The lung of the ngondro was sufficient for my lamas in the Dudjom Tersar and the Longchen Nyingthig tradition. But, of course, we all receive wangs for Vajrasattva and Guru Rinpoche at some point.
conebeckham wrote:In Sakya, ngondro is a bit different. Kagyupas and Nyingmapas are used to doing ngondro, including Vajrasattva, as a "main practice" prior to deity yoga, etc. Completing the 400,000 accumulations of prostrations, refuge, Vajrasattva, Mandala, and Guru Yoga is often a prerequisite for the so-called "Advanced practices" in Kagyu and Nyingma lineages.
In the Sakya lineage, the ngondro practices come AFTER (or together with) the deity yoga practice, in Lamdre and also in VY practice. Sakya most definitely have Vajrasattva practice, but it's usually a part of other deity sadhanas--Hevajra and Vajrayogini, mainly. However, some Sakyapas may practice Vajrasattva on it's own, as well, possibly from various Terma traditions.
Whether for ngondro or as a main, yidam practice, the empowerment is important, in Kagyu, Geluk, and Nyingma. I can't say for the Sakyas. It is possible, and beneficial to a degree, to recite the mantra and liturgy, I'm sure, but every Kagyu and Nyingma lama I've known indicates that, for counting the accumulations, the empowerment is a prerequisite. I'm sure this is also the case, for purposes of a "yidam retreat" when one practices in a group setting, as the Gelukpas sometimes do with Heruka Vajrasattva, and as the Nyingmapas do, for example, with Minling Dorsem, Chogling DorSem, Red Vajrasattva, or Dudjom DorSem Lama Chopa.