world of voice-hearers ［声聞界］ ( shōmon-kai): Also, realm of voice-hearers or world of learning. The seventh of the Ten Worlds and one of the four noble worlds. The world of voice-hearers and that of cause-awakened ones constitute the two vehicles. Voice-hearers ( shrāvaka) mean those who listen to the Buddha preach the four noble truths and seek to attain emancipation by eradicating earthly desires. While they seek personal emancipation, they do not share it with others. For this reason, various sutras describe them as being reprimanded by Shakyamuni Buddha. When viewed as a state of life, the world of voice-hearers is a condition in which one perceives the impermanence of all things and the instability of the six paths, and strives toward a lasting state of contentment and stability through self-improvement and self-development.