I understand Nagarjuna's use of Dependent Origination only in the sense in which he
Therefore Nagarjuna is explicitly asserting that all of the core Buddhist teachings are efficacious precisely because they are empty of intrinsic existence and dependently originated. Ethical and soteriological practice is only possible on this basis.
The structure of the MMK is very clearly to establish this efficacy.....not to deny earlier teachings and bring in something radically different.
Because of this, I do not hold that there can be such a thing as a Hinayana. That is actually an offensive term, which is grounded in ideological difference, not philosophical understanding.
However, the Dependent Origination taught in Mahāyāna doctrines, such as with Nāgārjuna, looks to a deeper cause. What differs is not that things are dependently originated, but on what
are they dependent?
Classical teachings on D.O. aimed at the śrāvakas only deals with things depending on other things, but takes for granted that such things are truly existing external phenomena, albeit dependently originated and impermanent, yet still independent of one's own consciousness.
Mahāyāna doctrines stop before asserting any sort of external phenomena. If you cannot establish such a phenomenon as independent of your own consciousness, then how can you talk about its external causes and conditions?
Many people look at this and say; "Idealism!" and quickly steer clear. However, idealism also takes consciousness for granted when stating that the only reality is in ideas.
Mahāyāna doctrines are neither materialism nor idealism. In fact, they don't necessarily assert anything. They only blow the whistle on false starts— starting from a false or unestablished premise, such as taking external phenomena for granted, or taking the mind for granted, when neither have been established.
In schools like Yogācāra, consciousness is only temporarily asserted in order to break the false view of external phenomena existing dependently upon other external conditions. Once this has been done, then consciousness itself is relinquished when one realizes the extraneousness of it as well.
Previous quotes from Nāgārjuna by Yeshe D. have clearly demonstrated these points. But due to the use of similar terminology, it is easy to understand it by Classical Buddhist definition.
And by Hināyāna, it refers to a "lesser" depth of Dependent Origination. While Mahāyāna refers to this "greater" expansion on the teaching. Not only are views of personal selfhood shown false by establishing impermanence through D.O., but equally false are the so-called external phenomena asserted for this very purpose.
They are not merely impermanent and dependently originated, they are neither "produced nor extinguished" (birth and death), neither "pure nor impure" (persisting, from new to old), nor "increasing nor decreasing" (arising and passing away).
Their very existence is unestablished and indemonstrable.