Hoi Tai God of Contentment and Happiness

Budai 布袋               Laughing Buddha 笑佛          Ho Tai          Hoi Tai
Kaishi         Ho-Tei-Shi

The celestial Buddha named Hotei or Pu-Tai is best known as the jolly Laughing Buddha. In China, he is known as the Loving or Friendly One. He is based on an eccentric Chinese Ch’an (Zen) monk who lived over 1,000 years ago and has become a significant part of Buddhist and Shinto culture. Because of this monk’s benevolent nature, he came to be regarded as an incarnation of the bodhisattva who will be Maitreya (the Future Buddha). His large protruding stomach and jolly smile have given him the common designation “Laughing Buddha.””

Pu-tai followed the spread of Buddhism into other parts of Asia. In Japan he became one of the Seven Lucky Gods of Shinto and is called Hotei. He also was incorporated into Chinese Taoism as a deity of abundance.

“Laughing Buddha” is not Buddah.  He is known in Japan as Ho Tai

His name means ‘Cloth Bag’ and he is never seen without his bulging cotton sack, stuffed full of goodies like an oriental Santa Claus.”  “After his death he was elevated to god status by the Daoists.  The pronunciation is ho – long o, and tai like tie”  That pronunciation tip is for the name used by the Japanese “Ho Tai.”  The other names used in other countries have their own pronunciation.

The celestial Buddha named Pu Tai or Ho Tai is popularly known as the ebullient Laughing Buddha. He is well-known in China as the Loving One or the Friendly One. The Laughing Buddha is actually a Chinese monk Ho Tai who is believed universally to be the re-incarnation of Lord Buddha. This monk has lived for more than thousand years and is believed to be a significant part of the Buddhist and Shinto culture.”

The Story of Pu-tai

The Laughing Buddha, also called the Celestial Buddha, is fat and jolly. He is shown carrying a rough-hewn sack that never becomes empty, from which he gives away that which promotes joy and happiness. As Pu-tai or Budai in Chinese folklore, Hotei in Japanese and Hasne Buddha in Nepali, the Fat Buddha is poor – in the material sense – but rich in knowledge and empathy.”

Agreement and disagreement about Ho Tai, Pu Tai, Laughing Buddha, Friendly One, Cloth Bag or whatever name, label, descriptor or nickname one prefers.

I owned a Ho Tai statuette of the fellow back in the mid-1960s until a few years ago when my porcine pal disappeared. The label on the bottom of his perch stated he was “Ho Tai” and “For good luck rub my belly.”

I do not recall how I came to possess him but I dragged him with me.

Due to his small size (around six-inches high) and low weight due to being molded from plastic he was allowed to reside in a box within the closet while I was away protecting y’all from the Commie hordes and driving semi-truck.

Poking through Web pictures, hundreds of ’em, I have yet to see one that looks akin to my departed Ho Tai.  That sucketh. None of the Ho Tais I view now are as appealing to me as the original. I also note the many style variants available now with many bearing an appearance much more akin to Buddha than Ho Tai.

There IS confusion as to the who, what, where, why and how of all that is Ho Tai.

As with so MANY topics, subject matter, etc. There are writers who do not bother with any topical research regarding what they write or post– even if the post is merely a picture.

“The Laughing Buddha also has a Sanskrit name that indicates he was believed to be symbolic of the Buddha of the future, Maitreya, who guides people to the essence within each one that reveals the truth of the interconnectedness of all Creation. Depicted in Chinese murals as representing the tenth and most evolved stage of enlightenment, he easily shares the ‘secrets’ of self-liberation with humour and simplicity, as a people-friendly enlightened master. As an agent of happiness and generosity, Maitreya reveals to the seeker that heaven is not something out there but only waiting to be discovered within, even as one ekes out an earthly existence.”

Dharma Data: Laughing Buddha




There is more than one way to pronounce Hotei. Follow the link below to listen to one of the ways to pronounce Hotei:

Click me and hover over the speaker symbol to hear an English version of pronouncing Hotei


Hello people. It is the Disgruntled Old Coot returning for another update of this blog entry. Thank you to the many folks arriving to take a peek. There is a constant flow of folks arriving according to the WordPress electronic brain that counts the number of visitors to this entry. It is possible that only one or two people keep coming back. That makes no difference. Hoi Toi is too busy spreading good cheer to be concerned with mere numbers of visitors to this site.

The spirit of Hoi Toi or Budai or whatever name you choose to use when referring to the pudgy pleasant fellow whose life is a fine example for others to emulate.

Have a groovy day and peace, health and contentment to all. And, enough wealth to fend off a lack of the necessities for a decent existence is also a nice thing to have in our lives. In the USA and elsewhere where profit is the prophet of those with immense wealth and power over people and systems it is sad that their never-ending greed and an army of lackeys who do their bidding make life more difficult than it needs to be for the masses of despised common folks.

Here are some old and new visuals of  how various folks view, imagine or interpret how Budai appeared. We know that it was Budai’s words and deeds that were truly important but humans are a visual species and and pictures are appealing, can be fun and stimulate the imagination. They also help us remember the friendly fellow and, perhaps, assist us in emulating his positive attributes.

A huge “Thank you” to all who drew or sculpted or photographed the pictures below. If you desire the source of a particular graphic try the Google Image Search feature. Most of the graphics have multiple sources but the search will lead you to either the original source or, possibly, more information about Budai or whatever name you choose for the guy.

A reminder… Hoi Tai, Budai, whatever name used… he was not and is not a “God.” He was a monk who lived an admirable life and was admired by many and is a respected person… not a God or anything other than a mortal human as we are.




































































Look who survived the earthquake and tsunami:


Budai Hoi Toi


September 2019….

Found floating upon the Web… a graphic expressing a possibility. Possibly factual or done for other reasons that would be mere conjecturing on my part. It is fun to think that a person actually experience the event described below:


laughing buddah Japanese

So, here I share the graphic with you. Maybe it will travel across the Web bringing happiness to a multitude of folks!!!


*****Update October 2019*****


Found at: West Speak East

A Laughing Buddha

…Hotei lived in the T’ang dynasty. He had no desire to call himself a Zen master or to gather many disciples about him. Instead he walked the streets with a big sack into which he would put gifts of candy, fruit, or doughnuts. These he would give to children who gathered around him in play. He established a kindergarten of the streets.

Whenever he met a Zen devotee he would extend his hand and say: “Give me one penny.” And if anyone anyone asked him to return to a temple to teach others, again he would reply: “Give me one penny.”

Once he was about his play-work another Zen master happened along and inquired: “What is the significance of Zen?”

Hotei immediately plopped his sack down on the ground in silent answer.

“Then,” asked the other, “what is the actualization of Zen?”

At once the Laughing Buddha swung the sack over his shoulder and continued on his way.





Buddha Hoi Toi















laughing Buddha 777






The Laughing Buddha of Dalat, Vietnam



  1. Hmmmmm…………

    Derned’ if I know.

    If any term is used I would prefer “megapost.”

    A “post among posts”!!!

    A post leaving the majority of posts in the dust.

    A post worthy of accolades. A chorus of hallelujahs and hosannas.

    A post lauded by those that can offer lauds; hopefully heaps of lauds.


  2. Thank you for this history! My husband and I spent more time than expected finding the perfect Hoi Toi for our garden. When we did, he had beads and a small sack. While looking up the meaning of these, your blog came up.
    Very helpful and appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Enjoy your happy rotund fellow!!! Legend tells us he did good in the world and is worthy of emulation. Folklore says that rubbing his belly brings good luck. May good luck, health and happiness come your way… whatever the source.


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