From the Sutrayana perspective enlightenment is achieved through having accumulated enough merit plus enough awareness both. So the accumulation of merit is important indeed.
Dedicating merit for the sake of all beings is the best dedication. The appearance of a buddha in the future (you) is to their benefit. However the point of no regression is a pretty high up there level of realization. It's one of the higher bodhisattva levels if I remember correctly.
There is a tradition of making a distinction between two different perspectives on the nature of emptiness: one is when emptiness is presented within a philosophical analysis of the ultimate reality of things, in which case it ought to be understood in terms of a non-affirming negative phenomena. On the other hand, when it is discussed from the point of view of experience, it should be understood more in terms of an affirming negation.