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The Daily Dharma – June 22, 2021

Resin Sculpture of Laughing Buddha with 5 Children by fengshuisale

Happy Chinaman

Anyone walking about Chinatowns in America will observe statues of a stout fellow carrying a linen sack. Chinese merchants call him Happy Chinaman or Laughing Buddha.

This Hotei [another name for the Laughing Buddha] lived in the Táng dynasty. He had no desire to call himself a Zen master or to gather many disciples about him. Instead, he walked the streets with a big sack into which he would put gifts of candy, fruit, or doughnuts. These he would give to children who gathered around him in play. He established a kindergarten of the streets.

from 101 Zen Stories
as printed in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

To be continued . . .