• There’s no problem with admiring the laughing Buddha (actually a Chinese bodhisattva, Budai, as another respondent said) and Siddhartha. Chinese Buddhists do it all the time. Mahayana Buddhism has a whole pantheon of bodhisattvas, so your consumption of popular Buddhist imagery is perfectly in line with Buddhism as it is practiced elsewhere in the world.

    As for someone commenting that there is something wrong with Chinese Buddhism–it being “unpure” or something because it has Chinese cultural influences–that is just asinine. Everyone wants to pretend their Buddhism is culture-free, but it never is. Guess what? Elite convert Buddhism in America is a also a cultural hybrid (emphasis on lay meditation that does not exist in Asia, erosion of lay-monastic roles, elevation of the status of women, book-buying fetish, etc.). You just happen to like your cultural interpretation of Buddhism better than the Chinese cultural interpretation. But it’s just as “polluted” with non-native ideas as Chinese Buddhism is. So knock it off. None of us are culture-free.

  • The word “Buddha” means the awakened one and this is the title Siddhartha was known by after his enlightenment. The image of the Laughing Buddha is based on a wandering Chinese monk, Budai (Hotei, in Japanese) who lived centuries ago and is believed to be Maitreya, or the Buddha to come. So it is perfectly okay to have a figurine of Gautama Buddha and Laughing Buddha. Its more about what they (Buddha) represents.

    The first Buddhist community in China is said to have been established around 150 A.D. Buddhist emissaries traveling along the Silk Road took Buddhism to China. By 229 AD, the number of nuns and monks increased to two million. The concepts of Buddhism merged with the existing religious beliefs and gave rise to the popular Pure Land and Chan schools of Buddhism.

  • I am not a Buddhist, although I am an admirer of the Buddhist religion. I have any number of Christian, Jewish, pagan, Egyptian religious symbols around my house and yard. I also have several Buddha representations. I do not know all the fine points of distinction among the various Buddhas; but every once in a while when I sit near the laughing Buddha, I think, “Too bad YHWH, Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, Allah, and all the other gods and religious leaders didn’t find something to laugh about once in a while. The world might have been a much nicer place.

  • Well, if you consider that all is God, and that the gods are just representations of the characteristics of God, don’t think it really matters.

    One is not to worship Buddha (a man), or any other created being/object, so i wouldn’t think it a big deal so long as your devotion doesn’t turn into worship of an image.

  • the laughing Buddha is actually Buddhai, a 10th century Chinese priest I thimk.

    Personally I think it’s a load of rubbish, even though I’m a Buddhist. I’m sticking to the original version, not some Chinese mixed form of Buddhism

Leave a Comment