|It is thought that the future Buddha Maitreya will come as a Central Asian (Scythian) king.|
|Just as not all swastikas are the same, neither are all "Buddhas." Here the true historical Buddha Gautama or Shakyamuni (left) is contrasted with the popular Mahayana Fat Happy Bodhisattva Budai or Hotei (blavatskytheosophy.com).|
|Fat Budai is not "the Buddha."|
He's a bodhisattva, a being aspiring for buddhahood and Maitreya/Messiah status as a kind of Mahayana martyr figure who will save all living beings when he's on the verge of enlightenment but will not enter enlightenment as a buddha but rather as a supremely enlightened (samma-sam-buddha arhat who then establishes the Dharma (teaching that leads to liberation) and waits for all living beings to gain insight and cross over this flood of suffering known as samsara, the "Wheel of Life and Death."
|The historical Buddha Shakyamuni|
|The "Virg Yin" Kwan Yin Bodhisattva|
|The Western God, all-powerful white man|
|Veneration of good luck Budai is widespread|
|Future Buddha Maitreya|
So who's the FAT one?
Budai is usually identified with or seen as a pre-incarnation of Maitreya, the "messiah," the Future Buddha, so much so that the Budai image is one of the main forms in which Maitreya is depicted in Mahayana Buddhist China.
|The "messiah" Maitreya|