The jolly laughing Buddha is based on an eccentric Chinese monk who lived over 1,000 years ago–a benevolent and joyous man who came to be regarded as an incarnation of the bodhisattva Maitreya, the “world teacher”. The laughing Buddha is known in China as the Loving or Friendly One, and his image graces many temples, restaurants, and amulets as a deity of abundance and contentment. He always has a big and friendly grin, as well as a largely exposed pot belly stomach, which symbolizes good luck, joy, and prosperity. While laughing Buddha consistently has these qualities, there are several different variations to bring an abundance of all kinds into your life.
As Buddhism has become popular in countries all over the world it remains a predominant spiritual belief in Asia. It is practiced in China, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, and many more countries. Here in the US it is said that Hawaii has the highest population of Buddhists.
Let's dive into the different forms of Buddha that we see around the world!
The Spiritual Journey Buddha carries a gourd of enlightenment in one hand, a fan in the other, and wears a necklace of prayer beads. The fan is a symbol of happiness and joy used to banish troubles and misfortune, while the prayer beads (also known as mala beads) represent a consistent meditation practice and mindfulness in daily life.
The Traveling Buddha is ready for adventure and is often toted as a talisman for safety in travel. There are several variations of this worldly Buddha. The Traveling Wu Lou Buddha carries with him the gourd of enlightenment, a wealth ball, and a sack which he uses to collect people’s sadness and woes. It is said that the sack, or ‘Hotei’, transmutes all of that negative energy into wealth and good fortune! The wealth ball is sometimes seen as a pearl and symbolizes the most valuable ‘pearls’ of all treasures: wisdom and health.
The Traveling Music Buddha is sure to attract new and wonderous experiences and ensures they will be met with as much exuberance as one would have when dancing to their favorite songs. He also carries a sack for transmuting troubles, wears enlightening mala beads, and carries a small ukulele to bring joy with his beautiful music!
The Safe Travels Buddha is a protective deity and carries with him his Hotei sack and wealth ball, to bring joy, prosperity, and wisdom in your travels.
The Abundance Buddha and Prosperity Buddha
While all happy Buddhas bring an abundance of good things, some are specifically focused on attracting a wealth of money, love, and spirit. The Buddha of prosperity can be sitting or standing; either way, he holds two wealth balls over his head in a victorious stance, ready to WIN at all aspects of life!
There is another variation of the Buddha of prosperity who carries the Ru-Yi pot of abundance, as well as a talisman to Nepal which attracts wealth and worldly wisdom.
The Buddha of good health and abundance carries a Ru-Yi pot to attract prosperity, a wealth ball to bring abundance and good health, and he wears prayer beads to maintain a connection to mindfulness and spirituality. His compatriot, the abundance Buddha holds a Ru-Yi “bowl of plenty” high above his head to attract wealth, health, and wisdom.
The happy Buddhas are also sometimes meditating or simply sitting and being jolly, to attract luck and prosperity. It is said that rubbing the belly of Happy Buddha will bring good fortune to you with even more speed and strength! Try carrying one with you as a lucky talisman or place a few in your home; the bright smile and positive energy attraction of happy Buddha just might bring some surprising goodness your way!
If you're looking for other home decor items or accessories to bring you the peacefulness that symbol of Buddha carries you can shop the full collection here!