Although Buddhism has been characterized as an ascetic religion, asceticism was in fact experimented with and rejected by the Buddha before he attained enlightenment. As far as Buddhism is concerned, the meaning of the word ‘asceticism’ is ambiguous and should not be used without qualification.
The term ‘poverty’ is also misleading. The familiar Buddhist concepts are rather contentment (santutthi) or limited desires (appicchata). Poverty (dadiddiya) is in no place praised or encouraged in Buddhism. As the Buddha said, “For householders in this world, poverty is suffering” [A.III.350]; “Woeful in the world is poverty and debt.”
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