The Buddha of prosperity or the Happy Buddha is not to be confused with Siddhartha Gautama, who is also called the Thai Buddha or the historical Buddha!
Its origin dates back to the tenth century in China , during the Liang dynasty where a Buddhist monk named Budai (pronounced boudaye ) was appointed as an incarnation of Maitreya , the Buddha of the future.
Budai was paunchy, jovial, kind and generous. He is often depicted with a bag of valuables or with a jar full of wine!
Nowadays it is found in almost all Oriental homes, and it is considered a lucky charm, both material and spiritual prosperity. It is said that rubbing his belly brings richness and fulfillment.
His blessed nature, pudgy physique and his eternal smile has made him the quintessential god of abundance and happiness!
The Buddha of prosperity in hand-carved wood by Balinese artisans is available at Arasia.