The Budai Buddha

The Budai Buddha

Budai was a Chinese monk who lived in the 900’s. He is also known as the “Laughing Buddha” and is often portrayed in images and figures. In the west, he is often confused with Siddhartha Gautama, the origin of Buddhism. Gautama is commonly depicted as tall and slender.

In other words, the content or laughing fat man depicted so commonly is a Chinese Buddha named Budai not The Buddha.

an early depiction of Gautama
The Budai Buddha
One of many derivations

Curious how symbols evolve or sometimes get lost in translation.

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  1. You’re welcome. There’s some details of hair, ears and body that where clearly added later.

    I imagine the history of this is similar to the way the branches of Buddhism have formed and the icons they adopted.

    One of Gautama’s efforts was to being it back to the essence again, under all the added complexity of gods and yagyas. But some branches of Buddhism added it back again. Some of the gods have new names, but the same gods.

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