Buddha Statue - Antique Thai Style Bronze Happy, Fat, Laughing Buddha Budai Statue - 42cm/17"

Discovering the Smiling Serenity: The Mystique of Budai Buddha


In the realm of Buddhism, one figure stands out for its jovial countenance and benevolent aura - the Budai Buddha. Also known as the Laughing Buddha or the Fat Buddha, this iconic symbol has transcended cultural and religious boundaries, captivating the hearts and minds of people around the world. Join us on a journey of discovery as we explore the origins, symbolism, and the enduring appeal of the Budai Buddha.

The Origin of Budai Buddha:

The Budai Buddha is often mistakenly identified as Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. However, Budai Buddha is a distinct figure with a rich history rooted in Chinese folklore and Buddhist traditions. Budai is believed to be a wandering monk who lived in China during the 10th century. His unconventional appearance, marked by his rotund belly and cheerful expression, has made him an endearing and instantly recognizable figure.

Symbolism of Budai Buddha:

  1. Abundance and Prosperity: Budai Buddha is often depicted carrying a cloth sack, which is said to be filled with treasures and gifts. This symbolizes wealth, abundance, and prosperity. The act of giving and receiving is central to Buddhist teachings, and Budai embodies this by spreading joy and abundance wherever he goes.

  2. Contentment and Happiness: The most distinctive feature of Budai Buddha is his infectious smile. His round face and laughing expression represent contentment and happiness. Budai teaches us to find joy in simplicity and to appreciate the present moment, regardless of life's challenges.

  3. Compassion and Generosity: Budai is often portrayed with children or surrounded by a group of followers. This symbolizes his compassion and love for all beings. His open heart and generosity remind us of the importance of kindness and selflessness in our own lives.

Thai Budai

Cultural Influence:

The Budai Buddha has transcended its Chinese origins and has become a global symbol of good luck, happiness, and prosperity. From East Asia to the Western world, you'll find statues and images of Budai adorning homes, businesses, and temples. In many cultures, rubbing Budai's belly is believed to bring good luck and fortune.

Modern Interpretations:

In contemporary society, the Budai Buddha continues to inspire people seeking balance and joy in their lives. Beyond its religious context, Budai's image has been embraced by those who appreciate the universal messages of happiness, generosity, and compassion. In a fast-paced world, the Laughing Buddha serves as a gentle reminder to find joy in the simple pleasures and to cultivate a heart full of compassion.


The Budai Buddha, with his infectious smile and symbolic gestures, transcends cultural and religious boundaries to offer a universal message of happiness, generosity, and contentment. Whether you encounter him in a bustling market in China, a serene garden in Japan, or a yoga studio in the West, the Laughing Buddha continues to radiate a sense of serenity that resonates with people from all walks of life. May we all find inspiration in the timeless wisdom of Budai Buddha as we navigate the journey of life with a heart full of joy and compassion.

Khmer Budai