The importance of questioning and discussion

Anguttara nikaya Book of twos 47 (6)
“Bhikkhus, there are these two kinds of assemblies. What two? The assembly trained in vain talk, not in interrogation, and the assembly trained in interrogation, not in vain talk. 284 “And what is the assembly trained in vain talk, not in interrogation? Here, in this kind of assembly, when those discourses spoken by the Tathāgata are being recited that are deep, deep in meaning, world-transcending, connected with emptiness, the bhikkhus do not want to listen to them, do not lend an ear to them, or apply their minds to understand them; they do not think those teachings should be studied and learned. But when those discourses are being recited that are mere poetry composed by poets, beautiful in words and phrases, created by outsiders, spoken by disciples, they want to listen to them, lend an ear to them, and apply their minds to understand them; they think those teachings should be studied and learned. see note 285 And having learned those teachings, they do not interrogate each other about them or examine them thoroughly, [73] [asking]: ‘How is this? What is the meaning of this?’ They do not disclose [to others] what is obscure and elucidate what is unclear, or dispel their perplexity about numerous perplexing points. This is called the assembly trained in vain talk, not in interrogation.

“And what is the assembly trained in interrogation, not in vain talk? Here, in this kind of assembly, when those discourses are being recited that are mere poetry composed by poets, beautiful in words and phrases, created by outsiders, spoken by disciples, the bhikkhus do not want to listen to them, do not lend an ear to them, or apply their minds to understand them; they do not think those teachings should be studied and learned. But when those discourses spoken by the Tathāgata are being recited that are deep, deep in meaning, world-transcending, connected with emptiness, the bhikkhus want to listen to them, lend an ear to them, and apply their minds to understand them; they think those teachings should be studied and learned. And having learned those teachings, they interrogate each other about them and examine them thoroughly, [asking]: ‘How is this? What is the meaning of this?’ [They] disclose to [others] what is obscure and elucidate what is unclear, and dispel their perplexity about numerous perplexing points. This is called the assembly trained in interrogation, not in vain talk. “These, bhikkhus, are the two kinds of assemblies. Of these two kinds of assemblies, the assembly trained in interrogation, not in vain talk, is foremost.””— The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: A Complete Translation of the Anguttara Nikaya (The Teachings of the Buddha) by Bhikkhu Bodhi

47
“Dvemā, bhikkhave, parisā. Katamā dve? Okkācitavinītā parisā nopaṭipucchāvinītā, paṭipucchāvinītā parisā nookkācitavinītā. Katamā ca, bhikkhave, okkācitavinītā parisā nopaṭipucchāvinītā? Idha, bhikkhave, yassaṁ parisāyaṁ bhikkhū ye te suttantā tathāgatabhāsitā gambhīrā gambhīratthā lokuttarā suññatāpaṭisaṁyuttā tesu bhaññamānesu na sussūsanti na sotaṁ odahanti na aññā cittaṁ upaṭṭhapenti na ca te dhamme uggahetabbaṁ pariyāpuṇitabbaṁ maññanti. Ye pana te suttantā kavitā kāveyyā cittakkharā cittabyañjanā bāhirakā sāvakabhāsitā tesu bhaññamānesu sussūsanti sotaṁ odahanti aññā cittaṁ upaṭṭhapenti, te dhamme uggahetabbaṁ pariyāpuṇitabbaṁ maññanti, te ca taṁ dhammaṁ pariyāpuṇitvā na ceva aññamaññaṁ paṭipucchanti na ca paṭivicaranti: Variant: kavitā → kavikatā (sabbattha)‘idaṁ kathaṁ, imassa ko attho’ti? Te avivaṭañceva na vivaranti, anuttānīkatañca na uttānīkaronti, anekavihitesu ca kaṅkhāṭhāniyesu dhammesu kaṅkhaṁ na paṭivinodenti. Ayaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, okkācitavinītā parisā no paṭipucchāvinītā.

Katamā ca, bhikkhave, paṭipucchāvinītā parisā nookkācitavinītā? Idha, bhikkhave, yassaṁ parisāyaṁ bhikkhū ye te suttantā kavitā kāveyyā cittakkharā cittabyañjanā bāhirakā sāvakabhāsitā tesu bhaññamānesu na sussūsanti na sotaṁ odahanti na aññā cittaṁ upaṭṭhapenti, na ca te dhamme uggahetabbaṁ pariyāpuṇitabbaṁ maññanti. Ye pana te suttantā tathāgatabhāsitā gambhīrā gambhīratthā lokuttarā suññatāpaṭisaṁyuttā tesu bhaññamānesu sussūsanti sotaṁ odahanti aññā cittaṁ upaṭṭhapenti, te ca dhamme uggahetabbaṁ pariyāpuṇitabbaṁ maññanti. Te taṁ dhammaṁ pariyāpuṇitvā aññamaññaṁ paṭipucchanti paṭivicaranti: ‘idaṁ kathaṁ, imassa ko attho’ti? Te avivaṭañceva vivaranti, anuttānīkatañca uttānīkaronti, anekavihitesu ca kaṅkhāṭhāniyesu dhammesu kaṅkhaṁ paṭivinodenti. Ayaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, paṭipucchāvinītā parisā nookkācitavinītā. Imā kho, bhikkhave, dve parisā. Etadaggaṁ, bhikkhave, imāsaṁ dvinnaṁ parisānaṁ yadidaṁ paṭipucchāvinītā parisā nookkācitavinītā”ti.

2 Likes

Bodhi note 285 Also at SN 20: 7, II 267,6–15. For “connected with emptiness” (suññatāpaṭisaṃyuttā), Mp says: “Like the Connected Discourses on the Unconditioned, disclosing mere phenomena empty of a sentient being” (sattasuññaṃ dhammamattameva pakāsakā asaṅkhatasaṃyuttasadisā)

2 Likes

Very nice sutta.

The problem is that when CT reads this sutta, we think… “Oh… they should read the commentaries and the Abhidhamma.”

When the NonCT read this, they think… “oh… the commentaries and the abhidhamma were written later and added and all of this stuff that is not meant to be studied… like the original Buddha’s words”.

Nevertheless, this is for our group and our enjoyment and confirmation of the texts.
Sadhu x 3!

4 Likes

From the Dispeller of Delusion. Section on Satipatthana

  1. |276| Furthermore, seven things lead to the arising of the
    investigation-o£-states enlightenment factor: (1) asking questions,
    (2) the act of cleansing the basis, (3) imparting of evenness to the
    five faculties, (4) avoidance of persons of no understanding, (5)
    1311.cultivation of persons of understanding*, (6) reviewing the field for
    the exercise of profound knowledge, (7) being resolved thereon.
  2. Herein, (1) “asking questions” is repeated questioning about
    the meaning of the aggregates, elements, bases, faculties, powers,
    enlightenment factors, path factors, jhäna factors, tranquillity and
    1313.*> insight.
2 Likes