The word “Hotei” means “cloth-sack”. Often pronounced as “Budai” or “Pu-Tai” , is a Chinese Folklore deity. In sixteenth Century Japan, Hotei was a large man with big belly who travelled from village to village. He always carried a sack full of candy, fruits and food, and offer these to the children gathered around him.
This everyday habit of Hotei made everyone happy and he himself laughed a lot.
It was more of escapade for him. Later on they termed him as “Hotei Buddha”.
In the west, Hotei is known as “Fat Buddha “or simply “Laughing Buddha “. Japanese legends depict Hotei as a Japanese God of Luck or a Zen monk , the God of generosity and cheerfulness. It is one of the Japan’s Seven Lucky Gods.
Hotei is usually identified with or seen as “Maitreya”-the future Buddha.
Hotei Buddha – Physical Representation
Traditionally, it is depicted as a fat, bald man with a big Laugh on his face wearing a robe, carrying a sack and prayer beads. Often has “bulging ears” and fan in his hands.
Hotei Buddha – Symbolism
He is one among the Seven Japanese Gods of Good Fortune .He is called the God of abundance and good health.
In various folklore, Hotei is admired for his jovial attitude, abundance and wisdom of contentment.
It is believed that rubbing his belly brings wealth, goodluck and prosperity.
Many traditions relate him as the incarnation of the Bodhisattva (The future Buddha) or Maitreya( Miroka In japanese).
The laughing Buddha is the God of contentment and happiness, guardian of the children and patron of bartenders.
Where to place Hotei Buddha in House?
Placing a metallic laughing or Hotei Buddha near the front door of the house is a good idea, so you can see it as you come home.
As laughing Buddha is the patron of children, it is good to place a small laughing Buddha in children’s room.