In his general teaching Chrysostom elevates the ascetic element in religion, and in his homilies he inculcates the need of personal acquaintance with the Scriptures, and denounces ignorance of them as the source of all heresy.
On the basis of such a cosmical philosophy, ethics can only have a dualistic ascetic character.
The religious atmosphere of Ganja, besides, was most favourable to such a state of mind; the inhabitants, being zealous Sunnites, allowed nobody to dwell among them who did not come up to their standard of orthodoxy, and it is therefore not surprising to find that Nizami abandoned himself at an early age to a stern ascetic life, as full of intolerance to others as dry and unprofitable to himself.
He wore a sharp shirt of hair next his skin, scourged himself every Friday and other fasting days, lay upon the bare ground with a log under his head, and allowed himself but four or five hours' sleep. This access of the ascetic malady lasted but a short time, and More recovered to all outward appearance his balance of mind.
This plan, which was first adopted by St Bruno and his twelve companions at the original institution at Chartreux, near Grenoble, was maintained in all the Carthusian establishments throughout Europe, even after the ascetic severity of the order had been to some extent relaxed, and the primitive simplicity of their buildings had been exchanged for the magnificence of decoration which characterizes such foundations as the Certosas of Pavia and Florence.
The Armenian writer Eznik (c. 425) also attests that Mani's teaching was merely that of the Magi, plus an ascetic morality, for which they hated and slew him.
Salvian was a 5th-century socialist of the most extreme type, and a zealous ascetic who pitilessly scourged everything that fell short of an exalted morality, and exaggerated, albeit unconsciously, the faults that he desired to eradicate.
The first four gurus led simple ascetic lives and were regardless of wordly affairs.
After seeing his comrades decimated by the plague at Constantinople he resolved to change his mode of life, and, on his return to Italy, after a rigorous pilgrimage and a period of ascetic retreat, became a monk in the Cistercian abbey of Casamari.
That the ascetic life is intrinsically higher, that not every one is called to it, that the call is imperious when it comes, and that asceticism must be developed under Church control - all this may be common to East and West.