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If buddhism teaches discipline and that suffering comes from desire, why was the Buddha so fat?

Seems to me like a guy who reached nirvana and conquered all desires would be a skinny guy. Apparently not even Buddha could conquer the almighty twinkie of his day?

13 COMMENTS

  1. Actually, one will find that many starving Africans are overweight due to malnutrition. Perhaps that was the plight of the Buddha.

  2. There are different Buddhas. The fat one is a Chinese impression of a particular Buddha, and is completely different to Gautama Buddha (founder of Buddhism).

  3. You have to understand that Buddhism blends wherever it goes. Although the core teachings remain intact, but the outer bark–the “form” that the religion/philosophy expresses–adapts to the receiving culture. Therefore, iconic representations of ideas or teachings differ from area to area. Tibetan Buddhism has a unique flavor, and so do Japanese Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism, Thai Buddhism, Sri Lankan Buddhism, and so on.
    You can think of Buddhist teachings as a vehicle, a car. You’d have all sorts of models, parts, designs, etc., but a car is still a car despite all its variable forms to choose from.
    To get back to your question, the Fat Buddha (“Laughing Buddha”) has been an image exclusive to Chinese Buddhism. It has come to represent good luck and wealth, which reconciles amicably with the Chinese merchantship. As for the actual, historical Fat Buddha.. we don’t know if he did exist. He’s as far back as a legend. I could be wrong though, about the legend part; I’m not an expert in Chinese Buddhism. You have to go dig history.
    The Buddha–Siddhartha Gautama–has taught, and lived, a life of moderation so it is insensible for people from any culture to portray him as having a fat, gluttonous belly.

  4. The likeness of a rotund Buddha sitting, or similarly laughing is just a rendition and nothing more. There is symbolism in the concept of Buddha being someone who is at ease, comfy and well-fed. Picture a Buddha like that — and laughing as well — and you have the symbolism of Buddhism being a medium of joy in addition to what I already mentioned.

  5. the BUDDHA was s k i n n y like all ascetics .
    Mankind began depicting the Buddha as Happy and Fat to show that HE was revered.
    In Ancient Times PEOPLE often were starving. To show Buddha as Fat was to acknowledge
    His many followers never left Him w/out plenty of Food. They felt if HE was depicted as Skinny
    it would indicate FEW FOLKS c a r e d about Him or FOR HIM.

  6. The statue most people know as the “fat Buddha” isn’t actually Buddha. It’s Budai, a deity from Chinese folklore. Gautama Buddha fasted, and was so very thin.

  7. Evidently, he suffered from his desire.
    What is up with the Jesus personification as a blond, blue-eyed guy?
    Does anything either had to say have anything to do with the message?

  8. There are several depictions of Buddha, the Seated Buddha the Reclining Buddha the Standing Buddha Hotei, the obese, Laughing Buddha, usually seen in China (This figure is believed to be a representation of a medieval Chinese monk who is associated with Maitreya, the future Buddha, ) the Emaciated Buddha, which shows Siddhartha Gautama during his extreme ascetic practice of starvation.
    The Buddha statue shown calling for rain is a pose common in Laos.

  9. I know you are trying to be silly, but the fat laughing guy is Budai, and he is not the founder of Buddhism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budai
    “According to Chinese tradition, Budai was an eccentric Chinese Zen (Chán) monk who lived during the Later Liang Dynasty (907—923 CE) of China. He was a native of Fenghua, and his Buddhist name was Qieci (Chinese: 契此; pinyin: Qiècǐ; literally “Promise this”). He was considered a man of good and loving character.”
    Budai came along many centuries after Siddhartha Gautama, who is the one who did found Buddhism. Those statues are popular because you can rub his belly for good luck!
    Torg

  10. That is a representation of buddha. The first known Buddha was Sidhartha Guatama. In Buddhism, you don’t worship a particular God. It is about achieving enlightenment. The idea is that ANYONE can become Buddha as long as you achieve enlightenment. Nothing in Buddhism ever said that you couldn’t eat twinkies or be fat. Maybe that is the secret to happiness.

  11. The fatness is symbolic. At the time of the Buddha, the most common way (which he tried and rejected) to seek enlightenment was asceticism – starving and denying yourself. There are statues of an emaciated Buddha showing him in this stage. Later statues portray him as being fatter are intentional – they are intended to represent that such ascetic practises do not achieve enlightenment, only following his Eightfold Path can.

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