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Thinking a lot about recent deaths of innocent young men. What meaning will we give their lives, and their deaths? Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. A lot of my new book is about easing the overwhelm that comes from the busy world we live in.

Here are 9 of my… Read more. The holidays can be a mixed-bag for some people when it comes to happiness. Many of us tend to look forward to this time of… Read more. Chase created this little graphic based on some of my holiday happiness tips… Read more. I so enjoyed my recent teleseries designed to teach simple but critical skills for… Read more. These conversations are designed to teach simple but critical skills for reducing the stress in our busy lives. Take control of the life that you want to lead. These conversations are designed to teach simple but critical skills for reducing the… Read more.

When was the last time you just sat down and stared into space? Put your feet up and did nothing? Spaced out in the shower? I love the unexpectedness of this video — the juxtaposition of a monk shredding the streets — using his natural talents in his chosen vocation. Although I presumably spent most of my childhood daydreaming, I seldom do it anymore. Please join me for 3 fun conversations designed to teach simple but critical skills… Read more.

One of the greatest things a baby can teach us is how to give affection without expecting anything in return. This day is a journey, this very moment an adventure. Rebecca Pavlenko Read more. Please join me for 3 fun conversations designed to teach… Read more.

Need help cultivating wordlessness? This incredible film is a meditation of sorts, and it… Read more. Despite the soul-crushing moment in the middle, I love this narrative about seeing your own beauty when you are in your groove — in that… Read more. Now that all your worry has proved such an unlucrative business, why not find a better job? A long-time perfectionist and over-achiever, I used to accomplished my goals through the sheer force of my iron-clad will, my grit, and darn hard work.

This week is the anniversary of… Read more. But because this is… Read more. No one can give you anything—love, shame, self-esteem—until you give it to yourself. Today, give yourself good things. Here, the father of… Read more. Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.

Did you know that happiness is much better thought of as a set of skills you can learn and practice than it is an inborn… Read more. I love this! A great way to foster compassion and make sure no one is made to feel less-than. Empower kids to endbullying. Are you documenting this Labor Day with lots of pictures? My kids are certainly smiling—only 3 days of school and already a holiday!

Say cheese along… Read more. Why we need to stop dreaming about becoming someone we admire, and get busy becoming ourselves. My kids go back to school on Wednesday. In the East they say that luck favors the prepared mind. I believe that life favors the prepared mind. Sharma Read more.

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony. Education is when you read the fine print. Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. Technology can be addictive, and it can change the… Read more. Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.

Go ahead: really smile while you watch this. Maybe even get up and dance! Advanced challenge: Go out and do something that is playful like… Read more. In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends. Last weekend I was at a fundraiser where several musicians were playing live. Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

The stuff of life never ends. That is life. You will never clear your plate so you can finally get to the good stuff. So you… Read more. We often forget that inspiration — along with its cousins elevation and awe — are positive emotions that make us feel more content, joyful and… Read more. Set me a task in which I can put something of my very self, and it is a task no longer; it is joy; it… Read more. Feeling too busy? Does busyness impact your happiness? In this video with Lindsay Reed Maines, I discuss that ever-present feeling of being too busy and… Read more.

I love this experiment in gratitude. These college students are caught off guard when they are asked to share their letters with those for whom… Read more. Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible… Read more. No dream is impossible. This wonderfully hilarious woman is living proof. A racing mind that reacts sensitively to little things indicates thinking that has lost its spiritual strength. Meditation restores that power.

Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. Think you know someone? This story about an old school teacher warmed my heart a little! It was an afternoon like any other. I had picked my kids up from their after-school activities, and we were driving to dinner at my… Read more. We love our children unconditionally, but do we accept them as they are?

Andrew Solomon sheds light on this question in his poetic and provocative… Read more. Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. This class will cover:… Read more. Is there a connection between wealth and unseemly behavior? You bet there is. Check out this amazing video! Happiness does not reside in strength or money; it lies in rightness and many-sidedness. Now that my kids are pre-teens and teens, dinnertime keeps getting pushed later and later, squished between after school activities and homework time.

I know that… Read more. This is a little random. Need tips on making family dinners easier?


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Check out my… Read more. A well-spent day brings happy sleep. Hilarious look at childbirth and life with a large family. This is how we usually behave — we see a reflection of our less-than-perfect traits in others, and rather than realizing that we are seeing… Read more. Check out this Kids in the House video for more… Read more. Fascinating very short film on the science of character. Building on strengths can have a lasting effect on our happiness and well-being.

Every event is the right one. You might know that your TV needs to be grounded electrically to get a clear picture, but did you know that your body also needs… Read more. I first saw this stunning TED talk at least 5 years ago maybe more but I still think about it all the time! Worth a… Read more. Studies show that kids who are emotion coached experience fewer negative emotions and recover more quickly when they are upset. Great piece about overcoming failure in your creative endeavors and trusting your instincts.

Ready for a good cry? How far… Read more. The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness. Fascinating scientific presentation of how mind-wandering may be draining your happiness quotient. Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. What can we do instead of losing our temper? There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.

Feeling anxious or impatient? Mindfulness can help. Check out this video for a few quick tips to get started. For more information on this topic,… Read more. When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? No texting, talking or even thinking? Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Multitasking talent is nothing to brag about. How long can you go without your phone? Can you enjoy a special moment without recording it?

Can you tolerate the boredom of waiting, or… Read more. Loving-kindness meditation does far more than produce momentary good feelings. I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. We know intuitively that how happy we are—in a relationship or otherwise—affects our children.

Our emotions are contagious, and so when a romantic partner loves… Read more. When my brother was getting married, I inundated him with the science of happily married couples. I wanted to give him a guide to not… Read more. Or you think you are the exception to the rule—that… Read more. Enjoy a good chuckle today! All the particles of the world Are in love and looking for lovers. Pieces of straw tremble In the presence of amber. One of the greatest things about our long-term romantic relationships is that they can provide comfort and predictability in this wild world we live in.

Transform your relationship in four weeks! A buddy recently stopped by for tea and was telling me in a sweet moment how much he loves his wife. This is someone who… Read more. This video by my dear friend, Kelly Corrigan, shares incredibly sweet, touching and funny! In this new video from Kids in the House, I share practical tactics for increasing your own happiness. Want more tips?

Check out my online… Read more. Most recently, Dr. Oz asked me. Watch this with your daughters, and post a selfie on our Facebook page today! While it is true that advertisers and the media put unrealistic… Read more. Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. In this Kids in the House video, learn how and why to put your happiness first! If you need more guidance or an action plan… Read more. Double down for one more week and reap the benefits. Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.

Do you know what the difference between empathy and sympathy is? In this beautiful video, Dr. I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. And research has shown that some types of fats, like Omega-3s, can calm… Read more. Eliot Read more. Wondering which Happiness Tips were most popular in ? Here are the top 5 Happiness Tips shared, viewed, liked and commented on the most! Great life advice for the New Year in this moving little video.

What really distinguishes this generation in all countries from earlier generations…is its determination to act, its joy in action, the assurance of being able to… Read more. You want to lose weight. Get out of debt. Stop smoking.

Eat more kale. Call your grandma more often. Feeling a little grouchy? Sound advice from a kid who wants us to be more… Read more. How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment. We can start now, start slowly, changing the world. How lovely that everyone, great… Read more. The holidays are not always a happy time for many people, particularly for adults who are disappointed or hurt year after year — that their… Read more.

A little irreverent but hilarious video with an important message: if you are feeling anxious or excited or proud, let yourself FEEL that emotion. Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst… Read more. But these days, parents need to provide their kids with much more than batteries for all their devices. Everyday… Read more. A good story about love. About inspiration.

Check out the Tutu Project website to see the beautiful photos! Give children at least as many chances to show compassion as they have to be competitive. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah! Happy Holidays, everyone! Did that greeting just make you warm inside with thoughts of winter lights and family celebrations and Salvation… Read more.

One kind word can warm three winter months. Stern Read more. Every day is a gift! Practical — and uplifting — wisdom here about how to make each day count. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Here… Read more. Watch this lovely video and let your inner voice… Read more. To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. Gaertner Read more. Gaertner… Read more. In this Kids In the House video, I share the importance of creating gratitude routines.

Want to boost your mood this week? Challenge your family members to an old-fashioned board game. Touching story of determination and the unbreakable bonds that tie family together. In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life… Read more. In this Kids in the House video, I discuss why gratitude is an important and necessary skill to develop for happiness.

Hope, strength, determination, human connections. I love the raw nature of this video: caretakers being silly and vulnerable for the benefit of the children they… Read more. Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.


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Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. Hello Dr. Oz Show viewers! We are so glad you are here. We offer tools… Read more. Oz show episode today! Malala Yousafzai is an incredibly brave and noble young woman. Wise beyond her years, the forgiveness she shares in this video is an inspiration to… Read more. I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to… Read more. We Americans are often overwhelmed and exhausted.

Did you know that million people are currently grappling with feelings of time starvation and moderate to… Read more. In this video from Kids in the House, I discuss a surprising way to encourage self-discipline in kids. Beautiful piece illustrating the distinctions between a day in the life of the affluent and the impoverished. Do something generous this week, and stretch if you can. Be more generous than usual.

Research is clear that giving to others improves our health… Read more. Emotional literacy is, in many ways, the foundation of a happy and meaningful life. When we consciously practice gratitude, we find more joy and satisfaction in life. I LOVE how this small experiment demonstrates immediate benefits! Tough times never last, tough people do. Inspiring display of selflessness to make the world a better place. Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for… Read more. This special man warms my heart!

May he rest in peace. Fill each day with life and heart. There is no pleasure in the world comparable to the delight and satisfaction that a good person takes… Read more. In case you think you are too old to do something. Like hip-hop, or to star in a movie as a dancer. Also, and… Read more. A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and… Read more.

Part 3 in a 3 part series. A fun Friday Inspiration that underscores the contagious energy of joy. If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again. Part 2 in a 3 part series. Click… Read more. When we look at people who are at the top of their field, they all have grit: persistence and passion for their long-term goals.

I LOVE the message of this video. When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there. Part one in a three-part series. When we look at people… Read more. Check out these famous failures for a little inspiration to dust yourself off and try again! An open letter to my brother and his wife, who are expecting their first baby—a boy!!! Faking happiness often makes us feel worse, but there are loads of ways to feel better after we feel bad.

Before you try this, though,… Read more. Put yourself out there, dare to fail, learn and grow! We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden. Dustin Hoffman on how Tootsie challenged his perception of beauty. I think his emotion in this video is SO beautiful!

All happiness depends on courage and work. Lucky people meet their perfect partners, achieve their lifelong ambitions, find fulfilling careers, and live happy and meaningful lives. We offer… Read more. A fun Friday Inspiration to share with the kids. How great to see someone using their celebrity to express the merits of hard work, thoughtfulness… Read more.

Regret is in the past. Fear is in the future. In the present I can manage whatever is actually happening. In the latest video from Kids in the House, I discuss why perfectionism is a form of unhappiness. It is, by definition, never being satisfied… Read more. There is a lot of scientific evidence that happiness and kindness are… Read more. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

When you have good news, share it, because the sharing will make you even happier. This is Savoring Positive emotions are amplified when we… Read more. An inspiring reminder of the power of friendship, acceptance, self-confidence, healing, love, and… Read more. Is your kid complaining of being bored? Patience, noun. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue. I find it annoying to play referee. When the… Read more. Make an effort to embrace your mistakes as opportunities to learn.

Mistakes are a sign that we are putting ourselves out there and challenging ourselves;… Read more. On his birthday, a son surprises his mother with a gift of profound generosity. A sweet reminder that we receive so much more by giving… Read more. More calm and less chaos in just 20 minutes a week Every year I rethink our family meetings at the beginning of the summer, when… Read more.

How does this inspire you?

And then I thought of all the reasons… Read more. If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. Last week, my kids went off to sleepaway summer camp again in… Read more. Consciously practice an act of forgiveness. Holding a grudge is not a happiness habit — resentment… Read more. If you took a video one second every day of your life, how do you think it would impact your daily choices? Ah, siblings. My kids, 22 months apart, are good friends more often than not. But if history repeats itself I know that this summer break… Read more.

Creating strong children and cohesive families through the stories we tell. This fall, my main squeeze and I are getting married. Clean out a drawer today. Perhaps that one that drives you crazy every time you open it? Organization can be grouped with personal cleanliness, a… Read more. Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest. And what all heroes have in common. This article was originally posted on my Greater Good blog.

In this video from Kids in the House, I share practical tactics for increasing your own happiness. People need joy quite as much as clothing. Some of them need it far more. Express gratitude to the one you love. In this new video from Kids in the House, I discuss why you should worry about your own happiness first. Want to learn more about… Read more.

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Do you love your family but feel busy and overwhelmed by your life? Are you in career or life transition? Do you crave time for… Read more. I have so much admiration for the women who paved the way for our generation. If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments. You, with your switching sides, And your walk by lies and your humiliation You, have pointed out my… Read more. A little Friday fun in the hilarious world of competition among parents.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

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Gratitude is one of the 5 high-impact habits… Read more. If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap. If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness… Read more. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. I was so moved to see Marines with similar injuries visiting victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. I love the end — how many of… Read more. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. They told me I… Read more. On this, the 70th anniversary of the most significant day in the the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and in light of recent dramatic events in Boston,… Read more.

It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy… Read more. I am so grateful for the work that you are… Read more. It was wonderful to… Read more. One thing that research shows helps many people—in a pretty profound way—is transcendental meditation. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge… Read more.

First world problems read by third world people. Hat tip to Jon Marc Seimon for making us aware… Read more. So much sadness exists in the world that we are all under obligation to contribute as much joy as lies within our powers. Even… Read more. Whoever is happy will make others happy, too. Another Friday Giggle! This one includes a Happiness Tip: get up and get moving! Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Yesterday, someone asked my daughter if her mother that would be me is happy all the time. My girl threw her head back, guffawed, and… Read more.

Routine, dancing, hugs, gratitude! Tim Harris is all the best happiness habits wrapped into one. What a wonderful testament to what we can accomplish with… Read more. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this… Read more. I frequently hear complaints from parents that their teens and tweeners are irrational. Kids say they want to get into a good college, for example,… Read more.

One of the greatest examples of sportsmanship. Hat tip to Janine Kovac for making us aware of this video. Joy is the best makeup. Increase the odds that your kids will do things the first time you ask. This video totally cracked me up. I love seeing something positive about the nitty gritty of parenting! I love Danielle LaPorte—what a poet that woman is.

Here is an audio collage she created that I find inspiring despite the undeniable new-agey-ness of… Read more. Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make… Read more. A scientific expert on adolescence answers our burning questions.

If you could ask any question of a wise and experienced neuroscientist and pediatrician, one who… Read more. Slips… Read more. To all the hopeless romantics, an encore posting of my favorite love story. A must watch. Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction. Transform your relationship in four short weeks! Research shows that when we consciously think of things… Read more. I love this project! Loving well takes laughter, loyalty, and wanting more to be able to… Read more. Are you content to postpone happiness to promote achievement?

Are you pushing your children to succeed? Or giving them skills for happiness? In the latest… Read more. New brain and social science shows that it is! Gritty people… Read more. Whether or not you or your children have a learning or physical disability, we all have challenges. This is incredibly great advice about how to… Read more. It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. Three gratitude practices to make habits in the New Year Even though Thanksgiving is quickly becoming a distant memory, giving thanks can still be a… Read more.

Or maybe you made a resolution, but you never really started doing… Read more. I love showing my kids videos like this one that have gone viral. Matt, who has Spastic Cerebral Palsy, is, of course, inspiring in his… Read more. The human spirit is so inspiring: we can do so much with so little. I want all American children to see this, so that they… Read more. Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a… Read more. The most fun part of for me was sharing my Happiness Tips on the Dr. Oz Show. If you missed that episode, you can… Read more.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. We humans are built to form strong connections with other human beings… no matter how much geographical distance separate us. I find this video so… Read more. Hello Washington Post Readers!

Thanks for spending the hour with me discussing how we can encourage gratitude in our kids. If you missed it, you… Read more. Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Neuroscience can explain why your kids have the holiday gimmees. In my last… Read more. Research shows that by boosting your happiness level, you can live a longer, healthier life. I share some of my favorite happiness tips with Dr. You… Read more. I am grateful that I truly love my work, and I hope that my example is enough for my children.

I worry, however, that what… Read more. Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. Sometimes, they need carefully calibrated danger How does this clip of a teenager falling off a horse make you feel? If you are like me,… Read more. Author Steve Ketchpel has offered to give a free copy of his new book Giving Back: Discover your values and put them into action through… Read more.

What if, at the end of the year, you could have half your annual income as a bonus? The catch: you must give up something… Read more. A message for my mother from Dr. Greene on YouTube. When we lose one blessing, another is often, most unexpectedly, given in its place. Lewis Read more. Gratitude seems hokey to some. We here at Raising Happiness are so grateful for teachers! Many of us are really gearing up for the next wave of holidays right now, and are perhaps feeling a bit overwhelmed.

This year, instead… Read more. This video fills me with awe for the natural world, and all that we do not know. When… Read more. There is a new video in a Greater Good Science Center series! With the holidays fast approaching, watch this quick video to learn three of… Read more. In my family on Thanksgiving, we appreciate each other by writing on our dinner table place cards.

The kids make giant construction paper place cards… Read more. Sometimes you just need a little laugh — this one did it for me. Giving thanks for abundance is sweeter than the abundance itself. Do you think you worry too much about your children? Too little? How much is enough? Generally, I believe worry is a waste of time… Read more. Help us get out the vote,… Read more.

A film by Beth Murphy. More at Principle Pictures. More at KarmaTube. I am so inspired by Razia, and so filled with gratitude for my… Read more. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into… Read more. New video in a Greater Good Science Center series! This week… Read more. This is also when I get a lot of complaints that kids today are entitled, materialistic, and… Read more. Do you tend to feel more anxious at the end of the weekend?

Please… Read more. To be loved, be lovable. Do your kids take too much for granted—including you? You can help them by deliberately cultivating gratitude practices! Are you a good enough parent? Do you sometimes feel like you are faking it at work or at home? The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. You probably know that yawning is contagious among chimpanzees, dogs, humans, and even possibly fish. Did you yawn just seeing the photo, below? We think… Read more. Perhaps everything terrible is in its being something that needs our love.

First video in a new Greater Good Science Center series! This week I give three quick tips for raising kids who are kind. Learn how to foster the skills that lead to real happiness, and keep your kids from thinking life is just… Read more. The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose. Having started my career in business, I now avoid formal business meetings like the plague. The sheer number of positive emotions we experience relative to negative ones affects how happy we are generally; for that reason, excitement about future events… Read more.

The original video I posted was removed, but I like this one too. This short film is a moving illustration of how powerful… Read more. Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching. Are you happier on the weekend? This month focuses on increasing social and… Read more. Rarely do I admit when an advertisement makes me cry — I hate being manipulated by corporations who want to sell me something.

I feel… Read more. The real moment of success is not the moment apparent to the crowd. Like this content? Sign up for our… Read more. Want an extra 7 minutes of life? Sign up for… Read more. Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a… Read more. Does your child have issues… Read more. If you are like me a recovering perfectionist and over-achiever consider taking a break from your high-productivity this week.

Loads of research make it clear… Read more. One of my favorite flashmobs: Ode to Joy! Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can… Read more. Moment of truth: My kids and I spent the first part of the last school year without any sort of predictable morning routine, or at… Read more.

We often forget that inspiration — along with its cousins, elevation and awe, — are positive emotions that make us feel more content, joyful and… Read more. Or we are feeling victimized, for that matter. No arms, no… Read more. Art supplies, a cool thumb-drive, and a new backpack are nothing short of thrilling… Read more. Becoming happier often means reengineering a bad habit, or… Read more. The most fun—and least expensive—therapy for finding greater happiness and less stress.

I found this video on KarmaTube — it is a great source for… Read more. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and… Read more. Even though the Olympics are over, my kids are still whipped into a frenzy. Fiona has a new passion for volleyball, and Molly is signed… Read more.

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Each… Read more. Have you seen the moving five minute video from StoryCorps about Danny and Annie? If not, your happiness tip is to watch it now. This is the most moving 5 minute love story. There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in… Read more. Watch this quick video to find out… Read more. Ascetic Jewish sects existed in ancient and medieval era times, [51] most notably the Essenes and Ebionites.

According to Allan Nadler, two most significant examples of medieval Jewish asceticism have been Havoth ha-Levavoth and Hasidei Ashkenaz. This voluntary separation from the world was called Perishuth , and the Jewish society widely accepted this tradition in late medieval era. The Jewish faithful of this Hasidic tradition practiced the punishment of body, self-torture by starvation, sitting in the open in freezing snow, or in the sun with fleas in summer, all with the goal of purifying the soul and turning one's attention away from the body unto the soul.

Another significant school of Jewish asceticism appeared in the 16th-century led from Safed. A studied example of this group was Hayyim ben Joseph Vital , and their rules of ascetic lifestyle Hanhagoth are documented. According to Shoghi Effendi, in Bahai faith, the maintenance of a high standard of moral conduct is not to be associated or confused with any form of asceticism, or of excessive and bigoted puritanism.

Asceticism is found in both non-theistic and theistic traditions within Indian religions. The origins of the practice are ancient and a heritage shared by major Indian religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. These probably developed from a syncretism of Vedic and Sramanic influences. Asceticism in Indian religions includes a spectrum of diverse practices, ranging from the mild self-discipline, self-imposed poverty and simple living typical of Buddhism and Hinduism , [59] [60] to more severe austerities and self-mortification practices of monks in Jainism and now extinct Ajivikas in the pursuit of salvation.

In Indian traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, self-mortification is typically criticized. The historical Siddhartha Gautama adopted an extreme ascetic life in search of enlightenment. According to Hajime Nakamura and other scholars, some early Buddhist texts suggest that asceticism was a part of Buddhist practice in its early days. Textual evidence suggests that ascetic practices were a part of the Buddhist tradition in Sri Lanka by the 3rd century BCE, and this tradition continued through the medieval era in parallel to sangha style monastic tradition.

In the Theravada tradition of Thailand , medieval texts report of ascetic monks who wander and dwell in the forest or crematory alone, do austere practices, and these came to be known as Thudong. In the Mahayana tradition, asceticism with esoteric and mystical meanings became an accepted practice, such as in the Tendai and Shingon schools of Japanese Buddhism.

In Chinese Buddhism, self-mummification ascetic practices were less common but recorded in the Ch'an Zen Buddhism tradition there. Renunciation from the worldly life, and a pursuit of spiritual life either as a part of monastic community or as a loner, has been a historic tradition of Hinduism since ancient times. The renunciation tradition is called Sannyasa , and this is not the same as asceticism — which typically connotes severe self-denial and self-mortification. Sannyasa often involved a simple life, one with minimal or no material possessions, study, meditation and ethical living.

Indeed, Vedic literature does provide irrefutable evidence for the existence of both female celibate students and female renouncers in ancient India. Asceticism-like practices are hinted in the Vedas , but these hymns have been variously interpreted as referring to early Yogis and loner renouncers. His hair and beard grow longer, he spends long periods of time in absorption, musing and meditating and therefore he is called "sage" muni. They wear clothes made of yellow rags fluttering in the wind, or perhaps more likely, they go naked, clad only in the yellow dust of the Indian soil. But their personalities are not bound to earth, for they follow the path of the mysterious wind when the gods enter them.

He is someone lost in thoughts: he is miles away. The Vedic and Upanishadic texts of Hinduism, states Mariasusai Dhavamony, do not discuss self-inflicted pain, but do discuss self-restraint and self-control. This is evidenced by the oldest Sannyasa Upanishads, because all of them have a strong Advaita Vedanta outlook. For example,. These are the vows a Sannyasi must keep — Abstention from injuring living beings, truthfulness, abstention from appropriating the property of others, abstention from sex, liberality kindness, gentleness are the major vows.

There are five minor vows: abstention from anger, obedience towards the guru, avoidance of rashness, cleanliness, and purity in eating. He should beg for food without annoying others, any food he gets he must compassionately share a portion with other living beings, sprinkling the remainder with water he should eat it as if it were a medicine. Similarly, the Nirvana Upanishad asserts that the Hindu ascetic should hold, according to Patrick Olivelle , that "the sky is his belief, his knowledge is of the absolute, union is his initiation, compassion alone is his pastime, bliss is his garland, the cave of solitude is his fellowship", and so on, as he proceeds in his effort to gain self-knowledge or soul-knowledge and its identity with the Hindu metaphysical concept of Brahman.

The 11th century text, Yatidharmasamuccaya is a Vaishnavism text that summarizes ascetic practices in Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. Asceticism in one of its most intense forms can be found in one of the oldest religions, known as Jainism. Ascetic life may include nakedness symbolizing non-possession of even clothes, fasting, body mortification, penance and other austerities, in order to burn away past karma and stop producing new karma, both of which are believed in Jainism to be essential for reaching siddha and moksha liberation from rebirths, salvation.

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.


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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.

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.

Asceticism - Wikipedia

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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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Baker Academic. Beyond Pleasure: Cultures of Modern Asceticism. Norris , Chapter 27 - Asceticism and monasticism, I: Eastern pp. Meri Muslims in Japan Shizuoka Muslim Association website. Retrieved Illustrated Dictionary of the Muslim World.