Your cart is currently empty.

The Origins of Budai: Commonly Confused with Gautama Buddha

16″ Fat Buddha with Gold Bag on a Stick by Lotus Sculpture $165

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!

The Laughing Buddha, Feng Shui Symbol

Fat and Happy Buddha of Wealth
Fat and Happy Buddha of Wealth hand carved in Vietnam, 3 feet tall

The origins of feng shui, a Chinese art of aesthetics, based on astronomy to help improve life by conjuring positive energy, dates back around three thousand years ago. The techniques of this ancient practice have evolved since the invention of the magnetic compass, but the goal of enhancing the human built environment with good qi (chee) remains the same. Qi is referred to as energy– a movable positive or negative life force. The basic principle of feng shui being, “positive energy attracts positive energy”.

The use of symbols play an important role as feng shui cures. Symbols are used for various purposes and help shift the surrounding energy. One of the most popular feng shui cures is a symbol that represents good luck, abundance, happiness, health and success – the Laughing Buddha. He is also known as Fat & Happy Buddha or Budai (Chinese) or Hotai (Japanese), based on an historical figure of an obese Zen monk, who wandered in the 10th century China. People believed that he was the incarnation of the Maitreya Buddha.

“positive energy attracts positive energy”

A Laughing Buddha statue is considered to bring auspicious energy and joyful blessings. His enormous belly signifies abundance – not of material wealth, but good fortune and health. This statue can come in a variety of sizes, postures, materials and colors. It is an individual choice on which statue helps to attract the feng shui energy one desires. A popular location for a Laughing Buddha statue is displayed off the floor near the main entry area of the home. Since he is also considered the patron of children; a statue could be perfect for a child’s room. The Buddha pose most ideal for wealth and prosperity is one that carries a pot of gold, ingots or sack filled with treasure.

Wherever he is lovingly displayed, remember to rub the belly for good luck!

Fat and Happy Buddha of Wealth
Standing Fat & Happy Buddha of wealth, Hotai Buddha 6 feet tall
Search Lotus Sculpture

Same day shipping on most statues directly from our California gallery has a Shopper Approved rating of 4.8 / 5 based on 389 ratings and reviews