Thanks to all who responded to our survey about Dharma Zephyr Insight Meditation Community. We had 53 respondents (10% of our mail list). Below please find a summary of some of the answers, and specific responses to some of the comments.
Of the 32 who attend a sitting group, most responded that they feel a sense of community, like meditating with a group, and enjoy studying and discussing the dharma. Two comments: “Sangha member’s [sic] personal accounts are a constant source of spiritual inspiration for me.” and “Regular group meditation seems to help with my goal of regular personal practice.”
For the 29 who don’t attend a sitting group, whether they attended in the past or not, practical reasons like time and location kept them from coming. A few did not like the format of the particular group they attended.
Forty-seven people said they attend day-long retreats. Their reasons include to enjoy a day in silence with extended practice time, learn from different teachers, and increase their knowledge of the dharma. Reasons for not attending included being too busy and concern about being silent and still for the day. We were sad to learn that 60% of those that responded to this question do not come because of finances. (There truly is no fee, not even a suggested minimum.)
Forty of the respondents have attended DZ residential retreats, benefitting from the teachings and the extended practice time spent in silence. A representative comment is, “As my mind quiets down insights are more frequent, deeper, and clearer.”
The main reason for not attending residential retreats was the time commitment followed by the cost. Dharma Zephyr maintains a scholarship fund to help cover the lodging and meal costs of a residential retreat. To learn more please follow this link:
None of our teachers charge a fee to share their knowledge and experience.
When envisioning DZ’s future, over 78% of respondents said they would like to participate in a dharma study group. Sixty-two percent expressed interest in doing community service. The other two also received positive responses with almost 51% indicating they would participate in a support network for sangha members in need and 47% said they would like to attend social gatherings.
To see a chart of the raw data of the multiple choice questions (minus comments), click this link:
Other comments are grouped below:
Sitting groups: There was a mixture of reactions to our peer-led sitting groups. Some like them, some don’t. Some want to read together, some want to listen to tapes, some want a sitting group that does not include discussion. (Since each group is autonomous, please talk to the other members about possibly trying something new.) Some felt very welcomed, a few felt the groups were hard to connect to. Many people commented that they’d like to spend more time with the friends they meet in the groups.
Money: There really is no charge for our non-residential retreats, and no charge for the teachings at residential retreats. No one keeps track of who puts something into the basket and who doesn’t.
Ombudsman: We don’t have an official ombudsman in case of problems, but we do encourage anyone who is having a problem to contact one of our leaders for assistance. Leaders can also be contacted for help with practice.
Retreats: Some people wanted more silence during the day-longs, some less. Similarly, one person commented that s/he would like the hall to be silent for the whole day, with any conversation being held in the foyer.
In conclusion, many people expressed gratitude to Dharma Zephyr for providing warm, supportive groups and activities to explore the liberating teachings with other practitioners. Everyone is invited to participate in the continuing co-creation Dharma Zephyr Insight Meditation Community.
If you have further comments to add (for instance, if you missed filling out the survey) or questions, please contact Kathy@dharmazephyr.org.