Philip Jones has practiced meditation since 1987 and has been teaching Insight Meditation since 1996. He has studied with teachers from Spirit Rock and the Insight Meditation Society and graduated from the first Community Dharma Leader program in 2000. He also studied for a number of years with Matthew Flickstein and more recently has been practicing with teachers from IMS and with Shaila Catherine. He has served on the board of directors of Mid America Dharma, the regional retreat organization, since the mid-'90's. Many of his talks and writings can be found at http://silentmindopenheart.org.
Philip Jones gave this talk using the Meghiya Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya 9.3 / Udana 4.1) as a framework for exploring the importance of spiritual friends. Having good spiritual companions leads to the development of virtue, to hearing and engaging in talk on the Dhamma, to practicing with Right Effort and to the development of wisdom through directly knowing the impermanent nature of all conditioned experience. Spiritual friendship is the means for passing the Dhamma from one person to another, generation after generation.
Philip Jones gave this talk on self-view (or identity-view) and the Four Noble Truths. What does self mean in terms of our own individual lives and how does one let go of it, beginning with self-view? These questions are explored using the metaphor of windows to illustrate the difference between viewing our experiences from the position of self and with the Four Noble Truths. You are invited to investigate this in your own experience.
Pain and suffering are common occurrences during retreats. How do we respond to mental, emotional, and physical pain and what alternatives does the practice offer us to deal with pain? The common pattern is to seek escape from pain through pleasant sense experiences. The effort to escape and find sense pleasure leads to suffering. The practice offers practical methods for cultivating wholesome pleasant feeling in response to pain, especially the development of detachment and equanimity.
Knowing what is unwholesome and what is wholesome allows us to cultivate the mental qualities that lead to greater peace and harmony in our lives. The Abhidhamma helps us recognize unwholesome and wholesome mental factors. Practical methods for abandoning unwholesome thoughts and cultivating wholesome factors are explored.