SGI retention rate only 3%?

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dharmapdx
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SGI retention rate only 3%?

Post by dharmapdx » Sun May 27, 2018 10:08 am

I read on a Reddit forum that SGI retention rate is only 3%. Does anyone know if this is true or not? Thanks.

narhwal90
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Re: SGI retention rate only 3%?

Post by narhwal90 » Sun May 27, 2018 5:46 pm

Thats a hard question to answer in detail since the local districts where people meet don't keep attendance lists. There are many people who don't subscribe to the publications so thats not a reliable measure either. Anecdotally, in my district over the last couple years perhaps a dozen newcomers have shown up, two are in steady attendance (steadier than mine lol), and a number of others show up for larger meetings perhaps due to encouragement or some other reason. Hard to say how occasional meeting-goers fit into a retention rate figure. I've been going to SGI since the 90's (and in NSA since the 80's), and have been away from the organization quite a bit.. .hard to say how I would fit into that figure either since I attend irregularly at best.

dharmapdx
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Re: SGI retention rate only 3%?

Post by dharmapdx » Mon May 28, 2018 3:52 am

narhwal90 wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 5:46 pm
Thats a hard question to answer in detail since the local districts where people meet don't keep attendance lists. There are many people who don't subscribe to the publications so thats not a reliable measure either. Anecdotally, in my district over the last couple years perhaps a dozen newcomers have shown up, two are in steady attendance (steadier than mine lol), and a number of others show up for larger meetings perhaps due to encouragement or some other reason. Hard to say how occasional meeting-goers fit into a retention rate figure. I've been going to SGI since the 90's (and in NSA since the 80's), and have been away from the organization quite a bit.. .hard to say how I would fit into that figure either since I attend irregularly at best.
Here are the sources. Actually this estimate is it has a retention rate of 5%. https://www.reddit.com/r/sgiwhistleblow ... ion_rates/

http://americangongyo.org/about.php

Be forewarned that the Reddit page is very nasty and angry. It’s a support group for former members. I accidentally stumbled upon it one day while searching for information on the Gohonzon. There is some valuable information in there, if you can wade through all the anger. I’m a member of SGI, so I’m not bashing SGI. Just fact checking.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: SGI retention rate only 3%?

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon May 28, 2018 8:28 am

I'm not a member of SGI and never have been, but I have been professionally interested in retention rates for the whole of my working life since I have taught optional courses in schools and community groups so I thought I could contribute here.
Year-on-year retention rates for any voluntary activity are quite low, especially when you look at new members. My experience - in activities ranging from meditation and tai chi groups to choirs and music classes to tennis clubs - is that out of every batch of new arrivals, half drop out in a matter of weeks (i.e. after 2 or 3 classes or rounds of the competition), half of the remainder in a few months and half of the rest in a year or so. In statistical terms, it's an exponential decline.
The first lot drop out because after one or two times they find it wasn't what they wanted or expected - it was "boring" or "too hard" or "not my kind of people" or "I didn't like the teacher", that kind of thing.
The last 12% are those who may hang around for many years: it suits them, they build it into their routines, and they are likely to continue until some biggish life event makes them move on.
Look at the membership distribution, if I can call it that, of groups you belong to, and you might see the same pattern - a core group of rusted-on supporters, a slightly bigger group who have been around for a while, and lots of people you never quite got to know.

In that context, the SGI number doesn't seem all that peculiar.

:coffee:
Kim

dharmapdx
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Re: SGI retention rate only 3%?

Post by dharmapdx » Mon May 28, 2018 1:46 pm

Very interesting. Thank you. 🙏

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 8:28 am
I'm not a member of SGI and never have been, but I have been professionally interested in retention rates for the whole of my working life since I have taught optional courses in schools and community groups so I thought I could contribute here.
Year-on-year retention rates for any voluntary activity are quite low, especially when you look at new members. My experience - in activities ranging from meditation and tai chi groups to choirs and music classes to tennis clubs - is that out of every batch of new arrivals, half drop out in a matter of weeks (i.e. after 2 or 3 classes or rounds of the competition), half of the remainder in a few months and half of the rest in a year or so. In statistical terms, it's an exponential decline.
The first lot drop out because after one or two times they find it wasn't what they wanted or expected - it was "boring" or "too hard" or "not my kind of people" or "I didn't like the teacher", that kind of thing.
The last 12% are those who may hang around for many years: it suits them, they build it into their routines, and they are likely to continue until some biggish life event makes them move on.
Look at the membership distribution, if I can call it that, of groups you belong to, and you might see the same pattern - a core group of rusted-on supporters, a slightly bigger group who have been around for a while, and lots of people you never quite got to know.

In that context, the SGI number doesn't seem all that peculiar.

:coffee:
Kim

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Queequeg
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Re: SGI retention rate only 3%?

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 29, 2018 4:37 pm

Retention rates seems like the wrong metric.

a. Kim's comment above is really interesting and sounds about right. Especially in the case of something like "religion", especially one that is completely different than the local cultural context. This is not a matter of a Christian changing churches, or even denominations. Buddhism proposes a view that is different down to the life and death cycle. Religion has to do with the deepest views and beliefs - a person's identity. You look at rates for quitting smoking with low success rates, and that's actually bad for you. Changing identity at the deepest levels is no easy task. On the other hand, its not unusual for people to try different identities on for periods of time - a day, a week, a month, a year, a few years - and find they don't fit.

b. At a fundamental level, this misunderstands Nichiren's teachings.
Nichiren taught that his teaching is the "Buddhism of Sowing" in contrast to the teachings that spread during the Former and Middle days of the Dharma, the "Buddhism of the Harvest," the sorts of teachings and practices that highly advanced beings undertake to refine their insight and purify themselves. Nichiren equated his teaching to the stage of "Hearing the Name" in Zhiyi's Six Identities, where one first hears the name of the Buddha, first hears the teaching, "All beings have Buddha Nature". Understanding of the names and teachings does not happen at this stage. One may know the name "Buddha" and have a vague idea of "Buddha Nature" being something to do with Buddha, but little beyond the sounds of the words. This stage is compared to an insect that chews through wood forming letters, or to cattle who don't know which direction they are facing, or a bird who repeats what it hears. Nichiren's primary aim was to cause beings to form a connection to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. He was aiming to "plant" the seed of awakening in the minds of all beings trusting that those seeds, once planted in the fecund soil of the mind, inevitably develop, grow, and fruit, through the irrepressible pressure of Buddhanature. All the better if beings embrace the Sublime Dharma and actively develop beyond the stage of Hearing the Name.

Retention rates don't matter to the goal of Soka Gakkai, or any Nichiren denomination, at the real, authentic levels of practice. Maybe they matter to bean counters and people caught in the trappings of institution building. Of course, building membership of coordinated practice is helpful in building a bigger "megaphone" to cause the Name to be heard, but our example is Nichiren, who endured persecution after persecution to voice the Name, never begrudging even his life, facing the executioner's sword and sleeping in a hut with an open roof through his first winter in exile on Sado Island. Nichiren's disciples are resolved to endure being attacked and insulted to cause the Name to reverberate, so that others can hear it and benefit from the cultivation of the Buddha Seed in their own mind. If they never hear it, they can't cultivate it. Simple as that. And without cultivating the Buddha Seed, it will lay dormant. The only thing that matters for this practice is that people "hear the Name". Even if they react with hostility to the name, a relationship is formed with the Buddha that cannot be effaced - the so-called, Poison Drum described in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. In fact, hostility is better than indifference. Hostility means that the name has been heard, and with each hostile thought, the Name is more deeply inscribed in the mind.

With compassion and equanimity, NMRK is caused to be heard, and then NMRK, the mind that has heard the Buddha's Name, blossoms on its own.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

illarraza
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Re: SGI retention rate only 3%?

Post by illarraza » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:20 am

Retention rates mattered to Nichiren. The low SGI-USA retention rate matters because ~ 600,000 Gohonzon were bestowed and only ~35,000 Gohonzon are extant. Of the 200 plus Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren, there remains almost 130. Shijo Kingo waited almost twenty years to receive a Gohonzon, Giving out Gohonzon like Las Vegas escort fliers, is a cause for regret.

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Queequeg
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Re: SGI retention rate only 3%?

Post by Queequeg » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:34 am

illarraza wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:20 am
Giving out Gohonzon like Las Vegas escort fliers, is a cause for regret.
How does this square with providing resources for DIY printing?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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