Awareness is Absolute. You absolutely need awareness, in order to see, to know or to experience anything. It is infinitely there – first. It is the true foundation of existence.
The mind is also experienceable. The mind is not equal to awareness. If you are sitting in meditation and you want ‘the lights to go out’ you’re fighting an uphill battle. The light of awareness never goes out.
If it was possible for the light to go out – how is any other ‘first’ thing going to be known? Even doctrines which extolle ‘emptiness’ as the ultimate realization or true state of pure existence, omit the obvious consideration, that any emptiness which is known, is known by that in which it appears.
Emptiness is a subjective experience of non-object.