An Unconventional Bestseller
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying received an overwhelmingly positive response as soon as it was published in the Autumn of 1992. Just a month after the first edition came out in the USA and while Sogyal Rinpoche continued to give public talks about death and dying around the world, introducing the teachings of his masters and his newly published book, a writer for the weekly Observer marveled: “Most people are afraid of death. But many queue up for hours to hear Sogyal Rinpoche, a Tibetan master who speaks about death all the time.”
Bernie Schreck, who helped organize Rinpoche’s American book tour in the early 1990s remarked: “At the beginning of the tour I was a bit surprised that Sogyal Rinpoche chose the subject of death and dying to introduce the teachings of his masters and his tradition to the public. But with every evening I became more aware how many people are deeply suffering and helpless when confronted with death and dying, and how much this subject revealed the greatest weakness of our society.”
With Rinpoche’s book more people started to get in touch with Rigpa. Many of those who attended the talks flocked around the book tables after the events and not only asked for the book but also inquired how to get in touch with Rigpa and Rinpoche. Soon after the book was published, the handful of Rigpa centers around the world began to receive an average of 470 requests per week from people interested in studying the book further.
Since 1992, more than 2.8 million copies of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying have been printed. The book is available in 34 languages and in 80 countries. The latest editions include Catalan, Latvian and Chinese translations, but you can also read it in Russian, Korean or Hebrew – and soon in Indonesian and Tibetan!
Here are some of the covers from the editions of the book in various languages:
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