Eat, drink and be merry, for laughter gives your body a workout, provides perspective to the mind, and gladdens your heart. It can even edge you towards enlightenment. It's time to get serious about fun
Legend of the Laughing BuddhaA funny thing happened to the Buddha on his way to the Far East.
His slender and beautiful physique became small and pudgy, and his serene, dignified face grew a laugh!
The Laughing Buddha is symbolic of the way Buddhism was interpreted in China and Japan.
The Buddha‘s original teaching was one-pointed and austere—escape the cycle of birth and death by overcoming suffering.
Life, for the Buddha, was not an end in itself, but as a means to achieve Nirvana, a permanent salvation from embodiment.
On its way to China, the Buddha‘s teaching became fused with the popular Chinese ideal of happiness through material prosperity.
Ergo, the Laughing Buddha, embodying the ideals of the good life: health, happiness, prosperity and longevity.
The Laughing Buddha (Pu-Tai) made his appearance in the 10th century, cherubic of appearance, clutching his prayer beads in one hand and a bag of gold in the other and surrounded by children, symbolizing the Chinese veneration of large families.
Some say he was modeled on a historic character, a stout Zen monk who carried a cloth bag with him wherever he went, earning the soubriquet Pu Tai Hoshang (hemp-bag monk).
This monk is said to have been an incarnation of the future Buddha, Maitreya and is chiefly memorable for his uncanny accuracy in predicting the weather.
Whenever the monk wore wet-weather sandals, citizens knew they should expect rain, and when he was spotted in wooden sandals or sleeping on the town bridge in a squatting position, warm weather was expected.
Today, the Laughing Buddha is a symbol of auspiciousness, of luck and prosperity. In Japan, he is known as Hotei, one of the seven gods of good luck.
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