conebeckham wrote:Not sure of the anwswer to your first question......would love to hear from others.
I second that. Glyn, you seem to be rather well acquainted with Chagme Rinpoche's lineage. Do you happen to know?
As for ThangGyal's Chenrezig being a "guru yoga"--well, there's some truth to that--the guru as Chenrezig above the head, etc.--and that aspect of the practice can be emphasized. The "Dak Kye" or self-generation can also be emphasized.
Keep in mind that many of the practices (ngondro, yidam practice, etc.) are often said to be "complete paths" by the lamas. This means that they contain all the essential elements necessary to cause to realization of enlightenment.
Yidam sadhanas are usually glossed as "generation stage" practices, but as Cone indicated, really there are many facets and you can emphasize one aspect or another. Deity yoga starts with refuge & bodhicitta, then deals with generation stage visualization and mantra recitation. And then there's the dissolution of the visualization, which is completion stage.
All sources of refuge and all the three roots are complete within the guru, and remember that you visualized the guru as the deity when he or she gave you the empowerment. In that sense, the whole thing could be considered guru yoga.
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།