The Sound Hearer Sangha,
Both men and women,
Contemplate and practice the Four Holy Truths,
Concealing the real and displaying the provisional.
There are Sound Hearers of the first, second, third and fourth fruitions. These are further divided into the threshold of the first fruition (those who haven't officially realized the first fruition), first fruition, threshold of the second fruition, second fruition, threshold of the third fruition, third fruition, threshold of the fourth fruition, and fourth fruition. Those on the thresholds are approaching the fruitions, going from the small towards the great.
Sound Hearers, also called Arhats, can fly and transform themselves, and they possess spiritual penetrations. Certified sages don't casually say, "So and so has realized sagehood," or, "I am an Arhat." They cannot do that. When sages walk, their feet don't touch the ground. They seem to be touching the ground, but they're actually walking on air. Their shoes don't touch the ground or dirt. Even when they walk in mud, their shoes stay clean.
Sound Hearers of the first fruition must eradicate view delusions. Those of the second fruition must eradicate the first six grades of thought delusions in the desire realm. Those of the third fruition have to eradicate the last three grades of thought delusions, and those of the fourth fruition have to eradicate delusions as many as dust and sand. They've eradicated a little bit of ignorance, but not all of it. When they completely eradicate ignorance, they will become Buddhas. Even a Bodhisattva at the stage of equal enlightenment still has a bit of production-mark ignorance left and cannot become a Buddha yet.
Both men and women can realize the fruition and become Sound Hearers, Arhats. For example, Dharma Master Kumarajiva's mother was a sage of the third fruition. Contemplate and practice the Four Holy Truths. What is contemplated and cultivated? The Four Truths are: suffering, accumulation, cessation and the Way. One knows suffering, cuts off accumulation, yearns for cessation, and cultivates the Way. One must cultivate the Dharma-door of these Four Truths. Concealing the real and displaying the provisional. Some Sound Hearers are Bodhisattvas of the provisional teaching manifesting as Sound Hearers; this is called "concealing the real." They conceal their real merit and virtue. "Displaying the provisional" means instructing with skillful expedients. Great Vehicle Bodhisattvas appear as Small Vehicle adherents to guide those of the Small Vehicle, and then turn from the small and go towards the great.