Anyone walking about Chinatowns in America with observe statues of a stout fellow carrying a linen sack. Chinese merchants call him Happy Chinaman or Laughing Buddha.
This Hotei lived in the T'ang dynasty. He had no desire to call himself...
THE GATELESS GATE - Chapter 40. Tipping Over a Water Bottle
四十 □倒淨瓶 | hide chinese .
show chinese | 溈山和尚、始在百丈會中充典座。
When Isan Osho was with Hyakujo, he was tenzo [典座 head cook] of the monastery. 百丈、將選大溈主人。 乃請同 首座對衆下語、出格者可往。
Hyakujo wanted to choose a master for Mount Tai-i, so he called together all the monks and told them that anyone who could answer his question in an outstanding manner would be chosen. 百丈遂拈淨瓶、置地上設問云、不得喚作淨瓶、汝喚作甚麼。
Then he took a water bottle and stood it on the floor, and said, "You may not call this a water bottle. What do you call it?" 首座乃云、不可喚作木□也。
The head monk said, "It cannot be called a stump." 百丈却問於山。
Hyakujo asked Isan his opinion. 山乃□倒淨瓶而去。
Isan tipped over the water bottle with his feet and went out. 百丈笑云、第一座 輸却山子也。
Hyakujo laughed and said, "The head monk loses." 因命之爲山。
And Isan was named as the founder of the new monastery.
Mumon's Comment 無門曰、
Isan displayed great spirit in his action, but he could not cut himself free from Hyakujo's apron strings. He preferred the heavier task to lighter one. 何故。□。
Why was he like that, eh? 脱得盤頭、擔起鐵枷。
He took off his headband to bear the iron yoke.
Tossing bamboo baskets and ladles away,
He made a glorious dash and swept all before him.
Hyakujo's barrier cannot stop his advance;
Thousands of Buddhas come forth from the tips of his feet.