The Origin Of Rubbing Buddha’s Belly For Good Luck


Whenever you go to those Asian businesses, there is an excellent chance that you’ll see those fat golden smiling Buddha statues that hold coins. These cute golden statues are believed to bring fortune, wealth, and prosperity. Most people, especially business owners, rub the belly of these statues to “activate” its good luck charms. So, where does this practice comes from? What is the origin of rubbing Buddha’s belly? What does this mean? Well, read further, and you’ll know why.

The First Belly Rub

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The Origin Of Rubbing Buddha's Belly For Good Luck
The Origin Of Rubbing Buddha’s Belly For Good Luck

This practice, or should I say habit, started first as ancient Chinese folklore. According to legend, if someone rubs Buddha’s belly, prosperity and good luck will occur to the one doing it.  This belief was developed from the Chinese proverb of the laughing Buddha, which is the Chinese patron of the sick and weak. Nobody knows what the name of the person who started this habit was, but surely, this little belief sure does exist for a long time, even today.

Buddha and Budai

The Origin Of Rubbing Buddha's Belly For Good Luck
The Origin Of Rubbing Buddha’s Belly For Good Luck

If you think that the golden chubby Buddha that you see in Chinese businesses is the same as the one in Buddhism, you are wrong. You see, this one which is the bringer of good luck is not Buddha but Budia, which is also known as Budai Luohan or Hotei.

Budai is also called as the laughing Buddha and is probably the next person to become Buddha after Gautama Buddha. Budai is also incorporated not just in Buddhism, but in other religions as well like Taoism and Shintoism.

In Japan, Hotei is also considered as one of the Seven Luck Gods, or Shichi Fukujin. And become a symbol of prosperity, luck, and plenty. He is also depicted to hold an Uchiwa, or a Japanese flat fan. In China, he is also considered not just as a patron of the sick and weak, but also of children.

Budai’s Personality

Budai is always depicted as a chubby, bald person wearing a big smile. And has a bag of gifts of good fortune and precious things, much akin to Santa Clause. These gifts usually consist of food, candy, and other things which he gives out to people in need. The most prominent feature of Budai is his bulging belly, which a robe is usually draped all over it. Budai’s overall image symbolized not just the ones mentioned above, but also of happiness and generosity. I always remember Santa Clause whenever I think of Hotei.

What Brings You In Rubbing Buddha’s Belly?

The Origin Of Rubbing Buddha's Belly For Good Luck
The Origin Of Rubbing Buddha’s Belly For Good Luck

If you want to bring laughing Buddha for your business or your house, it is a common belief to rub its belly regularly. Thus, this is to ensure that you will always bring good luck to your premises, as well as your life. Also, rubbing the statue’s belly is believed to bring in good luck, as well as granting your wishes.

For people who have businesses, rubbing the statue’s belly ensures that more customers will come in and bring profit you. Do not forget that every time you rub the statue’s belly, always have a positive mental attitude if you want those benefits to befall upon you.


Rubbing the Laughing Buddha’s belly gives you good luck and prosperity. And it also provides you with motivation and a positive mental attitude to face your day. It also works as a subtle motivation medium to start your day positively, which can increase your chances of meeting bad luck and stress. All in all, rubbing the laughing Buddha’s belly is a tremendous psychological enhancer to make you positive throughout the day.

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