The article attempts to consider the theories of «liberation» in the ancient Eastern philosophy, which, on the one hand, clearly reflect the similarities and differences between the Buddhist teaching of Shunyavada and Taoism, and on the other hand define the basic principles of two philosophical schools in question.
Despite the emphasis in the text on the difficulty of comprehending such key concepts of the philosophy of «liberation» as «Tao» and «Shunyata», since they cannot be subjected to analysis of formal logic and rational definition possessing «intangibility», «ambiguity» and, one might even say, «transcendence»of meanings and definitions, the author in his work considers these terms using the dialectical method, its form of thinking embodies the unity of the basis of opposites «and this and that». The theoretical, methodological and comparative researches of the basic concepts of madhyamik’s «Shunyata» and emptiness of «Tao», covered in the article and taken as independent units of philosophical discourse, have shown that it makes sense to speak of the close relation of considered concepts, since there are two aspects of emptiness in each of them: «theoretical» that defines the classification of approaches and meanings of emptiness, and «practical» that reveals the methods (means) and strategies of self-improvement.
As a result of the research, the author has proposed an understanding of emptiness in both considered philosophical systems through the model of «circular motion»: in relation to the Buddhist teaching of Shunyavada, it embodies non-duality, emptiness of samsara and nirvana, in respect of the Taoist teaching, it symbolizes «the internal state of interdependence and mutual permeability», the relativity of all things and phenomena, i.e. their emptiness. It has also been defined that Madhyamikas and the Taoists interpret the path leading to «liberation» (Skt. mokṣa) or enlightenment (Chin. «min») as median. Nevertheless, the interpretations of this path are diverse in the ancient Indian and ancient Chinese traditions, since, in relation to the Taoist doctrine, the Middle way is to overcome duality through harmonizing the «yin» and «yang» that create the continued integrity by dint of presence (dissolution) in each other. Folding and reaching the center, they give birth to a new «undetected» state of harmony and peace, namely the state of «the Great emptiness of Tao». In contrast to the Taoist Middle path, the Buddhist Middle way involves the complete elimination of opposites since everything is relative and identical to Emptiness (Skt. Sūnyatā) and it does not lie through «following naturalness» as indicated in Taoism, but through following «the eightfold path» (Skt. Arya aṣṭāṅgika mārga) that leads to understanding the illusory nature of all things, since one of the most important features of dharma as a constituent element of samsara is emptiness (Skt. Sūnyatā).