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Why does the buddha in China is fat while the buddha in India is thin?

This is my assignment in Mandarin. I hope you can answer it as soon as possible. Thank you!
My professor said we must answer logically between the buddha of India and the buddha from China.
My professor said we must answer logically between the buddha of India and the buddha from China.


  1. Because the buddha in india does not eat beef and the buddha in china eats too much pork!
    🙂 Joke! No offense meant…

  2. Is it a open question or not?I think fatness in Chinese culture means lucky or good fortune.Converts hope to get lucky when they pray from the buddha.What’s more,perhaps Chinese monks are fater than India monks,because most monks really have carefree life in the temples of Buddhism.

  3. The Buddha in China is representative of two different deities, Maitreya, the Future Buddha, and the god of wealth and prosperity in China, so he has a different image than the image of the historical Buddha in India.
    Also, if this is an assignment, don’t you think you should be doing research yourself instead of asking other people to do it for you?

  4. Because buddha had malnutrition in India~~~~~~kidding….
    Before Tang dynasty, Buddha was thin in China’s art….but Tang is the most prosperous dynasty in China’s history, back then, Chinese people worship fatness …….plump women, plump buddha, they linked fatness with wealthy and strength.

  5. 夏子 has a good answer.
    Religion can be influence from ones natural surroundings.
    Early religions worshipped things like the moon, the sun, certain stars and even nature.
    As time went one more religions came around, one theological thinking increase,
    Even the same religion can have sub branches, take Christianity and there sub branches, Catholic, protestant, Mormon etc. Likewise this is what happen to Chinese and Indian buddas, one view him as a thin person while the other views him as a fat person due to what they see in there surrondings.

  6. Buddha in India (or Nepal) is a prince who walked away from luxury, realizing that suffering came from desire, that one should not starve oneself, but neither should one indulge one’s desire for food.
    Buddha in China, as represented in sculptures, has been influenced by other religions and traditions. It has been suggested that the fat Buddha was heavily influenced by a god that was worshipped before Buddhism came to China. It should be noted that the Buddhas in temples in China tend to be skinnier than the statues of the Buddha that tourists buy.
    I lived in Taiwan for a couple of years, and I remember asking my Chinese boss if the temple with an orange tiled roof was a Buddhist temple. It was much less ornate than the Taoist temples around town. My boss shrugged and said all the temples had the same gods in them. She was not overly concerned with the difference between this religion and that. When she set out trays of food and incense for the gods or the ancestors, she pretty much told me straight out that she did it because everybody else did it.
    In fact, funeral processions in Taiwan are likely to have a taoist priest, a Buddhist monk, and if the family had the right kind of influence, a Catholic priest, too, just to hedge your bets. Who are the Chinese to leave any god unturned when they need help?
    Eventually, I became friends with a devout Chinese Buddhist, who worshipped at the temple with the orange roof every morning, and the one with the brown roof every evening.
    She would scan the ingredients of whatever American snack food I brought back from Taichung. If she saw garlic or onion, she wouldn’t eat it. “The sutras say, if you eat those, the gods will be far from you.”
    “Are you sure it’s not because of your breath?” I also tried to argue that Buddha would have said “No hot pepper” if he had known hot peppers, but that was ignored, too.
    One day, my devout Buddhist friend said to me, “I am going to go see the Buddhist master with spiritual power, and I am going to ask him, ‘When do I get my money?!?!” I thought that was contradictory to the beliefs of Buddhism, but she didn’t seem to think so.

  7. Some of the answers above give you some insight on possible reasons. Another possible reason is the life of Buddha himself. When he decided to reach out and leave his kingdom at 29, he sought the life of an ascetic, which meant a total removal from worldly passion, including food. After several years of ascetism, he discovered the Middle Way–a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. His appearance changed and he became fatter and physically stronger. But in the end, one of the teachings of Buddha is to remember them through the Dhamma and not through his physical appearance.

  8. That’s a (very common) misunderstanding.
    The historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, looks almost the same in Indian and Chinese art. He is always, in all Buddhist cultures, pictured with a “perfectly proportioned” body – neither fat , nor thin – except when he is pictured as a skinny ascetic PRIOR TO his enlightenment.
    The “fat Buddha” in China is NOT the same person, but a Chinese monk later coming to be interpreted as, or merely symbolizing, the future Buddha Maitreya. The obesity is a symbol for happiness, wealth and prosperity.
    Again, there are many, many different Buddhas, and Buddha Maitreya is an entirely different person from Buddha Shakyamuni (the “historical” Buddha, also called Siddharta Gautama). Buddha Maitreya is also not normally shown as the fat monk, but as a “perfectly proportioned” body just as Buddha Shakyamuni, but with different attributes.

  9. in Tang dynasty, fat people are considered healthy or wealthy. its the same with middle age eruope, rulers would show off their wealth by eatting alot and become fat.
    anyways, Tang artists made budda fat for the same reason.
    as for india, everything are thin.

  10. Hello. Historically these are two different people. The Buddha in India is The Buddha, who was a tall person (they say 6 feet) and very strong. He had to be capable, as a prince he was a military commander. However, as an ascetic it is said he ate one grain of rice per day, and when he touched his stomach he could feel his spine. I would say that is not fat, not fat at all! He probably put on some weight when he discovered the middle way, but surely did not grow morbidly obese.
    The Laughing Buddha of China is not seen as The Buddha, but a bodhisattva. He was known as Budai (or Hotei), and possibly an incarnation of Maitreya bodhisattva (the future Buddha). He lived nearly 1500 years after Gautama Buddha. His large stature is symbolic of prosperity and good fortune. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotei)
    Just know that The Buddha is The Buddha in all forms of Buddhism. Reverence of various bodhisattvas varies from country to country. To answer the question in the simplest way: they are two completely different historical figures.
    I hope this helps. Take care.

  11. No no no we are learning about this in school and I’m only 12 and I know that its because the Buddha in china belives that the more fat you are the more wealthier you are

  12. “juexue” and “jed s” are the only ones who gave accurate answers to the question posed. Buddha Shakyamuni is the same everywhere, and also His representation (whose first sculptures date from around 100-200 BCE in Gandhara and are the utmost expression of Indo-Greek Silk Route art).
    Buddha bless you.


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