The nothingness of the ajata teachings can also be called emptiness, as long as one comprehends that there are no “real” objects (etc.) which are empty, but that even what we would consider to be empty objects are not any thing to begin with; they are, as all things in truth, not real.
Clearly, if we declare that anything exists, its “existence” is a matter of —dependent upon—thought. If all that we presume exists is actually nothing, from whence would come the supposition that anything actually exists?
Nagarjuna says, “Something that is not dependently arisen does not exist. Therefore, a non-empty thing does not exist.” There are no “things” prior to emptiness, that have come into “creation”.
In an online monograph, Emptiness Teachings by Susan Kahn, a clouded attempt is made to get to the bottom of Nagarjuna’s emptiness of emptiness. Though she fails to reach deep enough to get there, she sometimes points instructively in the proper direction.
“Ultimate truth is…the direct, nonconceptual perception of the emptiness of phenomena….
“When one is no longer ruled by the attraction and aversion that accompanies the reification of phenomena, equanimity is finally possible….
“From the ultimate standpoint, there are no phenomena or for that matter standpoints….
“The conventional designation of objects requires conceptual boundaries in which to single things out, and ultimately there are no boundaries, no independent things to designate….
“It is not enough to conceptually infer the emptiness of things….It is critical to emphasize that the ultimate truth of emptiness is a negational truth…
“Ultimate truth or emptiness does not point to an essence or nature, however subtle, that everything is made of…. For there is nothing that can be identified about the emptiness of things…
“To realize emptiness is to recognize that there can be no ultimate reference points and therefore no ultimate position”.
In short, the principle of nothingness can be summarized in a Buddhist expression: “Nothing to stand on”.
Nor, we might add, anything to do the standing.