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Hotei: Forget Bridget Jones, he is much cooler!

Whenever I see him, I think how adorable he is. Although Hotei is obviously too chubby and bold, he looks genuinely happy. I wonder if he ever went on a diet and what kind of food made him so fat!HoteiHotei came to Japan from China, where his name is Budai or Putai. Japanese are certainly good at mishearing words. Chinese characters are 布袋, which means “cloth sack”. Usually, but not always, Hotei is depicted carrying it. When he lived in China long time ago, before becoming a deity, he was a Buddhist wandering monk.A statue of Hotei in KyotoNow Hotei is one of Japanese Seven Lucky Gods, a deity of contentment and happiness, and a guardian of children. In different stories children always try to open his cloth sack and check what was in it. Among the most popular versions are food and goods for sale.Hotei

Hotei is also considered to be an incarnation of the Buddha of the Future. The latter, called Miroku Buddha in Japanese (and Maitreya in Sanskrit), was an important deity in early Buddhism in Japan. Members of Shingon Sect are still waiting for his advent. Well, Hotei is far too fat to resemble Miroku, but sometimes he is called the “laughing Buddha”.

Maybe we all should learn from Hotei to start loving our bodies and to be cheerful no matter what happens. I mean, this is a much more sophisticated than the musings of overweight Bridget Jones. Wait, did you just say you don’t know who is Bridget? Oh, you should definetely check out the famous “Bridget Jones’s Diary” by Helen Fielding. For me, Bridget by Renée Zellweger is just awesome, but man usually don’t take her seriously. So, next time I argue with my husband about gaining weight, I will definitely mention this monk instead of her.

Article by Olga Kaneda

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