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Pu-tai


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(10th c.).

A Ch'an monk of the Five Dynasties period (907–60) of whom very little is known but whose image has become very famous. His name means ‘cloth bag’, and derives from the cloth bundle that he carried on the end of his staff. Traditional sources describe him as very fat and of unrefined and free speech. One story relates that he kept small pastries and sweets in his bag, which he would give to children; as his supply gave out, he would beg money in order to buy more. Later Chinese tradition identified him as a manifestation of the Bodhisattva Maitreya.the future Buddha. His image—fat, jolly, with robe hanging open exposing his considerable bulk—has become widely recognized as the ‘laughing Buddha’ seen in many homes and businesses. It is popularly believed that rubbing his stomach brings good fortune. See also Hōtei.

Subjects: Buddhism.


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