What is the Buddha generally depicted as fat when he was actually very skinny?

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I meant Why not what. I am sorry. I have kids & they can be kinda distracting.

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neil s

He isn’t. That’s Hoti, a bodhisattva.

Light and Truth

Symbol of fortune and plenty.

Dogma - SFECU - Vote Out Bigots

He isn’t always; that’s just one symbol.


each depiction of the buddha has a different meaning

MonaLisa Overdrive AM VT wannabe

In India, Buddha is depicted as youthful and thin. The fat Buddha is the Chinese “happy Buddha” depiction of him in his later years.

Dharma Nature

The fat buddha is just one of the Buddhas. There are many but that is certainly the most well known.


In some cultures, it is a sign of prosperity and wisdom to be slightly overweight.


There are different incarnations of the Buddha.

James B

Buddha was skinny and is usually depicted as such.
The fat guy you’re thinking of isn’t Buddha at all. He’s a Chinese monk called “Budai” or “Hotei.”


coz he looks much happier and content!

Bride of Squidward

How do you know he was skinny? Did they have cameras back at the beginning of time?


Because those statues are not the Buddha. Non-Buddhists get this wrong all the time. Buddha was an ascetic; he would not have been fat. My sister’s a Buddhist, and she gave up a long time ago trying to explain this to people. They know what they think they know, period.
On the other hand, Jesus most likely was not tall, blonde and blue-eyed, yet it doesn’t seem to bother most Christians that he’s depicted so inaccurately.
(Come on, the guy was a Middle-Eastern Semite. How many of them look like that?)

Rallie Florencio C

The Fat Buddha was a symbol of wealth and joy created by the superstitious Chinese. He was not that skinny before he fasted for many days and nights.
Jesus’ face as it is popularly being drawn and sculpted to day may not be his true face because it is more of a typical European or Roman face.


Nobody can really prove if Buddha was fat or skinny; similarly, some Jehovah witnesses pointed out to me, in their magazine Watchtower, that Jesus is depicted with somatic characteristics typical of a man from the North, like Norway or Sweden; when in fact people from the Middle East would be a lot more dark-skinned and would keep his hair shorter; and I know this is true, because I know both people from the North and people from the Middle East. If he was looking like he is depicted, the magazine goes on, he would have stirred suspicion and marvel, while in the Bible is clear that he was seen as a normal man. But we don’t know, maybe he was looking like nordic but nobody wouldn’t notice, since the genetic has been discovered several centuries later. All this, however, could be seen in a spiritual way: the images are just symbols, not reflecting reality. But then why so much extremism in the literality or not of so many other parts of the Bible? Sorry for talking about Jesus, but I think is a very similar story to the one for Buddha, and could entirely be applied to your case..


There are two Buddhas who are typically depicted. For you see the term Buddha is just sanskrit for awake, it is a title denoting one has achieved enlightenment so not all buddhas are the same buddha.
The historical Buddha -Shakyamuni Buddha of whom you are referring to as skinny is often depicted, you can see him many places. However there is a fat buddha, or rather Hotei a chinese fish merchant, who appears more aesthetically pleasing because of his fat and jolly nature. It might be easy to make a connection from him to a Santa Claus like figure in the west which is why they use him so frequently, not to mention fat and happy is more enticing than skinny and contemplative.
So this is why you might see Hotei more than Shakyamuni.


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