Thank you for your reply. Wonderful reply.
Here is what I thought in your reply.
"the correct view where objects are empty by nature. Since they dont exist. Since they dont exist"
I think you get yourself into one of the extreme view as Lord Je Tsong Khapa's says in the Three principle path.
"In addition, appearances clear away the extreme of (inherent) existence; emptiness clears away the extreme of non-existence. When you understand the arising of cause and effect from the viewpoint of emptiness, you are not captivated by either of the extreme views. " -- three principles of the path.
You can't says the smoke, incense don't exist and deny their existence, even though their nature is empty. that is valid, however, their existence is also valid. Because, what Lord Je Tsong Khapa says. Emptiness clears away the extreme of non-existence. Clearly, Lord Je Tsong Khap didn't deny the fact they exist. He warn us to watch out of this wrong way of thinking using emptiness logic.
However, I have to agree in you part on the mind. I understand that. We have to go back to the mind before thinking as Zen Master Seung Sahn say it (don't know mind), and Hui-Neng Six Patriarch's example, two people are arguing on the moving of the flag. One says it's the wind is moving, another the flag is moving. But, Hui-Neng says, it's your Mind that is moving.
All the concept of in our mind that is thinking. We have to stop it.
the lower paragraph of both our posts is my point. the reason why I said it dosent exist is because they are mere projections of preception. It helps in promoting detachment and lessening emotional pain on the surface as well as help understand that all sufferings and happinesss are unreal but ultimately, it leads to enlightment when you have complete understanding of it. The incense and smoke exists, but the birth and dying does not. If you're wearing glasses of the wrong type you'd see incense, but of a diffrent shape. So the incense dosent change but your preception does, and since your preception isnt perfect how can you say it exists?
sampa: the shuragama sutra has very elaborate examples on that as well as discerning the sensory conciousness. Likewise, this sutra is feared by many buddhist scholars who declare it as a fake because in the end it reveals the true nature of your own mind as you read it. And that is exactly why sutras are not revealed that easily in the tibetan tradition: so that we dont misunderstand and create bad karma.