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Alternative forms[edit]


Learned borrowing from Ancient Greek ἄσκησις (áskēsis, exercise, training), or Late Latin from the same Greek.


  • IPA(key): /əˈsiːsɪs/
  • (uncommon) IPA(key): /əˈskiːsɪs/, /æˈs(k)iːsɪs/


ascesis (plural asceses)

  1. Self-discipline, asceticism.
    • 1996, Julius Evola, H. E. Musson, The Doctrine of Awakening: The Attainment of Self-Mastery According to the Earliest Buddhist Texts, Inner Traditions / Bear & Co (→ISBN), page 3
      The original meaning of the term ascesis...was simply "training" and, in a Roman sense, discipline. The corresponding Indo-Aryan term is tapas (tapa or tapo in Pali) and it has a like significance...
  2. (Christianity, chiefly Eastern Orthodoxy) The praxis or "exercise" of asceticism and self-denial of passions and impulses for the sake of piety, theosis, and connection with God.
    • 1983, Alan Richardson, John Bowden, The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, Westminster John Knox Press (→ISBN), page 170
      ...and unction, but the church is replete with other expressions of worship and life which embody the transfiguring dynamic of theosis... This requires on the part of human beings spiritual and moral struggle (agona) and exercise (ascesis).
    • 2006, John Zizioulas, Jean Zizioulas, Paul McPartlan, Communion and otherness: further studies in personhood and the church, Tamp;t Clark Ltd
      The virtues to be attained through ascesis are Christ's virtues, not our own, and theosis is always granted, never achieved by the individual. This connects the ascetic life essentially with the eucharistic ethos...
    • Year Unknown, A Different Christianity, Praxis Research Institute (→ISBN), page 184
      Saint Anthony the Great described a process of purifying the nous by eliminating the disturbances aroused in it... To achieve this illumination and separation requires a special kind of effort, and this is the real nature of ascesis, noetic...