Body language (smiling) seems to be linked to meditation success as per Bhante Vimalaramsi:

smiling is an important aspect for the meditation. Learning to smile with mind and raising slightly the corners of the mouth helps mind to be observant, alert and agile.


What are the mechanics behind this or how it works?

In addition these talks through not related to make suggestion that there is a link between body language, smiling and our well being:

  • It does not need to be any body who study under Bhante Vimalaramsi. If you can successfully formulate a explanation to a more neutral psychology view on the matter we can get to how it works according to Buddhism (ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are). Oct 2, 2014 at 1:02
  • 1
    interesting. i hear this sort of thing from a lot of secular meditation teachers. not just with smiling, but also with straight back, open chest, etc.
    – Anthony
    Oct 2, 2014 at 4:30
  • in my observation these techniques seem to counter frustration, negative states of mind, etc.
    – Anthony
    Oct 2, 2014 at 4:32
  • Do you have any material I can go through? Oct 2, 2014 at 4:36

2 Answers 2


Thich Nhat Hahn is the only one I have read who attributes a significance to smiling. It may have to do with the challenging times he has had to endure.


The interview with him contains much of his practice, but here is an excerpt about smiling

We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don't allow our bodies to heal, and we don't allow our minds and hearts to heal. Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.

Total relaxation is the secret to enjoying sitting meditation. I sit with my spine upright, but not rigid; and I relax all the muscles in my body. Breathing in, I bring my attention to one part of my body; breathing out, I smile with gratitude and love to that part of my body. For example, I breathe in and I bring my attention to my face. On my face there are about 300 muscles, and whenever I get worried, angry or sad, these 300 muscles harden, and anyone who looks at me can see that I'm tense. But if while breathing in I can be aware of my face, and breathing out I can smile to my face, then that tension immediately dissipates. It's almost like a miracle. In just a few breaths we can feel peace, happiness, and relaxation on our face. Our face becomes light, fresh, like the kind of flower it was before. Every face is a flower.

After breathing three or four times with "breathing in I am aware of my face; breathing out I smile to my face," then I can breathe in and bring my awareness to the muscles in my shoulders, because our shoulder muscles are often tense. As I breathe out, I relax and smile with my shoulders. Gradually we can move through the whole body, so after just a few minutes we can already normalize our body so it feels light and relaxed.

This is something everyone can do in the first minutes of sitting, and not only when we are in the meditation hall. Wherever we sit, we can sit beautifully, just like we are doing sitting meditation, and we will feel stability and freedom. Sitting down to eat or do paperwork, we sit upright and relaxed. Let us sit like the Buddha.


A person who is advanced towards realization of emptiness will typically display a calm, peaceful, and blissful demeanor, even during trying circumstances. I would say that smiling is a natural part of such a demeanor.

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