The teachings and practices of Dharma introduce us to the nature of reality, but this introduction is approached from several perspectives. Dharma is a pragmatic system which works with how we find ourselves to be, and the reality of what we actually are. We do not have to be a particular type of person to discover our potential to realise our innate enlightenment.
We do not have to arrive at an extremely specific point to embrace Dharma, other than the reasonable-faith which arises from having tested the methods of Dharma and found them to be efficacious.
It may be necessary for some people to experience the despair of finding that even success in ordinary life does not bring eternal, everlasting pleasure – but despair can become a hindrance, especially if we come to associate everyday life with samsara36. All we require is the capacity to be inspired, and the will to engage in the spiritual practices to which that inspiration directs us.
Ngak’chang Rinpoche pointed out on one occasion that,
… to be disgusted with samsara is not to be disgusted with life. Disgust for samsara is not predicated upon one’s failure to function in society and one’s craving to seek the sanctuary of a Dharma centre where one never need be troubled again by having to satisfy the requirements of one's employers. Disgust with samsara is simply the knowledge that no matter how wonderful we make our lives we can never reach a point at which we can rest in that pleasure. True disgust for samsara is the suspicion which arises from being competent and successful. We have to be able to repeatedly obtain what we desire in order to realise that fulfilment merely completes a cycle and leaves us needing to instigate another cycle. This realisation does not necessarily guide us toward renunciation in order to cut through the self-defeating cycles of samsara. We could, with the aid of a Lama, continue to follow desire – but with the knowledge that the fruit of desire is empty, and as glorious only as the path toward its attainment.
6. Samsara (Sanskrit): khorwa (’khor ba) (Tibetan) – literally ‘going round in circles’.