmospherically powerful. Its counterpart is the informalization of spirituality - accompanied by its commercialization in the corresponding subcultures. The threshold values for these two tendencies provide the intellectual landmarks for the twentieth century: the first tendency is represented by sport, which has become a metaphor for achievement as such, and the second by popular music, that devotio postmoderna which covers the lives of contemporary individuals with unpredictable flashes of inner emergency."
Author: Peter Sloterdijk
37. "In his treatise on the battles between the gods underlying ancient Dionysian theatre, the young Nietzsche notes: 'Alas! The magic of these struggles is such, that he who sees them must also take part in them.' Similarly, an anthropology of the practising life is infected by its subject. Dealing with practices, asceticisms and exercises, whether or not they are declared as such, the theorist inevitably encounters his own inner constitution, beyond affirmation and denial."
Author: Peter Sloterdijk
38. "[Nietzsche's] questions - transcend, but where to; ascend, but to what height? - would have answered themselves if he had calmly kept both feet on the ascetic ground. He was too sick to follow his most important insight: that the main thing in life is to take the minor things seriously. When minor things grow stronger, the danger posed by the main thing is contained; then climbing higher in the minor things means advancing in the main thing."
Author: Peter Sloterdijk
39. "Pope Gregory believed that successful pastoral leadership required a balance between the contemplation of the isolated ascetic and the action of the well-trained administrator."
Author: Pope Gregory I
40. "Ascetics and fakirs come to mitigate human suffering; to heal us and lead us on the path. They put up with criticism; they go through many worldly trials. Some of them have even become martyrs for our sake. But they have done all this with a smile and with gratitude to God. Hence sacrifice is a great virtue."
Author: Sadhu Vaswani
41. "Who then was the orthodox, who the freethinker? Where lay the true position, the true state of man? Should he descend into the all-consuming all-equalizing chaos, that ascetic-libertine state; or should he take his stand on the "Critical-Subjective," where empty bombast and a bourgeois strictness of morals contradicted each other? Ah, the principles and points of view constantly did that; it became so hard for Hans Castorp's civilian responsibility to distinguish between opposed positions, or even to keep the premises apart from each other and clear in his mind, that the temptation grew well-nigh irresistible to plunge head foremost into Naphtha's "morally chaotic All."
Author: Thomas Mann
42. "There is a schism in me, between the erotic and the intimate. One, by definition, negates the other. For me the pursuit of sensuality for its own sake without the confines of emotional expectation or history is a freeing of the libido, standing outside of marriage, conception, emotional obligation. The subject becomes object. Object is the ascetic, the visual moment, no past, no future, just the moment of orgasm. This is not exclusively male territory. The encounter is, by its very nature, transitory."
Author: Tobsha Learner
43. "Che fantasmagoria è mai il nostro spirito, luogo di convegno di tante cose dissimili! Talvolta deploriamo la nostra nascita, le nostre ricchezze, e aspiriamo a un'esaltazione ascetica; subito dopo, ci lasciamo intenerire dal profumo di qualche vecchio viottolo di giardino, e versiamo lacrime al canto dei tordi."
Author: Virginia Woolf
44. "At one moment we deplore our birth and state and aspire to an ascetic exaltation; the next we are overcome by the smell of some old garden path and weep to hear the thrushes sing."
Author: Virginia Woolf
45. "I forget who it was that recommended men for their soul's good to do each day two things they disliked: it was a wise man, and it is a precept that I have followed scrupulously; for every day I have got up and I have gone to bed. But there is in my nature a strain of asceticism, and I have subjected my flesh each week to a more severe mortification. I have never failed to read the Literary Supplement of The Times."
Author: W. Somerset Maugham
46. "What Pascal overlooked was the hair-raising possibility that God might out-Luther Luther. A special area in hell might be reserved for those who go to mass. Or God might punish those whose faith is prompted by prudence. Perhaps God prefers the abstinent to those who whore around with some denomination he despises. Perhaps he reserves special rewards for those who deny themselves the comfort of belief. Perhaps the intellectual ascetic will win all while those who compromised their intellectual integrity lose everything.There are many other possibilities. There might be many gods, including one who favors people like Pascal; but the other gods might overpower or outvote him, à la Homer. Nietzsche might well have applied to Pascal his cutting remark about Kant: when he wagered on God, the great mathematician 'became an idiot."
Author: Walter Kaufmann

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She is nine, beloved, as open-faced as the sky and as self-contained. I have watched her grow. As recently as three or four years ago, she had a young child's perfectly shallow receptiveness; she fitted into the world of time, it fitted into her, as thoughtlessly as sky fits its edges, or a river its banks. But as she has grown, her smile has widened with a touch of fear and her glance has taken on depth. Now she is aware of some of the losses you incur by being here--the extortionary rent you have to pay as long as you stay."
Author: Annie Dillard

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