Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Laughing Buddha

I got the idea to have a Laughing Buddha in my house from a book by the late Susan Jeffers (I only found out recently that she died in 2012...) - I love her work. She had such a positive outlook, and her writing is so humane and warm and joyous.

While I was aware that Buddha figurines come with different facial expressions, I had never stopped to consider the meaning of the Laughing Buddha. I light the tealight in my serenely-smiling-Buddha-tealight-holder on a daily basis and love the sense of peace. Now there is a second, tiny, fat Buddha on my desk (moved to the windowsill occasionally), and he is laughing so hard that more than half is face is mouth. [I bought him from a soft-spoken man in a Christmas jumper in an angel shop that Matt the scientist bravely entered with me but had to leave after a few minutes of New Age Overwhelm.]

Jeffers had several Laughing Buddhas in her home and garden, and they acted as reminders to "Enjoy the feast", as she calls it (embrace the blessings of this world), to not worry about the future, to not take life so seriously. 

We were in a garden centre at the weekend, and I was tempted to get one of these guys for outside (or possibly inside - I may have temporarily overestimated the size of my rooms):

Jeffers said her outdoor Buddha never ceased to amaze her, laughing in the rain, in the baking sun - even if a tree fell on him, he would be laughing. "He represents the part of us that is in tune with the Grand Design. He doesn't try to control the chaos.[...] He stays open to a constant flow of 'joyous survival' versus 'turbulent survival'" (p. 194, Embracing Uncertainty, Hodder Mobius, London 2003). I had to think of that when my Buddha sat on the windowsill looking out at the craziness of the storm outside... and laughing.

It is such a small thing (literally, with my Buddha), but it makes a huge difference. There are written reminders and mantras all over my house, and words are powerful, but so are visuals, and the big laughing mouth instantly activates the part of me that may need reminding to lighten up.

Matt got me a maneki-neko with a solar-powered beckoning arm which fulfills a similar purpose - it certainly makes me smile every time I see it!


  1. Oh, I love the reminder of the laughing Buddha I got one a few months back for my desk at work (he sits just under my computer monitor), it has helped a lot to not take things too seriously...

    1. Isn't it amazing how having him in your field of vision while you work serves as a drip-feed reminder to lighten up? So effective! x