The Laughing Buddha as Hotei in Japan or Pu-Tai in China

Gautam Buddha is a name from history , one who brought buddhism, also we all know the laughing Buddha, he is some one who finds a place in our daily life from bedrooms to our workplace , no doubt we all know both them, the question is has anyone ever asked are they same ? Well if you treat them like god they all are one like all gods. Yes they are different , I am poor student of history but I can bet that I never saw Gautam Buddha laughing or having such a pot belly.

The Laughing Buddha (also known as Hotei in Japan or Pu-Tai in China) is thought to be based on an actual wandering Chinese monk who lived at the time of the Liang Dynasty (907-923 AD). He is incorporated in Buddhist, Taoist and Shinto traditions. He is not the same as Gautama Buddha, the main Buddha associated with founding Buddhism. But there does appear to be a link as some strings of Buddhism do regard the Laughing Buddha as an earlier incarnation of the Maitreya Buddha (or future Buddha) who is predicted to succeed the Guatam Buddha, and this is partly because of the words attributed to him before his death:

“Maitreya, the true Maitreya has billions of incarnations.

Often he is shown to people at the time; other times they do not recognize him.”

There are many myths as to why this incarnation of Buddha laughs some of them are interesting while some are just non-sense , here are they :

* Actually Hotei was an enlightened master. He started laughing immediately after his enlightenment. And laughing was a way of his preaching enlightenment. People, disciple will gather around him, and seeing him laugh they too would catch the laughter. Some serenity and joy would descend.
* The big belly that He has contains the sufferings of all the living beings . He is not a fat man . The laughing style of Him is a gesture of Happiness from the deep down of his heart . This noble being is a Boddhisatva and the thus come one Buddha . The word Maitreya means loving kindness ( Metta in Pali language ) . So , we can see from the statue carved , the image represents a very kind and jolly person .

There are many more but they all are just funny part of it, now comes the point what is the use of this laughing buddha in our house, the Laughing Buddha is a symbol of happiness and prosperity. In Feng Shui , he is the symbol for wealth. Legend says that rubbing his stomach — which contains wealth, luck, good fortune and joy — will be ours. Laughing Buddha statues are popular as house warming gifts and good luck charms. It is commonly held that statues of the Laughing Buddha must not be placed on the floor, they must be positioned on an elevated surface, as a sign of respect.

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