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All that fried food. We chuckled, but I was inspired to learn more, and since my return home to the United States, I have been poking around to get the rest of the story.

It turns out that my friend was partly correct because the Fat Buddha was first depicted in China. However, my friend was also incorrect because fried food played no special role in his appearance. Rather, in traditional China and elsewhere, including once upon a time Europe , a chubby person signified good fortune and wealth, for reasons that make sense. Before there was a 7-Eleven or Piggly-Wiggly on every corner, those with a surplus to eat were, of course, doing well. Why not depict someone who was enlightened as fortunate and wealthy, i. Alas, in the modern world in which we all live, being overweight is a sign of poor health and a reason for scorn.

Oh well, I accept the modern connotations, and I visit a gym regularly, where most people scowl, including me. Another notion I encountered is that the Fat Buddha is simply a case of mistaken identity. Budai is a deity in Chinese folklore, with an occasional presence in Japan and Vietnam. He is invariably depicted as a fat and smiling guy, and people may have Budai and the Buddha mixed up. Be that as it may, depictions of revered religious figures for whom there is no photographic record always vary by time and place, not just in East Asia.

Who Is The Buddha? - The Story of Siddhartha Gautama

They do so in ways that speak, as it were, to people in these times and places. Those of us in the Western world know that images of Jesus Christ look very different from one another, including some that show him as blonde-haired and blue-eyed, a historical implausibility. Paintings of St. Peter sometimes show him with a full head of hair and sometimes bald.

Sometimes he has a beard, and sometimes he is clean-shaven. Even the much more recent Joseph Smith , who founded the Church of Latter-Day Saints, looks very different from picture to picture. Check out Google images to see what I mean.

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Indeed, there is a part of the brain, in the right temporal lobe, responsible specifically for facial memories. This fact is interesting to me because, in general, I have very poor visual imagery, except for faces. When I remember people, I can call to mind lots of facts about them and things that they have said.

But the only visual images I usually have are disembodied faces floating somewhere in my mind, kind of like the Cheshire Cat, described by Alice as a grin without a cat. Regular readers of my blog entries know that I write from the perspective of positive psychology , so you will not be surprised that I now turn the focus of this essay to iconic facial images associated with positive psychology.

The resulting composite looked more-or-less like Captain Kangaroo. Out of respect for my colleagues and friends, I do not include that image here. In any event, I doubt that an image of Captain Kangaroo as the face of positive psychology will ever catch on. We can all be grateful. But what we seem to have instead struck me as even worse. This iconography is terribly misleading because it equates positive psychology with the study of happiness and indeed with a superficial form of happiness.

All other things being equal, smiling is, of course, pleasant to do and pleasant to observe, but a smile is not an infallible indicator of what makes life most worth living. When we are highly engaged in fulfilling activities, when we are speaking from our hearts, or when we are doing something heroic or good, we may or may not be smiling, and we may or may not be experiencing giddy pleasure in the moment. All of these phenomena are central concerns to positive psychology, and they fall outside the realm of happiology. None of them is captured by a smiley face. The son of royalty, he renounced his wealth and position and lived as an ascetic.

So, he was likely increasingly lean while seeking enlightenment but likely not afterward. There is no reason to think he was ever chubby. This is a really great point. People think they always have to be happy but don't even understand that happiness can come from learning to be ok with being sad. I think most Westerners and Asian people alike are confused on this point. The fat Buddha never was Buddha. It was originally a Buddhist monk. He was kind of like a santa clause in a way, he would travel and offer gifts to people. I don't remember the whole story but Buddhist scholars, who have investigated this story more deeply, will tell you this.

The problem with asking the native people about it's origination is the same with asking Westerners. Over time the image has come to symbolize something other than its original intention. I tend to think of it as a merry Buddha.


He is based on a 10th century Zen Chan monk. After enlightenment, he wandered the city carrying a cloth sack, collecting small donations, and giving candy and small toys to children. Only two short sayings are attributed to him.

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Often he is shown to people at the time; other times they do not recognize him. Budai is thus revered as an example of generosity and happiness for all to follow -- how someone working towards Buddhahood might behave. I am gifted with a son and a daughter, who are well settled working professionals. After completing most of their schooling in the UK, they completed their graduation from the University of Japan. On hearing about my posting in this country laden with rich culture and heritage, I was most delighted as my travelling interest lies in visiting heritage sites; I had already visited the Akshardharm temple twice the last year.

A few places that draw me into revisiting them are the serene beaches of Goa, ethnic forts of Jodhpur and of course the quintessential Taj Mahal. The country is diverse to an extent that one tastes a different flavor with every site. Speaking particularly about the food in India, the Chicken curry and the Tandoori chicken at Bukhara Mauraya and Diya The Leela are epicurean delights.

A glass of wine with it completes the course. As far as my daily food routine goes, I prefer authentic Japanese or Korean cuisine with a touch of Indian fare at least twice a week. While in India, I believe in utilizing every opportunity to relish the local cuisine.

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My travel space primarily comprises of business meetings and other business driven activities besides a few leisure trips and so I am also blessed with the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of cuisines across the country. Being Japanese, I adhere to strict timelines. A typical day of my life begins with waking up at 6 am. A normal daily routine follows suit. As weekdays are solely dedicated to my business operations, I utilise my weekends to play golf.

While looking for an accommodation a golf course was my top priority. I live in an apartment in Gurgaon surrounded by two golf courses, which makes my passion for golf alive. India is amongst very few places where one can easily live a luxurious life. I have lived in Thailand for four years, UK for nine and Singapore for two years, but there are some luxuries of living in India that I have not enjoyed anywhere else in the world. My shopping catalog while in India mainly comprises of business suiting and leather bags.

It is a country of achievers which will continue to increase its impact on the world.

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Also, Gurgaon is a wonderful place to settle in life though I do wish that it gets better infrastructure. What I miss most is that unlike Japan, India enjoys only two seasons, the summers and winters with occasional midyear rain. Read more on President. Panasonic India. Daizo Ito. Follow us on. Download et app.