Your feelings about Budai?

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Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Luke » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:56 pm

A lot of non-Buddhists whom I know think that Budai, the fat, jolly Chinese monk, was the historical Buddha. This mix-up annoys me a great deal. So much so, that I only feel irritation whenever I see a statue of Budai. It's not clear to me if Budai was a Buddhist master who actually existed or whether he is just a creation of folklore. However, since he represents some type of Buddha, I avoid saying anything bad about him.

What are your thoughts about Budai?

And maybe those of you who live/have lived in China or Japan could explain Budai's real significance to Chinese and Japanese Buddhists because I would be interested in understanding Budai correctly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budai
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:51 pm

Budai wants you to lighten up and not be so worried about it!

:rolling:

I have a friend & teacher who is a lama. He used to be the head of a monastery in Sikkim. Twice, when visiting, he has brought me small statues of this fat Buddha. he refers to him only as Maitreya. So, I have no problem with it.

Nobody knows what Sakyamuni Buddha looked like. However, most traditions have one style or another of representing the Buddha is a very dignified way, for use in temples and so forth. In the Tibetan traditions, there are very specific canonical guidelines for the formal representation of "sacred images", and about where they can be places and so forth.

But what if you want a Buddha in your garden, or one who can greet the visitors to your restaurant without making them feel like they are walking int a church? So, I think that is why this Budai fellow is so popular.

It is sometimes hard to explain to people who are not buddhists. Last year, some contractors were in my house to repair something, and one of them noticed the small Buddhist "shrine" I keep. he said to me, "I know a Vietnamese guy whose a buddhist, and every day he feeds his Buddha a bowl of fruit. What do you feed your Buddha?"

I had absolutely no idea how to answer this, only picturing Buddha as some poor wild animal locked in a cage.
Tibetan altars often have offerings symbolized by small bowls of water.

"Uhhhhmmmmm.....I give mine water" I told him.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:33 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Last year, some contractors were in my house to repair something, and one of them noticed the small Buddhist "shrine" I keep. he said to me, "I know a Vietnamese guy whose a buddhist, and every day he feeds his Buddha a bowl of fruit. What do you feed your Buddha?"

I had absolutely no idea how to answer this, only picturing Buddha as some poor wild animal locked in a cage.
Tibetan altars often have offerings symbolized by small bowls of water.

"Uhhhhmmmmm.....I give mine water" I told him.
.
.
.

:jumping:
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Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Luke » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:01 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Budai wants you to lighten up and not be so worried about it!

:rolling:

You might just be right, Mr. Samba! hehe

Well, I guess the problem comes from stereotypes of fat people in the west: we tend to think that they're stupid and lazy. So I guess when people mistake Budai for Shakyamuni, it annoys me that the implication seems to be that the historical buddha was a foolish gluton, but as we all know, he was anything but this.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:I have a friend & teacher who is a lama. He used to be the head of a monastery in Sikkim. Twice, when visiting, he has brought me small statues of this fat Buddha. he refers to him only as Maitreya. So, I have no problem with it.

Hmm, yes, seeing Budai as Maitreya eliminates all problems and transforms him into something very extraordinary!

I should ask my lama about this when I see him next.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:But what if you want a Buddha in your garden, or one who can greet the visitors to your restaurant without making them feel like they are walking int a church? So, I think that is why this Budai fellow is so popular.

Hmm, I see what you mean...

PadmaVonSamba wrote:It is sometimes hard to explain to people who are not buddhists. Last year, some contractors were in my house to repair something, and one of them noticed the small Buddhist "shrine" I keep. he said to me, "I know a Vietnamese guy whose a buddhist, and every day he feeds his Buddha a bowl of fruit. What do you feed your Buddha?"

I had absolutely no idea how to answer this, only picturing Buddha as some poor wild animal locked in a cage.
Tibetan altars often have offerings symbolized by small bowls of water.

"Uhhhhmmmmm.....I give mine water" I told him.

Hehe. Or you could have freaked him out and said something like "He got very thirsty after eating all that fruit so he told me to give him now water instead." lol
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Infinite » Wed May 02, 2012 12:37 am

I can't look at Budai without a smile emerging. The fellow is just so jolly it is hard not to get a smile at his ludicrous smile. I have found it helps when I get frustrated during meditation or anything in life just to take a look at him and have a good laugh. I always feel much better afterwards. Even when I was younger and didn't know who Budai was when I saw him it always brought a smile to my face as a child. I am pretty weird though. :twothumbsup:
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed May 02, 2012 1:36 am

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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed May 02, 2012 1:38 am

I found these a while ago while surfing the web for Buddha images. Kinda creepy, but I like them.
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laffing04.gif (30.43 KiB) Viewed 1067 times
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Luke » Wed May 02, 2012 2:14 pm

From wikipedia:
"According to Chinese history, Budai was an eccentric Chán monk (Chinese: 禅; pinyin: chán)[1] who lived in China during the Later Liang Dynasty (907–923 CE). He was a native of Fenghua, and his Buddhist name was Qieci (Chinese: 契此; pinyin: qiècǐ; literally "Promise this").[1] He was considered a man of good and loving character."

Does anyone know where I can read more biographical info about the Chinese Chan monk Budai?

Do most Buddhists scholars think that he actually existed? Is there any proof?
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Bonsai Doug » Wed May 02, 2012 3:17 pm

Try doing an Internet search for "Hotei," which I believe is a preferred pronunciation.
You'll find a wealth of info on Hotei.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Infinite » Wed May 02, 2012 4:03 pm

Bonsai Doug wrote:Try doing an Internet search for "Hotei," which I believe is a preferred pronunciation.
You'll find a wealth of info on Hotei.

Hotei is just the Japanese pronunciation.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby kirtu » Wed May 02, 2012 4:40 pm

Luke wrote:A lot of non-Buddhists whom I know think that Budai, the fat, jolly Chinese monk, was the historical Buddha.


In Hawaii he is taken as a representation of Bodhidharma (although if people don't know you they'll just gloss it and call it Buddha).

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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed May 02, 2012 7:54 pm

He is the Buddhist Santa Claus.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Infinite » Wed May 02, 2012 10:20 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:He is the Buddhist Santa Claus.

Pretty much. I didn't realize people stressed this much over a fat, jolly fellow who gives vague answers and candy.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby LastLegend » Wed May 02, 2012 11:38 pm

Budai is the monk who was a manifestation of Maitreya Bodhisattva.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

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must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Luke » Fri May 04, 2012 7:37 pm

Bonsai Doug wrote:Try doing an Internet search for "Hotei," which I believe is a preferred pronunciation.
You'll find a wealth of info on Hotei.

I didn't find any detailed info. All I found was a lot of short explanations of Hotei from questionable sources.

Does anyone know any teachings which some very respected Buddhist teachers gave about Hotei? You know, like Ven. Master Sheng Yen Sen, Thrangu Rinpoche, etc.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems to me like the most respected Buddhist teachers never talk about Hotei.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby kirtu » Fri May 04, 2012 8:01 pm

Luke wrote:Which some very respected Buddhist teachers gave about Hotei? You know, like Ven. Master Sheng Yen Sen, Thrangu Rinpoche, etc.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems to me like the most respected Buddhist teachers never talk about Hotei.


Hotei, Budai is common people's Buddhism. It's a tradition or more accurately a folk custom found from at least California through Japan and Chinese diaspora East Asia.

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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Luke » Sat May 05, 2012 5:44 pm

kirtu wrote:Hotei, Budai is common people's Buddhism. It's a tradition or more accurately a folk custom found from at least California through Japan and Chinese diaspora East Asia.

Are you saying that there weren't any stories aobut Budai until modern times (say, the 1900s or 1800s)?

I would be very curious if the scholars around here could tell me what the earliest Buddhist text is which refers to Budai. Or when the oldest statue of him was made.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat May 05, 2012 11:30 pm

Luke wrote:
kirtu wrote:Hotei, Budai is common people's Buddhism. It's a tradition or more accurately a folk custom found from at least California through Japan and Chinese diaspora East Asia.

Are you saying that there weren't any stories aobut Budai until modern times (say, the 1900s or 1800s)?

I would be very curious if the scholars around here could tell me what the earliest Buddhist text is which refers to Budai. Or when the oldest statue of him was made.


He is one of the Buddha's 18 arhats, or origina disciples;
http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/chin/lu ... ann13.html
and is said he will return as Maitreya.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby Luke » Sun May 06, 2012 1:41 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:He is one of the Buddha's 18 arhats, or origina disciples;
http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/chin/lu ... ann13.html
and is said he will return as Maitreya.

Ah, thank you very much for that link! That was the most intelligent article about Budai that I've read so far and it made me see him in a much more positive light. Now Budai reminds me that Buddhist masters don't need to have a serious demeanor.

The 16th Karmapa certainly seems to have had some Budai-like qualities when he was in certain moods.
Image

So now I don't need to resent Budai so much and can see him as a symbol of real Buddhist qualities and not just foolishness! I should work harder to bring more joy to others.
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Re: Your feelings about Budai?

Postby kirtu » Sun May 06, 2012 3:21 am

Luke wrote:
kirtu wrote:Hotei, Budai is common people's Buddhism. It's a tradition or more accurately a folk custom found from at least California through Japan and Chinese diaspora East Asia.

Are you saying that there weren't any stories aobut Budai until modern times (say, the 1900s or 1800s)?


I don't know, but he is folk Buddhism.

earliest story
Or when the oldest statue of him was made.


Me too.

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