When Siddharta Gautama left his sheltered existence to seek the true meaning of life, one of the first people he came upon were the Ascetics. They were a group characterized by abstinence and extreme austerities. Gautama followed the way of the Ascetics for 6 years. During this time, he became an emaciated remnant of himself. But he also came to realize that self-mortification was not the solution to his question.
It was this realization that led him to his conception of the Middle Way, an important framework in Buddhist philosophy.
My indulgence in Hedonism isn’t compatible but like Gautama when he met the kind village girl who offered him food, I am so very hungry. And it is a hunger that no food can appease. It is the kind of hunger that can probably drive me to want to sit under a great Bo-tree and not stand up until I get full illumination. Spiritual hunger. Even for the great skeptic.