Thursday, August 20, 2009

Does the Buddha Have a Big Belly?

Q: Why does the Buddha have a big belly?

A: The Buddha is not depicted with a big belly in Tibetan or Indian art. The big belly seems to be a Chinese thing. [Addendum: My Chinese cultural consultant says that the big-bellied Buddha is most certainly Maitreya, the future Buddha. The big belly represents being full of potential.]

In Tibetan and Indian iconography, you can clearly see the Buddha represented in a slender and fit body.

1 comment:

  1. 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."