pondering this more... malcolm's comments are entirely reasonable. i can't see diverging opinions coming from this.
one doesn't have to be a dzogchenpa to hold the view that excessive study of the lower yanas is pointless. jowo rinpoche (atisha) felt all the study of epistemology and logic geshes and khenpos throw themselves into in dialectical study was pointless. my current root teacher is very open in his admission of having never philosophical tenets, largely because prison interrupted his studies. another of my main teachers was very open in his admission that he didn't study the five treatises of maitreya. he said to go find a khenpo for such details.
i'd also agree that some madhyamaka is helpful. my late root teacher said the same thing. i find it useful for dealing with some of my own neurosis, and it's useful for analytical meditations that support dzogchen practice like nang jang (i'm not saying they're the same for the record).
i can see knowing the grounds and paths of the sutra and tantra paths being useful so that one can contextualize the differences between the three cycles of dzogchen and mahamudra, or dzogchen and the other inner tantras. one of my teachers said that even if one's practice is focused on one view, one practice, one vital point-- it's still useful to have exposure to other systems so that one doesn't have a sense of conflict in one's mind about other dharmas. one can then also bring the pith of those teachings into one's own practice.
i really like malcolm's point about integrating dzogchen into everything. in my last interview with my late teacher, he said the same thing. i brought some meditational experience to him and he said: ok, now do that all the time in all situations. there's a sense of playfulness that helps with this for me.
there can be no objection to saying that a traditional rigorous buddhist education is essential to be a yogi, as the historical record is full of counter examples.
so, i'm yet even more puzzled...
ok. that's all reasonable. hmm...
man, that's a lot of drama stirred in four weeks. that's all sure been taken in some different directions.