ok I have been reading Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way and various other Buddhist texts and I feel like I am only getting a glimpse of what they are saying, and as soon as I try to focus on their conclusions they vanish into paradox. I understand that the doctrine of emptiness teaches us that all phenomenon are empty and selfless, indeed this follows from the recognition that our (human) reality is a conventional construct - as all our conepts are interdependent hence all entities come about through dependent origination. But I don't get how emptiness is self-referential, and how this leads us back "through the looking glass". I am stuck viewing this as a paradox - the attempt to say that "the ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth" if the doctrine of emptiness is itself empty then surely this merely renders it meaningless, and gives it no ontological significance. it is as if to say "the world is the world" - and i'm sure it is not this trivial. the following koan springs to mind: "before enlightenment trees and river are trees and rivers. at the moment of enlightenment trees and rivers are no longer trees and rivers. after enlightenment trees and rivers are trees and rivers" any thoughts?