Aṅguttara Nikāya

5. Book of the Fives

165. On Asking Questions

Then Ven. Sariputta addressed the monks: “Friend monks.”

“Yes, friend,” the monks responded to him.

Ven. Sariputta said: “All those who ask questions of another do so from any one of five motivations. Which five?

“One asks a question of another through stupidity & bewilderment. One asks a question of another through evil desires & overwhelmed with greed. One asks a question of another through contempt. One asks a question of another when desiring knowledge. Or one asks a question with this thought, ‘If, when asked, he answers correctly, well & good. If not, then I will answer correctly [for him].’

“All those who ask questions of another do so from any one of these five motivations. And as for me, when I ask a question of another, it’s with this thought: ‘If, when asked, he answers correctly, well & good. If not, then I will answer correctly [for him].’