After the Buddha had obtained realization, he taught for forty-five years, imparting the heart of his understanding to the Sangha, the community of renunciates that formed around him. As the Sangha put into practice the knowledge that the Enlightened One transmitted, they in turn attained enlightenment. The Sangha thus became a direct link between the Buddha and the rest of humanity. It is through such ongoing transmission that realization manifests in the world.
For us too, as practitioners of the Dharma, the direct link to knowledge is all-important. We begin to forge this link by developing faith that the teachings made available by the Buddha offer direct knowledge that leads to enlightenment. Faith in turn gives us access to knowledge. As faith and knowledge support one another, they enable us to enter the path of realization.
Tarthang Tulku RinpocheTeachings from the Heart