Yes, it seems more Eastern than Western, though probably not exclusively. I'm not really qualified to follow the trail to specific references. If you can, please do.
Yes, to the degree we lower the volume of thought all boundaries disappear, given that boundaries are products of thought. Perhaps the value of such experiences is not so much to improve one's philosophical positions as it is to put philosophy in a wider context, to provide some experience outside of philosophy. Such experiences seem to have a value of their own which is independent of any conclusions one might draw from them. An apple is nutritious irregardless of one's opinions of apples.But isn’t it a bit of a paradox to say if we are “liberated from our thoughts about reality, we are then free to observe reality far more closely” - because once we give up thought, then doesn’t the very distinction - between what is real and what is not – itself disappear?
Yes, the purpose of thought is to create conceptual boundaries, and philosophy helps sharpen those boundaries. That seems a good description. This is obviously a useful process, especially if one keeps in mind that all boundaries are convenient illusions.Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: its task is to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries.
What interests me most is to shift some focus from the content of thought to the nature of thought. To the degree one understands the nature of thought, how it works, it seems one would then understand something about every philosophy.