The theories and practices expounded in Sogyal’s lectures were collated into his version of the Padmasambhava treatise, but with a contemporary twist – living in tandem with dying – highlighting the two states as mirror images of each other. When The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying was published in 1992, it ticked every box on Sogyal’s wish list. Almost overnight he became an international celebrity and to top it all, accepted an invitation from Bernardo Bertolucci to star in his movie Little Buddha. Some time later, worldwide sales  turned him into a personal millionaire.

But there are questions around the authorship of the TBOLD. Rumours that  Sogyal did not write the book have been circulating on the internet for years. When approached for comment, the author, academic and mystic Andrew Harvey gave an inconclusive response:
“Sogyal participated totally in every level of the creation of the book and as the representative of his tradition was the indispensable transmitter of its wisdom. The process was a totally mutual collaboration in which Sogyal gave everything and had the final word on every word. It is a very hard process to describe. Any suggestion that Sogyal did not write this book is -I think, absurd and dishonouring of his genius and passion. Both Patrick and I worked tirelessly and I hope, selflessly to honour Sogyal’s brilliance and the wisdom of the tradition. And the book could not exist without the transcripts of Sogyal’s talks that were it’s foundation.”

The ubiquitous Patrick Gaffney and Andrew Harvey are credited as editors – but Harvey’s words do not confirm Sogyal as the author. Grant, a former Rigpa member, recalls spending time with Harvey
“when he was writing the book”. Grant adds:
“Could anyone who knows Sogyal imagine him being able to quote the German mystical poet Rainer Maria Rilke? Or the Sufi sage Jalaluddin Rumi? He simply doesn’t have that level of education.”
Andrew Harvey does – and comparisons between The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and Harvey’s own books reveal striking similarities in tone, structure and language. According to a well known American Buddhist teacher:
“Andrew Harvey was very upset at not being credited as co-author.”

The journalist Mary Finnigan is also sceptical:

“When Sogyal was living in London it became obvious that he is barely literate,” she says, “he never read anything except comic books, never wrote letters and spent most of his free time watching television.”

Buddhist teacher Ngakpa Chogyam also has doubts:

“The book was cobbled together from more than a decade of Sogyal’s teachings,” he says, “I worked for a while on transcribing the tapes. There were a fair few mistakes which I corrected as I went along – particularly about
Dzogchen and precise definitions of Buddhist doctrine.”

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