The Laughing Buddha in Many Chinese and Thai Restaurants
I really enjoy eating Chinese and Thai food. I have often seen a statue of the “Laughing Buddha” displayed near the entrance. One day, I asked the owner to explain why so many restaurants have this statue.
She told me that people like to have fun when they go out of their homes to eat in restaurants. It is important for restaurant owners to know that people are having a good time. The Laughing Buddha statue often makes visitors laugh when they see it. It reminds them that our days should be spent having joy and appreciating the good things in our life.
What Good Things?
I asked the restaurant owner what she thought were the good things in our life. She told me:
You can see
You can hear
You can talk
You can walk
You have food and a home
You are not in a war zone
She Told Me About the Ant
Most Buddhist parents tell their children about the ant. It is well-known that the ant has a good attitude. This attitude allows it to carry many things that are heavier than itself. When the ant carries something like a grain of rice, this is a great act of courage and determination. He is the best ant that he can be. But, when a horse carries a grain of rice, it is not such a great achievement. Each person can be an ant and do the best that he or she can do.
For students and adults alike, some tasks allow us to be ants. We pull out ‘all the stops’ and struggle to get things done. On other days, we meet a new task and it is NOT difficult. On those days we are horses and if we have compassion and kindness, we can see those ‘ants’ struggling and try to help them.
Pu-Tai – the Laughing Buddhist Monk
Each Buddhist monk reflects or lives the way of The Buddha. The laughing Buddha is not the original Buddha, but the Buddha certainly wanted to make people laugh. His life was about helping others, being kind and laughing.
Pu-Thai was a real person and a Buddhist monk who followed the ways of his master, the Buddha. He would visit villages in many countries and tell people about the Buddha. He always brought candy (sweets) and surprises for children. He liked to laugh. When he knew he was dying – he called his monks and told them to burn his body. This was unusual at the time as monks were buried.
When he died, they followed his wishes. Wow, were they surprised when they set fire to his body – fireworks went out in all directions.
The happy monk had hidden fireworks and rockets in his clothing. His cremation caused much laughter and those watching knew that he was happy in the next world.