Laughing Buddha statuette: 3"
At Tibet Spirit Store, owned and operated by Tibetans helping Tibet families.
Reason Laughing Buddha? They represent the later Buddhist notions that the good life was indeed attainable in this world. It consisted of self-mastery, a happy demeanor, purposeful endeavor, a deep commitment to the welfare of others and enlightened awareness.
Scholars believe that the Laughing Buddha is in fact modeled on an historical figure, a fat wandering Zen monk named Pu-tai.
All sources describe him as obese, with wrinkled forehead, and a white protruding belly which he left uncovered. There was another feature of his bodily appearance that captured attention.
Wherever he went, he wore a pu-tai (Japanese Hotei) or cloth-bag. Thus he came to be known as Pu-tai Hoshang or hemp-bag monk.
Legend has it that in this bag he carried candy for the children. Over the centuries within China, Buddhist notions of happiness based on self-mastery and enlightened insight were fused with popular Chinese life-ideals of happiness through material prosperity, thus today the hemp sack may be interpreted as filled with gold, filled with happiness, health, and other aspects of abundance.