Engaging the Dharma Survey, Sept. 2018
Final report by Tricia Andersson, 10.31.18
Our survey was conducted over the course of three weeks in September, 2018, with 169 responses. Invitations were issued to respond to the survey though a variety of means: the link was sent out to the PIMC mailing list, the Connections listserve, posted on our web page, and announcements were made about it at Sunday services, with paper copies including the link available at PIMC. Announcements and emails were issued multiple times while the survey was in progress. Therefore it’s difficult to know how many people were exposed to the survey request in order to ascertain the percentage of responses. Nevertheless, the number of responses seems to be a decent sample size and yields some interesting results.
After each of the questions, there was an opportunity to comment. In looking through these comments, there were certain themes that emerged from each question. Below I will try to summarize some of the overarching themes, as well as give a sample of some of the actual comments.
Do you think that PIMC should be more engaged with social and environmental issues? 65% yes, 8% no, 27% unsure (42 comments)
The majority of respondents thought that PIMC should be engaging in some way with environmental/social issues. Of those that were unsure or said no, there was concern that the focus of our teachings might change, or become political. Another concern was that the sanctuary/respite aspect of the sangha might disappear. Also some noted that there are many avenues for these actions outside of our sangha and that those interested should take part there.
I left a giant church with a huge social justice program and the pulpit was hugely political and I needed spiritual work.
Focus on formal practices needs to continue being a priority
I am active in some political action and think I need the respite of the sangha to get away to avoid burnout more than comrades in arms. But I am not sure.
Lots of avenues for this other than PIMC, maybe once the internal aspects of living are centered, then external social/environmental issues will follow
It's a lot to simply be in the business of supporting our inner work and creating community to help each other. I find mixing in the other messages unhelpful. And can put people off who may be interested in meeting but hold conflicting political views. I generally feel my views are in line with those expressed at PIMC, but it's not what I come for. Activists need a place to let go too. This is just one more place to wind up everyone with that fever of gotta do more. If anything separate workshops on how to support activists.
This is an extremely sensitive area. I think the engagement could focus on listening and understanding