So I am not saying I think that these ceremonies are a bad thing. What troubled me was the lack of qualification of the participants. In the traditional culture, you would be talking to an audience who understood a lot about the context.
It depends. I have attended empowerments with HHDL, for example, where many people from Tibet came to attend.
In a sense, they were not "qualified", many of them were traditional nomad people, in some cases barely literate. Due to the situation in Tibet many only had a rough idea about the basics of Buddhism.
But if faith was a qualifier, these people had it in spades- crossing over a dangerous border to receive the initiation, knowing full well they risked imprisonment by the Chinese authorities on their return.
In that way, you couldn't ask for people with higher qualifications.
Because of the depth to which Buddhism permeates the culture of Tibet, people are willing to attend teachings just for the bag chag- the imprint. Due to their unwavering faith in past and future lives, they are convinced that participating even if they don't understand in this life, creates the cause to be able to meet the teachings again and maybe understand something in the next life.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin