Laughing Buddha

Symbol of Righteous Living


Let us not distort the real meaning of the ‘Laughing Buddha’. This is an ancient symbol of righteous living.

Some people relate the laughing Buddha idol with the divine incarnation of Gautama Buddha. In actual fact ‘Buddha hood’ is a state of perfection to which each one of us can rise through self-realization. Buddha means “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.

The Laughing Buddha idol or statute has nothing to do specifically with Gautama Buddha. It only conveys the truth that a jolly righteous living person is on the right path to Buddhahood. –

The laughing Buddha statue in China is known by the names Budai and Pu-Tai and in Japan as Hotai or Hotei.

Symbol of Righteous Living

So it is clear that the Laughing Buddha statue does not portray the divine incarnation Gautama Buddha. In fact Buddhahood is a state of perfection to which anyone can reach after self-realization. There are thousand Buddha’s; meaning that one can reach the state of Buddhahood through different paths of life

The figure is also believed to be of a wandering Chinese monk of Liang Dynasty dating back to 907 to 923 AD and since incorporated in Buddhist, Taoist and Shinto traditions.

The laughing figure portrays a carefree person who is happy and contented and lives a peaceful and good life.

For all those aspiring for Buddhahood, this type of Idol portraying a care free, righteous living jolly person carries the original meaning and should be placed on an altar for meditating by sitting facing this idol.


Significance in FengShui

The Laughing Buddha is one of the most popular symbols used by FengShui Consultants for enhancing the good luck and wealth. Laughing Buddha is also known as Happy Buddha.

As per FengShui it brings happiness and prosperity. As a mark of respect always place the statue on an elevated platform and never on ground.

This Buddha is regarded as one of the gods of wealth and keeping this symbol at home is said to bring prosperity, happiness and success. Keeping this figurine at the place of business is said to enhance business, money and luck.

It is believed by followers of FengShui that Laughing Buddha absorbs negative Chi and radiates positive energies. This is a very auspicious symbol and can be seen gracing many homes, temples, restaurants and dash boards of vehicles. Also it is an excellent gift item for a loved one.

Some believe that by rubbing the large belly of this statue one gets good luck.

Some believe that Hotei was an enlightened ancient sage who after getting enlightenment started laughing. People used to gather around him to see him laugh on his own and they would also laugh and become tranquil. So laughing became His way of preaching to people.

People also believe that his big belly contains the sufferings of all humanity.

So its original meaning has been distorted and different variations of the idol seem to relate it to wealth and prosperity instead of righteous living. Some such distorted idols are shown below:

Buddha-seatedLaughing Buddha seated on a heap of coins.

money-bagBuddha with a money bag and a gold ingot

Buddha sitting on a large gold nugget with a smaller nugget in his handBuddha-sitting

Buddha carrying a bag of gold on his shoulder Buddha-carrying

Article by: Jyotirvid Pawan Kumar