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.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN