One specific object that draws my attention most of the time when I visit gift shops is the “Budai” or popularly known as "Laughing Buddha". "Laughing Buddha" – why is it called so? Is it just a show piece ? Does it really bring luck , etc etc. My quest for the answers made me do a search on this topic and I discovered some interesting aspects of the same part of which is being shared here.
Budai is believed to be a Chinese monk who lived some 1000 years ago. The name comes from the bag that he carried (Cloth sack). Since he always has a smiling face, the nickname "Laughing Buddha" was given.
Budai signifies a sense of contentment, a sense of satisfaction, a sense of happiness. Laughing Buddha statues are kept to overcome tribulations, qualms, hassles, strain, antagonism and sorrow.
It is believed that if one makes a wish and rubs the Laughing Buddha’s great belly, the wish is fulfilled. The mere presence of Laughing Buddha in your home or office also brings forth good luck and prosperity.
You might have often noticed various forms of laughing buddha and wondered on the significance. Here are some of the commonly available forms:
- The Buddha and Sack/Bag: 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, safe travel and good fortune. He either carries a stick with a bundle tied to the end of it or he has a sack thrown over one shoulder. Both variations include him holding a wealth ball in his other hand.
- The Buddha and his Mighty Sack: It represents the abundance of wealth and longevity as depicted by the huge sack.
- The Buddha on Coins: Buddha standing or sitting on a pile of coins or his bag is protector of wealth.
- The Buddha surrounded by Children: This one is considered to be the protector of children and is believed to be lucky for those who plan to have children.
- The Buddha and Fan: A laughing Buddha with a fan is a symbol of happiness and joy.
- The Buddha sitting on Dragon Chair: The Laughing Buddha on Dragon Chair for Good Fortune is a must for those wishing for riches and abundance
- The Buddha with Beads: Buddha with beads represents the meditation practice. Some forms include Buddha with beads and folded hands signifying spiritual Journey.
- The Buddha with 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.
Where to Place
In Feng Shui, the reason for buying and placing statues in the home is to correct a certain imbalance in your life. The best position to place would be facing the main door directly. It is commonly held that statues of the Laughing Buddha must not be placed on the floor. They must be positioned on an elevated surface, as a sign of respect. It is not advised to place it in Bedroom or Dining room.
Laughing Buddha statues are popular house warming gifts. They are also used as good luck charms. There are many forms of Laughing Buddha. Some are in standing position and some are in the sitting position. However using any form of Laughing Buddha, may it be having a bag behind him, holding an ingot in his hands or sitting on the bed of the coins and ingots, are all good and therefore advisable.
However, it is also believed that such laughing buddhas have to be “earned” as gifts! Now need to find somebody to gift me these little and cute buddhas !