This photo of a Laughing Buddha statue was taken in a garden near Bangkok, Thailand. The Laughing Buddha (Budai in Chinese, Hotei in Japanese) was inspired by a Chinese Chan (Zen) monk who is considered to be an incarnation of Maitreya, the future Buddha. Through Chinese influence, the Laughing Buddha became popular in Thailand and other East Asian countries. He is portrayed as a laughing bald and plump man, often carrying a bag and prayer beads. He symbolizes happiness, wealth, prosperity, and luck.