Many Americans mistakenly identify the Budai as that of the Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. The Budai is often depicted holding a cloth sack and is commonly referred to as the laughing Buddha or the fat & happy Buddha. It is believed that the Budai is an incarnation of Maitreya or the future Buddha form that will succeed the historic Gautama Buddha by appearing on earth someday in the future at a time when Dharma will have been forgotten, in order to re-teach the pure dharma. He is said to appear on earth one day and achieve complete enlightenment, just as the historic Gautama, teaching the world his wisdom.
In Buddhist folk traditions it is said that the Budai is a man of good and loving character and is admired for his genuine happiness, plentitude, and contentment. A popular belief is that rubbing his belly will bring about good luck, wealth, and overall prosperity. Incorporate a Fat & Happy Buddha Statue from Lotus Sculpture into your life and rub his belly for good luck and happiness!