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Abstinence is a voluntary restraint from following a desire or appetite for certain bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. Most frequently, the term refers to abstention from sexual intercourse, alcohol or food. The practice can arise from religious prohibitions or practical considerations.

In India, Buddhists, Jains, and some Hindus abstain from eating meat on the grounds both of health and of reverence for all sentient forms of life. Total abstinence from feeding on the flesh of cows is a hallmark of Hinduism.

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