'Tis the season to be jolly. And who is that rotund man with the bag of goodies, spreading joy? Why it's Hotei, (click)
also known in China as Bu Dai, and in the West as the Laughing Buddha.
Hotei of Briar Hills
Gift of Maggie and Jocelin
Photo by Jameson
As the malls gear up for Capitalistmas, we pagans, Zen masters, Buddhists, Taoists, Pantheists, and other non-materialists worship the Winter Solstice with our spirits. Even Saint Nicholas (click) from Byzantium, the original Santa, would weep at the crass and greedy grabbing of property, the commercial excess of the present day, the day of presents.
Give the gift of love, of appreciation, of kindness, of empathy. Stop to see the sublime snow-covered mountain. Walk in the woods. Sit by the fire. Decorate your sacred tree: O, Tannenbaum. Let the birthday of Mithra(s), the festivity of the Roman Saturnalia (read about it), the manger of Jesus surrounded by animals, and the lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah inspire celebration of something other than mindless toys.
Buddha of Lookout Mountain
Photo by Starr