Fu Jia Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

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Fu Jia Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

Unread postby capnnerefir » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:30 pm

I've had this one gathering dust so long I forgot I never uploaded it.


Fu Jia (Lanshi) (a.k.a. Fu Gu)
Highest Title:
Supervisor of the Masters of Writing

Fu Jia was born in Niyang county of Beidi commandery, Liang province. He was the nephew of Fu Quan, who served as a Palace Attendant [shizhong] and Master of Writing [shangshu] during the reign of Cao Pi. Fu Jia gained a lofty reputation when he was just 20 years old. The Minister of Works [sikong] Chen Qun, made Fu Jia his Chief Clerk [yuan].[1] He cultivated a prestigious circle of friends, including Zhong Yu, Xun Yi, Xun Can, Jiang Ji, Pei Hui, Chen Tai, and He Zeng.[2]

Fu Jia became well known for his philosophical debates and was particularly influential in the popular debate regarding “capacity and nature” [caixing]. It was generally believed that “nature” was inborn quality determined by one’s “essence” [qi]. The debate was over whether or not one’s “capacity” was also determined by their “essence”. The discussion was a popular topic among the scholars of the time. “Nature” was defined as one’s inner substance while “capacity” was the functional ability and personal conduct. There were four popular positions in this debate: that “nature” and “capacity” were identical, that they were different, that they coincided, and that they diverged. Fu Jia advocated that “nature” and “capacity” were determined by one’s “essence”; people are born talented and good or they are not. He believed that people could only act according to their inner nature. The Western Jin philosopher Yuan Zhun compared Fu Jia’s explanation of caixing to a piece of wood. A piece of wood grows either crooked or straight by nature, and the way it has grown determines how it can be used.[3] Another scholar named Li Feng was the main critic of Fu Jia’s position, though mostly this was due to the fact that they disagreed of the definitions of “nature” and “capacity”.[4]

In 237, Emperor Cao Rui of Wei had one of his attendants, Liu Shao, rewrite the regulations for examining officials. He then submitted these to his officials for discussion.[5] Fu Jia criticized Liu Shao’s regulations as being outdated and unsuited to the present situation of the empire. They were based on the regulations of the Zhou dynasty, which existed under very different circumstances. As such, Fu Jia believed that adopting their regulations would only impair the way that Wei’s government and military operated by forcing them to adhere to an outdated model. Ultimately, Fu Jia proved to be in line with the majority opinion and Cao Rui did not adopt Liu Shao’s proposal.[6]

By 239, Fu Jia was made a Gentleman Master of Writing [shangshu lang][7] and then promoted to be Gentleman in Attendance at the Yellow Gates [huangmen shilang].[8] Following the death of Cao Rui in 239, Emperor Cao Fang came to the throne at the age of 7. The true power in the court fell into the hands of Sima Yi and Cao Shuang.[9] Cao Shuang brought many of his close friends into positions of power, including the eminent scholar He Yan, who was the stepson of Cao Cao.[10] He Yan encouraged Cao Shuang to monopolize power[11] so Cao Shuang richly rewarded and promoted his siblings.[12] He Yan and his followers were appointed to some of the most important positions in the government, supplanting officials who had held those positions and served them well for many years.[13] He Yan and the others abused their power, promoting those who agreed with them and demoting or dismissing their detractors.[14]

Though they attempted to court his friendship, Fu Jia was one of a very few people to speak out against He Yan’s faction. He criticized He Yan as lacking in sincerity and went so far as to say that he would bring about the downfall of Wei. Fu Jia also sharply criticized He Yan’s partisans, Xiahou Xuan and Deng Yang.[15] Fu Jia spoke to Cao Xi[16] and warned him that He Yan would bring the state to ruin. He Yan learned about this and had Fu Jia dismissed from office over a petty matter.[17] He Yan’s faction initially intended to execute Fu Jia, but his life was spared due to the intervention of his friend Xun Yi.[18] From then on, Fu Jia was a stalwart partisan of the Sima family.[19] Sima Yi subsequently employed Fu Jia as a Gentleman Palace Attendant (Shizhong Lang).[20]

In 249, Cao Shuang, He Yan, Cao Xi, and many others were accused of conspiring against Emperor Cao Fang and executed.[21] After this, Fu Jia was appointed as Intendant of Henan, and later transferred to be Master of Writing [shangshu].[22]

Sima Yi passed away in 251 and his power was transferred to his son, Sima Shi.[23] In 252, Sima Shi consulted with Fu Jia about plans to invade the rebel state of Wu. Fu Jia argued against the aggressive policies of other generals who were advocating an invasion of Wu. Instead, Fu Jia advised him to adopt a policy of gradual expansion by building extensive agricultural colonies. Essentially, Sima Shi’s skilled generals would be sent ahead to act as a screen between the Wu army and the agricultural colonies so that they would not be attacked. These colonies would feed the army so that supplies did not need to be transported across great distances. This combined force would slowly push into Wu territory and would thus be able to react quickly to any opportunities presented for attack. Though Fu Jia presented his ideas eloquently, Sima Shi considered this plan to be unfeasible and did not adopt Fu Jia’s suggestions.[24]

In 254, Li Feng (Fu Jia’s old rival) conspired with Xiahou Xuan[25] and others to assassinate Sima Shi, though circumstances worked against them.[26] Sima Shi suspected that there was a plot against him, so he interrogated Li Feng, who confessed all.[27] Li Feng, Xiahou Xuan, and the other conspirators were killed along with their families.[28] In the past, Fu Jia had criticized Li Feng years earlier as a petty fraud who would bring about his own death.[29]

The general Guanqiu Jian rebelled against Sima Shi in 255.[30] Sima Shi had recently had surgery to remove a tumor from his eye and some thought that he should remain behind and send his uncle, Sima Fu, to suppress the rebellion. Fu Jia was one of the few who urged Sima Shi to lead the army personally.[31] Fu Jia believed that it would be a difficult fight and that only Sima Shi was capable enough to win without any serious disaster befalling the army. Sima Shi was persuaded by Fu Jia’s reasoning and personally went to suppress Guanqiu Jian.[32] Fu Jia was made Acting Supervisor of the Masters of Writing [shangshu puyi]. He served as one of Sima Shi’s advisers during the campaign and contributed greatly to Sima Shi’s subsequent success.[33]

Sima Shi had the army occupy key positions while he waited for internal conflicts within Guanqiu Jian’s army to destroy the rebel force.[34] True to Sima Shi’s predictions, Guanqiu Jian’s soldiers defected in mass amounts.[35] Sima Shi then broke the spine of Guanqiu Jian’s army in a single battle[36] so Guanqiu Jian fled[37] and was killed while in hiding.[38]
Illness took Sima Shi at the end of the campaign.[39] He ordered his brother, Sima Zhao, to take command of the armies still in the field and subsequently passed away.[40] As soon as Sima Shi fell ill, Fu Jia returned to the capital. The emperor sent an edict ordering Fu Jia to take command of the various armies and see them home; he also sent an edict ordering Sima Zhao to station himself at Xuchang. However, Fu Jia conspired with Sima Zhao and his adviser Zhong Hui. Together, they decided that Sima Zhao should lead the army into the capital instead.[41]

Fu Jia was not fond of Zhong Hui’s arrogant attitude. At one time, he warned Zhong Hui that he was not as talented as he believed himself to be and that he should learn to be more cautious.[42]

Fu Jia passed away in 255, shortly after Sima Zhao’s power was secured.[43]
[1] Fang’s note 32 of Jingchu 1
[2] Shen, Vincent and Willard Oxtoby, “Wisdom in China and the West”, page 168; Zhong Yu was the son of Cao Rui’s Grand Tutor [taifu] Zhong Yao, Xun Yi and Xun Can were the sons of the great minister Xun Yu, Jiang Ji had been a respected adviser to Cao Cao, Cao Pi, and Cao Rui, Chen Tai was the son of Minister of Works [sikong] Chen Qun, and He Zeng would later serve as Minister over the Masses [situ], Grand Commandant [taiwei], Grand Guardian [taibao], Grand Tutor [taifu], and Grand Governor [taizi]. Fu Jia kept extremely prestigious company.
[3] Chan, Neo-Taoism
[4] Shen, Vincent and Willard Oxtoby, “Wisdom in China and the West”, page 151
[5] Jingchu 1, 30
[6] Jingchu 1, 32
[7] The Masters of Writing [shangshu] were special advisers and secretaries to the emperor who oversaw all of the memorials and edicts to and from the throne.
[8] Fang’s note 14 of Jingchu 3; a Gentleman in Attendance at the Yellow Gates [huangmen shilang] was one of the few regular officials who could enter and exit the palace at will. He was a special adviser to the emperor.
[9] Jingchu 3, 5
[10] Jingchu 3, 7
[11] Jingchu 3, 8
[12] Jingchu 3, 10
[13] Jingchu 3, 12
[14] Jingchu 3, 13
[15] Zhengyuan 1, 13
[16] Cao Xi was the brother of Cao Shuang; he frequently argued against his brother’s actions and tried to prevent abuses of power, though he was never heeded.
[17] Jingchu 3, 14
[18] Shen, Vincent and Willard Oxtoby, “Wisdom in China and the West”, page 145
[19] Shen, Vincent and Willard Oxtoby, “Wisdom in China and the West”, page 164
[20] Fu Jia’s SGZ
[21] Jiaping 1, 11
[22] Fu Jia’s SGZ
[23] Jiaping 3, 17
[24] Jiaping 4, 14
[25] Xiahou Xuan had been a member of He Yan’s party and had been personally criticized by Fu Jia shortly before he was dismissed from office in 239 or 240.
[26] Fang’s note 5 of Zhengyuan 1, drawing from the sanguozhi.
[27] Zhengyuan 1, 1
[28] Zhengyuan 1, 8; there are versions of the Li Feng incident that give more detail, mostly from from the Chronicles of Han and Jin [han jin chunqiu] and the History of Wei [weilue], both of which are prone to exaggeration and embellishment. As such, I have presented only the most basic version of events, using passages derived from the far more reliable sanguozhi. Passages 1 – 12 of Zhengyuan tell the story with all embellishments attached.
[29] Zhengyuan 1, 14
[30] Zhengyuan 2, 1
[31] Zhengyuan 2, 5
[32] Zhengyuan 2, 6
[33] Fang’s note 32 of Zhengyuan 2
[34] Zhengyuan 2, 14
[35] Zhengyuan 2, 15
[36] Zhengyuan 2, 16
[37] Zhengyuan 2, 22
[38] Zhengyuan 2, 24
[39] Zhengyuan 2, 28
[40] Zhengyuan 2, 29
[41] Zhengyuan 2, 30; the edict ordering Sima Zhao to remain in Xuchang appears to have been an attempt by some faction within the court to halt Sima Zhao’s likely rise to power. Sima Zhao’s response – leading the entire army to Luoyang – made it impossible for the court not to grant him the authority he no doubt saw as his birthright.
[42] Zhengyuan 2, 32
[43] Chan, Neo-Taoism gives Fu Jia’s lifespan as 209-255.
*The article referenced as Chang, Neo-Taoism is “Neo-Taoism” by Alan Chang, published by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, October 1, 2009
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