• Mind Streams of all Buddhas could appear in any forms, at the most appropriate time, to please or to assist sentient beings to elevate their mind capacity.

    The fat Buddha is a monk named “Butai”, who appeared in Tang Dynasty of China, who acted very much like Santa Claus of our times. (PS. “Butai” literally means bag made out of cloth.)

    No one knew of his real name, he appeared out of nowhere and never talked about his past. He usually lived around the market area on the street, hardly slept, hardly needed any food substances, and never seemed to require the normal conventional human needs.

    Whenever he was not meditating, he walked around the market places, chanted and sang incomprehensible songs and riddles.

    Every so often, he would stopped someone on the street, and ask them what helps they needed, and what material things they needed; then he put his hand into a bag he always carried, and pull out things that people needed as gifts to the persons he stopped.

    So everyone always wonder what he had in the bag, and some even asked the question, and he answered, “the bag’s inside is as great as the Universe.”

    Some people even speculated that Butai sometimes disappeared into the bag; and they claimed that inside the bag, there was one most amazing luxurious palace, where Butai would retire to enjoy his vacation.

    One time, his bag was stolen, but the thief found nothing in the bag, so he threw it out; and Butai got his bag back, he continued to live his normal life.

    Many years later, one time he rested under a tree, and he knew his time has come for him to depart, so he chanted,” Maitreya, Maitreya, the future Buddha, he is in this world and no one in this world recognize him.” Under this tree he passes on to pari-nirvana.

    The people then realized a Buddha was among them, and they didn’t even know, so they made the statue resemble of him for remembrance of his generosity, hence the fat Buddha of China.

  • Legend has it that Buddha was very fat when he died, and that his body was encased in gold. After several years, they opened the golden tomb that encased him, and he was whole, but thin.

    I have no idea how accurate this is. Hopefully a Buddhist will be able to give you the whole story.


  • Being heavy is a sign of good fortune & abundance, but Buddha is often confused with the fat Japanese god of fortune Hoti or Hotei. The “fat buddha” that most see is not THE Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (who was thin). If you’ll look at the fat buddha, you’ll see he usually has a sack on his back. Which is actually in reference to Hotei, Pu-Tai, and Mi-Le-Fo (which means Cloth Sack.)

    Buddha just means “one who has achieved a state of perfect enlightenment”.

  • Perhaps it is because the West tends to connect jolliness and happiness with being overweight (ex: Santa Claus)

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