Always seen as smiling and laughing, Laughing Buddha is one such form found almost in every household. In traditional China (and elsewhere, including once upon a time Europe), a chubby person signified good fortune and wealth and this is the reason why every idol portrays him to be chubby.

But, Gautam Buddha, has always been shown to be a slim figure who went on to continue like it.


So how did he get fat in China?

The fat Buddha or Laughing Buddha is actually a mistaken identity, the deity we are talking about is actually called Budai.

He is depicted in Chinese folklore and occasionally in Japan and Vietnam. He is always fat and smiling and it’s not really uncommon to have Budai and Buddha mixed up.

His name means “Cloth Sack,” and comes from the bag that he is conventionally depicted as carrying. He is usually identified with or seen as an incarnation of Maitreya, the future Buddha, so much so that the Budai image is one of the main forms in which Maitreya is depicted in China. He is almost always shown smiling or laughing, hence his nickname in Chinese, the Laughing Buddha.

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