Merely saying that emptiness is defined as unconditioned does not addressed my question, which was how is it possible to have a thing that is both conditioned and unconditioned at the same time. Perhaps, you are saying it is possible as long as it is defined as possible.
"For those whom emptiness is possible, everything is possible, for those whom emptiness is not possible, nothing is possible"
Malcolm wrote:If emptiness is a synonym for dependent arising, that would imply that dependent arising is unconditioned. Or to put is more starkly, it would mean that dependent arising does not arise dependently.
There is no entity "dependent arising", there are only phenomena that arise in dependence. Space, the two cessations and emptiness do not arise at all, so they are by definition phenomena that do not arise in dependence. Of course, this does not mean that they are not relative, for both conditioned and unconditioned phenomena are relative. Since both conditioned and unconditioned phenomena are relative, their relationship is strictly a matter of definition.
As for dependently origination phenomena being unconditioned, the Prajñāpāramita states "Whatever arises in dependence, that in truth does not arise". The argument can be made that even so called dependently originated phenomena are unconditioned in reality, since their production cannot be ascertained at all when subjected to ultimate analysis. Again in this respect there is no contradiction between a conventionally conditioned entity having a conventionally unconditioned nature since in reality both are merely conventions. While the former bears the latter as its nature, in reality neither the former nor the latter can stand up to ultimate analysis. In other words there are no phenomena at all that can stand up to ultimate analysis.
Yes, unconditioned things can be truly existents or false existents that are not dependently arisen. But unconditioned things cannot include false existents that are dependently arisen, don't you agree?
Of course I do not agree: for example, space, an unconditioned phenomena, permeates all conditioned phenomena, and neither obstructs conditioned phenomena nor is obstructed by them. Emptiness, another unconditioned phenomena, likewise permeates all conditioned phenomena, neither obstructing them nor being obstructed by them.
It is precisely because of such contradictions that Garfield and Priest were forced to conclude from their study of Nagarjuna that ultimately there is no ultimate and that dependent arising is all there is.
Jay Garfield is a lovely guy, and an excellent analytical philosopher (he is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Smith college, along with my father (now retired)), however, he is wrong in so far that there isn't even dependent origination in the ultimate analysis.
Again, I don't think that giving a definition as an answer will resolve the logical contradiction that my question raises.
Your question presumes an entity/entity relationship, therefore your very question is flawed. Emptiness is not an entity, neither are phenomena, other than conventionally.