Home Discussion Forum Why is Buddha portrayed in two different ways? One is fat and...

Why is Buddha portrayed in two different ways? One is fat and the other one is serious…?

When I google image Buddha, there’s the fat buddha that everyone knows who’s really happy and a lot of people say rub my belly for goodluck. but then there’s the other Buddha, for example the giant statue of Buddha in Hong Kong. The more serious and in my opinion realistic. Why is this?


  1. You seem to be implying that the opposite of fat is serious.
    Might both images be happy and serious, regardless of his girth?

  2. The fat happy buddha is the buddha siddharta guatama post-enlightenment (he has reached a state of perfect contentment), whereas the serious one is the buddha on his path to enlightenment, trying and failing different methods, for example when he is claimed to have lived a minimalist life living off one grain of rice per day for several years.

  3. Fat, laughing Buddha is said to be a metaphor for finding the good in life, though some will say he is “post-enlightenment.” However, when I studied Buddhism, it seemed to me he came about as a direct result of people saying that Buddha was “bitter,” and that Buddhism talked about “suffering too much.”
    I personally don’t much care for the laughing Buddha, as the real Buddha practiced the Middle Path in all areas of life.

  4. I don’t know, but to take the example of Ho Tei (“Cloth Bag”) into account, obesity was a sign of happiness and of being blessed.
    The first Buddha, however, had been a Jain, so he was likely skin and bones, at least prior to his near-enlightenment.

  5. All i know is that there is only one version of Jesus. I wouldnt trust any god that has two different versions. And why does rubing a statues belly give you good luck?

  6. The skinny depiction is, in fact, Gautama Siddhārtha. This is who is referred to when using the name Buddha. After renouncing his wealth and living as an ascetic, he reached enlightenment under the Bodhi tree and realized the truth of the middle path.
    The “fat Buddha” is generally a depiction of the Chinese monk Budai (Hotei in Japanese), who in turn is regarded as an incarnation of Maitreya, the future Buddha. Budai wandered the Chinese country side helping other around 950 A.D. He is also referred to as the “Laughing Buddha” for his jovial appearance. This version is considered the Chinese god of good luck and fortune.
    For Fedex..would that be the blond haired blue eyed jesus?

  7. Because the fat Buddha is not really Buddha, but is instead the Chinese Bodhisattva of prosperity. The other one is Siddhartha Guatama, the historical Buddha.

  8. The fat version is not really Buddha, it’s just a god to signify a good life. Buddhism is philosophy, a very serious topic.

  9. Fat is serious. The fatter you are the more serious it is.
    Don’t try to tell me fat is the opposite of serious.

  10. Buddha isn’t one person from history but yet many who have reached the state of enlightenment. Once a Buddhist reaches that state, they do not have to be reincarnated and cease to exists in the circle of life. Their are several interpretations of Buddhism as well which will affect the nature of the answer to this question. Buddha was not the creator of life but rather a master of his own journey and an example of how to escape the suffering of life through meditation and strong disipline. Buddhism in philosophy and practice has as many faces as their are paths to enlightenment.

  11. Buddha is actually the name of 2nd level deities in Buddhism. There are actually a lot of buddhas. I don’t’ know where people got the idea that buddha is like “God” in Christianity. The “God” in buddhism is actually not called buddha. I have never seen a proper translation in English for it. buddhas are the 2nd in command. Then there are other lesser gods that are one scale under the buddhas.

  12. The fat statue is of a person called Pu Tai, i believe, and is neither the Buddha, nor Buddhist.
    According to the Dhammapada, monks are slim (due to eating only one meal a day, before noon).
    “The person who wears a robe made of rags, who is lean, with veins showing all over the body, and who meditates alone in the forest – him do I call a holy man”.
    Dhammapada verse 395.

  13. You need to understand that Buddha is not a person, god or Deity. Buddha is a title that Means enlightened one. There has been several Buddhas in the past or rather people who have claimed to have achieved the status of Buddha. Some where fat and some where skinny. So on and so forth.
    I am a Mahayana Buddhist. I have not studied the other two sects of Buddhism. They may differ in explanation but this is what I have been taught and choose to believe.
    Theravada Buddhism revere only the Historical Buddha, and do not pay homage to the numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva venerated by Mahayana followers.
    Other statues and a better explanation of Buddhist statues is on this link.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here