Many claim he makes problems disappear. Keeping the Laughing Buddha in the home ensures a happy home. Who does not want to be happy?
The Laughing Buddha has become a common and popular name for Budai. Some people from the West who are not familiar with Buddhism, may mistake the Laughing Buddha for Gautama Siddhartha, the Buddha.So there is no connection between Gautama Buddha and the Laughing Buddha.
Actually his name was Quieci. But everyone called him“Budai”. He was supposedly a Buddhist Zen monk who lived in China over a thousand years ago.He was different from all other monks. Quieci was a jolly fellow. He often laughed whole heartily and reminded everyone to enjoy life and stay happy. He was very much loved.
One legend tells a story illustrating the claim that Budai wanted people to stay positive and joyful. When the beloved monk died many cried.A huge crowd gathered around to take a last farewell with tears running down their checks. The fire was lit at the cremation ceremony. Then to the surprise of most mourners present there was a huge blast of fireworks.
Before he died Budai had secretly asked that firecrackers were hidden under his robe.That did that trick. All who were present at the cremation found themselves smiling.
Even after his death he reminded all present to celebrate life. Just before he died it is told he said the following:
MAITREYA, THE TRUE MAITREYA HAS BILLIONS OF INCARNATIONS. OFTEN HE IS SHOWN TO PEOPLE AT THE TIME; OTHER TIMES THEY DO NOT RECOGNIZE HIM.
These words are by some interrupted to make him an incarnation of the Maitreya.The Maitreya is the future and last Buddha who will bring ultimate love and enlightenment into the world.