And was that after the group got instruction and blessing from a teacher to do it, or just like that?
I mean, I got pointing out instruction by CNNR and others, and have the precious vase standing here, but would never consider doing those practice in a session without my teacher telling me to.
Otherwise, it's just playing around with some gimmick that we're not ready for anyway. Isn't it?
Everyone there received transmission and can do these practices. There was no prior instruction or "blessing." The guy leading the sangha was aware of everyone's situation: we were all n00bs. You don't get "pointing out instructions" about these practices as far as I know. I didn't interrogate him about it. If he was "pointing out" anything, he was pointing out exactly what was in the book because he read it verbatim.
To quote the Oregon Dzogchen Community's website: "The Transmission of Guru Yoga enables the practitioner to practice these Dzogchen teachings. But the Transmission must be developed through collaboration with the Dzogchen Community, such as participation in collective practices which deepen our knowledge and experience. Those interested only in receiving the Transmission as some sort of blessing and who are not interested in serious practice might prefer another path."
He did not teach every single thing in the book, but I don't recall him saying anything in particular about any specific ones that needed to be learned at a retreat or something. Perhaps that is true. I don't see how any of the practices I learned and partook in could be considered some sort of "gimmick." A gimmick to what end? What purpose could such a "gimmick" possibly serve? To impressing nobody with my ability to sit there and do something incomprehensible?