Meditation & Health #25 Contents

Noble Postures From Within

By Yu Ran & Nary Chea


To appreciate the noble is a gain which can never be torn from us.

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


The study of physiognomy is not simply looking at a person’s outer appearance. Countless mystical stories of how a physiognomist determined information about a person’s life by observing their walking, standing, sittingor lying down postures have existed since ancient times.


Well-Known Stories

There are many stories in Chinese history related to postures as seen by physiognomy. One well-known story is of Zeng Guo Fan, a minister during the late Qing dynasty. It tells of “knowing a person through 3,000 steps.” In the story, an official named Li Hong Zhang wanted to recommend three people to work for Zeng Guo Fan. As the timing of their visit coincided with Zeng Guo Fan’s customary post-prandial 3,000 steps, Li Hong Zhang and the three people waited at the door for his return.

After Zeng Guo Fan returned from his walk, Li Hong Zhang requested that he interview the candidates, but Zeng Guo Fan said it was unnecessary. He said the one standing on the left had his head bent down all the time, which signified that he was an honest person. The one in the middle seemed very respectful, but his gaze kept wandering around which showed that he tended to act covertly. The one on the right stood upright all the time and had a steady gaze, just like a general. Later on in life, the three of them truly turned out to be what Zeng Guo Fan had described.

Guan Lu, a famous fortuneteller during the Three Kingdoms period, was celebrated for his extraordinary physiognomy skills. According to records, Guan Lu provided fortunetelling to two officials, Deng Yang and He Yan, after which he cautioned them to exercise self-observation and do more good deeds. Deng Yang and He Yan were unhappy with what they heard.

When Guan Lu’s uncle heard about it, hetold him off for offending both the officials. Guan Lu replied that Deng Yang walked in a sluggish manner. When he stood his body was unstable, as if he did not have a backbone.He Yan seemed lifeless during conversations and had a gray complexion with the look of a dry piece of rotten wood. Guan Lu believed that death would befall them soon. The following year, both Deng Yang and He Yan were killed in a coup, and his uncle realized what Guan Lu had said was true.

Mannerisms of the Noble

In physiognomy, nobility is in part judged by the manner in which one walks, stands, sits, or lies down. A person who walks, stands, sits, and lies down in a graceful, dignified manner will often draw auspiciousness. Noble postures help facilitate positive interactions with others and leave lasting impressions.

1 WALKING: swift and smooth like flowing water.

Walk at a steady pace and gaze straight ahead. The idea is to move like smooth flowing water. The steps should not be too far apart but must be stable and swift. A gait that is confident is considered the noblest way of walking.

2 STANDING: straight physique with confident posture.

Regardless of the occasion, stand in a natural posture where both head and neck are straight. The body should be in balance, emitting a graceful, confident, energetic feel. Such a person is usually distinguished, righteous and capable with a bright future.

3 SITTING: upright and sturdy like a mountain.

A good sitting posture looks dignified and stable. One should not lean against the backrest or jiggle their legs. Good sitting posture gives a sense of peace and tranquility. A person who sits in a dignified manner is deemed to be more disciplined and has a sense of responsibility.

4 LYING DOWN: peaceful and quiet with even breath.

People who sleep without tossing and turning are blessed with longevity. The breath should be even with no snoring, grinding of the teeth, or sleep-talking.

Nobility Begins Within

Why do some people look graceful and elegant, while others behave in a coarse and unacceptable manner?

Inner Essence

Outward behavior is the embodiment of one’s inner energy. A dignified and noble person exudes confidence and fortitude. On the other hand, those who are lacking in energy tend to lean on doors, walls or other objects when standing, and their posture is poor. They jiggle their legs and feet while seated and find it difficult to keep still. They are also inclined to sway and drag their feet while walking. Such people appear lethargic and suffer poor health. When they work, they lack vitality and do not convey a sense of responsibility, thus cannot be entrusted with important tasks.

Genes of Good Deeds

According to physiognomy, a person’s nobility is directly linked to their good deeds in past lives. This idea coincides with the theory of cause and effect. There is a saying that goes: “You reap what you sow.” Blessings come from the accumulation of good deeds in one’s past lives, termed “karma” in Buddhism. Past good deeds form part of your genetic inheritance.

Your wealth is your good manners. There is a saying in physiognomy: “Man who shakes loses good fortune, like leaves falling off a tree.” Such behavior may be due to a lack of good karma from past lives.

Virtuous Action

The inner self shapes the outer you. Acts of kindness, grace, elegance, modesty, and respect are rooted in an abundance of inner virtues. Compassion naturally leads to elegant and noble behaviors. By contrast, one who is unrefined within displays coarse behaviors.


Meditation can help us to find peace and connect with Universal energy. When the body is filled with energy,


Changing Fate

If you are lacking in noble mannerisms, you can do the following to effect change:

Meditation strengthens lifeforce energy

Meditation can help us to find peace and connect with Universal energy. When the body is filled with energy, the posture is naturally dignified and elegant. In Bodhi Meditation, there are many testimonials of practitioners strengthening their lifeforce energy through meditation practices such as The Meditation of Greater Illumination, and showing an overall improvement in body and mind. Another way to replenish vitality is to practice Energy Bagua or full prostration, both of which help clear blockages in the meridians and promote the flow of qi.

Do good deeds to accumulate noble merits

It is very important to do good deeds in order to change any flaws in our mannerisms. It is not difficult to do good, and everyone can express kindness and compassion at anytime, anywhere, and in different ways. The rich can donate to the less fortunate while the less well-off canoffer their time and skills. A heartfelt compliment, a sincere wish for someone, awarm smile — all these are simple acts ofkindness and compassion.

A compassionate heart is powerful

A compassionate heart can create infinite possibilities in life. When one’s heart is filled with compassion, one will become calm and peaceful and naturally behave in a dignified way. Grandmaster JinBodhi has said that having a compassionate heart can change one’s looks and personality for the better, and correct defective genes. A happy future depends on the cultivation of present-moment compassion.

A compassionate heart generates blessings. A virtuous person exudes calmness and graciousness in their actions and appearance. They examine their thoughts before acting, and practice self-awareness, self-evaluation and self-improvement. Physiognomists know that noble actions and mannerisms come from within. To be of noble bearing, cultivate a noble heart.


Meditation & Health #25 Contents