Somewhere on this site I read in an answer that certain traits you develop or inherit are responsible for your physical appearance. Now of course good deeds in one life will lead to positively perceived things in the next life (wealth, health, noble birth etc.), however my question is this:

Can one deduce ones physical appearance from traits in a previous lifetime? Again, of course, there are many factors coming together, but I think there could also be a general trend in this. What I read here for example was that if you are a calm, patient and kind person and/or practiced and developed patience and kindness, you would be reborn as a person that other people perceive as attractive.

I'm aware of karma and if you are generous, you lay the ground for other people being generous to you at some point in a certain way, but I'm interested in certain traits manifesting in your physical appearance, or influencing your behaviour/demeanor/impression on other people.

2 Answers 2


I think you are looking for practical causal-relationships:

but I'm interested in certain traits manifesting in your physical appearance, or influencing your behaviour/demeanor/impression on other people.

I try to list some I learnt, to add to your collection: 1. If you put up with insult and "digest" it, without negativeness or hatred, you will have beautiful visage. 2. If you respect others, you will be tall and well-built. 3. If you speak truth and words of love to others, you will have even teeth and nice lip shape, your breathe is pleasant. 4. If you cultivate merits and do goods for the others, your ear loops will be long and nice shaped like the Buddha's. 5. If you study the Sutras, you will be intelligent. 6. If you are tender to others and be tolerant, your limbs will be flexible and skin texture is fine and soft. 7. If you tell lies and speak ills, your teeth is uneven and with bad breathe. 8. If you are lewd, you will have bad body odor. 9. If you look down upon others, are arrogant, you will be short and tiny. 10. If you harm other living beings, disassembled their body-parts, you may be born crippled, lame.

After you read some more, you will start to gain the insight of how this causal-relationship works on the physical and personal impression. This is also good for doing physiognomy. Sometimes a person maybe from the animal realm in the previous life, sometimes an animal (e.g. dog) maybe from the human, these also have the traits.

Sometimes a human maybe from the celestial realm: a) like fine clothes, jewelries b) good looking c) like elegant things, music, arts... d) like tranquility, intellectual, cleanliness e) proud, high moral standard

This is general speaking, to authenticate any trait with cause, sometimes the traits and causes could be from many and complex, it requires wisdom.

  • That's giving me some great insight, thanks for the answer. Too bad I can't mark both your and Francesco's answers as "problem solved" at the same time
    – AlexB
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 21:13

For the physical appearances you should read Lakkhaṇa Sutta. But it is not guaranteed that you can have specific physical appearance in next life because how much extent averse effects you did previous lives and current life. Buddha only have this exceptional and scientifically impossible physical characteristics by practicing specific wholesome acts in many uncountable lives. By practicing the Sila, Samadi and Panna taught by Buddha in this sutta you can attain Nirvana as Buddha or student of Buddha, that is for sure.

  • Thanks for the answer. Do these also apply to women? Can you even say that these, like a law of nature, like karma, will tend to apply in this way? For example, if someone has even and lustrous teeth, that s/he, in whatsoever former birth, maintained right livelihood?
    – AlexB
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 10:01
  • He/she must tell no lie while he/she was in his/her previous lives, it is difficult to tell just only his/her immediate previous life.
    – Francesco
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 16:31
  • Thanks for the answer, your and Bhumishu's answers are both equally good
    – AlexB
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 21:12

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