Ascetic – a person who is free from worldly pleasures, having given up material possessions and selfish thoughts
The space has been cleared out and made antiseptic (ascetic). The only way to do this was get rid of all the possessions.
Self denial – giving up material things and selfish thoughts – has long been a part of many religions, including Buddhism. This is what is meant by being an ascetic.
However, although there are some who take asceticism to extremes, even to the point of starving themselves to death, the Buddha himself taught that there was a "middle way" – a path somewhere between extreme self-denial and materialism.
He came to this conclusion after going through a period of self-denial when he nearly starved himself to death.
Most Buddhists today believe there are two extremes that should not be indulged – devotion to sensual pleasure and devotion to self-affliction. By avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way is realised.