Maggie, your logical is fluid and convenient to your arguments but you seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth.....Your ideas about budo are yours (or maybe your teachers...or something your read in a book...) We take what we can from our teachers but they are human just like us....Yamaguchi smoked like a chimeny, Dobson lived a hard knock life, and there are some living shihan whom "make their personal choices" that, in my mind, don't make them any less of a budoka regardless of the health consequences.
No one is perfect
I do things every day that are very un-Budo. If perfection was something everyone could achieve easily then why would it be worth striving for.
I think everyone you mentioned is technically falling short of the ideal. But I can't judge because I fall short of the ideal as well.
It is an art practiced by people striving to become better, not gods who find it easy.
I guess that's my point.
Should you smoke pot? No, it won't make you a better Aikidoka, and self preservation is a principle of Budo. Do I think you are a bad person for choosing to smoke pot? No. Everyone has something imperfect about them. But I'm not going to pretend it is okay or helpful to smoke pot and do Aikido either. It is a flaw in the person. I won't villainize the person for it, but I won't extol the act either.
It is your personal choice. People make choices every day that are bad for them, and they are free to do so.
I just believe there is a difference between condemning the act, and condemning the person. I condemn my dog for whizzing on the carpet. But I do not condemn her. I don't judge her as "the carpet whizzer". I instead still allow her on my lap every night.
If you smoke pot I'm not going to call you "pot head" and define your entire person by it. Only a very sick person would want their poor personal choices to define their entire being. All I'm saying here is if we can spare this kind of love to a dog,but not each other?
If I can condemn my dogs bad behavior and still invite her on my lap at night, I can condemn a sensei's choice to kill himself, and still revere the man for his knowledge. I believe defining the person as the whole person, not just the flaws. But the flaws are part of the man, and so are the triumphs. It isn't a choice between the good and the bad. You are saying if I accept the good in the man, I have to ignore the bad stuff he does. Or, if I acknowledge his baddness It some how discredits all his great deeds. It doesn't. Take the man as a whole. His failures in my mind extol his virtues even more. A real man, flawed and hurt and broken, is capable of amazing things.