Laughing Buddha is lucky because it is believed to be. In Japan, it is believed to be Hotei (and is called that), who is one of the Seven Lucky Gods.
People in West think that Laughing Buddha is a form of Gautaum Buddha, the god worshipped in Buddhsim. The legend, according to the followers of Buddhism, however, is totally different.
Laughing Buddha was a Buddhist monk who lived in China some thousands of years ago. He was called Budai, and was beloved of all because of his distinguishing characteristics. Unlike other Buddhist monks who embraced the life of renunciation, Budia used to celebrate life and always stay happy.
There was always a smile seen on his face no matter what the situation was, and that’s how he came to be popularly called as Laughing Buddha. Budai always tried to promote happiness when he was alive but when he died, people cried a lot. But he had a solution even for that. He had already hidden fire crackers in his robes before dieing. So when he was cremated, fire crackers bursted, thus turning the moruning of death into the celebration of life.
And it is this legend that makes Laughing Buddha’s statue in homes and offices lucky.
It is often said that it is lucky only when it is gifted but it doesn’t matter whether it is gifted or bought. It will bring you good luck. Rubbing the protruding belly of the statue is considered to be auspicious and the beads around his neck are symbolic of wisdom.
The cloth bag that Laughing Buddha carries is said to contain all the distress and sorrow that it takes away for people’s lives.