Sounds of Silence: A Meditative Tool

Meditative stages of listening 1: Where is the true mind?

The “sound of silence” is not an oxymoron; it is an actual high-pitched sound that can be heard relatively easily when we quiet down. In this extemporaneous response to a question about the stages of listening as a practice according to the Shurangama Sutra, Reverend Cheen elaborates on the stages of emptying the sounds of movement and stillness, emptying the sense faculty, emptying the awareness, and emptying emptiness.

Meditative stages of listening 2: Emotions and I

In the face of sensations, feelings and thoughts, including that of love and empathy, we continue to listen. Awareness helps us understand the fleeting nature of these things. Furthermore, we ask ourselves, “Who is agitated?” “Who is restless?” etc. as a way to deconstruct the “I”.

Meditative stages of listening 3: Emptying Emptiness

From the objects of sound (including sounds of movement and sounds of stillness, or “sound of silence”), to listening and realizing the nature of emptiness with regard to hearing, the sense faculty, the awareness (that of the self), and emptiness itself. Finally, how does the final stage, empty out emptiness (extinction), work? According to the Buddhist text, the Shurangama Sutra, it’s possible through diligent and focused practice.

Meditative stages of listening 4: An Analogy Using Numbers

The latter stages of listening are more difficult to explain with words. Here is a partial and extemporaneous response using numbers. Paralleling: infinity to myriad objects of sound, feelings, sensations, 1 to the single object of meditation, 0 to the emptying of the sense faculty or the self, and the zero set of 0 to the emptying of the objects and the subject that is aware.