What makes this so incredible is that, as a social being, every person I mention Dzogchen to, must have great merit, and every person they mention Dzogchen to must also have great merit, etc.. It grows exponentially until everyone has heard about Dzogchen. Not a bad thing, but it just calls the issue of merit into question, I think.
Plus, I wonder how well these "rules" of merit apply in an age of increasing technology and ease of access to information. I know I would not have heard of Dzogchen had it not been for the internet.
Is it merit if the History Channel does a special on Tibetan Buddhism and Tantra and happens to mention Dzogchen?
They at least have a connection. If you compare the number of people to whom you refer Dzogchen to the number of those who will never hear about it and died without doing so, you'll get an idea.
If you compare then those who hear about it and criticize or hear about it and don't care or don't have any interest, you also get another idea.
Then ponder the difference between those who hear about it and have interest but lack the conditions to practice and do nothing about it, to those who actually make something to put the teachings in practice. Then, you have the difference between those who actually learn effectively how to practice and progress and those who mistake themselves, although having interest and practicing, going astray (by thinking they have accomplished something they haven't for instance).
Well, see the word more searched in Google: sex.
If we were to get the compared statistics about searches for Dzogchen and searches for sex, they would be a like grain of sand when compared to a beach.
Your proximity to this subject creates this illusion. It's like those guys who start to play a card game and suddenly think pretty much everyone else is doing it, when if fact they are still an insignificant minority.
What grew is your perception of the number of people who know about Dzogchen. You didn't know what it was, so you didn't know who knew about it.
Sadly, we are but a few, if compared to those who never heard and never will hear about the word Dzogchen, let alone practice it. 50 years ago, not even Buddhists knew what Dzogchen was and even inside Tibet not many were familiarized with it.
Now Tibet was emptied, millions killed, practice being hindered under the oppressive regime of China. Tibet is an illegally occupied country. There's no freedom under a dictatorship.
Guess we had to take rebirth somewhere, didn't we?
Might as well be where our practice is less hindered by politics and society. The West seems a suitable choice, since it's a part of the world in which we have this nice thing called freedom of religion and many Dzogchen masters come or live here, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu among them.