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The Meaning of Happy Buddha
(excerpt from The Art of Living)

One who wishes to become a student of the Buddha should first learn from Maitreya Bodhisattva, better known in America as "The Happy Buddha." Maitreya Bodhisattva represents the most basic conditions necessary to become a Buddhist - a smiling face and a big heart, represented by his big belly. All the Buddha images serve to remind us of the teachings and are not idols or gods of worship. "The Happy Buddha" teaches us to give rise to a non-discriminating mind and to be happy; thus being able to enter the Buddha Way.

The content of the Buddha's teachings is infinitely profound and vast; one is unable to speak of it all, for the essence of it is unfathomable. Understanding it can bring great help to our living, work and interacting with all people, matters and affairs. Buddhism truly surpasses the boundaries of nationality, race and religion - it encompasses everything. The Buddha's teaching is truly a perfectly complete education.