Speaking as a newer practitioner..this is my understanding of question 4:
There are places that do Green Tara and Chenrezig group pujas without empowerment, and some also who say it is acceptable to do the practices without empowerment on one's own, though the empowerment is (by my understanding) still something that you should most certainly do when the opportunity exists.
Also seems to be sort of implied that just trying it without ever having done the practice with a qualified person is not a good idea, so just doing it off the internet from scratch seems inadvisable...just my inclination though, I could be wrong. Even things like hearing the melody carry a certain weight that seems like it can't be conveyed outside of person to person practice. I had the exact same question (you can still find my threads on it!) and my conclusion is that i'm very glad I asked the Lama about it rather than just trying it, - the confidence from that seems important, and sets good precedent for the future. I also don't think I would have confidence in any kind of personal practice without having had asked about it, and regularly attending the group practice as well, you could say that there is a certain "tone" to things that maybe isn't there without actually having done a Sadhana led by a teacher...so yeah, find a place to go experience it and go from there.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous
on Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits