Hotei (also known as Budai) is often commonly referred to as the laughing Buddha. He is jolly and joyful with a smile on his face and often holding symbols of abundance. In Japanese culture, he is one of seven Japanese Shinto-Gods - the God of Contentment and Happiness as well as Abundance and Luck. He's also the patron of children, bartenders, and fortunetellers. Perhaps with my psychic abilities, that last one explains why I've always felt so drawn to his image. Rubbing his belly is said to bring luck. Some believe he was also a bodhisattva (a person on the path to buddhahood).
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.
Felix Lichtenfeld from Pixabay