Curiosity can lead to desire (for knowing something), attachment and therefore suffering. Also, questions based on pure curiosity were left unaswered by the Buddha

On the other hand, curiosity is what makes us evolve, so is it good or bad? How should one sees it?

4 Answers 4


Asking questions / being inquisitive can lead to intelligence.

Having said this the quest for knowledge can lead to:

  • attachments to per suits of no benefit to this life, after life or liberation hence wasting time and effort
  • attachments to the quest of seeking answers leading to pure study / research or philosophising, this also may not always be time well spent.

If you are leading a householders life you cannot avoid these always. But your per suits should be fruitful for either:

  • This life
  • Next life
  • Liberation

Beneficial to either:

  • oneself
  • others, or
  • both

If your quest is not profitable best is to leave it a side.


Curiosity is alright, but ego is very tricky! Ego can use anything to lead you away from true dharma. Many things that are not very bad, but not dharma-related (and even some that are dharma-related!), are structured in such a way (made up from such concepts) that touching them reconfirms/reinforces the ego. That's why Buddhist discipline must go first, and curiosity second. Otherwise you think you are learning something useful -- and instead you are feeding your ego!


The Tibetan guru Padmasambhava alledgely said

I do not know, I do not have, I do not understand

The Buddha refused to answer questions on the fate of the universe and what happens after death. From this I would say that curosity about subjects unrelated to liberation isn't going to help you on the Buddhist path. A total fascination with your own mental experiences and the nature of reality might, wondering about the history of Buddhism probably won't. That said being a keen cyclist, building model planes and reading comics won't either. But I think there is something pericious about excessive curosity about Buddhist related things.

Within Buddhism there is the concept of near enemies that I find extremely useful. It's something that seems like it's helpful but really isn't. Sorrow might seem helpful when faced with suffering but it isn't. It's a near enemy of compassion. Being emotionally shut down is the near enemy of equanimity. I think that studying Buddhism can be the near enemy of practicing Buddhism. It looks like it, you can be convince it is it for years but it isn't it at all. It's an easy thing for me to be sucked into but it is really an obstacle to the path. Not true for everyone I'm sure but can be true for me.


There are multiple meanings of curiosity. Wanting to know the 100 versions of the Diamond Sutra could teach you more about it of it could get you weighed down in facts. Looking at a worm crawling across the ground and seeing life as the worm sees it could be an awakening. Both are a type of curiosity, but the first is intellectual curiosity that could be helpful or harmful. The second curiosity is imbued with innocence like a child. I see only positive outcomes with that.

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