What kind of merit does a dharma practitioner need?

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

“What kind of merit does a dharma practitioner need? A Dharma practitioner needs the merit of the freedom and wealth to practice dharma. It’s more difficult to hear teachings than to find the means and the harmonious support to practice the Dharma. So we need merit to hear the Dharma, to receive the teachings. After hearing the teachings, we need merit to understand the teachings. When we talking about understanding the Dharma, it doesn’t mean that you need to enter a shedra, study philosophy and debate and understand the teachings. There are so many scholars who haven’t understood the Dharma. They become intellectual and learned, but their devotion to the teacher and the teachings becomes less and less…I have studied in s shedra. When I talked about how I memorized the root verses and commentaries of philosophical texts to HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and HH Dudjom Rinpoche and my father, instead of praising me, they would just nod and say, “Yes, yes…” And my father would even scold me! But after I did retreat, and made aspirations under the Boddhi tree in Bodhgaya, when I read the “Bodhicharyavatara”, its meaning became deeper and deeper. So, if you don’t have merit you won’t understand the Dharma easily. If you have merit, you’ll understand the Dharma through your experience, not just through memorization. Mahasiddhas, realised Beings, such as Dudjom Lingpa, HH Dudjom Rinpoche (Jigdral Yeshe Dorje), and my father Thinley Norbu Rinpoche don’t have to do the practice before giving empowerments because they’re already realized. They have supreme realization and there’s no need. They are always in the state of meditation.”

Venerable Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
from “Ngondro Teachings