In Buddhism, Hotei is distinguished from Buddhism's founder, who lived in India in the fifth century B.C. His many names include Shakyamuni, the Buddha, the historical Buddha. Shakyamuni is almost always depicted as slender. You can't tell a Buddha by his belly, but you can tell the Buddha by his lack of one.
Unlike what is often offered in the Zen practice of Dokusan, I don't limit the discussions to one's meditation practice, but rather encourage people to discuss any issues which are causing emotional distress or intrusive, obsessional thoughts; topics are not limited to the dharma; they can involve a wide array of personal issues, as noted below.
Choose a target that you figure you have a less than 25 percent chance of reaching, and then go for it, playing full out and fearless without any real sense that you "should" be able to get there. Each time I've run the program over the past six years, people surprise themselves (and often me) by getting further faster than they did in pursuit of their more "reasonable" goals and dreams.
Gautama claimed that he did not create the Four Noble Truths (the centerpiece of his philosophy) but that he rediscovered this crucial but forgotten ancient wisdom. Meditation is the vehicle through which we discover and embrace these four truths -- the only metaphysical truths available to us -- which are not simply insights, but prescriptions for being.