Thank you Malcolm for participating in this thread.
Secondly: you mention in another post that the path of transformation is not about experiencing anger and then transforming it. Would you mind elaborating on what you think it really is then?
The path of transformation involves transforming our impure vision into a pure vision. The basic theory underlying this that when everything is perceived as gold, one stops desiring gold. So we are to understand through empowerment and then sadhana, for example, that all of our aggregates are buddhas, all of the elements are female buddhas, our sense organs and sense objects are bodhisattvas and offering goddesses and so on. But it is not a psychological technique of antidotes i.e. I am experiencing anger, but this is really Akṣobhya, for example. The path of transformation means transforming our relationship with the world, sentient beings and our own body (through empowerment and sadhana) from an impure relationship into a pure relationship. The path of transformation involves taking the result as the path -- for Buddhas, sense objects are not toxic, they are not afflictive, they are pure goddesses. When sense objects and consciousnesses are purified through the process of sadhana, the afflictive power of sense objects is lessened, and the links between sensation and craving is weakened and finally severed. For example, we replace our sense of identity with a Buddha identity -- the so called "divine pride" which is the essence of the creation stage, etc. In the course of working with pure vision, it is necessary to engage sense objects in every different way, smells, colors, tastes, sounds, sights, and so on.
Thirdly: you say a path of renunciation of sense objects is not necessary in these times but does that mean retreat is not necessary either? Wouldn't it be better to do a 3-year Thogal retreat than a 3-year The Big Bang Theory Marathon retreat?
Of course retreat is important. Yes, it would be better to do a three year retreat on one deity like Hevajra, than a retreat where you do tons of different sadhanas. If you are a Dzogchen practitioner, it would be better to do a three retreat on Dzogchen preliminaries like rushan, etc. on up through tregchö and thögal. But one does not need to do a three year retreat.