Why is Buddha Fat?

The most commonly held belief for the origin on the Chubby Buddhas is that they were inspired by a portly Zen monk who suddenly appeared in China in the mid 800’s (CE). No one seemed to know where he came from, how he arrived or much about him. When asked he stated that his name was ChiChe which translates to ‘Knowing This’. He had an ample belly but also carried a large cloth sack, similar to the American Santa Claus. When he was asked how he achieved nirvana he would silently lay upon his sack, when nirvana was achieved he would arise, and remain silent, never giving any explanation. He is most likely the reason for the Fat Buddhas popularity, as the statues became popular after stories about this monk were circulated. An authentic Fat Buddha is often named Hotei, Pu-Tai, or Mi-Le-Fo, the last of which means cloth sack