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The image of the Laughing Buddha is based on a wandering Chinese monk, Budai (Hotei, in Japanese) who lived centuries ago and is believed to be Maitreya, or the Buddha to come. The statue's plump figure and benign countenance suggest contentment, magnanimity and plenitude. The Laughing Buddha is seen in different postures, each having a different significance. These statues signify love, prosperity, safe travels, health, spirituality and happy family. Minor variations and imperfections add to the unique character of each piece.