Discovering the Meaning: What Does Laughing Buddha Symbolize?

Have you seen the Laughing Buddha statue that’s placed in homes, garden, or restaurants? This icon has become a recognized emblem in pop culture depicting the plump, jolly figure with a big smile and a belly laugh. Originally from China, Laughing Buddha, also known as Budai or Pu-Tai, continues to be a significant part of Chinese culture and Buddhist teachings. But what does this ever-smiling figure symbolize and how can he teach us valuable life lessons?

The Laughing Buddha symbolizes ultimate happiness and well-being. Budai is often portrayed with a bag of blessings, a large belly, and a lucky knot on his waist, all of which are regarded as a sign of wealth and prosperity. The statue is believed to bring good fortune, financial abundance, and joy to those who display it in their homes or workplaces. Thus, Laughing Buddha statues are commonly used as Feng Shui remedies to invite happiness and blissful energy into one’s environment.

Apart from being a symbol of material blessings, Laughing Buddha represents the spirit of contentment, generosity, and compassion. In Buddhism, he is seen as a bodhisattva, a person who is on the path to enlightenment and devoted to helping others achieve it. Budai’s signature smile is interpreted as a reflection of his inner peace and positivity, which radiates to those around him. This way, he reminds us of the importance of spreading joy and kindness wherever we go, and the simple joys that life has to offer.

Historical background of Laughing Buddha

To understand the symbol of Laughing Buddha, we have to dig deep into Chinese history. The actual person behind the statue we see today was a monk named Budai, who lived during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). Budai, also known as Pu-Tai or Hotei in Chinese, was a wandering monk that went from town to town, spreading goodwill and positive vibes wherever he went.

Budai was known for his plump figure, big ears, and his jolly laughter, which is how he got his nickname, Laughing Buddha. According to Chinese folktales, Budai was seen as a manifestation of Maitreya Bodhisattva, an important figure in Buddhist tradition who is said to be the future Buddha. Maitreya Bodhisattva represents the embodiment of love, empathy, and happiness, which perfectly fits the personality of Budai.

During the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century, the Chinese began mass-producing statues of Budai in hopes of capturing his positive spirit and spreading it across the country. Over time, the popularity of Laughing Buddha spread beyond China, and the statue became a popular symbol of good luck and fortune around the world.

Facts and Myths About Laughing Buddha

Laughing Buddha, also known as Budai or Pu-Tai, is a popular figure in Chinese Buddhism. He is often depicted as a jovial, fat bald man with a big smile and a large belly. Here are some facts and myths about the Laughing Buddha:

  • He was a real person. Laughing Buddha is actually based on a Chan (a sect of Buddhism) monk named Budai who lived in China during the 10th century. He was known for his happy personality and generous nature, and would often give to those in need.
  • He is not the same as the historical Buddha. While the historical Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama, is known for his teachings on enlightenment and the path to Nirvana, Laughing Buddha is not associated with these teachings. Instead, he is seen as a symbol of contentment and good luck.
  • He is a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Laughing Buddha is often associated with good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture. In fact, rubbing his belly is said to bring good luck and fortune.

While there are many other myths and stories surrounding Laughing Buddha, these are just a few of the most common ones. Regardless of how he is perceived, Laughing Buddha remains a beloved figure in Chinese culture and beyond.

Different Names of Laughing Buddha in Different Cultures

The Laughing Buddha is a symbol of happiness, wealth, and good luck, and he is known by a variety of names around the world. Here are some of the most common names of Laughing Buddha in different cultures:

  • Buddai: This is the Japanese name for Laughing Buddha. In Japan, he is a beloved figure, often portrayed as a jovial, plump man with a bald head and a big smile.
  • Mi Le Fo: This is the Chinese name for Laughing Buddha. The name means “Maitreya Buddha”, which is the name of the future Buddha who will appear on earth and bring peace and happiness to all beings.
  • Hotei: This is another name for Laughing Buddha in Japan. He is sometimes called the “Laughing Buddha of Good Fortune” in English, and is often depicted carrying a bag of treasures or gifts.

The Significance of the Number 3 in Laughing Buddha Symbolism

The Laughing Buddha is often depicted holding various objects, and these objects have significant meanings. One of the most common objects held by Laughing Buddha is a string of three golden coins. Here’s what the number 3 represents in Laughing Buddha symbolism:

Symbol Meaning
Three Golden Coins The number 3 represents wealth, prosperity, and good luck.
Three Deities The three deities represent the three manifestations of happiness: wealth, good health, and longevity.
Three Laughing Buddhas The three Laughing Buddhas represent the past, present, and future. They remind us to live in the present moment and to enjoy life to the fullest.

Overall, the number 3 is considered a lucky number in many Asian cultures, and it is often used in Feng Shui to promote good fortune and prosperity. Whether you’re looking for wealth, health, or happiness, the Laughing Buddha and the number 3 are powerful symbols that can help you achieve your goals.

Significance of Different Parts of Laughing Buddha’s Statue

Laughing Buddha is a popular figure in Chinese and Buddhist cultures. Known as the symbol of good luck, happiness, and wealth, Laughing Buddha is widely used as a decorative item in homes, offices, and restaurants. Let’s take a look at the significance of different parts of Laughing Buddha’s statue.

The Number 4

  • The number 4 is considered extremely lucky in Chinese culture, and blessed with the qualities of stability and support.
  • Laughing Buddha is often depicted holding four or five children, each symbolizing happiness and good fortune. The more children he holds, the more good fortune is believed to come to the household.
  • The four elements in Chinese belief are earth, fire, water, and air. Laughing Buddha’s presence in a home or office is believed to balance these elements and bring harmony and prosperity.

The Belly

One of the most prominent features of Laughing Buddha is his big belly. In Chinese culture, the belly is believed to represent wealth and good fortune. It is said that by rubbing Laughing Buddha’s belly, one would receive good luck and prosperity.

The size and shape of the belly also represent the nature of one’s happiness. Laughing Buddha’s big belly symbolizes being contented with what one has, and finding joy in the simple things in life. It reminds us that real happiness comes from within and not material possessions.

The Head

Laughing Buddha’s big, round head symbolizes knowledge and enlightenment. According to legend, rubbing the Buddha’s head would bring one great knowledge and wisdom. Additionally, the various shapes and textures of Laughing Buddha’s head represent different aspects of life, such as happiness, longevity, contentment, prosperity, and success.

The Mala Beads

Number of Mala Beads Significance
2 Symbolizes a strong bond between teacher and student
3 Represents the Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha
5 Symbolizes the Five Elements: earth, fire, water, air, and metal
9 Represents the Nine Levels of Consciousness in Buddhist teachings
18, 27, or 108 Considered lucky numbers in Buddhism

The mala beads that Laughing Buddha wears around his neck have a significant meaning as well. They are used for meditation and counting mantras, and each number of beads represents different qualities and beliefs in Buddhism.

All in all, Laughing Buddha’s statue is not just a decorative item but a symbolic representation of good luck, happiness, and wealth. Understanding the significance of the different parts of Laughing Buddha’s statue can bring insight into the cultural and spiritual beliefs of Chinese and Buddhist traditions.

The Different Poses of Laughing Buddha and Their Meanings

The iconography of Laughing Buddha is quite intriguing, with the different poses symbolizing different meanings. Here are the explanations of the five most popular Laughing Buddha poses:

  • The Happy/Smiling Buddha: This pose is the most common and depicts Buddha sitting with a wide smile on his face, symbolizing happiness and contentment. This pose represents good luck and fortune, and is believed to attract positive energy into the home or business.
  • The Laughing Buddha with Gold Nuggets: This pose shows Buddha with a bag of gold nuggets in his hand, which represents wealth and prosperity. It is often displayed in homes and businesses with the intention to attract wealth.
  • The Laughing Buddha with a Fan: Buddha in this pose is depicted holding a fan, which symbolizes the gentle breezes that affect the growth and prosperity of crops. This pose is regarded as one that attracts good health, wealth, and prosperity, and is popularly placed in homes, businesses, and healing centers.

The following two poses of Laughing Buddha are not as widely known as those above, but their symbolism is just as fascinating:

  • The Laughing Buddha with a Sack: Buddha in this pose carries a large sack over his shoulder, symbolizing the ability to fulfill one’s wishes and bring good luck in all endeavors. This pose is often displayed in financial institutions, offices, and shops.
  • The Five Laughing Buddhas: In this pose, Buddha is represented with five smaller Buddhas encircling him. Each small Buddha represents a different attribute – wealth, health, longevity, happiness, and good fortune. This pose is considered particularly auspicious and is believed to bring blessings in all five aspects of life.


The different poses of Laughing Buddha are fascinating and represent different aspects of life. The symbolisms behind the different poses underline the importance of attracting good energy into our homes and businesses. This is why Laughing Buddha is highly revered in Feng Shui practices and is considered a bringer of good fortune. Deciding which Laughing Buddha statue to display in your home or business can be an auspicious step towards manifesting your dreams and goals.

The place of Laughing Buddha in Feng Shui practice

The Laughing Buddha, also known as Budai or Maitreya in Asia, has been a popular part of Feng Shui practice for centuries. It is believed that this figure brings positivity, abundance, and happiness to any space it is placed in. Here are some ways in which the Laughing Buddha is used in Feng Shui practice:

  • As a Wealth Symbol: In Feng Shui, the number 6 is associated with wealth and luck. The Laughing Buddha is often depicted with a sack of treasures, gold ingots, or coins. Placing him in the wealth sector (Southeast facing) of your home or workplace is believed to attract wealth and prosperity.
  • As a Protector: The Laughing Buddha, with his big belly and jolly smile, is a symbol of happiness and contentment. It is believed that having him around can help protect you from negative energies and promote a peaceful environment. Placing him at the entrance of your home or office is recommended for this purpose.
  • As a Gift: According to Feng Shui principles, giving someone a Laughing Buddha as a gift is a gesture of goodwill and can bring blessings to both the giver and the receiver. It is considered a thoughtful gift for someone who is going through a rough patch or needs some cheering up.

While there are several different types of Laughing Buddha statues available today, it is important to select one that has a positive energy and resonates with you. Keep the Laughing Buddha in a clean and clutter-free space, and avoid placing it on the floor, in the kitchen, or in the bathroom. Take care of your Laughing Buddha by dusting it regularly and keeping it in a prominent position where it can bring joy and good fortune to your life.

Placement in Feng Shui Practice Benefits
Southeast (Wealth Sector) Attracts wealth and prosperity
Entrance of home or office Protects against negative energies, promotes peace
As a gift Brings blessings to the giver and receiver

The Laughing Buddha can be a wonderful addition to any space, bringing positivity and abundance to your life.

The spiritual teachings of Laughing Buddha

Laughing Buddha, also known as Budai or Hotei in Japan, is one of the most popular and beloved figures in Buddhism. He is considered a symbol of happiness, abundance, and good luck in Chinese and other Eastern cultures. Below are some of the spiritual teachings associated with the Laughing Buddha.

The Number 7

  • The Laughing Buddha is often depicted with seven treasures or seven objects representing good luck and prosperity.
  • The number 7 is also significant in Buddhism as it represents the Seven Factors of Enlightenment or Seven Spiritual Practices. These practices include mindfulness, investigation of the true nature of reality, energy, joy, serenity, concentration, and equanimity.
  • According to some schools of Buddhism, there are seven levels of enlightenment that one can attain to become a fully enlightened being.

The Gesture and Symbols

The Laughing Buddha is often portrayed with varying hand gestures and symbols. One of the most common is the “gift-giving” gesture where the palm is facing upward, symbolizing receiving blessings and good fortune and the fingers pointing downwards, representing the giving of blessings to others. Other symbols commonly seen with Laughing Buddha include:

  • Bag of wealth and treasures
  • Wu Lou (a gourd-shaped bottle) that represents healing and longevity
  • Mala beads symbolizing meditation and spiritual practice
  • Staff that represents authority and wisdom
  • Fan that represents happiness and joy
  • Dragon symbolizing power, strength, and good fortune
  • Child or children symbolizing innocence, purity, and playfulness

The Laugh and Joy

The Laughing Buddha is always depicted with a jovial expression and a smiling face. He is considered a symbol of happiness, joy, and contentment, reminding us to find joy in the present moment and to approach life’s challenges with a positive attitude. Laughing Buddha’s presence in our homes is believed to bring harmony, abundance, and peace, reminding us to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and to never take things too seriously.

The Root of Suffering

While the Laughing Buddha is a symbol of happiness and joy, his teachings also acknowledge the reality of human suffering. One of the core teachings of Buddhism is that suffering exists in the world, and that the root of all suffering is desire or attachment. By letting go of our attachment to material possessions, status, and ego, we can free ourselves from suffering and achieve true happiness.

Symbol Meaning
Belly symbolizes benevolence, perseverance and contentment
Cloth bag symbolizes wealth
Beads in hand symbolizes prayer and meditation
Candy symbolizes sweetness and a fulfilled life
Fan symbolizes happiness and joy
Dragon symbolizes power, strength, and good fortune

The Laughing Buddha is a beloved figure in Buddhism whose teachings remind us to find joy, peace, and contentment in life. By cultivating a positive attitude and letting go of our attachments, we can free ourselves from suffering and achieve true happiness.

The Connection between Zen Buddhism and Laughing Buddha

Laughing Buddha, also known as Budai or Pu-Tai, is a popular symbol of happiness, abundance, and good luck in the Chinese culture. While he is often associated with Buddhist beliefs, the connection between Laughing Buddha and Zen Buddhism might not be as straightforward as one might initially think.

Firstly, Laughing Buddha was never actually a historical figure associated with Buddhism. Instead, he seems to have been more of a folklore figure that was adopted into various Asian cultures and religions, including Buddhism. Nevertheless, his teachings were in line with the core beliefs of Zen Buddhism, such as detachment from material possessions, enjoying the present moment, and spreading joy and kindness to others.

The Symbolism of Number 8 in Laughing Buddha

  • Number 8 is considered to be a lucky number in Chinese culture, representing wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. Thus, the prominent depiction of Laughing Buddha carrying a sack with the number 8 on it symbolizes the accumulation of wealth and abundance.
  • Moreover, the number 8 also signifies balance and harmony, which aligns with the Buddhist principle of finding balance and moderation in one’s life. It is said that the round belly of Laughing Buddha represents the virtue of contentment, which can only be achieved by finding balance within oneself.
  • Lastly, the number 8 looks like the infinity symbol, which symbolizes the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Thus, the Laughing Buddha also represents the cycle of life and the idea of accepting impermanence and finding joy and happiness in the present moment.

The Teachings of Laughing Buddha in Zen Buddhism

The teachings of Laughing Buddha align with the core principles of Zen Buddhism, which emphasizes the importance of living in the present moment and cultivating inner peace and happiness. Laughing Buddha’s teachings are centered around spreading joy, kindness, and generosity to others without expecting anything in return.

Moreover, the symbolism of Laughing Buddha’s round belly represents the importance of inner contentment and detachment from material possessions. It is believed that true happiness and abundance come from within and cannot be acquired through external means. Laughing Buddha’s teachings are a reminder to focus on inner well-being and to find happiness in life’s simple pleasures.

The Bottom Line

The connection between Zen Buddhism and Laughing Buddha is rooted in their shared values of inner peace, contentment, and happiness. Laughing Buddha’s teachings are a reminder to find joy in the present moment and to lead a life of simplicity, kindness, and generosity. The symbolism of number 8 in Laughing Buddha’s depiction signifies wealth, abundance, balance, and acceptance of impermanence – qualities that are aligned with the core values of Zen Buddhism.

Symbolism of Number 8 in Laughing Buddha Teachings of Laughing Buddha in Zen Buddhism
Lucky number representing wealth and prosperity Finding inner peace and contentment
Symbolizes balance and harmony Spreading joy and kindness to others
Represents cycle of birth, death, and rebirth Detachment from material possessions

Leverage Laughing Buddha’s teachings to cultivate inner peace, happiness, and contentment in your life.

The symbolism of Laughing Buddha in relation to wealth and prosperity

For centuries, the Laughing Buddha has been associated with wealth and prosperity. The popular belief is that having a Laughing Buddha statue in your home or office can bring good fortune, success, and financial gains.

  • Number 9:
  • One of the most important symbolisms of the Laughing Buddha is linked with the number 9. In Feng Shui, which is an ancient Chinese art, the number 9 is believed to be the most auspicious number as it represents completeness, fulfilment, and abundance. It is said that having nine Laughing Buddha statues together can bring immense wealth and abundance.

  • Making a wish:
  • Another believed way to gain wealth and prosperity from the Statue of Laughing Buddha is by rubbing his belly and making a wish. As per the legends, rubbing the Buddha’s belly brings good luck and attracts positive energy. It is said that the more you rub his belly, the more good luck and wealth will be attracted to you.

  • The bag of abundance:
  • Laughing Buddha is often depicted carrying a bag of abundance, also known as the “bag of plenty.” The bag symbolizes abundance, prosperity, and good fortune. It is believed that if you keep the statue of Laughing Buddha with a bag of abundance in the southeast corner of your home or office, it attracts wealth and prosperity.

Overall, the Laughing Buddha is a powerful symbol of wealth and prosperity. By understanding the above subtopics, you can easily incorporate the statue of Laughing Buddha into your life to attract wealth, abundance, and success.


Laughing Buddha Statue is indeed a powerful symbol that promotes happiness, wealth, and good luck. It is a perfect addition to any home or office space. Moreover, Laughing Buddha is also a symbol of harmony and happiness. So, with a statue of Laughing Buddha in your surroundings, you not only attract abundance and prosperity but also positivity and inner peace.

Symbolism Meaning
Number 9 Completeness, fulfilment, and abundance
Bag of abundance Symbolize abundance, prosperity, and good fortune

So, if you are looking to attract wealth and prosperity in your life, make sure to incorporate the Laughing Buddha statue in your surroundings. It is a beautiful and powerful way to bring good fortune, peace, and harmony.

The ways to invite the energy of Laughing Buddha into our lives.

The Laughing Buddha, also known as Budai or Pu-Tai, is a symbol of happiness, abundance, and good fortune. His jolly and friendly face is believed to inspire joy and prosperity wherever he goes. Here are some ways to invite the energy of Laughing Buddha into our lives:

  • Display a statue of Laughing Buddha: Placing a statue of Laughing Buddha in your home or workplace is a popular way to invite his energy into your life. The statue should be placed at eye level in a prominent location, such as the living room, dining room, or office.
  • Burn incense or light candles: Burning incense or lighting candles in front of a statue of Laughing Buddha is a way to show respect and honor to him. It also helps to purify the air and create a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Practice meditation: Meditation is a powerful tool to connect with the energy of Laughing Buddha. Sit in front of his statue, close your eyes, and focus on his jolly and peaceful presence. Imagine that you are absorbing his energy of happiness and abundance.

The symbolism of number 10 in the Laughing Buddha

The number 10 is a significant symbol in the Laughing Buddha. It represents perfection, completion, and a full circle of fulfillment. Here are some of the ways in which the number 10 is symbolized in the Laughing Buddha:

  • 10 Children: One of the most common poses of Laughing Buddha is that of him surrounded by 10 children. This symbolizes the idea of a full and abundant life, with 10 being the number of completion. The children also represent fertility, happiness, and prosperity.
  • 10 Coins: Sometimes, Laughing Buddha is depicted holding or surrounded by 10 coins. This represents the idea of wealth and abundance, with the number 10 being the perfect number for financial success.
  • 10 Fingers: In some depictions, Laughing Buddha is shown with 10 fingers, which is a symbol of his spiritual power. It represents his ability to heal, bless, and dispel negative energy.
Number Symbolism
10 Perfection, completion, and fulfillment
10 Children Fertility, happiness, and prosperity
10 Coins Wealth and financial success
10 Fingers Spiritual power, healing, and blessings

By understanding the symbolism of number 10 in the Laughing Buddha, we can gain a deeper appreciation for his energy of happiness, abundance, and good fortune. Let us incorporate these ideas and harness the power of Laughing Buddha to invite more joy and prosperity into our lives.

What Does Laughing Buddha Symbolize?

1. What is the story of Laughing Buddha? Laughing Buddha, also known as Budai or Pu-Tai, was a Chinese monk who lived over a thousand years ago. He was known for his joyful, carefree demeanor and his round belly. His teachings were focused on living a simple life with contentment, kindness, and generosity.

2. What does the Laughing Buddha statue represent? The Laughing Buddha statue is a symbol of happiness, good fortune, and abundance. It is a popular image in many cultures and is often found in homes, businesses, and public spaces. The statue is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who display it.

3. Is the Laughing Buddha associated with Buddhism? While the Laughing Buddha is not a traditional Buddhist figure, he is often associated with Buddhism. This is because his teachings align with many Buddhist principles, such as mindfulness, compassion, and detachment from material possessions.

4. What is the significance of the Laughing Buddha’s belly? The Laughing Buddha’s round belly is a symbol of contentment and abundance. It is said that rubbing his belly can bring good luck and prosperity. The belly also represents the Laughing Buddha’s ability to digest the negativity in the world and transform it into positive energy.

5. What are some other symbols associated with the Laughing Buddha? In addition to his belly, the Laughing Buddha is often depicted with other symbols of good fortune, such as a bag of gold, a fan, or a bottle of wine. These items represent wealth, success, and happiness.

6. What are some common practices associated with the Laughing Buddha? Many people believe that placing a Laughing Buddha statue in your home or workplace can bring good luck and positive energy. Some people also offer food or incense to the statue as a sign of respect and gratitude.

7. Can anyone follow the teachings of the Laughing Buddha? Yes, anyone can incorporate the teachings of the Laughing Buddha into their life. His message of simplicity, kindness, and generosity is universal and can be applied to any faith or philosophy.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading about what the Laughing Buddha symbolizes! His joyful spirit and teachings of contentment and abundance are a reminder to appreciate the good things in life. Whether you display a Laughing Buddha statue in your home or simply try to live a more mindful and compassionate life, there are many ways to incorporate his teachings into your daily routine. Don’t forget to visit again for more interesting articles!