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Laughing Buddha
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The celestial Buddha named Hotei or Pu-Tai is best known as the jolly Laughing Buddha. In China, he is known as the Loving or Friendly One. He is based on an eccentric Chinese Ch'an (Zen) monk who lived over 1,000 years ago and has become a significant part of Buddhist and Shinto culture.
Because of this monk's benevolent nature, he came to be regarded as an incarnation of the bodhisattva who will be Maitreya (the Future Buddha). His large protruding stomach and jolly smile have given him the common designation "Laughing Buddha."
 
Types of Laughing Buddha Statues
Types of Laughing Buddha Statues
The following is a list of Smiling / Laughing / Happy / Fat Buddha statues.

These Laughing Buddha statues have been attributed to provide their owners with beneficial effects such as happiness,prosperity, contentment and wealth. As such, many people have purchased various forms of these Buddha statues to place in their homes or at their offices and businesses, hoping that they will receive some of these attributes too. 
 
 
 
Objects
Objects
Bowl
The meaning of sculptures depicting Buddha holding a bowl points to an essential part of a monk’s life - it is a begging bowl and represents the idea that monks live off what is given or donated by others. There is also a story associated with Buddha and the begging bowl. It is said that as Buddha came close to reaching enlightenment and young woman gave him a bowl of milk rice, however at this time Buddha was fasting. Realizing that his fasting had weakened his body and he would require more nourishment in order to attain enlightenment he accepted.

Having reached enlightenment he discarded the little remaining contents of the bowl symbolizing his detachment form material possessions. The link between the renunciation of material possessions and reaching enlightenment plays a prominent part in Buddhist philosophy. Budai holds the bowl above his head to receive abundance from the heavens.

Fan
A laughing Hotei Buddha with a fan is a symbol of happiness and joy. Some scenes the Laughing Buddha may be found sitting on a cart drawn by boys, or wielding a fan called an oogi (said to be a “wish giving” fan -in the distant past, this type of fan was used by the aristocracy to indicate to vassals that their requests would be granted). The Wish-Giving Fan symbolizes happiness.
Budai waves the fan to banish troubles.

Sack or bag

Sculptures of Buddha with a sack usually depicts Hotei Buddha. Hotei, meaning ‘cotton sack’ is the representation of the travelling Buddha. It is said that he wanders the world collecting people’s sadness and woes and putting them in his sack. The sack is also said to represent wealth and good fortune.

Beads
The beads, known as a ‘mala,’ represent never-ending meditation practice, even when engaged in worldly activities.

Parasol
The Parasol gives protection by deflecting misfortune.

 
 
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