The benefits of stupidity

Beware RULE#5!!!

And the Buddha says:

AN4.95:2.2: The person who practices to benefit neither themselves nor others is like this, I say.
AN4.95:3.1: The person who practices to benefit others, but not themselves, is better than that.
AN4.95:3.2: The person who practices to benefit themselves, but not others, is better than both of those.
AN4.95:3.3: But the person who practices to benefit both themselves and others is the foremost, best, chief, highest, and finest of the four.


Are there stupid people, or people who do stupid things?


We have all held onto the root of ignorance for quite some time. :pray:

Thig16.1:48.1: “Transmigration is long for fools,
Thig16.1:48.2: crying again and again at that with no known beginning—
Thig16.1:48.3: the death of a father,
Thig16.1:48.4: the killing of a brother or of themselves.
Thig16.1:49.1: Remember the ocean of tears, of milk, of blood—
Thig16.1:49.2: transmigration with no known beginning.


It’s excellent and a good reminder. Thanks for posting.

I like the saying ‘stupid is as stupid does’ and the derived variants such as ‘pretty is as pretty does’ or ‘smart is as smart does’.

People do stupid things by ways of body, speech and thought, therefore they are called stupid people.

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@karl_lew por que cuidado com a REGRA 5? Muito obrigado pela sua orientação e ajuda.
Google translation
why be careful with RULE 5? Thank you very much for your guidance and help.**

I like the framing, but I think there’s just a large plurality of value functions and beliefs in the world.

For example, to a neoliberal materialist, my renunciation is “stupid” because giving up my productivity and hedonic pleasures puts me squarely in the bottom left in their estimation.

This explains why there are so many “stupid” people out there: there are so many beliefs and value functions and preferences and ways-of-doing-things, of course we only share beliefs with a small percentage of people.

Even here at my Thai monastery, we’re all Buddhist monks but we still have disagreements about e.g. the right way to mount a toilet paper roll (or, indeed, whether to use TP at all!)

So, I take the rule about not underestimating “stupidity” as just a humorous reminder to not assume others have the same beliefs as you.


The Thai bum gun is the greatest invention, ever. I am shocked that the use of western TP is even an issue :slight_smile:


Just a headsup, we use English language in this forum / space. :anjal:

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I think it’s not a problem we could use Google translate or other tools to understand it, I believe that language should not be a barrier to understand dhamma

Thanks Gabriel
May you be happy :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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I do stupid things. Am I a stupid person?

I am very wary of (disparaging) terms that mainly apply to other people. Of what wholesome use can they ever be to me?

I don’t know what it is you do. Stupid in as far you do stupid things i guess. What do you think?

Being honest with myself as in calling out my own stupidity keeps me humble and motivates me to eradicate it. Being aware of other people’s stupidity keeps me from getting entangled with fools.

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Yes, fair enough. I was getting at the difference between ‘does stupid’ and ‘is stupid’ and what wholesome use the perception ‘is stupid’ can have, either applied to myself or others. Is there ever a situation in which ‘is stupid’ is more useful, wholesome and accurate than ‘does stupid’?

I think it’s healthy to make categorical distinction sometimes because it is sobering and can cut off perplexity in making things simple.

If one says no people are stupid, they just do stupid things. Reasoning like this one can justify keeping bad company and won’t be able to point out people to whom these teachings apply;

If you never see a fool
You’ll always be happy.

The one who keeps company with fools
Will be sorry for a long time.
It’s painful to live with fools,
Like being always with an enemy.

One who does stupid things, can not be called wise on that account. Therefore one should call him stupid on that account.

Buddha says

“No person can be found. Who has been, is, or will be. Only criticized. Or only praised

Therefore no person is inherently stupid.

Furthermore if we keep in mind that a person can not be pinned down as a truth & reality it follows that we can’t pin down the stupid neither.

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Rule #5: Stupid people are the most dangerous people in the world

When we dismiss and ignore anti-social actions, society devolves to chaos. For example, for the past few days here in California, flash mobs of looters have ransacked stores. In response, other stores immediately closed down for protection. Without stores, jobs are lost and families fall into distress. The looters ultimately spread suffering for all.

Quando descartamos e ignoramos as ações anti-sociais, a sociedade evolui para o caos. Por exemplo, nos últimos dias aqui na Califórnia, flash mobs de saqueadores saquearam lojas. Em resposta, outras lojas fecharam imediatamente para proteção. Sem lojas, empregos são perdidos e famílias passam por dificuldades. Os saqueadores acabam espalhando sofrimento para todos.

Although we might be inclined to dismiss and turn away from stupidity, understanding the roots of stupidity may actually help open the door to wisdom. And so, in a rather peculiar manner, we might find an actual value for stupidity. We might find wisdom in observing and understanding the roots of stupidity to be free of suffering.

MN8:12.4: ‘Others will steal, but here we will not steal.’

MN1:172-194.25: Why is that?
MN1:172-194.26: Because he has understood that relishing is the root of suffering,

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@karl_lew I understood. Thank you very much for your guidance and help.

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Here is a link to the original essay by the way:

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Thank you, Venerable. I was curious about that original author, who was trained as an economist. Economists model society at large, although I am now curious about how one incorporates one or more S coefficients into such a model.


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