Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hotei in the Garden

Our garden Buddha sits in a sunny alcove, smiling under a canopy of antique rose and buckthorn leaves.  Birds serenade him in early morning, and rabbits visit him at twilight.  Bumbles and dragonflies buzz around him, spiders knit him into their webs, and sometimes butterflies land on him.  There is a steady rain of grass clippings, maple keys, leaf dust and falling needles from the tall evergreens swaying to and fro, way up over his head.

The old guy looks as though he is carved from stone, but he is actually made of polyresin, and he weighs only a pound or two.  I discovered him in the window of a thrift shop years ago, purchased him for a dollar or so and brought him home where he presides over the leafy enclave behind the little blue house from early April until late October. Since I am not supposed to pick up or carry anything weighing more than five pounds this summer, the big garden Buddha will stay in the garden shed until next year when I will be able to cart him outside myself and park him under the roses. This Hotei is not alone though - there is a polyresin sandhill crane nearby in a fetching shade of blue.

Often called simply the "Laughing Buddhha", Hotei is based on a wandering 10th-century Chinese Buddhist monk named Budaishi, thought to have been an incarnation of Maitreya, the Buddha still to come. Maitreya comes from the Sanskrit maitrī  meaning "loving-kindness". The old guy in our garden is revered as a god of contentment, the guardian of children, also (for some strange reason), the patron of bartenders. On his back, he carries a bottomless bag of food, drink and coins with which he assists those in need.  He holds a fan which has the power to grant wishes, and he sometimes holds a mala or Buddhist rosary.

No matter what kind of day I am having or how I feel, Hotei smiles from his leafy bower, and he makes me smile too.  That is something beyond price.


Tabor said...

I love that he is the patron of bartenders. Those who hold everyone's problems and secrets

My Journey To Mindfulness said...

I love mine.
Bought at a nursery closing for $5 and is concrete.
Sits on the deck where I can look out and enjoy continually year round.
Had my son placed him there and someone would have to move if moved.
Need to place some pots next to him in this sunny area :)
He needs to be surrounded by plants..

Jennifer said...

He's such a jolly looking fellow!