Are there different Buddha?
If you’ve walked into a Buddhist temple, you may have seen a lot of different statues and this may have led you to wonder if there is more than one Buddha?
Well the answer is both yes and no! Most Buddhists, when talking about Buddha are talking about Prince Siddhartha, who 2,500 years ago, left his life of luxury in search of a way to end human suffering. After many years of trying different pathways, he became ‘enlightened’ and became Buddha. He is the Buddha commonly depicted in art and is usually shown seated, of regular build, with very long earlobes and either a pointy head or bobbly bits on top of his head and a spot in the center of his forehead.
The other Buddhas
But it’s likely you will also notice other statues inside Buddhist temples. This is because Buddhists believe that 27 Buddhas came before Prince Siddhartha, though these Buddhas all lived in pre-ancient times. Buddhists also believe that a Buddha called Maitreya, will be the Buddha of the future. This explains why in some temple doorways, you may come across a statue of a jolly-looking man with a very large tummy and no hair!
This man was actually a Chinese monk nick-named Pu-Tai (cloth sack). He’s a character from stories of old who became known as The Laughing Buddha. During the 10th century, he is said to have helped those in need and given sweets to children from the sack he carried. And, some stories say that just before he died, he said he would return to become Maitreya, the next Buddha.
Did you know?
The Laughing Buddha is seen as a symbol of wealth and generosity rubbing his tummy is believed to bring good luck!
By Deborah L. Caine (Whyzz writer)