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Significance of Laughing Buddha Statues

Updated on February 3, 2015
What is the significance of a laughing Buddha?
What is the significance of a laughing Buddha? | Source

The Meaning of the Laughing Buddha

Recently on my trip to Bhutan, I purchased few statues of Laughing Buddhas as gifts for my friends. They were very happy to receive the gifts, as they all knew that this is statue brings good luck.

But, beyond a general sense of good luck, we were not sure what exactly the statue signified. Also, while all of the statues were laughing, none of them resembled one another.

In my curiosity, I set out upon a quest to find out the significance of the statues, and now I would like to share that information with you.

Laughing Buddhas Mean Good Health

Laughing Buddha figures generally signify health, happiness, prosperity, and longevity. They appear to stand for the Buddhist notion that good life is indeed achievable in this world.

The Origin of the Laughing Buddha

It is believed that the Laughing Buddha is modeled on a historical figure of a wandering Zen monk. He is described as fat, with wrinkled forehead and a protruding belly, which he left exposed. Wherever he went, he carried a Bo Dai or cloth bag—this is how he came to be known as Budai. The legend goes that he used to carry candy for children in his bag.

Usually when people refer to the "Buddha" they are referring to Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince who became the founder of Buddhism in 520 B.C. The Laughing Buddha is not the same as Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. Laughing Buddha character is apparently based on an monk who lived more than 1,000 years ago.

Fengshui Cures—The Positions to Place the Laughing Buddha in Your Home

Did you know that the Laughing Buddha is the most popular fengshui cure used worldwide? All Fengshui bagua (energy) areas benefit from the energy of the Laughing Buddha.

According to these fengshui practices, here is where you should place your figurine:

  • For wealth: You need a statue of the Laughing Buddha holding ingots in his hands. Place it in the home's southeast section, the area associated with money.
  • For good health: You will need a statue of the Laughing Buddha holding a wu lou (a gourd with a red ribbon—a symbol of good health and longevity) in his hands. Place it in the east side of your home.

It is also a good idea to have a statue for your children's room, as the Laughing Buddha is considered the patron of children.

Whenever you place any object in your home as a fengshui remedy, it should be made of the right element. All materials nurture certain materials, but harm others. A metal Buddha placed in the north sector of your home is an outstanding choice, but the same statue placed in the east sector will not bring beneficial results, as metal cuts wood.

For ready reference, the residential bagua map is given here to help you decide on which material is best for your figurine, depending on where you plan to display it. Both the element's productive and destructive cycle should be also kept in mind while choosing the correct material.

Summary of the Productive Cycle

  • Water nurtures wood
  • Wood nurtures fire
  • Fire nurtures earth
  • Earth nurtures metal
  • Metal nurtures water

Summary of the Destructive Cycle

  • Water weakens fire
  • Fire weakens metal
  • Metal weakens wood
  • Wood weakens earth
  • Earth weakens water

The Elements Associated with the Cardinal Directions of Your Home

  • North is associated with water
  • Northeast is associated with earth
  • East is associated with wood
  • Southeast is associated with wood
  • South is associated with fire
  • Southwest is associated with earth
  • West is associated with metal
  • Northwest is associated with metal



Submit a Comment

  • BROTATI profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from Kolkata

    Thanks !! I have always been interested in fengshui and my recent trip to Bhutan fueled my interest in these statues.

  • kidscrafts profile image


    5 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

    Very interesting hub! I never heard of the laughing Buddha and never seen one! Thank you for adding some explanation about the laughing Buddha and fengshui. Thank you for sharing!


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