Listening to Silence

Part IV of Meditating on Sounds: 
Listening Your Way to Enlightenment

An excerpt from Master Jiaoguang’s treatise on The Shurangama Sutra:
As for the times when there is only stillness and silence, the nature of hearing feels even more boundless. Listening makes evident the entity that can hear. When we can listen without grasping the states of movement and stillness heard, we begin, at that point, to know that the wonderfully mysterious essential is inherently complete; it is not achieved (through cultivation). It is only because our scattered mind and worrisome thoughts based on external conditions obscure, alienate and betray us that we do not notice [the wondrous Absolute]. Furthermore, in terms of the internal, we should know that there are no fixed, real body and mind — a concept to which we have become attached. Externally, we should know that there are no fixed and real material objects and worlds — a concept to which we have become attached. All this is without a trace, other than a span of vast and boundless void.
The myriad dharmas are evident and exist only because of the mind. The wonders of their intersections and integrations are all within the mind. The dharmas are neither of existence nor emptiness, and yet are of emptiness and existence. This extremely wonderful and unthinkable state is the patriarchs’ Treasury to the Eye of the Proper Dharma, the wonderful mind of nirvana. The teachings of the patriarchs are not limited to one practice, though it is often revealed through the faculty that is the mind and explained by the word “knowing.” These are some differences between the teachings of the patriarchs and the instructions in The Śūraṅgama Sūtra. Value this text, it determines whether we may reach the illuminated state for which we aim.