Tag Archives: Japan

Hotei – The Laughing God


In Japanese mythology, Hotei is one of the Seven Lucky Gods, and believed to be based on an actual person who carried a big bag full of food and goodies for hungry people and especially for children. In the Japanese spelling of “ho tei,” his name literally means “cloth bag.”

Hotei comes out of the Chinese Taoist-Buddhist tradition and is considered the God of contentment, happiness, satisfaction and abundance. He portrays the wisdom of being content and represents magnanimity, one of the seven Japanese virtues.

According to tradition, if you want luck and health, you must rub his statue’s tummy, which is big and always exposed. Occasionally you will see a statue of him with lots of laughing children clustered around and on him.

In the early 60s, my then husband was the physician aboard a troop transport going in and out of Okinawa. He brought home the one pictured above (and next). It is 16 inches tall, made of camphor wood and even almost 50 years later, you can still smell the camphor.


That started my collection of Hotei statues. Over the years of moving around, some of them have been lost. One small ivory one was a special one I hated to lose. This small bronze figurine and bell with Hotei as the handle are among the small ones that survived.


Many times he is depicted with his hands up in an expression of joy.


This one I made out of ceramic and painted with a glaze to look like stone.


Often, Hotei is shown in a seated position. He appears to be a very contented guy, with the bag by his side.


In my four trips to Japan, I found him in every shop, in all sizes and positions. He is probably one of the most popular of the Seven Gods. Here is one more that occupies a place of honor in my home.


As you probably suspect, I rub at least one of these tummies every day. I desire the contentment and wisdom he offers. I suggest you look up more information on the internet. There is so much more to be learned about him.

~ Sayonara ~

Kwan Yin


I made my first visit to the Far East in 1966. If there is such a thing as a past life, I discovered it there. There are several events that have stuck with me for the past 40 years plus to validate those happenings.

One of those uncanny situations revolved around statues in various forms throughout my travels. It wasn’t until years later when I moved to Hawaii, that I discovered the significance of Kwan Yin (Guan Yin, Quan Yin) in all her various poses.

I began this month of posting everyday with a short post on Mitzvah, stating that I am not of the Jewish faith, so I want to say I am not of the Buddhist faith, either. There are elements of both that I find valuable and incorporate into my own faith, however.


So it is in keeping with the blogging theme of this month that I return to Kwan Yin, the goddess of compassion, a bodhisattva who continues to teach me more about being a spiritual female.

I am a retired United Methodist minister who uses meditation in several forms. So I feel free to let Kwan Yin guide me in my inner evaluations.

When I need to hear it, she reminds me to be compassionate with myself as well as others.

She reassures me that unconditional love, what we preachers call “Grace”, is for all people, including myself.

She is a constant reminder that the blessings of human kindness, or Mitzvah, connect us all.


Most of all, she reveals the feminine face of God, and allows me to experience my faith in ways that are more meaningful in my life, ways that are real.

As I travel throughout the world, it is hard to forget that we are all One, all needing that touch of human kindness and compassion that Kwan Yin offers. What a wonderful way to look toward the new year of 2010!


A hui hou!