Interesting. I think the problem now and during the time of the Buddha was that people wanted something, even in Nibbana. For example, if it is said Nibbana is nothing, the people get disappointed saying “then what is the whole purpose of this practice if there is nothing to gain”.
On the other hand if it is said Nibbana is something, then those who understand Nibbana would disagree. Therefore, a middle approach may have been reached. Of course this is a hypothesis.
But if we approach this issue from the basics I think we can make a lot of progress. The Buddha said that craving is the cause of suffering. Craving arises because we do not understand the phenomenal nature of the six senses, external stimuli and dependent nature of the arising of craving. Said simply, craving is consciousness becoming stationed on sense stimuli in dependence on their enticing features. The N8FP is about freeing the consciousness from that stationing. So the way I understand it is that if consciousness which originates dependently, does not originate anymore because the practitioner has understood the true nature of stimuli, there is no more of any consciousness. That is the end of suffering.
Godhika Sutta SN 4.23 supports my above understanding.
"Mendicants, do you see that cloud of black smoke moving east, west, north, south, above, below, and in-between?”
That’s Māra the Wicked searching for Godhika’s consciousness, wondering:
Where is Godhika’s consciousness established?’
But since his consciousness is not established, Godhika is extinguished.”