圖 / 三乘佛學院文 / 文獻中心
Listening to the stillness inside and outside
If we want to find our enlightened nature, that which is unborn and never dies, we have to start from seeing through the things in our outside environment. All outer things are called “conditioned dharma” – they are “like a dream and like a bubble, like dew and like a flash of lightning.” All of them come about through causes and conditions, and have no intrinsic existence as such. “All activities are impermanent, all dharmas are self-less, and all sensations are dissatisfactory.” Since everything is composed of causes and conditions, there is nothing there that we can hold on to.
Our original face, our spiritual awareness, has been there from the very beginning, even before our parents were born. But we are not familiar with it, we don’t know it. We only know our body as “this outside thing.” So, in order to find our original face, we put our awareness into our inner ear during Chan meditation, and let our heart comfortably listen to silence. In doing so, we quietly let the silence, that which is without any sound, take care of our attachment to things.
This is just as with Bodhisattva Guanyin, who was listening to the sounds of the waves. When she first started listening, she heard the sounds of the waves. But as she reached the point in which she heard that the sound of the waves was no longer there, everything inside had become silent. And with the sound of the waves no longer being there, even the awareness of that inner silence disappeared. As the text says: “Neither sound, nor silence appeared any longer.” If we continue listening, we will slowly let go of all of our random thoughts that are connected to outer things. When all of our random thoughts have stopped, our awareness has become purified. When we reach the point in which our heart is completely transparent and luminous, we have been successful in our practice. This is the Chan Practice of Ling-Jiou Mountain Monastery – the Inner Peace Meditation, which is based on Guanyin`s teaching on the inner organ of listening.
If we constantly concentrate on our thoughts, this will become a source of piled up karma. But if our thoughts are transformed into that boundless empty space, to exist is fine, not to exist is also fine. In any case, everything outside and inside has been transformed into that wide empty horizon, and with that we find ourselves in that original space of awakening, in that original heart of enlightenment. If we want to let our heart return home to that place, there is only one path: Chan meditation, concentration, enlightening Oneself, enlightening everything, realizing that we cannot grasp anything, realizing that nothing adheres to the Self.
Therefore we listen in silence. The function of our organ of hearing is simply listening – enlightened listening without making any distinctions, listening to silence without any sound, without any disturbance, without anything there. Just focus your ears into that silence and then listen. In that world that we listen to, there is nothing there at all; there is no world, there is no Self or other, there is no yes or no, there is no good or bad, there is no noise whatsoever.
Listen to the sound of no sound. All is quiet – listen to the stillness inside and outside.
Dharma Master Hsin Tao
(Translated by Maria Reis Habito)