Is asking a participle or gerund in the sentence "Asking questions is easier than answering them. "
Simplify the statement to
Asking is easier than answering.
"Asking" must be the subject. So, between participle and gerund "asking" would be a gerund, as it serves as a noun.
Opinions vary as to correct terminology involving traditional verb forms. I would study what is available to get a proper understanding.
My opinion is that gerunds no longer exist. The class of words used as nouns that evolved from verbs are now just nouns. In living languages, usages change. "Asking" might be used today in ways it was not used 100 years ago.
There were three askings of the question.
The above might be acceptable today, perhaps not in the past.