In my phone’s picture roll today, a cat may not look at a king, but accidental positioning made it seem like a dog was looking at Budai, or Ho Tei, the folkloric figure people call the Laughing Buddha. Kekionga fans know that Bud is named not after the historical Gautama Buddha, but after Budai. His character design (if you want to be exact), is one half Budai, one half old soldier or retired boxer or reformed hero. References for the Budai half are easy to find– today’s sighting was a particularly striking polychrome statue of the Laughing Buddha of the In Store Nail Salon:
No internet discussion of pop culture Buddhism could be called complete without an authentic Zen koan. This one is attributed to Budai, and sourced from from that great helper on the road to enlightenment, the Wikipedia:
In (this koan), 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?” Budai then takes up his bag and continues on his way.
Pick up your bags and get back to work, everybody.