The laughing Buddha is a reminder of the most important message from the Buddhist philosophy and religion. That to be happy you must have a loving heart.
The laughing Buddha represents a return to a simpler attitude towards the religion of Buddhism. Not too long after the spread of Siddhatha Guatama’s teachings to China it was thought that the religion had become too pious and sanctimonious. The jolly laughing figure represents living more truthfully and in touch with the world, celebrating the extraordinary nature of normal life.
| “we are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves”
Who is the Laughing Buddha?
That famous, euphoric depiction is named the “Budhai” (Known in Japanese as “Ho-tai”). Budhai is based on an 8th century Chinese monk called Quieci; and was proclaimed after his death to be the re-incarnation of Siddhatha Guatama, the founder of Buddhism; and also the incarnation of the Maitreya Boddhisatva or the future prophesied enlightened one. (Don’t worry if all the different Sanskrit names seem overwhelming, the best is yet to come) His obesity served as a disguise, as his real form was thought to be so handsome even a man would not be able to resist. In spite of his obesity and disheveled appearance, he moved gracefully and also spent most of his religious life entertaining children. He is first and foremost a protector and patron of the poor and weak.
| “those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace”
Generosity = Happiness
A loving heart fills humanity and it’s people with warmth. In the same way that a candle shines in the dark even when viewed from far away, a warm heart glows like a beacon for all to see, and is never forgotten. A loving heart allows it’s bearer tolerance and kindness.
Seeing underneath petty differences and minor flaws allows the owner of a warm heart to see the intrinsic good in humanity so that it may be appreciated. A good belly laugh in the Budhai style transcends all boundaries and melts away tension, stress, worry and conflict. Try it yourself. Remember back to when you had a really good belly laugh. Add this tip to your inventory for when times get tough. Have, a really good laugh.
Resent and anger are emotions that tear people apart. Buddhism teaches tolerance and love. If we have both of those, then we truly can smile like Buddha.
| “as a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, a wise man is not ruffled by praise nor blame”
The last lesson, is that you yourself are just as deserving of your own love that everybody in the world. Buddhism teaches this self respect.
The interpretation of whom the laughing Buddha represents is open to debate, and depends largely on whether it is a Chinese, Theraveda or Mahayana Buddhism.