I'd like to discuss the topic of whether Westerners can actually be true Dharma practitioners. I have heard that His Holiness Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche said that Westerners don't have the knowledge or time to practice Dharma; the best we can hope for is to make connections with lamas and profound teachings.
The first question of semantics is obviously what constitutes a true Dharma practitioner in the sense that His Holiness is talking about here? For example, how many hours a day do Tibetans practice? How much textual studying must be done? Etc. Is it only a fantasy to think that 2 hours of practice every day makes me a Dharma practitioner?
Based on people I've observed whom I consider serious practitioners, as far as I can tell, it comes down to real intention to bring the Dharma into every aspect of daily life. It's not just about formal practice time. Perhaps a good working definition of a serious practitioner is how much of our daily life we bring onto the path.
I'm betting you are familiar the notion of meditation practice and post-mediation practice. When I first read Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's work, Vivid Awareness: The Mind Instructions of Khenpo Gangshar, it was just what I needed at the time to help me bring my practice into daily life off the cushion. He discusses in the text that the methods offered there are practices particularly suited for a busy lifestyle. Sure, I knew I was supposed to bring practice into daily life, but when reading Vivid Awareness things clicked on how to experientially do it. Now I don't worry so much about the time I spend in formal practice. Although, I do feel my sadhana flows more smoothly with a couple of hours a day of sitting time. With means and insight into how to bring the Dharma into every aspect of daily life, it's up to me to continue strengthening the intention to do so.