Question: If it is the case that the nature of all dharmas is true emptiness, why would he make distinctions among all of the various names of dharmas? Why would he not just speak of the true emptiness?
Response: The Bodhisattva, mahasattva, does not speak of emptiness as something which may be obtained or attached to. If it could be obtained or attached to he, should not then discuss all of the various sorts of different characteristics. As for that emptiness which cannot be obtained, there are no hangups or obstructions. If there were any hangups or obstructions, then it would be something which could be obtained and it would not be the emptiness which cannot be obtained. In the case of the Bodhisattva, mahasattva, he knows the emptiness which cannot be obtained and is still able to make distinctions with respect to dharmas, feel compassion for beings, and cross them over to liberation. This constitutes the power of the praj it is the ultimate reality aspect of all dharmas which is the prajnaa-paaramitaa.
Why Worldly & Hearer Doctrines Don't Qualify as Perfect Wisdom
From Nagarjuna's Treatise
on the Great Perfection of Wisdom
Question: All of the worldly and common classics as well as all of the ninety-six types of monastic scriptures claim that their doctrines reflect the ultimate reality aspect of all dharmas. Additionally, the three-fold canon of the Hearer's Dharma is also held to reflect the ultimate reality aspect of all dharmas. Why are such cases as these not deemed to constitute prajnaa-paaramitaa+and+instead+only+the+ultimate+reality+aspect+of+all+dharmas+as+described+in+this+sutra+is+deemed+to+constitute+prajnaa-paaramitaa?
Response: The worldly and common classics are not reflective of ultimate reality because they are dedicated to the establishment of the state, the preservation of the family, the person, one's fate, longevity, and happiness. Because the non-Buddhist monastics fall into the dharmas of erroneous views whereby their minds are affectionately attached, their doctrines are not reflective of ultimate reality either.
Although the Dharma of the Hearers does contain the four truths and they do employ impermanence, suffering, emptiness and non-self in the contemplation of the ultimate reality aspect of all dharmas, because their wisdom is incomplete and is not acutely sharp, they are unable to act on behalf of all beings. Although they do possess actual wisdom, because it is not employed for the sake of succeeding in the dharma of Buddhahood, it is not referred to as the praj Sariputra and the others have not even heard the names of the various samaadhis which the Buddha enters and exits, how much the less have they been able to know them directly. Why is this the case? When the Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas first formulated their resolve they had no great vows and they had no great loving-kindness or great compassion. They have not sought to create all forms of merit. They have not made offerings to all of the Buddhas of the three periods of time throughout the ten directions. They have not sought to know the ultimate reality aspect of all dharmas in a way which utterly plumbs the truth. This is because they have sought only to gain liberation from the sufferings of aging, sickness and death.
From the time they first formulated the resolve to obtain bodhi, the Bodhisattvas they have had vast and great vows. They have possessed the great loving-kindness and compassion, have sought to create all forms of merit, and have made offerings to all of the Buddhas of the three periods of time throughout the ten directions. They possess great sharp wisdom with which they have sought the ultimate reality aspect of all dharmas. They have been able to dispense with all of the various kinds of contemplations such as the so-called contemplation of purity, the contemplation of impurity, the contemplation of permanence, the contemplation of impermanence, the contemplation of blissfulness, the contemplation of suffering, the contemplation of emptiness, the contemplation of substantiality, the contemplation of self, and the contemplation of the absence of self. They have relinquished all such contemplations as these which are rooted in the power of the mind influenced by erroneous perceptions.
They have taken the ultimate reality aspect of external conditions as the sole object of contemplation. It is neither pure nor impure, neither permanent nor impermanent, neither blissful nor suffering, neither empty nor substantial, and neither self nor non-self. They have not become attached to any such contemplations as these because worldly, common dharmas cannot be gotten at. They do not correspond to the supreme meaning, universal pervasiveness, and purity and are not beyond being refuted or demolished. The place in which all of the Aaryas course is what is worthy to be referred to as the prajnaa-paaramitaa.