This isn't strictly Mahayana, but I saw it just now and loved it so much I wanted to share it.
Sutta here:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The gist of it below, as I see it.
There are four ways of answering questions:
- A categorical answer
- An analytical answer
- A counter-question
- Saying the question should be put aside
You should answer people in the manner in which seems most useful, not just say "yes" and "no" to everything, or being overly verbose in every situation because you like to hear yourself talk.
- Stand by what's possible and impossible. Don't tell people what's possible is impossible to discourage them or what's impossible is possible to flatter them.
- Stand by agreed-upon assumptions. Don't expect other people to have your own particular assumptions about the world, like arguing with an evangelical Christian on the basis of assumed Buddhist doctrines.
- Stand by what you know to be true. Don't say what's false or deny what's true just to make people feel better about themselves.
- Stand by the normal, accepted way of speaking. Don't try to be overly dramatic and poetic in order to impress others.
The verses are nice:
Those who discuss
when angered, dogmatic, arrogant,
following what's not the noble ones' way,
seeking to expose each other's faults,
delight in each other's misspoken word,
slip, stumble, defeat.
don't speak in that way.
If wise people, knowing the right time,
want to speak,
then, words connected with justice,
following the ways of the noble ones:
That's what the enlightened ones speak,
without anger or arrogance,
with a mind not boiling over,
without vehemence, without spite.
they speak from right knowledge.
They would delight in what's well-said
and not disparage what's not.
They don't study to find fault,
don't grasp at little mistakes.
don't put down, don't crush,
don't speak random words.
For the purpose of knowledge,
for the purpose of [inspiring] clear confidence,
counsel that's true:
That's how noble ones give counsel,
That's the noble ones' counsel.
Knowing this, the wise
should give counsel without arrogance.