Monday, December 16, 2013

Who is Fat Buddha?

Don't know how much blogging I will do about Thailand, as I didn't find it to be the most inspiring trip.  I've mentioned Overseas Adventure Travel before, our preferred tour company.  They take pride in advertising that they're groups are "travelers" as opposed to "tourists"...getting immersed in the cultures as we do.  Although there were a few delights along the way...most of what we saw seemed very tourist-trappy.  Perfect weather and a wonderful group of co-travelers made it an enjoyable trip.  Both Bangkok and Changmai were interesting to visit.

One very interesting part of the trip for me was the visit to a Buddhist monastery and a talk by a Buddhist monk.  He spoke about the Buddhist religion and reaching Nirvahna, a lot of which I remembered and some that I didn't.  He did mention the "fat Buddha", which I remembered learning about in Art History.  He called it a Chinese version of the Buddha.  I remember, from my classes, that he was not actually a Buddha, but a god called Hotei.

I knew then what my first blog post from this trip would be about, but since further research...I guess Buddha is whatever you want him to be.
According to Wickipedia, "Budai"  or "Hotei" is a Chinese folkloric deity.  Almost always shown smiling or laughing he is also known as the "Laughing Buddha".  In Chinese culture he is considered a symbol of contentment.  In Chinese history he was an eccentric Chan monk.
According to Japanese tradition Hotei's origin lies in Chinese Taoism/Buddhism.  He is known as one of Japan's "Seven Lucky gods".  Reportedly based on a real person, "he is commonly depicted bald, smiling, with a big belly, bulging ears and a large sack and fan in his hands.  He is further known as the "god of contentment and happiness, guardian of children and patron of bartenders."  Source:
Fat Buddha is also a Marvel comic!


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