Why is Buddha always portrayed as fat in most pictures and statues?

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Buddhism is a religion that advocates self-denial and asceticism. However, if pictures and statues of Gautama Buddha (some of them contemporary) are accurate, it doesn’t look like he skipped dessert or turned down second helpings very often.

18 Comments

  1. Well, considering how many peasants at the time were starving at the time, portraying a god as fat helps convey the image of bountifulness.

  2. It can be sign of male fertility and strength , Buddha is portrayed in many different ways as are other religious figures from other religions

  3. I don’t think Buddha denied himself anything. He choked to death on a piece of beef. Why people would worship a man who couldn’t even save himself is beyond me.

  4. That Buddha is a Chinese folklore deity, just like Santa, he actually gave gifts to children but over the year 😛
    His Image: http://www.satrakshita.be/images/Hotei.jpg
    Siddhartha Gautama, the historic Buddha was initially a prince(the one in chariot http://www.salagram.net/Buddha-ChannaDevasDhukh.jpg) then a ascetic(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/Siddhartha_Gautama_meditating.PNG) then a “perfect man”(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Jo7lJoQhtjw/SwXdIMyYuwI/AAAAAAAALik/hfbQZyBAHn0/s1600/buddha+sermon+to+monks+and+nuns+zamandayolduluk+com.jpg) in no description of his is he fat or obese.

  5. I think “Myr” comes closest. And the Buddha was a wandering monk and ascetic himself most of his life. When he decided to sit under the bodhi tree until he received enlightenment, he also renounced the ascetic life, although the “fat” image probably WAS symbolic of the bounty of life that the Buddha represented. There are Buddha statues in some temples where he is not at all fat. The Buddha is also portrayed as having very large ears, I have no idea where that comes from. And the Chinese Hotei really was fat from the git-go, I guess.
    There are numerous sects of Buddhism, some of which are quite ascetic and others that are quite worldly. So you will see some Buddhists in business suits and they are not always skinny. Buddhism is a very large “umbrella”.
    Blessings on your Journey!

  6. Gautam Buddha has a slender, long ear-lobed serene image. The fat Buddha (happy Buddha) is the image of the Laughing Buddha, 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. The statue’s plump figure and benign countenance suggest contentment, magnanimity and plenitude. Folklore has it that rubbing his pot belly brings good fortune and wealth.

  7. That buddha is not Guatama Buddha
    The fat buddha is like a buddha from china or someother country (i have no idea). But Guatama buddha had quite a skinny body. Or at least he wasn’t fat nor skinny…he was normal

  8. OMG I might cry looking at these other answers
    Gautama is the Enlighted One from India
    The fat and happy Budai Buddha is from China meant to bring good luck
    Back then they tried converting people into Christians by finding a bad representation of buddha.

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