The Laughing Buddha is an Eastern Symbol of Prosperity

The Buddha most often referred to as “happy Buddha” or “laughing Buddha” is really a Chinese Zen monk who lived approximately 1000 years ago who has become a significant part of Buddhist lore. This celestial Buddha’s name was actually Hotei or Ho Tai.
hppy buddha statuesHe was known for his generosity and came to be seen as an incarnation of the bodhisattva, an enlightened being who has achieved Buddhahood. It’s believed he is a Maitreya or future Buddha who will someday return to Earth. His ample midsection and pleasant smile have given him the common name “laughing Buddha.”Laughing Buddha statuesare often seen in restaurants temples and businesses because he is the deity of contentment and prosperity.
You almost always see Ho Tai carrying a linen sack, always full with candy for children rice plants which symbolize wealth food or the suffering of the world. Much like Catholicism’s St. Nicholas, Ho Tai is the patron saint of children and the weak and the downtrodden.
A laughing Buddha statue portrays a stout, chubby bald man whose generous potbelly stomach can be seen through his loose robes. While Ho Tai could definitely benefit from a few stomach crunches, his ample belly is symbolic of good fortune and plenitude. Along with his chubby belly and happy grin the laughing Buddha nearly always carries a gnarled walking stick in one hand and his ever present sack in the other.The laughing Buddha is most often depicted in statuary in either a sitting, standing or in a reclining position. The reclining position most likely was born from the “sleeping Buddha position,” which depicted the Buddha’s last moments on earth before he ascended to Nirvana.
Most often the laughing Buddha statue is displayed in the home as a symbol and talisman of good fortune and prosperity. Many happy Buddha statues show the jolly patron holding gold ingots in his hands were sitting atop a mountain of gold coins. It’s also not unusual to see the Buddha sitting atop a Dragon throne.
The Dragon is a symbol of security and power in Asian cultures.Other accoutrements often seen in sculptures and statues of the happy Buddha include a rosary necklace symbolic of prayer, a begging bowl associated with the laughing Buddha’s lack of worldly possessions or an oogi. The oogi is a Chinese “wish giving” fan used in the past by Chinese aristocracy has an affectation to demonstrate that their wishes would be granted.In western culture, the laughing Buddha is often referred to as the “fat Buddha.” As a jolly fat man who frequently distributes candies and presents to children, Ho Tai most closely resembles what Westerners think of as Santa Claus. However, his tidings of good fortune can be enjoyed year round.It’s believed that if you rub the belly of a laughing Buddha you are sure to enjoy good luck, prosperity and wealth. Ho Tai is also considered the patron of bartenders and restaurant owners and is frequently seen displayed prominently in Asian restaurants. Overindulgence in food and drink are often credited to the influence of the laughing Buddha.


happy buddha sculpture

Buddha statue brings both beauty and meaning to the home. From the protection of a Dispelling Fear Buddha statue to the prosperity of a Laughing Buddha statue the moods and meanings are vast.