What Is Monasticism?

A thorough analysis of the theology and practice of Christian monasticism is presented by Louis Bouillet in The Meaning of the Monastic Life (London, 1955). Any adequate understanding of monasticism requires knowledge of the life, conversations and writings of monks. The word monasticism comes from the Greek monachos (“to live alone”), but this etymology highlights only one of the elements of monasticism and is somewhat misleading, since most of the monks of the world live in cenobitic communities (hostel). None of the many Indian terms for a monk (for example, the Sanskrit apabhramsha or the Pali prakrit) means “alone” or “living alone”, although monks in these traditions – especially in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism – live alone or in groups, deviating from the rest of society.

Some monks live alone (hermit monasticism), while others live in community with like-minded people (Genovite monasticism), always maintaining some degree of physical separation from the masses. Many monks live in abbeys, monasteries, convents or monasteries to separate themselves from the secular world, unless they are in mendicant or missionary orders. Monks can be found in almost all religions and are known for their devotion to the religious life. Monks usually take religious vows of poverty and celibacy in order to devote themselves to a disciplined religious life.


The monk’s journey includes giving up family life and vowing celibacy to provide more energy and focus directly on spiritual practice. In the Ramakrishna tradition, the goal of monastic life is to achieve liberation according to the principles established by Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Saradadevi and Swami Vivekananda And learn to do good for the world. Many spiritual traditions have monks, including Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians. In search of monks and nuns to achieve their spiritual goals in life, some Hindus choose the path of sannyas.

Monasticism (from Ancient Greek monakhos, monakhos, from monos, monos, solo) or monkhood, is a religious way of life in which a person rejects worldly activities in order to devote himself entirely to spiritual work . Monasticism comes from the Greek word monachos, which means a lonely person. The term monasticism in the sense of being without a spouse means celibacy or living alone, which has become a socially and historically important aspect of monastic life. Monasticism is a religious way of life, isolation from others, self-discipline.

Monasticism is the religious practice of living apart from the world, usually isolated in a community of like-minded people to avoid sin and draw closer to God Monasticism in Christianity, which provides the origin of the words “monk” and “monastery”. Christianity, from which the words “monk” and “monastery” are derived, encompasses various forms of religious life. Women entering the monastic life are usually referred to as nuns, or more rarely, canonesses, while male monks are referred to as monks, or brothers. The usually celibate and universally ascetic, monastic individual separates himself from society by living as a hermit (religious recluse) or by joining a community (cenobium) of others who profess similar intentions.


Although a more careful definition of monasticism cannot take communal living as a necessary factor, there is no doubt that monasticism is rarely a completely solitary existence. Some monks lived in monasteries, while others wandered around, believing that God would only meet their material needs. The monks left the world to live in deserts, mountains and caves with God; the God to whom they dedicated their lives. In most Buddhist traditions, celibacy is crucial in monastic discipline and is considered the main factor that differentiates monastic life from family life.

At the request of Sakyamuni, the custom of living together in the rainy season gradually expanded to a stable monastic life centered on women. Most of the modern rules of discipline followed by monks and nuns, known as Patimokkha, prescribe in great detail the proper way of life in the nun community. In early monastic communities, each monk prayed, fasted, and worked alone, but this began when Augustine (354-430), bishop of the North African hippo, wrote rules or precepts for the monks and nuns under his jurisdiction change. Augustine said (354-430) that the purpose of obeying the monastic rules was not to obtain merit from God, but to remove the earthly barriers between monks or nuns and God. More monks joined him, even in far-flung deserts.

St. John Cassian founded a monastic monastery near Marseille, probably one of the nuns, and, in response to what he believed to be the abuses found in Western monasticism, he wrote two great works: “The Institution” and the Conference . As Benedictine, Cistercian, and Trappist monks still use his monastic rules, the ideas of St. John Cassian and the desert traditions behind it still guide the spiritual lives of thousands of men and women in the Catholic Church. St. Anthony is sometimes called the Father of Monasticism, although this is a bit of a misnomer, as other monks practiced before him, but the title is justified, for example, his example, mainly by Atanasio Vita di Antonio is popular. , he inspired countless people to try to live as a monk.

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