I have put this on another part of this forum - hope thats ok? I just thought it would be good to start over from this point.
The Pali Canon seems to teach a very non-esoteric form of practice. The end result is a by-proxy experience of Emptiness via practices such as Vipassana and the Jhanas for example. No Deities, no mantras, no Bardo, no inner offerings, no long Pujas and unless I am mistaken (not unlikely!) no teachings about the Bardo etc..... There is also evidence in the Theravada that the Pali Canon is the first recordings of what the historical Buddha taught - am I right??
Tibetan Buddhism however is effectively the opposite. There is little in the Mahayana teachings (particularly in Tibetan Buddhism) that resembles the above.
The problem I have is that like the song says "Two men say they're Jesus, one of them has to be wrong". If the teachings re the Bardo and the managing of the post mortem state are valid then we should surely ALL be concentrating on them as a priority. We should ALL be striving towards Vajrayana and the Mahamudra. If however, they are the products of the acid heads of 'Buddhism' (a friends description not mine - but I like it anyways) then we had best steer clear and follow the breath.
How about, Vajrayana is filling the mind with more 'stuff' and Satipatana is the opposite. Two completely contradictory practices.
So, imagine here I am, a complete newbie and I ask. "What should I practice"? ....... what would you say?