I recently read a quote from Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche saying that practices such as the preliminaries are a sure way to gather merit and clear away obscurations, but it is only through meditating on emptiness that one can accumulate both merit and wisdom. I recently started my ngondro and I am very dedicated to the practice and it takes up most of my time. I am looking for suggestions on how to incorporate more vipashyana into my practice.
I have been studying Madhyamaka for some time now, but am beggining to wonder how far (or how long) this approach will take me. I understand, for example, that a leaf is beyond being one thing or many things, but at what point does that understanding become a realization of emptiness. It seems that many people I have met in the Kagyu lineage have not bothered studying too much Mahayana philosophy, instead relying on the Mahamudra approach of questioning/looking at the nature of their own mind.
My question comes down to approach. How do I approach the wisdom aspect of practice while being intensely involved in ngondro? Should I continue my search inferentially, or take a more direct approach? Is it even appropriate to take the Mahamudra approach at this stage without having been given pointing out instructions?
Please allow me to say that this is my first time posting. I usually do not involve myself with forums, but it seems that all of you are dedicated practictioners. And yes, this is a question for my guru, but I only see him twice a year, and I respect the opinion of others who are further along the path than myself.