Laughing Buddha Folklore, History and Symbolism

Laughing Buddha has the power to bring luck, happiness, success, prosperity and better health. He has the gift of curing diseases and bringing wealth.

In the Chinese Buddhism, Laughing Buddha is a “Budai”, which serves as an immediate mood lifter having a smiling appearance. He is believed to bring good omen for the families as he is related to Feng Shui.

Who is Laughing Buddha?

Most foreigners have this curiosity to know how a bald looking with fattier tummy deity can be associated as the Laughing Buddha.

This is dated back to the 10th century when we can see the description of the Budai.

The story somewhere mentions about a monk that had some mystical powers and had special powers like foreseeing the climate, etc.

This monk was known as Ch’i-Tzu and is believed to be then known as the laughing Buddha that came later than the original Buddha.


The phrase has various associations but before that, we need to understand two words Maitreya and Pu-Tai i.e.

Maitreya –> Friendly, compassionate

Pu-Tai –> gunny sack –> a lot of good things

Laughing Buddha is the deity that is friendly and compassionate towards everyone & carries a sack full of good things like health, wealth, prosperity and happiness.

Speaking about the appearance, it is portrayed as having a fattier tummy with a bald appearance carrying a big smile and wearing a gown. He is believed to be the protector of poorer and needy.


As per the Buddhist tradition, the first look of Budai might be of someone who is bald or having a fattier tummy but in the true sense, he is one of the most dominant deities.

He carries a gunny sack along with him which is believed to have:

  1. Wealth, Prosperity, Success
  2. Cure for diseases

It is believed in the Feng-shui that if someone rubs the belly of the budai, this brings good fortune for the person.

This is, however, a very old folk saying, but this is not preached in the Bodh or Buddha teachings.

History and Origin

The Bodhi literature dates back to know that the Laughing Buddha is also known as the Maitreya Buddha.

History and Origin of Laughing Buddha
History and Origin of Laughing Buddha

Before gaining status, he was a Buddhist.

It is said that he entered the inner mountain for self-cultivation, but one day he encountered a flood that destroyed most of the food sources in the mountain.

He was starved to death on the mountain for at least 7 days.

A group of rabbits saw him dying. The rabbit mother knew that he was the future Buddha who would liberate the world.

The rabbit mother immediately led the group of rabbits into trouble. Fire came to provide him with his flesh to sustain his life.

When he saw the “cooked” bodies of rabbits, a mountain spirit told him about these rabbits and their purpose.

After hearing the voice of the mountain spirit, he felt the deep pain in his heart. He said:

“I would rather be burned, becoming blind, committing suicide, being tortured instead of eating animal meat”

From that day on, he vowed to heaven that in his future rebirth as a human being, he would never kill, eat meat and sympathize with compassion.

Until he became a Buddha.

In the Chinese Mahayana custom, there is the conviction that this Bodhisattva showed up in human structure in China during the Sui or Tang Dynasty (more than 1000 years back).

In that sign, he showed up as a fat priest who lived essentially and was known for his amazing thoughtfulness and persistence.

The reason why he is called Budai is that he generally laughs. Then again, as per China’s exceptional legend, he is the eventual fate of Maitreya Buddha.

As mentioned in Buddhist literature, Maitreya was an Indian. He was the disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha.

After Sakyamuni Buddha anticipated that he was going to turn into a Buddha, he went to paradise and is presently a divine being.

Mythology and Devotion

Every single Buddhist sculpture is the insightful & representative articulations of the Buddha lessons, intending to instruct us on the implications & lessons of Buddhism.

Mythology and Devotion
Mythology and Devotion

All things considered, we should realize that the sculptures of Buddhism are intended to train the help and imaginative portrayals of our actual inward nature and the development of excellence we tried to accomplish.

They are not intended to be sculptures of divine beings for worshiping.

As we come to understand the intrinsic importance of Buddhist descriptions, we will value the modernity and culmination of its instructive qualities.

Also named as Hotei, he is one of the revered seven fortune gods of Shinto, also whose identity is praised as the lord which blesses with richness in the Chinese Taoism.

Prayer to God

I make this prosperous, gracious, and glorious incense offering

To the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

To the Lama, the Yidam, and the Dakini.

Budai Types and Images

Laughing Buddha is classified into having different forms and it is important to make you all aware of those forms and which Budai is important to be placed at different places.

  1. Holding Wo Lu: This Buddha will be holding a Wo lu in his hand, which is believed to take away all the bad energies in the house. This brings positivity and longevity in the lives of people.
Laughing Buddha with Wu Lou
Laughing Buddha with Wu Lou
  1. With Gold Coins: This Buddha will be having gold coins in his hand, which is believed to bring wealth and prosperity. Also, Good fortune is carried with this Budai.
Laughing Buddha with gold coins
Laughing Buddha with gold coins
  1. On a Dragon Tortoise: If you are confronting issues with your career, then you should have the Budai sitting over a dragon tortoise. In Feng-Shui, North direction is depicted as a house for career and education. Place the Buddha in that direction.
Laughing Buddha on dragon tortoise
Laughing Buddha on dragon tortoise
  1. Laughing Buddha with Children: People who are looking to plan for their family and they are looking for getting child, then this statue should be kept ideally in the west direction of the bedroom as this benefits the progeny.
  1. Crystal Budai: For someone who wants to increase his wisdom and wants to be wise and knowledgeable than the Crystal Buddha should be kept in either the center of the house or where the person studies.
Crystal Laughing Buddha
Crystal Laughing Buddha

All these forms have different characteristics, and all of them have their significance in terms of granting wealth, good luck, peace, and prosperity.

Now, this will, give you some idea about the different types of the Laughing Buddha and which one should be kept at home.

Buddha: Where and How to place at home?

We would be postulating some of the important guidelines regarding the placement of the Laughing Buddha and where should it be placed.

In Eastern Direction

The eastern side in our house is said to be the family karma spot. If you need to acquire friendliness and bliss for the family, place the idol toward this path.

On the off chance that you need to acquire patience and happiness the family, places the idol toward this path.

It isn’t just about riches, a Budai can bring help regardless of whether your family is encountering inner struggle, disputes, and conflicts.

At Work or Study Room

Putting Laughing Buddha around your study area in the study room is said to assist you with finding brilliant possibilities with your ability.

Students can put this idol on their study table with the goal that they can get more focus and exceed expectations in their learning accomplishment.

Likewise, this idol is notable in assisting in the anticipation of debates, fights, and disputes with associates, subordinates, and bosses.

How to place the Budai?

Although the idol is a Feng Shui thing, it has tremendous importance in our lives. Buying its idol won’t do the magic.

Putting it in the correct position is required.

To bring serenity, substance, and good karma it is prescribed to put a Laughing Buddha at your home.

It is viewed as favorable to light a candle in front of him. It is trusted that he satisfies his desires.

Place the Buddha in the main corridor in such a way along these lines that it tends to be seen by everyone when they sit in the lounge room.

It is said that it settle differences and clashes among the relatives.

On the off chance that you place the Buddha confronting the Sheng Chi course, it is accepted it acquires wealth and encourages self-improvement.

It likewise empowers you to accomplish your objective rapidly.

Putting Him in the Southeast direction of the lounge area, room, and main corridor will build the emoluments of the family.

Keeping Buddha in the workplace brings realistic awareness & removes all your worries off.

If you put Buddha around your work area, it will assist you with fulfilling your yearnings and wants.

What are some important points to avoid bringing bad omen?

  1. Laughing Buddha is worshipped in Feng Shui so you should hold Him with high regard.
  2. Do not place the sacred idol in the washroom, kitchen or directly on the floor.
  3. Do not put the idol in the car or any electronic devices
  4. Make the idol reachable to your eye level, It should always come at your line of sight
  5. Do not place the statue over the television, or maybe in similar places.

Attracting Positive Energy and Bringing Prosperity

We would be providing some valuable information regarding the budai which attracts the positivity and brings prosperity to everyone in the families which places them accordingly in their houses.

Some of the mystic powers that are exhibited by the budai are already shown above but, other statues are the carriers of the positivity, good fortune, & good health.

Let’s give you an understanding of several other such forms of Budai.

At the point when the Budai is shown in the Southeast Sector of the main corridor, lounge area or room of your home, he will bring relatives extra fate and extra income.

For those in serious professions or high positions, for example, CEO’s or government officials.

A Feng Shui Buddha set in the work environment or family will serve to gather vibes and wipe out opponents’ belongings.

Placing the idol as mentioned in the Feng-Shui will remove all the negative energies in the house.

To predict dis-loyalties and contentions with associates, show this Feng Shui item around your work area busy working.

This will allow you to excel in your profession.

For understudies who are trying to seek an improvement in the educational side, a Feng Shui Laughing Buddha situated in the study room will permit you to achieve your scholarly goals.

If your family experiences arguments and pressures, at that point a picture or statue of the Laughing Buddha will take care of these issues.

Just place him in the East direction or an area where he can be seen when everybody is lounging around in your main lobby.

A thing that is generally observed with the Laughing Buddha figure is an asking bowl to speak to his Buddhist nature.

In certain scenes, the Laughing Buddha might be discovered sitting on a truck drawn by young men or using a wish giving’ fan.

These pictures show Hotei as a wandering priest who goes around and takes the misfortune from individuals of this world.

Summon Laughing Buddha with Offerings

Budai, doesn’t need any offerings being the enlightened one, however, we do make offerings to keep our negative energy aside and get the positivism from the Buddha.

Hence you can offer a deeya or a candle in front of the statue, to remove the darkness that is in our minds and hearts, Accept the goodness and positivity.

Also, this light will enlighten our minds with wisdom and good health and will bring prosperity to our lives.

Offer incense stick as it not only spreads the aroma but also promoted good conduct in ourselves, as the aroma enchants us, we should be enchanting others with our good efforts.


Everyone in their life is looking for good fortune, positivism and getting great wealth, but it should be known that this happy looking deity likes selflessness.

Laughing Buddha is the protector figure which cures people of their sickness and bringing fortune for them.

However, if you don’t treat it properly or place it at places where it shouldn’t be; can lead to misfortune as well.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Does Laughing Buddha bring Luck?

It is believed that while rubbing the tummy of the Buddha you get good fortune, wealth and prosperity.

Can Laughing Buddha be kept in the Bedroom?

It is said that the budai should be kept in the Southeast direction of the bedroom, this position brings a lot of wealth and happiness.

Can we buy Laughing Buddha for ourselves?

Yes, one can buy the statue of the Laughing Buddha for himself, it is not only something that can be gifted to others.