Seek no intimacy with the beloved, and never with the ‘unbeloved’. Not seeing the beloved, and the sight of the ‘unbeloved’, are both painful. When parted from those whom we love, we feel a sense of personal loss. When forced to associate with those whom we hate, we feel a personal irritation. Both feelings are painful.
Intimate association with the beloved and the ‘unbeloved’ are both potentially painful. Aloofness on the other hand, tends to lessen the intensity of such emotions and the pain they can engender. Such is the teaching of the Buddha, clear and uncompromising.
There may be those who will call this teaching cold and inhuman. They may say, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
They are at liberty to love and lose as many times as they please, in this life and in future lives, until they realize that they are making fools of themselves. There may be others who pride themselves on being good haters. They too are free to go their own road until repeated suffering teaches them that the hater harms himself more than he harms the object of his hate.
There are a few people, extremely few, to whom the teaching of aloofness has a strong appeal. They are the mature ones, who have had their fill of loving and hating. They are beginning to feel instinctively that freedom lies in letting go. It is to such people really that the Buddha spoke. The rest merely happened to be present, and to hear with their ears but not with their hearts.
Aloofness is the tree of wisdom grows and thrives, bearing at last the fruit of Insight.
The world we live in is built upon the very notion of self which the Buddha sought to eradicate. All its activities and all its vested interests are bound up with this basic idea. Any departure from the accepted standards of conduct will inevitably be branded as anti-social. Aloofness is such a departure, and is bound to be resented by those who love the world and its ways.
- Author Unknown