SuttaCentral

How to answer a question?


#1

I find two places—probably there are more—where the Buddha speaks about how to answer questions.

AN3.67:2.1: Kathāsampayogena, bhikkhave, puggalo veditabbo yadi vā kaccho yadi vā akacchoti.
AN3.67:2.1: You can know whether or not a person is competent to hold a discussion by seeing how they take part in a discussion.
AN3.67:2.2: Sacāyaṃ, bhikkhave, puggalo pañhaṃ puṭṭho samāno ekaṃsabyākaraṇīyaṃ pañhaṃ na ekaṃsena byākaroti, vibhajjabyākaraṇīyaṃ pañhaṃ na vibhajja byākaroti, paṭipucchābyākaraṇīyaṃ pañhaṃ na paṭipucchā byākaroti, ṭhapanīyaṃ pañhaṃ na ṭhapeti, evaṃ santāyaṃ, bhikkhave, puggalo akaccho hoti.
AN3.67:2.2: When a person is asked a question, if it needs to be answered with a generalization and they don’t answer it generally; or if it needs analysis and they answer without analyzing it; or if it needs a counter-question and they answer without a counter-question; or if it should be set aside and they don’t set it aside, then that person is not competent to hold a discussion.
AN3.67:2.3: Sace panāyaṃ, bhikkhave, puggalo pañhaṃ puṭṭho samāno ekaṃsabyākaraṇīyaṃ pañhaṃ ekaṃsena byākaroti, vibhajjabyākaraṇīyaṃ pañhaṃ vibhajja byākaroti, paṭipucchābyākaraṇīyaṃ pañhaṃ paṭipucchā byākaroti, ṭhapanīyaṃ pañhaṃ ṭhapeti, evaṃ santāyaṃ, bhikkhave, puggalo kaccho hoti.
AN3.67:2.3: When a person is asked a question, if it needs to be answered with a generalization and they answer it generally; or if it needs analysis and they answer after analyzing it; or if it needs a counter-question and they answer with a counter-question; or if it should be set aside and they set it aside, then that person is competent to hold a discussion.

DN33:1.11.142: Cattāri pañhabyākaraṇāni—
DN33:1.11.142: Four ways of answering questions.
DN33:1.11.143: ekaṃsabyākaraṇīyo pañho, paṭipucchābyākaraṇīyo pañho, vibhajjabyākaraṇīyo pañho, ṭhapanīyo pañho. (28)
DN33:1.11.143: There is a question that should be answered definitively. There is a question that should be answered analytically. There is a question that should be answered with a counter-question. There is a question that should be set aside.

Ekaṃsa is rendered as “a generalization”, or “generally”, in one place and as “definitively” in the other. Is there a particular reason for that, or is it just an inconsistency that came about due to the vastness of the canon, Bhante @sujato? Looking into the dictionary entries for ekaṃsa, this would rather point to the second reading.


#2

I haven’t read such a sound, intelligible teaching like this on this topic… So this very wisdom has been teached 2500 years ago by a young man? These are the Sutta’s?


#3

Indeed they are! :joy:

Glad my little question helps you to realize what a treasure has been transmitted to us with these teachings! :star2: :sparkles: :gem:


#4

Here is the entire sutta AN 3.67 by Voice.


#5

Yes, this is so applicable to the current communication trends! I’d directly send this Sutta to all people into power! :pray: for sharing, Sabbamitta.


#6

I’m just about to translate it into German. :grin:


#7

Now I start understanding why you are all so dedicated to your translations. You must be searchers for wisdom.


#8

It is an inconsistency, thanks for picking it up, I’ll make the correction.


#9

Which one are you going to take?


#10

Wisdom and liberation from suffering :smiley: So nice to have you on board Teresia :slightly_smiling_face: :dharmawheel: :sunflower:


#11

I guess it will be “definitive”. (the other one was an experiment that didn’t work!)


#12

Thank you. I opted for something similar in German.

We have the nice word “eindeutig” (unambiguous, unequivocal, clear, incontestable, definite, without any doubt; literally something like having one meaning) which fits nicely with the “eka” in ekaṁsa. I have now “eindeutige Aussage”, something like a one-meaning statement.

And for those who wish, AN 3.67 can now also be listened to in German. Feedback welcome! :blush: