Monday, March 22, 2010

Hotei , the Laughing Buddha


Hotei. Male. The god of contentment and happiness, Hotei has a cheerful face and a big belly. He is supposedly based on an actual person, and is widely recognized outside of Japan. He carries a large cloth bag over his back, one that never empties, for he uses it to feed the poor and needy. Indeed, the Japanese spelling of "Ho Tei" literally means "cloth bag." He also holds a Chinese 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). Hotei is most likely based on the itinerant 10th-century Chinese Buddhist monk and hermit Budaishi (d. 917), who is said to be an incarnation of Miroku Bodhisattva (Maitreya in Sanskrit).

Hotei is sometimes shown surrounded by a group of small children, romping and squealing in delight around his rotund shape. For many more details on Hotei, click here for story by Jennifer Polden.

In recent times, Hotei is also referred to as the patron saint of restaurateurs and bartenders. When one over eats and over drinks, one may sometimes jokingly attribute it to Hotei's influence.

ASSOCIATIONS
Small human children near his feet

Daikoku at left, Ebisu in middle, Hotei at right; Meiji Period Bizen Ceramic

7 comments:

  1. 以簡單的行為愉悅他人的心靈,勝過千人低頭禱告........................................

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  2. 每個人生命中都可能遇到貴人,這些貴人不一定真的尊貴,他可能是陌生人,也可能是你的敵人。..................................................

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