The Laughing Buddha

Posted On : February 22nd, 2012 by admin

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If you are looking for a single statue that symbolizes good luck and happiness then the laughing Buddha it should be. The holy and pious Buddha is named Hotei or Pu-Tai and is also called the jolly laughing Buddha statue. The laughing Buddha statues are based on the saint monk called Zen, who lived a thousand years ago. He is worshiped in the Shinto culture. This particular saint was generous and always had an ever ready smile on his face. This saint was the one with a protruding belly and that is exactly how the happy Buddha statue is depicted.

The laughing Buddha is not only a statue but is worshiped in several temples takes a place of pride in restaurants and is worn as a lucky charm. The laughing Buddha statue showcases the forms of abundance and plentitude in one’s life along with contentment.

The Buddhists believe that he is a futuristic monk and will be able to come back to life and the earth some day. The laughing Buddha statues always have a big waistline and a contented smile on their face.

You will find the happy Buddha statue in most places, right from homes, offices, business establishments and even shops. This is so because the laughing Buddha symbolizes the wealth and abundance that come along with being happy and cheerful.

The way the laughing Buddha statue is depicted is always the same way. He is a big man and always has a sack with him, which is filled with candies, rice plants. These substances are symbolic. The laughing Buddha statues have the bag full of sweets to bring a smile on the faces of children and the rice plant depicts good luck and a way to get rid of evil and suffering. The happy Buddha statue is quite similar to Father Christmas of the West.

The laughing Buddha is also shown as an old balding man in a loose white robe. The huge stomach shows good fortune and plentiful of happy tidings. The laughing Buddha statue always in the standing position has a stick in one hand and of course the linen sack over his shoulder.

The laughing Buddha statues are mostly seen in three different positions standing, sitting or reclining. The reclining position could be a depiction of the position that was adopted by the Lord Buddha in his last days before he went ahead to attain Nirvana.

The happy Buddha statue is displayed with great pride in most homes and businesses, and sometimes you will even have the laughing Buddha seated on the Dragon throne. The Dragon throne is quite symbolic as it symbolizes the seat of power and influence in Asian cultures. There are times when you will come across the laughing Buddha statue which has gold nuggets in his arm. The gold stands for the money and wealth that the laughing Buddha statues will fetch owners of the statue.

Some of the happy Buddha statues also have other things on them besides the ones mentioned. These are a rosary to indicate the piousness and prayers undertaken, a begging bowl for the lack of materialistic possessions to lead a frugal life and a Chinese fan to show the forms of Chinese’s aristocrat life. The statue has a way of making people’s wishes come true and that is the reason it has so many followers.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 at 5:22 pm and is filed under Buddha, Buddha Statue, laughing buddha. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “The Laughing Buddha”

  1. Kathryn Vanderveken says:

    This is a lovely site! Do you have info on the other Buddha postures?

  2. admin says:

    Buddha Statues come in a wide variety of different positions/poses, the most common is the Buddha sitting in the Lotus Position. This is the position of meditation and it symbolizes perfect balance of thought and tranquillity. The hand positions are called mudra, the fingers of the right hand is resting on the fingers of the left which lay in the lap of the Buddha. The legs are crossed in what is called the Lotus Position. The left foot is placed on the right thigh and the right foot is placed on the left thigh. Majority of Buddha statues sit on a pedestal in the form of a lotus blossom. The lotus represents the Buddha’s mind. The laughing Buddha statue is a symbol of happiness and contentment. The Laughing Buddha is seen in different postures, each having a different meaning.

    Nearly every Buddha image is made in one of these postures which one can easily be identified by the position of the hands. Each of these positions can be associated with a moment in the Buddha’s life that has an important lesson.

    Dispelling Fear

    The Buddha hand is raised with the palm facing outwards and fingers extended in a universal gesture of protection, benevolence, and peace.
    Teaching The Buddha hand is raised with the palm facing outwards and index finger forming a circle with the thumb.

    Meditation Buddha

    Both the Buddha hands are resting together on the lap. This gesture represents the perfect balance of thought and tranquillity.

    Calling the Earth to Witness Buddha

    With both palms inwards, the right hand of the Buddha touches the ground and “calls the earth to witness” the Buddha’s enlightenment. This gesture represents the unshakable faith and resolution and is the most common posture.

    Protection Buddha

    Signifies courage, offers protection from fear, delusion and anger. Right hand raised, facing outward, left hand resting in lap, Seated with ankles tucked (Double Lotus), or one leg resting on top of the other (Single Lotus)

    Meditation Buddha

    Signifies inner wisdom, emotional balance, and clarity. Both hands resting face up in the lap, one hand on top of the other. Seated with ankles tucked (Double Lotus), or one leg resting on top of the other (Single Lotus) 

    Enlightenment Buddha
    Signifies insight, purity of character, self-mastery. Right hand facing downward with fingers extended toward the ground, palm facing inward. Seated with ankles tucked (Double Lotus) 

    Teaching Buddha
    Signifies wisdom, understanding, and fulfilling destiny. Both hands at chest level, with thumb and index fingers forming a circle, right hand palm in, left hand palm out
    Seated with ankles tucked (Double Lotus) 

    Medicine Buddha
    Signifies healing. Right hand facing downward with fingers extended toward the ground, palm facing outward, a bowl of herbs rests in the left hand upon the lap
    Seated with ankles tucked (Double Lotus) 

    Safe Travels Buddha

    The Safe Travels Buddha is an old-fashioned rendition. He either carries a stick with a bundle tied to the end of it or he has a sack thrown over one shoulder. Both variations include him holding a wealth ball in his other hand.

    Long Life Buddha

    The Long Life Buddha is seated and has a bag of blessings by his side or holds the bag in his lap. In one hand, he cradles a wealth ball raised in front of him and a Ru-Yi pot in his other hand. 

    Spiritual Journey Buddha

    The Spiritual Journey Buddha has quite a few symbols to study. Typically, he carries a gourd of enlightenment suspended from a stick while holding a fan in his other hand. He wears a necklace made of prayer beads. 

    Happy Home Buddha

    The Happy Home Buddha is seated and holds a parasol over his shoulder, protruding behind his back.

    Love Buddha

    Combinations of symbols create a seated Love Buddha holding a wealth ball in one hand with a bag slung over his shoulder. 

    Earth Buddha

    Also known as, Calling Earth to Witness, the Earth Buddha sits on the ground with his right hand extended so his fingers point to the earth beneath him. This statue honours the time when Buddha was repeatedly tempted by the demon, Mara, but resisted and reached enlightenment. 

    Reclining Buddha

    Buddha awaits his transition from this life to death, which he viewed as a mere journey of transition into a different state of being.

    Contemplation Buddha
    Signifies determination and patient understanding. Both arms lie flat against the chest, palms in, with right arm on outside of left arm. Standing with legs together 

    Alms collecting Buddha (Begging Buddha)
    Signifies compassion and caring for all beings. Arms bent at elbows, holding an alms bowl at chest level. Standing with legs together 

    Walking Buddha
    Signifies grace and internal beauty. Right hand raised, facing outward, left hand dangles along left side of body. Standing with right foot forward, as if stepping on to right foot 

    Common Mudras and Related Attitudes 

    Right Hand Raised

    Protection from evil, warding off fear. This is typically in a standing pose, but you can see a seated pose with right hand raised.

    Right Hand Pointing Down Facing Outward

    This is the posture of bestowing a blessing on mankind. If there is a bowl filled with a plant resting in the left hand of the Buddha, then it is a statue of the medicine Buddha. This particular statue is from Tibetan Buddhism, as they believe that the knowledge of medicine was a gift from the Buddha to mankind.

    Right Hand Making a Circle 
    This is the Mudra for perfection, or the argument of perfection, by the Buddha.

    Buddha with a money bag and a gold ingot 
    represents wealth and good fortune. 

    The Standing Happy Buddha 
    brings riches and happiness. 

    Buddha sitting on a large gold nugget with a smaller nugget in his hand ready for giving to others. 
    This position of the Laughing Buddha is symbolic of good luck. 

    Buddha sitting with his fan hat on his head 
    represents enjoyment and good fortune. 

    Buddha holding a gold ingot with his hands upright 
    signifies abundant riches and good luck. 

    Buddha with a fan in one hand and wu lou (bottle gourd) in the other hand 
    brings blessings and good health. The fan wards off misfortune while the wu lou protects from illness. 

    Buddha carrying a bag of gold on his shoulder 
    symbolizes prosperity. 

    Buddha carrying a bag of blessings on his right shoulder and a fan in his left hand
    protects you and keeps you safe during long journeys. 

    Buddha with a travel stick in his hand 
    protects you from harm during journeys. 

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