The Daruma, a symbol of perseverance and good luck, resembles Bodhidharma (called Ta-mo by the Chinese), an ancient Indian Buddhist monk who is credited with founding Zen. In the year A.D. 520 he returned to Lo-yang and sat before a wall meditating for nine years, where demons of both sexes continually taunted him.  As the result of his long sit-in, Daruma lost the use of his legs.  He also has no eyelids because once he was heedless enough to fall asleep; so upon waking he cut them off and threw them on the ground, where they became the Tea tree. The saying nanakorobi yaoki - "you fall seven times, you get up eight" refers to the Daruma's roly-poly shape and signifies perseverance and patience.

Daruma is traditionally used when someone starts a new business, takes exams, and participates in races, or at the beginning of a New Year.  Paint the left eye in at the beginning of a wish or resolution and paint the right eye when it comes true or is complete. It is weighted at the bottom so that it will always return to an upright position when tipped over.  Gold kanji framing the face say kin-un/sho-rai or "money is coming." The large gold kanji character fuku stands for prosperity and the eyebrows and mustache/beard are drawn as stylized cranes and turtles, representing longevity and good luck.

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