Hotei's image is often confused with the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, but this is inaccurate. Hotei is based on a wandering Chinese Chan Buddhist monk who carried a cloth sack. His names in Chinese and Japanese literally mean "cloth sack." He lived from 830 to 902 CE. It is said along with his worldly possessions, he carried candy in his sack, which he distributed to children to generate happiness. It is also said his main teaching method was laughter.
Hotei is now a symbol of joy, luck, and abundance. It is especially auspicious if he is given as a gift to another, conferring luck and abundance on the receiver. Place him at or above eye level (never on the ground) in your home or business to cultivate joy and abundance.