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Monasticism is a way of religious life, typically in the form of an institutionalized practice that involves separation from the rest of society and various rules and ascetic disciplines, adopted by individuals who seek a higher level of spiritual attainment or religious experience than they deem possible by ordinary participation in the world. Etymologically, monasticism is derived from the Greek monachos (“living alone”), yet monastic lives, although commonly celibate, may be conducted either in an eremitic mode (as a hermit or an anchorite, hence a religious recluse) or in a cenobitic mode (living in community). Monastic systems developed primarily in two faith traditions: Christianity and Buddhism. Jainism also has a monastic tradition similar to that of Buddhism but less influential, and Hinduism has its own ...

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