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I am asking three questions in the same day, if that is excessive then let me know.

I meant to ask: I have replied upon this site, to some answers, to the best of my ability. I realized that clearly, we cannot claim omniscience, and ultimate wisdom: our answers will in some way or other fall short.

Therefore, I wonder whether one might not apply emptiness to the notion of answering one this site, whereby one should provide as much insight as possible, but dividing the answer into parts; in this way, each component of an answer contains an insightful aspect, without deviating into something incorrect.

When an answer is straightforward, then by all means one should answer straightforwardly. But, if someone asks a question unrelated to virtue and not conducive to benefit them, shouldn't we tackle the question by giving insight which could potentially benefit them?

I think, to me, answering a question will always have positive and negative components, and the idea is merely that the person notice from within that question an answer which is satisfactory, or rather, beneficial.

I find from the point of view of emptiness, one cannot establish truly and definitely the beneficial aspects of an answer: one might attempt to create an answer that will help as many as possible, but it is difficult to do so.

Even, I noticed my questions asked out of a desire to know gained a positive feedback, showing that from a perspective of non-self and non-referential intentions, I managed to do something positive despite myself.

All this to say: direct and obvious intention sometimes doesn't mean something clear. Sometimes we help because of indirect causes.

Any thoughts?

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I'm not sure I can answer this but I'll try.

I am asking three questions in the same day, if that is excessive then let me know.

I'm not complaining. The quality of questions is maybe a better metric than the quantity:

  • Is the question "well-received" (e.g. up-voted not down-voted)?
  • Is it a novel question (not a duplicate of a topic already asked)?
  • Do you find the answers helpful?

If the answer is "yes" then it's not too many questions.

one should provide as much insight as possible, but dividing the answer into parts

That sounds like what I try to do, I think ... is that is what I'm doing now? Or have I misunderstood what you meant?

Incidentally, when I ask a question (e.g. here or here) I tend to ask multiple questions centred on the same topic: and I'm hoping that an answer may answer any or all of these sub-questions, and/or answer the question in the title.

But, if someone asks a question unrelated to virtue and not conducive to benefit them, shouldn't we tackle the question by giving insight which could potentially benefit them?

Yes and no.

If you can benefit them then so much the better.

However please also consider the topic Answers vs Advice which says that you should answer the question and not just offer advice:

Avoid invalidating the question with answers of the form "That's the wrong question..."

In practice I often don't actually delete (moderate) answers which don't answer the question:

The community has asked moderators to allow (i.e. to not delete) answers, unless or until the answer receives several downvotes from users.

So if you think an answer should be deleted, please downvote it as well as flag it for moderator attention.

But I am especially inclined to moderate (delete) an answer if ...

  • It's hostile to the OP
  • It's hostile to a school of Buddhism
  • It's an "answer" (or non-answer) which you could post to any question (e.g. "You need a teacher").

... so please don't do that at least.

Maybe the ideal solution would be to answer the question and give good advice as well.

answering a question will always have positive and negative components, and the idea is merely that the person notice from within that question an answer which is satisfactory, or rather, beneficial

I don't think I understand what you're saying (i.e. what you mean by "positive and negative components").

But on the topic of "noticing within a question":

  • If you cut the question into individual words or letters then it's no longer a meaningful question.
  • Similarly if you don't "analyse" or examine the components of the question at all, then that wouldn't make sense either.
  • So I think it's sensible to see (and shape your answer to address) useful fragments of the question.

one might attempt to create an answer that will help as many as possible, but it is difficult to do so

I suppose the primary focus is to answer the question, which may help the OP (who asked the question) and any other reader.

Incidentally I recommend Good Subjective, Bad Subjective which recommends that an answer be based on:

  • Something that happened to you personally
  • Something you can back up with a reference

Note that references aren't required on this site, but I sometimes find it more helpful when people do post references (unless they're posting answers based on references that I already know).


I haven't tried to answer the last two (or three) paragraphs of your question.

I guess that "asking questions out of a desire to know" is one of the few valid reasons for asking a question. Ideally you shouldn't ask a question just because you think that would help other people: see this FAQ about "seeded questions".

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