Couple of questions for a beginner
I've been interested in Buddhism for about 15 years but am starting to get more seriously into it now. However I'm not quite sure if I understand a couple of points and seem to keep reaching paradoxes in my thinking:
1. I was reading about a Buddhist monk's story of how his mind was focused on the now and that was when he was diagnosed with a metastatic cancer told he had to undergo chemotherapy otherwise he would have weeks to live (in fact this is in Steve Hagen's 'Buddhism plain and simple'). Now I'm not suggesting that we should stop living but could it be argued that a 'Buddhist' thing to do would be just to let the cancer take it's course - surely opting for chemotherapy implies attachment to and a longing for something (in this case life) and avoidance of pain and suffering (barring the argument of course that chemotherapy is pain and suffering!). To me this seems silly, and I was wondering if someone who knows more than me about these things could explain this paradox?
2. How can Buddhism be reconciled with a desire to be good at your work and enjoy doing things with friends and family, etc, surely this again is attachment to temporary things? Although again Buddhist websites that I've looked at suggest this is fine and give the example of people like Steve Jobs being Buddhist, but again I don't quite understand it. Or is it to do with 'middle ground' and avoiding unhealty attachments, etc?
I'm grateful for any replies, I may have got the wrong end of the stick but find it difficult to progress in Buddhism with these questions.