But-- my Lama used to say-- the only person he ever heard of who realized
dzogchen without preliminaries, accumulation of merit and wisdom, etc.
was Garab Dorje! If we're realistic and honest with ourselves, then there's
something to do in the domain of the relative.
There's another perspective that says the accumulations of merit and wisdom are always present, but sometimes unseen since they have carried over from a previous lifetime. So the "spontaneous" Dzogchen/Mahamudra type experiences do have a history, only it is hidden from normal view.
That would be how someone like Garab Dorje realized it. Of course! this lifetime is nobody's first.
Likewise, we cannot assume that those past lifetimes were replete with meritorious deeds and vast purification.
To think so is skillful means, like remembering that all beings have been our kindest mother, but it is equally
probable that they have also been our murderer, and we have been their murderer as well.
The point is its all too easy to assume that we are more sublime than we are-- at the relative level. We overestimate
and underestimate most of the time based on belief in a self and conditioned habits of egocentricity-- arrogance and
self deprecation. If we saw clearly, all the time, there would be no need for practice. This conversation is exactly why
there is no universally applicable approach, because its pretty easy to see, if we're honest with ourselves, that each individual
circumstance and capacity differs. Some people's perception is quite on target, while others perception is quite obscured.
Each will enter Buddhist practice a a different place. Some may well require the most basic beginner's vehicle before
even recognizing the truth of suffering. Others can begin immediately with some Maha or Anu yoga-- probably fewer--
as these were intended for royalty. How many are actually at the base of being able to immediately understand and apply
Dzogchen? Of course it happens. The two are not contradictory points of view.