The second question:
You have said that thinking is a hindrance to seeing, and that understanding can also be a hindrance. Is there no use for thinking and understanding in the realization of truth?
The only use for thought is to understand the futility of thought. The only wisdom in understanding is to understand that understanding is not enough. Just as you remove a thorn with another thorn, in the same way you can remove a thought with another thought. That much can be done.
No one can reach the truth by thinking. Thinking is a hindrance to experiencing the truth. If you remove the hindrance, then you can say that in a certain sense the thinking has also been helpful: now the hindrance is not there, it has been removed – it has given that much help. Those who are ordinary thinkers remain entangled in thoughts. Those who are great thinkers, they become free from thinking. When the thinking goes deep, then it soon becomes clear that it will not be possible to know through thinking. Think: you don’t know God, you have no experience of truth, you don’t have any understanding of what life is – what will you do by thinking? How can you think about them? How will you think about this truth which you don’t know at all? You can repeat borrowed scriptures, statements made by someone, but how can you call this thinking? It will be just repetition. How will you be able to add something new to it?
Thinking is never original. Thinking is always old and stale. Thinking is never new, it cannot be. If I ask you to think about something which you don’t know, how will you think about it? To know is essential for thinking. If it is already known, only then can thinking happen. And when you already know, then what is the need to think? What is the point in thinking about what you already know? And the unknown cannot be thought about.
So thinking is like a ruminating buffalo: it chews the swallowed grass again and again by bringing it back into its mouth. Thinking is ruminating. You read something in a book, you hear something from some person and now you are ruminating on it. But nothing new is born out of it. All thoughts are dead, no life ever sprouts out of them.
God is the unknown. You will not be able to know him by thinking. No-thought is his way. Drop thinking, drop whatever you have learned, forget whatever you have heard. Clean the mind of whatever you have understood. Be clean like a mirror, and confront the world without a ripple of thought. In that unwavering mirror, whatsoever is reflected is an image of the ultimate.