I have a friend that seems to avoid getting into relationships, engaging in various aspects of life, etc.. because (1) she wants to avoid doing harm and (2) she links such activity to pleasures, which is desire and attachment, which means avoid and drop at first sight.. akin to verse 21 of the Bodhisattva's path (her lineage):
Sensual pleasures are like salty water:
The deeper you drink, the thirstier you become.
Any object that you attach to,
Right away, let it go—this is the practice of a bodhisattva.
The first verse seems about right to me...
At this time when the difficult-to-obtain, great vessel of leisure and fortune has been
obtained, the practice of Bodhisattvas is to continuously listen, think, and meditate day
and night in order to ferry themselves and others from the ocean of Samsara.
But the 21st verse when its applied for individuals, such as my friend, seem to me to have more to do with running away or not engaging in what is life and existence. It seems to me, impossible to love and not be attached or take part in sensual desire - similarly, music, sunsets, laugh of a child, etc.. the various beauties of life are all sensual pleasures. Like a song, or life, it is within our nature to delve in, enjoy and attach; just as at the end of the song, or life, it is in our nature to mourn. Its ridiculous to demand the song go on, which is delusion through attachment, but a natural procession for some suffering at the loss.. and to run from the root of suffering is to run from life - and really to protect the sense of self and ego that will suffer if you don't drop the attachment. If our practice is acceptance and moving away from delusion then isn't the dropping of all pleasures more about avoidance than acceptance?
I feel my friend is living a half baked life under the guise of preventing harm and spiritual detachment. Right away, let it go.. no attachments, is that life? Seems to me the middle path is not one of "right away" letting go but of recognition of attachment for what it is, including the pain it may entail as all is impermanent - both the attachment and object - and that there is really no difference between attachment and object. Seems to me we should be taught more so to recognize our attachments are as impermanent as the objects of attachment and vice versa than to be taught to drop attachment right away..
The verses can be found here for those interested:
Beings are numberless: may I free them all.
Reactions are endless: may I release them all.
Doors to experience are infinite: may I enter them all.
Ways of awakening are limitless: may I know them all.