Filonov, Sergey Vladimirovich – Candidate of Science (Philosophy), Doctor of Science (History), Professor of the Department of Chinese Studies at the Amur State University (Blagoveshchensk).
The present study focuses on the description and analysis of the Taoist concept of life. The study utilizes data extracted from the early Taoist scriptures - Tai dan yin shu (CT 1330), Jiu dan shan hua (CT 1382), Ci yi jing (CT 1313), Zi-yang zhen-ren nei zhuan (CT 303), and some others. These sources represent a tradition which probably flourished in the South-Western regions of China in the Han period (B.C.III - A.D.III). From the author's point of view it was an organized but extra-institutional Taoist movement primarily concerned with visionary contemplation. In A.D. II the marginal variant of that movement took its institutional form as the Celestial Masters Taoism in Sichuan but in the second half of A.D. IV the central subtradition of the same movement passed through institutionalization development in the nearby prefectural town of Jurong, and this was the starting point of the public history of the Highest Clarity Taoism. The framework of the Taoist concept of life included three main parts: embryonic teaching, concept of transcendence and theory of the anthropological universe. "My destiny is my own and does not lie with heaven" was the leitmotif of Taoist longevity techniques. The visual contemplation was considered to be a mainstream of these techniques in the 3th- 6th centuries.
Key words: China, religion, Taoism/Daoism, Taoist Canon, early Taoist scriptures, Taoist concept of transcendence, Nine Heavens, Taoist medicine, embryonic knots, anthropological universe, visual contemplation.