Hotei, happy Buddha:

It is thought that, Hotei, originally, was a Buddhist monk who lived over 1000 years ago.

He was a loving man, of good character and because of his benevolent nature, he came to be considered an incarnation of the bodhisattva Maitreya (the future Buddha), but thanks to his prominent belly and smile, ended up being caricatured as the "Buddha fat."

Hotei is admired for his happiness, fullness and wisdom. In China, the Buddhists have adopted him as the Laughing Buddha and, in Japan, he is one of the seven gods of good luck, god depicted as a fat, bald and happy god of satisfaction and commerce, the guardian of children and patron of diviners and waiters, wealth and good health.

An oriental belief relating to the figure of Hotei is that if a person rubs his belly figure, obtained wealth, good luck and prosperity, another custom is to leave it on a pile of coins to attract money.

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Automatically translated from Spanish language by computerized means. Kindly excuse any possible errors of wording.