Xu Jing Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

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Xu Jing Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

Unread postby capnnerefir » Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:52 pm

Xu Jing (Wenxiu)
?-222 (over 70 years)
Final Office: Minister Over the Masses


Xu Jing was from Runan, in Yu province. In their youth, he was very close with his cousin, Xu Shao. The two regularly gave judgments on local figures and were very respected for their perception and objectivity. The two had a falling out when Xu Shao became a commandery official but refused to grade Xu Jing. Fortunately for Xu Jing, a man named Liu Yi was appointed as Grand Administrator of Runan and hired Xu Jing as a member of his staff. Liu Yi was very impressed by Xu Jing and subsequently nominated him as Filial and Incorrupt [xiaolian] and sent him to the capital.[1]

While in the capital, Xu Jing was appointed as a Master of Writing [shangshu], a member of the Imperial Secretariat.[2] When Dong Zhuo took control of the government in 189, some officials recommended that Dong Zhuo seek out famous scholars and appoint them to vacant offices. This proposal was led two officials named Zhou Bi and Wu Qiong. Dong Zhuo accepted this advice and ordered Zhou Bi, Wu Qiong, Zheng Tai, and He Rong to seek out talented people to fill offices.[3] Xu Jing was also among the officers commissioned for this duty. [4]

This group recommended many people to hold commandery and provincial offices. Han Fu was made Governor [mu] of Ji province while Liu Dai and Kong Zhou were made the Inspectors [cishi] of Yan and Yu provinces. Zhang Miao and Zhang Zi were made Grand Administrators [taishou] of Chenliu and Nanyang.[5] They were also responsible for securing senior appointments to the scholars Chen Ji, Xun Shuang, and Han Rong. [6]

To the detriment of Xu Jing and the others (or, perhaps, according to their plans), many of the officials they appointed to commandary and provincial offices revolted against Dong Zhuo, including Han Fu, Liu Dai, Kong Zhou, and Zhang Miao.[7] Because of this, Dong Zhuo arrested and executed Zhou Bi and Wu Qiong in April of 290.[8] Fearing for his own life, Xu Jing fled from the capital and took refuge with Kong Zhou, who he had helped recommend as Inspector of Yu. However, Kong Zhou passed away shortly after Xu Jing’s arrival..[9]

Following Kong Zhou’s death, Xu Jing fled to Yang province, where he sought the protection of the Inspector, Chen Wen. Xu Jing lived there in peace until 193, when Chen Wen died suddenly[10], possibly due to the machinations of Yuan Shu. [11] Xu Jing fled further south, crossing the Yangzi/Changjiang river. At that time, Xu Gong controlled Wu commandery and Wang Lang ruled Kuaiji. Both of these men were friends of Xu Jing, so he was able to settle in peace in southern Yang. There, he established a camp for refugees who had been similarly displaced and was noted for the kind and generous way he treated them. [12]

However, Yang province did not remain a peaceful place. In 195, Xu Gong was driven out of Wu by agents of Sun Ce.[13] In 196, Sun Ce attacked Wang Lang and took control of Kuaiji.[14] Xu Jing fled from the turmoil in Yang along with the refugees for whom he had been caring. They boarded a ship and fled south, to the Jiao territory. During this time, Xu Jing again gained praise for the love and care he showed the refugees and was highly praised for the fact that he refused to board the ship until all of the other refugees had entered. [15]

In Jiao, Xu Jing was warmly received by Shi Xie, the dominant warlord in the region. Xu Jing and his followers were left to their own devices and Xu Jing received more refugees. He became famous throughout Jiao for the way he conducted himself and the generosity he showed to those in distress. [16]

He was also well respected for his contributions to the philosophical discussions of the times. [17] Word of Xu Jing’s quality spread even to the north and during this time, he received a letter from Cao Cao inviting him to take up office in the central government. Xu Jing wrote and eloquent and courteous letter declining the appointment on the grounds that the capital was very far from Jiao and the journey was very dangerous. Xu Jing simply feared that he would never make it to the capital alive.[18]

Xu Jing lived in Jiao for a little over 10 years. In 208, he received an invitation from Liu Zhang, Governor [mu] of Yi, inviting him to take up office there. Xu Jing accepted this invitation and served as the Grand Administrator [taishou] of Ba commandery. He was later transferred to Guanghan. In 211, Xu Jing was transferred yet again and made Grand Administrator of Shu,[19] which was the capital commandery of Liu Zhang’s domain.[20]

Also in 211, Liu Zhang invited the warlord Liu Bei to enter Yi to help him defend it against potential invasion by Cao Cao and/or Zhang Lu.[21] Liu Bei was stationed in the north of the province, at Jiameng. In 212, he betrayed Liu Zhang and began a military campaign to seize control of the province.[22] Many generals defected to Liu Bei’s army and by 214, Liu Zhang’s capital of Chengdu was under siege. Xu Jing intended to climb over the walls and surrender to Liu Bei but his plans were discovered by Liu Zhang. [23] However, Liu Zhang was contemplating surrender himself and decided that there was no point in punishing Xu Jing.[24]

Liu Bei was initially disdainful of Xu Jing and did not intend to employ him. However, his officer Fa Zheng convinced him to show courtesy to Xu Jing. He remarked that Xu Jing’s reputation was widely known and that if Liu Bei disregarded him, people would be upset and confused. As such, it was best to give Xu Jing a good position even if he was not worthy of it. Liu Bei was persuaded by Fa Zheng’s words.[25] Xu Jing was subsequently made Chief Clerk [changshi] to the General of the Left [zuo jiangjun] (that is, Liu Bei).[26] A Chief Clerk was the leading administrative general of a general’s staff.[27] As such, this was a prestigious appointment for Xu Jing, ranking him as one of Liu Bei’s most trusted aides.

In 219, Liu Bei took control of Hanzhong commandery. By that time, Cao Cao had been named King [wang] of Wei and in an effort to keep up, Liu Bei wanted to declare himself as King of Hanzhong. Xu Jing was among the officials who signed the memorial declaring Liu Bei’s self-granted enfeoffment. Liu Bei issued numerous promotions among his army and gave Xu Jing the extremely prestigious position of Grand Tutor [taifu] to the King of Hanzhong.[28] Though highly regarded, the position of Grand Tutor came with little substantial authority[29] and this appointment appears to have been consistent with Fa Zheng’s advice to reward Xu Jing without giving him much responsibility.

Cao Cao passed away in 220 and later that year, his son Cao Pi received the abdication of the Han emperor and founded the Wei dynasty. In response, Xu Jing was one of many officials to urge Liu Bei to declare himself emperor as well. Liu Bei happily did so and made Xu Jing Minister Over the Masses [situ].[30] Although this was technically a demotion from Grand Tutor, this invested Xu Jing with a great deal of substantial authority. He was second in rank only to the newly appointed Chancellor [chengxiang], Zhuge Liang. In spite of being senior to him in rank, Zhuge Liang always treated Xu Jing with respect and courtesy.[31] Though Xu Jing was frequently in contact with many scholars who served as leading members of the Wei Court, it appears that his loyalty was never in question. [32]

Xu Jing passed away the next year (222) at over 70 years old. [33]

Xu Jing was rightly praised in his early days for giving perceptive and unbiased criticism. He was always very generous and kindly to refugees, even going so far as to put their safety above his own. He displayed questionable loyalty to Liu Zhang, but his loyalty to Shu was never in question, even though he frequently contacted the leading ministers of an enemy state. Although his abilities were criticized by Fa Zheng and Liu Bei, Xu Jing was eventually trusted as one of the highest ministers of the state, second only to Zhuge Liang. He was a leading figure in the foundation of Shu and should be remembered for his great kindness and generosity as well as his perseverance in the face of adversity.

Notes
[1] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906; most officials who held important offices were required to have been nominated as Filial and Incorrupt [xiaolian] and to have served a term in the capital as a Gentleman Cadet [lang]. Thus, this nomination was important if Xu Jing was to hold high office.
[2] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906
[3] Zhongping 6, II
[4] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906
[5] Zhongping 6, MM
[6] Zhongping 6, II
[7] Chuping 1, A
[8] Chuping 1, G
[9] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906
[10] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906
[11] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 78
[12] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906
[13] Xingping 2, QQ
[14] Jian’an 1, S
[15] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906
[16] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906
[17] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 907
[18] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906
[19] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906
[20] de Crespigny’s note 26 of Jian’an 19
[21] Jian’an 16, K
[22] Jian’an 17, O
[23] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906
[24] de Crespigny’s note 40 of Jian’an 19
[25] Jian’an 19, N
[26] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 906-907
[27] de Crespigny, “Later Han Military Organisation”
[28] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 907
[29] de Crespigny, “Later Han Civil Administration”
[30] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 907
[31] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 907
[32] Huangchu 2, 6
[33] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 907
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Re: Xu Jing Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

Unread postby Xu Yuan » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:57 am

Wow, I never knew that Xu Jing of all people lived such an interesting and adventure-filled life! Great biography for a great man.
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Re: Xu Jing Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

Unread postby capnnerefir » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:59 am

I never thought much of him before this. All I knew was that he held high office in Shu and that Fa Zheng and Liu Bei didn't think much of him. I suspected that there might be more to him when I saw how long his SGZ was and was pleasantly surprised to learn about the exciting life of adventure he had. Even if his scholarly work isn't necessarily up to snuff, the dude must have had some stories to tell.
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