Charles Hill wrote:
Also, if I remember correctly, Vimalakirti was a student of the Buddha, although a lay student.
I believe you are right although it's been almost thirty years since I read the Sutra. Anyway, without stretching the analogy too far, Vimalakirti would be the model for most ordinary Aikido students. He managed to get "Enlightened" by taking what he was taught by his teacher and working on it as part of his daily life. He wasn't a monk and didn't have the advantage of being able to focus solely on his practice all day long (as our Aikido uchi deshi did). So he would represent an example of what I meant by having a deep relationship with a teacher without necessarily having that teacher present and overseeing every aspect of the training.
I am not saying that this model is the easiest or fastest way to master the art... in Buddhism this was always considered the hard way to go )as opposed to leaving the world and becoming a monk). Obviously, being able to train daily under a Shihan level Aikido teacher, especially one who had trained directly under the Founder, would be wonderful but as I pointed out in the article that simply isn't going to happen for most people. So we all have to be like Vimalakirti and take what we can from all the sources available and then find a way to "do our own transmission".