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?
Thinley Norbu had several incredibly serious western students that do a lot of retreat. I think the need to do retreats is the point of Thinley Norbus statement and most of us don't have the possibility to do long retreats because of the society we live in. It used to worry me a lot because I haven't had the circumstances, money or support to do long retreats. I tried in periods to do 4-5 hours of practice while working full time, it was quite difficult. Now, since many years, I do at least 2 hours a day, which seems to work pretty well with my circumstances. I think most people like me change the practice they do to often and I have found that if you don't do long retreats you have to work at your practice for a long time instead. I do now feel some results from the practices I spent 10-15 years on.
I think most Tibetan Ngakpas practice a couple of hours most days when they not are in retreat or doing drubchen. Some of that practice might be work, doing pujas for other people. They have a family and the daily hustle to make money to support themselves.
Sogyal Rinpoche has his home retreat with four hours of practice a day over a period of 6 years. Dzongsar Khyentse have something similar with 2 hours of practice over a period of 10 years. So today there are possibilities that didn't exist for me Tom, you should take a look at them.