Hotei, the Buddha smiled.

Hotei is believed that, originally, was a Buddhist monk who lived over 1000 years. According to tradition, was a loving man of good character and, because of his benevolent nature, he even considered an incarnation of the bodhisattva Maitreya (Future Buddha), but this assumption was only as allegorical type, rather thanks to his prominent belly and smile, turned out to be caricatured as the “fat Buddha.” Generally, Hotei is an adult bald laughs or smiles and is dressed in a robe that leaves exposed a big belly (symbol of happiness, good fortune and fulfillment).In Chinese mythology, the stomach is considered the platform of the soul and, therefore, the big belly can be considered an allegory of the great heart of Hotei. All these images have to Hotei as a nomadic monk who travels everywhere and that takes away the sadness people. In general, it is a character that is very easy to feel sympathy. Hotei is admired for his happiness, fulfillment and, apparently, by his wisdom. A belief concerning the figure of Hotei in oriental folklore is that if a person rubs his belly to a figure, gets wealth, good luck and prosperity. This belief is not part of the Buddhist canon. In China, Buddhists have adopted Hotei in the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon as the Smiling Buddha and his image can be found in the reception room of many Buddhist monasteries. Ch n temples usually have Hotei located at the entrance or garden. A Hotei has been attributed the title of Buddha Maitreya because of a poem that was supposedly written on his deathbed and which reads: Maitreya Maitreya Everyone is looking to Maitreya They do not realize That he is here. During the Liang Dynasty, the figure of Maitreya was very popular due to political turmoil since many revered Buddhist Maitreya hoping that soon came to spread the Dharma throughout the world. Buddhists took the time to explain that Hotei poem from the outset had been Maitreya and, therefore, the wait was futile, and, consequently, he attributed the title in the popular traditions.Most contemporary Buddhist now regard the poem as an allegory Hotei: should we seek personal salvation in the present moment, not in an imaginary future. As stated in the introductory paragraph, in Japan Hotei is seen as one of the “Shichi fukujin” Seven Shinto gods of luck. It is believed that he is the only member of the seven that is based on a human. When Buddhism began to enter Japan, and the Buddhist missionary monks were raising awareness of the message and the path of Gautama Buddha in the Japanese islands, they developed a way for your message calara deeper among the natives (who practiced Shintoism .)The monks only had success when they gave testimony of Buddhist principles, using the Shinto kami. The kami were the Shinto gods and were worshiped as such by believers. Buddhist monks announced their ideology to Japanese natives by using the kami as examples of Buddhist practice. As a result, Buddhism was accepted in every corner of Japan, and one of these demonstrations, wine Hotei. The statues, amulets and statues of Hotei have become well known in the West.

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