Is the statue pictured above the Buddha?
Oddly enough, the most common misconception about Buddhism is that this fat guy is Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha.
He’s really not. But I do like him.
This is Hotei.
He is a Bodhisattva that represents contentment. He’s usually depicted as an overweight bald man with a mala carrying a cloth sack, and he’s always smiling. He is especially beloved in China and East Asia and he is sometimes referred to as the “Laughing Buddha.”
So, if Hotei’s not the Buddha, why is he important? Why do we have statues of him?
Hotei has an important role. He reminds us to face our problems with a good attitude. I have a Hotei statue on my desk at work. Why? To remind me to be in a good mood at work. I can look at him when I feel my mood starting to go downhill and I’ll feel a little better.
Hotei is an example for us to look up to.
We should strive to be content. This is the doctrine of equanimity. When life gets hard, we shouldn’t be pulled down by it, if we can help it. If we face our problems with a defiant smile, life is easier to handle.
Like all Bodhisattvas, his purpose is to show us an example to follow.
Like elephant journal on Facebook.
Ed: Cat Beekmans
hot on elephant
Elephant Journal’s Holiday Gift Guide 636 shares A letter to the Anger that refuses to Leave Me. 631 shares Waylon’s favorite Ethical Gifts. 13 shares Learn Social Media, Writing, Editing & Journalism Ethics with elephantjournal.com. 6 shares Dear Pretty Young Woman Flirting with my Husband. 3,501 shares The Real Reason so many Long-term Relationships Fail Sexually. 1,109 share Year of the Fire Rooster 2017: What to Expect. 1,042 share Why a Year of No Dating was the Best Thing I ever did for Myself. 8,446 shares The Astrology of 2017: Letting Go & Shining your Light. 933 shares These Tweets (and Retweets) actually Happened. 1,392 share