Monday, January 15, 2007


Does anyone know the folklore behind this pot-bellied Buddha? I know it’s an icon of good fortune and abundance, but that’s all I know about it.

Personally, I’ve always regarded it as a Chinese Santa Claus with a sack full of goodies. And what I love most about it is his cheerful disposition; not to mention it’s something that can be displayed all the time, unlike Santa Claus who goes back to the closet right after Christmas.

Nonetheless, I believe that for the most part, our fortune is already within us. We just need to develop the tenacity, confidence, and perseverance to follow our dream and make that fortune within us manifest out into the world.

For those still weighted down by disappointments, or worse, fear of failure, let us consider what others went through before they became successful in their respective endeavor:

Rodin was rejected three times by the art school he wanted to attend. His uncle labeled him hopeless and uneducable, while his father said, “I have an idiot for a son.”

Teachers of Enrico Caruso, the legendary Italian Opera singer, said he had no voice at all and devoid of any singing potential. His parents encouraged him to pursue engineering instead.

Francois Traffaut chose to work as a movie critic for many years because he was mortified of actualizing his dream to become a film director.

Georgia O’Keeffe labored as a commercial artist before she overcame her self-doubts to paint what was truly in her heart.

Maya Angelou once claimed that every time she started to write a new book, a sense of fear would engulf her. Although she had written eleven books, she would say, “Oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.” She overcame her fears by just doing what she had to do.

So the next time we’re confronted with similar mental hindrances, better we remember these folks and how they persevered to follow their bliss; thereby enjoying a life of abundance.

Art and Soul
By Pam Grout
Andrews McMeel Publishing

posted by Señor Enrique at 10:38 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard Einstein even failed a year in high school. It's amazing how man can transform himself when faced with adversity. There are also those who bloom late and find suddenly discover themselves.

I also know of a school drop out who became the Pres. of the Phils.. Oopps.. diyata kasali ang abnormality dito he he :)

January 15, 2007 11:15 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the glory of a man is not in his never failing but by rising up everytime he falls"

my thoughts :)

January 15, 2007 11:31 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

The pot-bellied "Buddhas" one sees in novelty shops and such are styled after Butei (Hotei in Japanese) , central figure of a koan, a monk who travelled with a bag of goodies slung over his shoulder, the contents of which he would spread out on the ground to delight others. "Butei's bag was almost as big as his belly." He carried bits of glass, stones, shiny things that children love. Somehow he became interchangeable with Sakyamuni Buddha in the minds of many western people. Both Sakyamuni Buddha and Butei would have objected to this most vehemently.


January 15, 2007 12:52 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard lots of stories like this and they surely inspire. In fact many great and famous men had lived so much in great adversity despite their sublime existence---like the Lord Jesus Christ for example. Van Gogh was like that, he suffered until his dying days and yet he is one so revered universally.

January 15, 2007 3:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a few years ago, I thought that that jolly fat Buddha was THE Buddha icon. Imagine my surprise when I arrived in Cambodia and found their Buddha to be quite slim and solemn-looking. I also like the reclining Buddha... may pagka-Cleopatra. :)

Thanks for posting about those inspiring people. :)

January 15, 2007 6:59 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Einstein failed in high school? Whoa! That's news to me. But he did convey a somewhat unsual persona anyway -- that of a true genius.

Hahaha! That's funny, BW!

Yes, Tito! I will agree to that. Is is those who knew how to get up from a fall and try again who eventually succeed in the end.

Many thanks, Sidney! Really, I've always been fascinated about the origin of this fat Buddha's legend. I checked out that URL you recommended -- very interesting! Thank you!

I also love reading about great people and the aversities they went through in life, Major Tom. And when feeling down, I always try to use some of their stories to inspire me to keep movng forward. Yes, Christ and Van Gogh are good examples!

Hahaha! That is really funny, Toe! The reclining Buddha I had seen pictures. But I love the jolly fat Buddha the most (some images of him are surounded by dozens of children).

BTW, Toe, my brother once had quite a collection of framed temple rubbings from Cambodia.

January 15, 2007 9:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My aunts would also always have buddhas at their houses, for goodluck daw. Okay, okay. We also have one here at home, no two pala. One is just a tiny one. My husband bought them at garage sales. He also believes that they bring goodluck. :)

January 15, 2007 11:11 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I have two pot-bellied (one in the above photo) and two slim/serious buddhas, Irene. The former I love for their cheerfulness and for the supposedly good luck they bring, while the latter for the calming effect.

January 16, 2007 4:53 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for posting these inspiring stories. kung nakaya nila, makakaya ko rin! =)

January 16, 2007 5:35 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's right, Carla! If they can do it so can we all! Let's use them as inspiration.

January 16, 2007 6:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's also called the Laughing Buddha. The Chinese people have his statue in their homes because they believe that not only prosperity will be brought to their homes but most importantly, happiness, plenitude, and supposedly wisdom of contentment are brought to the family.


That is why he is often smiling. It is also believed that he often takes sadness away from people.

January 16, 2007 9:34 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks for sharing this information with us, Kyels! So nice to have an image with a sunny disposition in the house :)

January 16, 2007 10:25 AM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

Hola Senor! I agree with what you said, and sometimes the hardest thing about reaching our goals is taking the first step. Courage, I say! And belief in ones self :D

There's a ceramic (coin bank)buddha in my room that stands about a foot tall. It's so colorful! And with a couple of children climbing over him :D nakakatuwa nga everytime I see that buddha. That one is even older than me! It's a miracle that it escaped my hands and didn't get broken when I was a kid. Maybe because it was too heavy to carry, hehe :D

January 16, 2007 3:57 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've a feeling, Sheilamarie, that deep down you loved it so much that you didn't want anything to happen to it so you never tried carrying it around :)

That's wonderful. One of these days, your son may end up owning it; sort of a pass me down.

Yes ... courage is something we must develop and apply when called for!

January 16, 2007 5:44 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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