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Touching the Earth
The Five Prostrations and Deep Relaxation

by Thich Nhat Hanh with Sister Chan Khong

      Iíve read a few of the 60-plus books written by Thich Nhat Hanh, and have always found his writing to contain extraordinary wisdom and compassion. This audio offering, however, which marks my first opportunity to hear his remarkably serene and captivating voice, brings a new depth and dimension to the personality that shines so brightly through his written words.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk originally from Vietnam, has devoted most of his life to bringing about peace between nations and within individuals. His efforts earned him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. Along with Sister Chan Khong, he co-founded a grassroots program for rebuilding Vietnamese villages destroyed during the war. Their collaboration on Touching the Earth is seamless, a perfect partnering of compassion and style.

The Five Prostrations referred to in the title are part of an ancient practice that combines physical poses with devotional meditations to bring about calmness and clarity of mind, teaching us the importance and means of surrender and acceptance. "When we bow down and touch the earth, we empty ourselves," says Thich Nhat Hanh. The series is introduced by a brief talk that gently and eloquently explains the importance of opening ourselves to the reality of impermanence.

The Prostrations are enhanced by the beautiful and soothing voice of Sister Chan Khong, who recommends that we "lullaby [our] anger." Her own gentle, effortless lullabies offered here reach deeply to melt away fear and anxiety, and enhance the practice of touching the earth and healing the spirit.

This CD runs just over one hour, and includes a Sixth Prostration created by Thich Nhat Hanh. I first played it through without any attempt to participate, and found myself relaxing and opening to the possibilities of compassion and surrender with absolutely no effort on my part. It takes no special skill or knowledge to follow along with this program, nor is it necessary to be a Buddhist in order to reap the benefits. Touching the Earth is the simplest, most effective relaxation method I can imagine.

The Book

Sounds True
November 30, 2004
Non-Fiction / Buddhism / Self Help
More at
NOTE: Includes guidebook for the Prostrations

The Reviewer

Deborah Adam
Reviewed 2007
NOTE: Reviewer Deborah Adams is the Flair and Macavity Award winning author of the Jesus Creek Mystery Series: All The Great Pretenders, All The Crazy Winters, All The Dark Disguises, All The Hungry Mothers, All The Deadly Beloved, All The Blood Relations, and All The Dirty Cowards. She was also an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel.
© 2006