Santa is the Future Buddha

by Rev. Ryuei Michael McCormick

Here is my yearly tongue-in-cheek holiday rant about Santa Claus. Santa Claus is an amalgamation of Pagan lore and Christian legend. On the Christian side, he is related to Saint Nicholas who was a 4th century bishop in Turkey. He was known for giving anonymous donations of gold coins to those in need and he later became a patron saint of children. Santa Claus later became known for his sack full of toys.

On the other side of the world, a 10th century vagabond in China named Pu-tai was also known for his jolly demeanor. He in fact became the model for the Laughing Buddha. His name means Hempen Sack, and in fact he was also known to carry around a sack from which he would distribute gifts to children. Pu-tai was known as a Ch'an (Zen) Master and after he died it was believed that he was an appearance of Bodhisattva Maitreya.

Now, it seems obvious to me that Pu-tai and Santa Claus share many of the same characteristics, and in Buddhism that means that they are likely appearances of the same celestial bodhisattva, in this case Maitreya. Now Maitreya is the future buddha who is waiting in the wings (so to speak) in the Tushita Heaven. It would appear then that Santa Claus is in fact the future Buddha and that the North Pole is actually the earthly manifestation of the Tushita Heaven (which only bodhisattvas and buddhas can see in its true aspect).

And on that note, I will end this with the supreme mantra of generosity and loving-kindness: Ho Ho Ho! (Which means "Dharma Dharma Dharma!" in Sino-Japanese)

Copyright by Ryuei Michael McCormick. 1997. 2001.

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