The Emptiness of Emptiness

As for "the emptiness of emptiness," it refers to employing
emptiness to demolish emptiness of the subject, emptiness of the object,
and emptiness of both the subject and the object. It is on account of
its demolishing of these three kinds of emptiness that it is referred to
as the emptiness of emptiness.
Another way of stating this is that, having first employed the
emptiness of dharmas to demolish [all] subject- related and object-
related dharmas, one then employs this emptiness to demolish these three
[resultant] varieties of emptiness. This is what is meant by the
emptiness of emptiness.
Then again, [one may also say that] in the emptiness samdhi one
contemplates the five aggregates as being empty and thereby achieves the
realization of the eightfold path of the aarya, the cutting off all
afflictions and the gaining of the with residue. When that
bodily life produced from the karmic causes and conditions of previous
lives draws to an end, because one then desires to set aside [even] the
eightfold path one then brings forth the samaadhi of the emptiness of
emptiness. This is what is meant by the emptiness of emptiness.
Question: What are the differences between emptiness and the
emptiness of emptiness?
Reply: Emptiness demolishes the five appropriated aggregates.
The emptiness of emptiness demolishes emptiness.
Question : If "emptiness" [here] refers to the emptiness of
dharmas, they have already been demolished. If it is not the case that
"emptiness" refers to the emptiness of dharmas, what is it that it
Reply: Emptiness demolishes all dharmas so that the only thing
which abides is emptiness. After emptiness has already demolished all
dharmas, emptiness itself should also be set aside. It is on account of
this that we require this "emptiness of emptiness."
Then again, whereas emptiness conditions all dharmas, the
emptiness of emptiness conditions only emptiness.

["Champion" & "Dispensing With Medicine" Analogies]

This is analogous to a stalwart young fellow being able to drive
off all outlaws, and to there being yet another man who is able to come
along and defeat even this stalwart young fellow. The emptiness of
emptiness is just like this.
This is also analogous to taking medicine. Medicine is able to
overcome disease, but once the disease has been overcome, one ought to
dispense with the medicine. If the medicine is not dispensed with, then
yet another pathology manifests thereby. Although emptiness is able to
cure the disease of the afflictions, still, because it is to be feared
that emptiness itself may develop into yet another disorder, one employs
emptiness to dispense with emptiness. This is what is meant by the
emptiness of emptiness.
Finally, it is because emptiness is employed to demolish the
seventeen [other] kinds of emptiness that this is referred to as the
emptiness of emptiness.

End Notes:

This is the fourth of the "Eighteen Emptinesses" the discussion of which
comprises the whole of fascicle 31.

Nagarjuna refers here to the first three emptinesses which he just
finished discussing at length in the initial section of "Eighteen
Emptiness." As you missed the discussion, it is only fair to point out
that these three emptinesses refer basically to the emptiness of the
"self," the emptiness of all that belongs to the objective sphere
(including, obviously, "others"), and the emptiness of everything which
relates to both.

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