Zen Christmas

A lot of people think jolly old Hotei is Buddha.

Listen up Americans! This is not Buddha!

He’s really more like Zen Santa Claus. He’s also responsible for one of the most awesome Zen parables ever.

The primary story that concerns Budai in Zen (Chán) is a short kōan. In it, Budai is said to travel giving candy to poor children, only asking a penny from Zen monks or lay practitioners he meets. One day a monk walks up to him and asks, “What is the meaning of Zen?” Budai drops his bag. “How does one realize Zen?” he continued. Budai then took up his bag and continued on his way.

First you drop everything.

Then you pick it all up again and head back out into the word, handing out candy and Dharma and taking pennies from monks.

I hope you get lots of candy and give lots of pennies this Christmas.

One Response to “Zen Christmas”

  1. mgindin Says:

    Great telling of that great koan, and a wonderful idea for Zen Xmas fusion.
    I find myself frequently explaining who Budai/Hotei is to my friends who ask me “Why is the Buddha so fat?” Thanks.

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