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Buddhaland Brooklyn: A Novel Hardcover – July 17, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“In exquisite prose, Buddhaland Brooklyn illuminates the hearts of wholly different cultures – an isolated Buddhist monastery; bustling New York - and also the universal truths of human life. Reverend Seido Oda’s journey from shut-down, haughty priest to compassionate religious leader is a profoundly moving one making for a complex, beautiful book that lingers in the imagination long after the last line is read.”

--Robin Black, author of If I loved you, I would tell you this

About the Author

Richard C. Morais, author of The Hundred-Foot Journey, is a contributing editor at Barron’s in New York. An American raised in Switzerland, he was stationed in London for eighteen years, where he was Forbes’s European Bureau Chief.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (July 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781451669220
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451669220
  • ASIN: 1451669224
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #973,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mr. Morais's second novel, Buddhaland Brooklyn, is about a repressed Buddhist priest who, at the age of 40, is ordered to leave his idyllic mountain monastery in Japan and cross the ocean to build a temple in an Italian neighborhood of New York City. Once landed in Brooklyn, a cabal of eccentric American Buddhists force the repressed Japanese priest to change, mostly through cultural mishaps both hilarious and tragic in nature, until Reverend Oda unexpectedly finds his true place in the world. Buddhaland Brooklyn was published in North America on July, 17, 2012.

Mr. Morais's debut novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey, was picked by O (The Oprah Magazine), Amazon-Kindle, NPR, and the American Booksellers Association as one of the best summer reads of 2010. Both an "Editor's Choice" and on the prestigious "Paperback Row" of The New Times Book Review, Mr. Morais's debut novel has since become an international bestseller and has sold in 25 territories across the globe.

The Hundred-Foot Journey will also be released as a Dreamworks and Participant Media film in August, 2014. The film, shot on location in France and India, is produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Juliet Blake; is directed by Lasse Hallstrom; and stars Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, and Charlotte LeBon.(For more, see: www.richardcmorais.com)

Mr. Morais is the editor of Barron's Penta, a quarterly magazine and website offering insights and advice to wealthy families. He worked for Forbes magazine for 25 years, where he was allowed to write on any subject he chose and to travel the world. He joined Forbes in 1984 as a Reporter in New York.

An American born in Portugal and raised in Switzerland, Mr. Morais has lived most of his life overseas, returning to the U.S. in late 2003. He was stationed in London for 17 years as Forbes' European Correspondent (1986 to 198), Senior European Correspondent (1991 to 1998), and European Bureau Chief (1998 to 2003.) He wrote numerous cover stories for Forbes, from billionaire profiles to corporate dissections, but he was best known for unusual business stories on everything from the hashish entrepreneurs of Holland, to the ship breakers of India, to the human organ traders of China. Mr. Morais's news-making political interviews have been with the likes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and the Czech Republic's Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus.

Mr. Morais has won an unprecedented six nominations and three awards from the London-based Business Journalist of the Year Awards, the industry standard for international business coverage.

Mr. Morais started his career in New York as a news intern for the PBS TV program, The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, and eventually rose to selling freelance film features to The New York Times. Mr. Morais is the author of the unauthorized biography, Pierre Cardin: The Man Who Became a Label (Bantam Press,) a book that grew out of a Forbes cover story and was published in 1991 to critical acclaim and has been recently reissued in e-book form: "This is not a hagiography; neither is it a hatchet job. He has caught the essence of the man." (Financial Times.) "There is extraordinary, often startling information throughout this book but the pleasure is in the writing. I hope Morais is working on a second book." (Sunday Telegraph.) "Thorough, excellently researched, racy and entertaining." (International Herald Tribune.)

While he was in the UK, Mr. Morais appeared regularly on Sky News, BBC News, ITV News, and various radio stations, including the influential "Today" show on the BBC's Radio 4. In the U.S., his work has led to an editorial credit on CBS' "60 Minutes," plus appearances on Ted Koppel's "Nightline," ABC, CNN, and various NPR radio stations.

He is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Philadelphia.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I had read The Hundred-Foot Journey by Morais last year and I really enjoyed it, but I think I liked this one even more. It is the story of Oda and his journey from his boyhood with his family in Japan to being middle age and moving to Brooklyn to help with the opening of a new temple.

Morais does a wonderful job with making Oda a complex and interesting character to read about. His journey through life was filled with hardships and surprises and I loved reading about his growth as a person throughout the journey. The beginning of the book is about his early years in Japan with lots of descriptions of his home and what his duties were as an acolyte in the monastery. Though all of this was interesting I felt like the book really got good when Oda moved to Brooklyn. It was such a huge step out of his comfort zone in so many ways and is was wonderful to watch him change into a stronger and better person without him really realizing it himself. The other part that made the Brooklyn part of the book more fun were all of the quirky characters that were part of Oda's new world. It was great to see so many different personalities try to work together for the common goal of getting the new temple opened.

Lots of little details are included that add to the book like descriptions of a Brooklyn neighborhood, the painting that Oda loved to do, poetry, and a look into what it means to be a follower of Buddhism. All of these come together to make a delightful book filled with love, humor, and sections that will really make you think about your own life. It made me want to try stepping out of my own comfort zone a little bit and see what happens!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Seido Oda, raised in the mountains of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan, is sent by his parents at age eleven to become a Buddhist monk. At the monastery he is trained in the discipline of Buddhism. He briefly goes to Tokyo to study Japanese art. At 39 he is taken from his beautiful surroundings in the mountain monastery and is sent to oversee the building of a Buddhist temple in Brooklyn, New York. Brooklyn is an alien culture and landscape. Oda is a reserved person, in fact emotionally shut down. He is horrified by the in your face emotionality of his congregation of acolytes. By the end of the novel he must break through his own inner demons in order to be more fully alive to the true teachings of the Buddha.

Odas story has possibilities but the author's handling of them leaves much to be desired. I enjoyed the first part of the book. The author portrays in loving detail the mountains and waterfalls of Oda's Japan, as well as its trees and animals which provide a sense of comfort and tranquility to the young Oda. However, when Oda arrives in Brooklyn the novel lapses into a cartoonish atmosphere. The Brooklyn acoloytes are portrayed as a group of boorish buffoons and are unlike any American Buddhists I have ever encountered. Of course in a thoroughly predictable way, after Oda has his emotional break through everything is nicely resolved and the boors become human beings.

I lived in the area of Brooklyn the author describes for most of my life, and the geography just rings false. Nor will you learn much about the underlying tenets of Buddhism from reading this book, despite the fact that at the end of the book the author lists the Buddhist books he used for research purposes. The Buddhism espoused here is as fake as the Brooklyn landscape where it takes place.
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Format: Paperback
A young Japanese boy, Seido,was sent to a Buddhist temple to be trained as a priest. Neither he nor his older brother knew why he was chosen from among the four children in their family. When Seido was in the temple, his family perished in a fire. As a grown man and schooled in Buddhism, Seido was sent to build a temple in Brooklyn. Learning to adapt to Western culture and falling in love with a woman, Seido learnt the meaning of Buddhism in its fullest sense. He also understood a long forgotten event which shed light on the question why he and not his sibling was chosen for priesthood.

This book is at times humourous and amusing, but for the most part it is a tract on the difficult questions of life and the Buddhist way of dealing with them. It deals with the problems ignorance can bring, but knowledge is not necessarily a boon unless one knows how to handle it.

If you enjoy this book, you might also enjoy his first novel, 'The Hundred-foot Journey', now a motion picture, starring Helen Mirren.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Just days after his reluctant initiation into the Buddhist priesthood at eleven years old, Oda's entire family is killed in a fire that razes their inn. Determined to honour his family, Oda dedicates his life to studying the principles of his religion and finds comfort in the quiet rituals of his existence. He is bewildered when, as Oda nears his fortieth birthday, he is sent to New York to oversee the establishment of the sect's first Buddhist temple, certain his social awkwardness and conservative views render him ill equipped to deal with the assignment.

Oda is shocked on his arrival in New York, not only by the towering buildings and busy streets, which are an assault on the senses after a lifetime spent in a small mountain village, but also with the motley group of worshipers seeking spiritual enlightenment.

"You'll be very impressed" he said "...I've been giving a series of lectures on the proper Buddhist practice, based on my extensive study. It's very rigorous. Intellectually."
"This is commendable. And the lectures are based on what study material?"
"Tons of books. The Reader's Digest Encyclopedia of Religion, Tales of Siddhartha, Buddhism for Dummies. The list goes on and on." p86

Reverend Oda is horrified, if not surprised, by this conversation with a member of the Temple board just days after his arrival. It seems to him that the American flock tend to pick and choose the most convenient principles of Buddhism to follow. Oda however is intent on imposing order and proper practice on the Believers, though with little hope of success.

Morais shares some astute commentary about the assumption of cultures, society and religions in Buddhaland Brooklyn.
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