Thursday, October 14, 2010

categories of questions

I was munching on why it might have been that Gautama, after being 'enlightened' under the Bo tree, wrestled with himself about sharing his understanding with others. Why not just let things alone and go about living his life? I think the usual answer is something like, because of his deep compassion ... etc.

Which led me to think about the questions that get asked and the thickets and thorns that arise from the answers, however accurate and true. Which led me to read this appraisal  ... which included the following observation:

The Buddha divided all questions into four classes:
  • Those that deserve a categorical (straight yes or no) answer.
  • Those that deserve an analytical answer, defining and qualifying the terms of the question.
  • Those that deserve a counter-question, putting the ball back in the questioner's court.
  • Those that deserve to be put aside.

Those sound like good prisms to me. And since those questions that deserve to be put aside are those which do not lead to the discovery and cessation of suffering ... well, I marvel that Gautama chose the course he did.


  1. The wind talks to me, but without words, just there with a thought, it hears me though I say nothing, but... yes.