Have a Merry Hotei Day!

25 Dec

IMG_6938

Have a very happy Hotei Day!  Who’s Hotei, you ask?  Allow me to introduce to you Hotei (Japanese), also known as Budai (or Pu-Tai in Chinese), whose name means “Cloth Sack” because he used to carry a bag full of toys for children with him.  You may know him from his ubiquitous appearance at Chinese restaurants where he is often referred to as the Happy Buddha, the Laughing Buddha, the Fat Buddha, or the Fat, Jolly Buddha.  He is actually not to be confused with the historical Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.  Historically, he is based upon a Chan (Zen) monk from the tenth century whose real name was Qieci.  The monk used to travel around from town to town with prayer beads and a hemp sack full of toys and candy for children.  Because of his bag-full-o-goodies, the children would follow him and, as he dispensed presents to them, he simultaneously taught them the Dharma through his generous actions.  He had little interaction with the “wise” and “learned,” or other monks, preferring the company of children.  But it is said that a monk once asked him, “What is the meaning of Zen?”  Hotei dropped his bag.  The monk then asked, “How does one realize Zen?”  Hotei then picked up his bag and continued on his way to cheer the children.  It is often said that he is the enigmatic figure who appears in the ultimate image of the famous “Ten Bulls” sequence.

ox10

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: