The Laughing Buddha: meaning and position according to Feng Shui

More and more of us are looking to attract luck near where we live... and that's completely normal!

House or apartment, the place where you live necessarily marks you deep within yourself and must therefore be filled with as much positive energy as possible. The place where you live is also the place where you create the most memories, and arguably the place that is most likely to make you happy.

If there is one teaching that is interested in the energies of the home, it is the Chinese spirituality of Feng Shui!

Among the many tools and decorations that she puts at our disposal, there is one in particular that will interest us today: the Laughing Buddha.

Contents :

First of all, who is this laughing Buddha?

But in fact, why does Budai laugh?

Interests of the Chinese Buddha and use in Feng Shui

The meaning of the laughing Buddha position

The meaning of Budai accessories

Where to place the Chinese Buddha according to Feng Shui?

Conclusion about our character

Discover this article in video format

Chinese statue of Budai with his big belly and jovial smile.

First of all, who is this laughing Buddha?

Also known as Budai (in China), Bo Dai (in Vietnam), Hotei (in Japan) Chinese Buddha, many people place a small representation (usually a statuette) in their home for worship. attract luck. The testimonies around the Laughing Buddha are simply astonishing: some speak of an almost instantaneous feeling of appeasement, others of a gradual but very powerful energetic rebalancing.

The Laughing Buddha is in fact the representation of an ancient monk who lived more than a thousand years ago. Originally from China, we are therefore talking about a historical character who once walked the same land as us!

Like many Chinese lucky charms (of which you will find some examples here), the one that will interest us today is therefore based on a legend, yes, but a legend which has its roots in reality... Interesting!

In short, despite his title of Buddha, he has nothing to do with the founder of the Buddhist religion, Siddhartha Gautama. However, there is a link between these two characters…

Indeed, certain branches of Buddhism consider Budai to be a “passing” incarnation of Maitreya Buddha who, according to tradition, will one day succeed Siddhartha Gautama to become the next guide in a future age.

This point of view can be understood: despite an appearance full of good nature, the spirituality of this character is rather deep.

Chinese folk legends tell us that this friendly character is based on an eccentric and jovial Chan monk who once lived in the Middle Kingdom. It was his joy of life that earned him the title of “Laughing Buddha”.

Characterized by an infectious serenity, this man had a profound impact on the Asian imagination, notably founding the school of Zen Buddhism in Japan, creating numerous monasteries wherever he went and influencing the development of Feng Shui and Taoism.

Two statues of the Buddha and a Buddhist thangka from Asia

The precepts of the Buddha

by Buddhist jewelry and lucky charms


But in fact, why does Budai laugh?

As mentioned just before, we know that the Chinese Buddha was known for his joy of life... But why depict him laughing?

If we look at this statuette for example, we can even see him laughing, bursts of good humor emanating from his attitude.

Apparently, he liked to wander from one place to another in China. When he arrived in a new town, he would gather in the main square and chat with the people.

The legends present him as a character so funny that each individual in the crowd crowded around him had a big smile on their face. He distributed sweets to children and shared his savings with the poorest so that his bag was quickly emptied.

Once he had nothing left on him, he looked at his empty bag… and started laughing. His outbursts of good humor in the face of apparent poverty created such a disconnect that it didn't take long for everyone who had gathered to start laughing too.

In a short time, the whole town was laughing but, above all, understanding an essential message: material possessions are worthless and will not make us achieve happiness.

Once his teaching had been transmitted, the Laughing Buddha took his things and moved on to the next city. Thanks to him, many people made better decisions in their lives and improved their karma. It is often said that the precepts of Budai enabled thousands of people to reach nirvana.

He was given the title of Buddha a posteriori for the simple reason that he lived an enlightened and enlightening life for others. His laugh was infectious, as was his view of the world. Never before nor after him did a wise man know how to transmit his thoughts by such a simple and effective means.

If the life of the Laughing Buddha is a subject that speaks to you, you might like this article listing some anecdotes about his life and history.

Cabinet filled with feng shui-related tools and accessories surrounding a bronze Buddha statue.

Interests of the Chinese Buddha and use in Feng Shui

Feng Shui is an ancient spiritual doctrine that is simply fascinating. Many people choose to make it their life's subject of study and work and thus become true specialists. We do not necessarily have this pretension, but we still show enough knowledge to have assembled this collection of tools and symbols specific to Feng Shui. So take a look if this type of teaching interests you.

The Laughing Buddha is supposed to represent the joyful being sleeping deep within us that expresses itself, the liberated being that we must when we see the truth of who we are, the being that accepts to look at the void and understands through him that the suffering that holds our mind comes only from futile thought patterns.

In itself, Budai represents the freedom and joy that each of us can access once we have enough detachment from our personal problems.

If we follow this philosophy, we will live a life that is less stressful and more easily filled with laughter and happiness.

In addition to the teachings of the Chinese Buddha, we can also benefit from more “concrete”, more tangible effects. In fact, the art of Feng Shui has looked at this figure and, without too much surprise given the character, notable effects have been found.

Under certain conditions, the figure of Budai can really help us from a financial point of view. As if by magic, it can bring us wealth and luck. This may seem surprising given the story of the man that we told you just before, but it is indeed the case.

In general, the meaning of the Laughing Buddha is that of a powerful lucky charm that knows how to attract good energies (and by extension luck) into our homes and homes. Luck, abundance, success, health: the benefits it can bring us are numerous and, for the most part, priceless.

In addition to this type of precious effect, a Budai statue is always a pretty decoration full of good humor, the smile of this paunchy character bringing a sparkling touch of life.

Budai statuette that we offer on our store in certain categories linked to Asia.

The meaning of the laughing Buddha position

After what you have just read, you must suspect it... Yes, the Chinese Buddha is very appreciated and its representations are undoubtedly one of the most popular decorations of Feng Shui. Some people also choose to benefit from its effects all day long by turning to lucky pendants of this type.

We can also find them almost everywhere around us. So take a look in the offices where you work, in your friends' living room or in the restaurants where you like to eat and, in all likelihood, you will come across it one day or another.

Like everything that is widespread, this Chinese lucky charm has had several variations which provide additional nuances. Indeed, the meaning of the Laughing Buddha can depend on a whole bunch of different things.

Nowadays, we can find him in different positions, holding different objects and displaying different attitudes. It is essential for you to understand all these symbols in order to choose the Budai that will suit you best and meet your expectations.

If you want to know the meaning of your Laughing Buddha position, here is a list of the main ones

  • When in a normal sitting position, he represents love and wisdom in human relationships.
  • Sitting in a meditation position, the meaning of the Laughing Buddha is that of clarity of mind and thought and tranquility.
  • Seeing it standing is synonymous with greater wealth and respect for its owner.
  • Finally, Budai sitting on a turtle (or on a dragon for certain models) is linked to success, particularly in studies.

Little laughing Buddha dressed in a red robe and holding a bag full of gold.

The meaning of Budai accessories

The physical appearance of our character is generally the same. As in these few photos, you will in fact almost always see him bald and fat, his protuberant belly dressed in a loose monk's robe and his neck decorated with a prayer bead necklace.

It is also interesting that there are several types of Buddha (you will find an article here which deals with the subject)

However, as noted above, our paunchy monk is often represented with accessories. Far from being trivial, they always carry a precise message and can radically change what your lucky statue will be used for.

Here are some of these accessories:

  • The bowl : Symbol of begging, the bowl reminds us that Budai was above all a begging monk. Thanks to him, he could earn enough to live and eat. Thus, the bowl represents a strange duality between the renunciation of material goods and the great abundance that follows this decision.
  • The empty bag : Without too much surprise, the bag represents the traveler's life. This reminds us that he traveled throughout Asia to transmit his teachings. An empty bag therefore invites us to also share with others what we have understood about life.
  • The filled bag : When the bag is filled and held on the shoulder, the message of this accessory is that the Chinese Buddha can collect your problems and carry them for you. He somehow fills his bag with your misfortunes to let joy enter your life.
  • Beads : In China, beads are considered a meditation tool. Sometimes called “pearls of wisdom,” some of them are said to bring us prosperity and wisdom if we meditate on them. Thus, they show the long meditation sessions specific to the life of a monk.
  • Gold : Gold is a very precious material associated with wealth. When it comes in the form of an ingot held in the hands of the Laughing Buddha, it is believed to offer success in business to its owner. Gold in the form of nuggets will rather be used to attract luck in general.
  • The fan : Seeing Budai holding a fan is synonymous with happiness and joy. Buddhists say that waving a fan well can ward off misfortunes and negative energies like the wind. In this way, we can create more serene atmospheres in the homes where we live.
  • The ball : Sometimes the Chinese Buddha is shown holding a ball. For many, this represents the “total and perfect” nature of his philosophy. Thus, this accessory brings notions of wisdom and intelligence.
  • Children : When surrounded by children, this lucky charm is used by those who want to become parents. Placed in a bedroom, it would increase fertility and above all ensure a peaceful life for future children.

Yi Jin compasses, a bracelet with the symbol of Yin and Yang and a Feng Shui bagua mirror

Energize yourself and your home

with the help of Feng Shui and its tools


Where to place the Chinese Buddha according to Feng Shui?

Despite some contextual variations, we see that Budai is mainly associated with luck, happiness and wealth. It is therefore absolutely not surprising that it is used (and even loved, let's say it) all over the world.

After all, who doesn't dream of a happier, luckier life, more career success and sparkling energy every day?

All this could well be brought by the Chinese Buddha... Provided we use it in the right way!

Indeed, Feng Shui teaches us that its placement and position play a key role in how its powers will impact (or not) our life. As this short guide shows us, it is in fact all the objects in our house that will have to respect precise rules regarding their location.

Some lucky charms work on their own and, after acquiring them, you just have to wear them to benefit from their powers. It is therefore not the case with those from Feng Shui.

Place them anywhere in your home and you might just negate their effects, or even reverse them altogether. The rules that you will now receive are therefore essential and must be followed with the greatest caution.

The Laughing Buddha for luck

If you place your statuette in front of the front door of your house, it will attract luck for all its inhabitants. In particular, if it is placed on a table such that it is at handle height, its aura will prevent negative energies and entities from penetrating inside.

From a more technical point of view, Feng Shui advises us to place it in the direction of Sheng Chi if we want this luck to impact our inner and spiritual development.

Place the Chinese Buddha in the southeast sector of your entrance hall, your dining room or a bedroom so that family members can see their situation improve.

The laughing Buddha for studies

A student's office is a very important place for the success of their studies and future career. Putting a Budai there will help to reduce the stress and tension specific to exams and major competitions.

Some masters even say that “the meaning of this position of the Laughing Buddha is that of excellence”. Concretely, this means that a lucky statue well placed on a desk can help with memorization, the acquisition of new knowledge and, ultimately, success.

Feng Shui actually tells us that this type of Buddha helps us to have a clearer mind and to push away what could slow us down in our work.

In particular, students who need creativity (typically certain branches of literature or human sciences) will be able to benefit from this effect by finding ideas more easily thanks to greater clarity.

The laughing Buddha at the office

Placing a Chinese Buddha in your workplace is a known technique aimed at eliminating tension between colleagues. If you unfortunately sometimes witness conflicts, quarrels or arguments, you have found the solution you need.

Budaï acts inside the company… but also outside! Indeed, it will protect unreliable partners and certain types of attacks specific to the business world.

In addition, your employees will benefit from the same effects as those mentioned for students. This increased clarity will make communication and work much easier and more enjoyable.

If this use interests you more than the others, here are five tips for properly arranging your office according to the principles of Feng Shui.

The Laughing Buddha for wealth

It is said that keeping a Buddha in your living room will help the family in general grow and maintain wealth.

Many manuals (sometimes very old) teach us that to maximize its effects, it must be placed in the south-east direction of the main living room.

If you own a business, it may be a (very) good idea to leave it near the counter or your receptionist's desk.

The Laughing Buddha for family relationships

If your family suffers from arguments or tensions, then the Chinese Buddha could also come to your aid.

Simply place a representation in the eastern sector of a room frequented by all members of the family (typically a living room or dining room), in full view of everyone. The meaning of this position of the Laughing Buddha will therefore be that of family unity and cohesion.

If your child is boisterous or even disrespectful, putting him in his room might also be a good idea. Indeed, Budai helps with concentration and develops qualities of respect and listening in individuals.

Other tips to increase the effects…

Here are some tips and things to consider when looking for the best position for your Laughing Buddha:

  • May 8 is considered the best day to bring home a statuette of one. People say that he was born on this day and to celebrate his birthday he will fulfill all your desires. Some advise lighting a candle in his honor.
  • As a general rule, it is a good idea to put the Budai in a place where all members of the family can see it. Aside from certain special cases, reserving one's powers to one person could create an imbalance vis-à-vis others.
  • If you rub his big belly every morning, he will like it very much and he will brighten your day with his blessings.

…and some warnings about the position of your Laughing Buddha

There are many lucky charms from Feng Shui. Often, they stand out for their complexity and the precautions to take into account before using them.

In fact, poor placement could completely reverse the effects of your tool. Some testify of curses and great misfortunes coming to them after an unconscious use of ancient Chinese symbols.

Even though the Chinese Buddha is an excellent remedy for our problems and anything that can prevent us from achieving happiness, so we must use it intelligently. If you are not sure you have understood everything correctly, do not hesitate to reread this article or even ask us your questions directly.

As it is always good to cross-reference sources, we also invite you to consult other sites such as the Wikipedia page dedicated to Budai.

Here are our last tips (but not the least important):

  • Just letting this Buddhist figure and his powers into your home won't magically take away your worries, you also need to place him cleverly (as we described to you just before).
  • In some branches of Buddhism, Budai is considered a powerful deity. We must therefore show him respect and a certain love. Treating this type of figure well is essential if you do not want to attract the wrath of some people.
  • Out of respect in particular, you should never place your lucky charm on the ground.
  • A statue representing him should never be placed on a surface that is not perfectly horizontal. If in doubt, check using a level meter before moving your Buddha.
  • It is strongly recommended not to leave the Buddha in a bathroom. He would apparently be rather modest...
  • Having lived in a traditional era where our modern technology had not yet damaged souls, Budai does not support electronic devices (televisions, computers, etc.). He can be in the same room as them but must under no circumstances touch them directly.


In this article, we talked about the importance of Budai (another name for our man), the origin of this strange figure, the different models that exist, the meaning of the different positions that he can adopt in the house... and a whole bunch of other things.

A statuette of the Buddha necessarily carries meaning. Associated with symbols such as the lotus, the elephant or a Japanese garden, it brings a Zen atmosphere conducive to the awakening of the soul.

More than just an interior decoration, a statue of the Laughing Buddha is a spiritual messenger capable of placing us on the path to enlightenment, a benevolent guardian who will chase away demons and negative energies.

In short, Budai will be a valuable ally.

Discover this article in video format

Lucky charms presented in this article:

Laughing Buddha statuette

Laughing Buddha statuette

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Budai pendant

Budai pendant

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author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.