Laughing Buddha all his life taught people only one thing- Laughter. Hence he got the title Laughing Buddha. Laughter is a pure and higher state. The laughter Laughing Buddha meant was the Spiritual Laughter- one that comes when you understand the whole game of life. But initially just start laughing in your own way till the laughter becomes very Natural amp; finally Spiritual.
Laughing Buddha had a method to his so called madness. He would go to the town square, distribute all his sweets to children. He would then keep his huge bag down, and just start laughing. Laughing for no reason and laughing through his belly. Everyone around him would also start to laugh. Laughter is so contagious, imagine the whole town laughing. His work for done, now he would pick his bag and move to the next location. All his life he did just this act. And what a spiritual act, it was.
He would rarely speak and once when he was asked to describe his method he told, that he gave sweets to children to symbolically that the more you give, the more comes to you. Thereby he unveiled the secret of “Giving with joy”. Children are said to be GOD because they represent the GOD Nature, which is always, be in Present time, smiling and joyful, ego less, and most important is without judge mental mind.
The bag represented problems that all humans encounter. We are mistaken that when we have problems, that GOD only gave you a problem and the rest are so happy. The problems appear big because we are associated with it- calling it as “My Problem”. Look at a funny phenomenon, if anyone comes to you with any problem of theirs and seek solutions or advice, what you do. You tell them so many solutions so easily as though you are an expert in all the fields in the Universe. However big the others problems are you can solve it so easily, you are a master solver of problems. But then what happens to your own problems. Hmm Hmm it is impossible to find any solution. This happens only because of your attachment and association with the problem. So laughing Buddha said, simple keep your problem down (symbolically keeping the bag down) means “Disassociate with your Problem”, “Separate form it” and yes just Laugh. What else can one do? Think and thank GOD that you only have such a small problem as compared to so many others. Whether you laugh or cry the problem is going to be there right. So why not laugh at it. Therein is the magic and mind you no small magic, it is huge, apply it to realize about the power of laughter.
On laughing your whole internal chemistry changes and thereby the body produces certain enzymes that are only released in a state of laughter. The problem now looks too tiny and as you pick it (symbolically he picks back the bag before going to the next place) the problem is solved.
Such a great zen master was Hotei or Laughing Buddha. So next time you look at the statue of “laughing Buddha” associate with that great teaching he gave all of us, the power of laughter. Each time you see the Laughing Buddha and if it reminds you to laugh, a great work has been done.
Whole life Hotei lived in Laughter. And when the time came to pass away, he knew he had to give up his life at an appropriate time. He called his disciples and said that after he passes away, they should immediately burn his body. The disciples were surprised because there was no tradition of burning in Zen. But they followed the master wishes. And as they lit fire to his body, “Fire Works and Crackers” started flying all over. Hotei was so great that just before he died he hid a lot of crackers and rockets in his clothes. So there also he created such laughter by the suddenness of the situation. So Hotei not only lived in laughter all through his life, he also died in laughter. When one realizes about Death fully, then one can laugh truly.
Let us all learn from the great zen master that “It is our birth right to laugh” and “No matter what happens we should come back to laughter”.
Salute to one of the greatest spiritual masters of this world.