Before Rinpoche’s book came out there weren’t really many books written about Buddhism that had a broad appeal. Suzuki Roshi’s Zen Mind, Beginners Mind and Chogyam Trungpa’s Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism were both great books, but for the most part they were roughly edited from oral teachings.
The problem is that until recently, very few Buddhist masters spoke decent English. What made The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying so unique was that it was written by an accomplished master of the tradition who also happened to know English really well. Even still, Sogyal Rinpoche collaborated with two extraordinary editors, Patrick Gaffney and Andrew Harvey.
I have very fond memories of that time. For example, sitting in Bobo’s apartment, overlooking central park, while Sogyal Rinpoche, tape recorder in hand, read sections of the still unpublished book. He constantly kept going over a single paragraph again and again, speaking into the recorder, rewording the text until finally, he got it the way he wanted.
Chapter five, an early version of which was a handout at retreats for years, is actually the basis for this website and our meditation course. And that is just one chapter! The book is remarkable not just for the beauty of its language, but for its scope. It covers the entire Buddhist path, from basic meditation to the most profound aspects of Dzogchen practice to the mysteries of what happens when we die. Nothing is left out.
Maybe that is why it has touched the hearts and minds of millions.
Anyway, check out this site. You will find teachings by Sogyal Rinpoche on different themes from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, testimonials from well-known Buddhists and teachers about the book, as well as some really moving stories from readers about how the book has inspired and changed their lives. Soon you will also be able to find free podcasts of these teachings! This site is a wonderful and uplifting resource that will appeal to anyone who has enjoyed the book as well as those who haven’t yet read it.