Mi Lo Fu Happy Fat Laughing Money Buddha
People often ask me about the origins of Mi Lo Fu Buddha (布袋 Budai / 笑佛 Laughing Buddha / 胖佛 Fat Buddha / 快乐佛 Happy Buddha / Mi-Lo Fwo / Maitreya) image with my head on it. His nickname was “Cloth Sack” — Budai in Chinese. It’s actually a large original oil painting by Shanghai artist Yang who was inspired after learning of my trip to Mt. Jiuhua Buddhist Temple.
He painted this and surprised me with it.
I am fat. I have a large belly, and an (almost) bald head. Apparently, I smile and laugh a lot. Put this all together in China, and apparently it means I am the reincarnation of ‘Mi Lo Fu’ – the laughing happy money buddha – he’s also large fat and indescribably happy.
Because of the apparent similarities between my real body and that of Mi Lo Fu, I often (VERY OFTEN) have my belly rubbed by complete strangers (in elevators, shopping, bars & restaurants) — rubbing the belly apparently is good luck and brings wealth to the person rubbing. When in the south of China particularly, I often get dragged into wedding photos of couples I never met.