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Breakfast with Buddha Paperback – August 26, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
The premise is a bit far-out, forcing Merullo to negotiate an opening that attempts to make it all feasible. This takes time and doesn't entirely succeed, but eventually we settle in for this "road novel" with the grumpy Doubting Otto (Thomas was busy) behind the wheel and the beatific, beaming Volya Rinpoche (the Dalai Lama was busy) riding shotgun.
On the Road (sorry, Jack), we're treated to all manner of fun and games, both physical and verbal. The physical comes compliments of Rinpoche's naivete in all things American. The verbal comes in the form of cynical Otto trying to trip Mr. Mystical up (he fails, of course, every time).
If you like philosophy or religion, if you are middle-aged and have given any thought to that Mortality fellow creeping up behind you, or if you have ever asked the clichéd question, "What's the meaning of life, anyway?" then this is a book for you. Rinpoche claims he isn't Buddhist, and his words show how well-versed Merullo is in many religions, not just Buddhism, but nevertheless, our charming man of wisdom, swathed in maroon robe, comes off in a Zen kind of way. Thus, readers with an interest in the East will be treated to an easy, story-based introduction to Buddhism (which goes down much easier than many of the introductory books you could find in the Eastern religions section of your bookstores).Read more ›
I have a long list of friends and family members waiting to read it and look forward to discussions with them about their take on Otto and Rinpoche.
The messages in this book will stay with me. I plan to do more reading along this line and it is because of this book.
The serious spiritual transformation of Ringling is shallow, rushed and predictable. By the very end, it feels phony. Diner conversations about the meaning of life are limpid and meatless: "What matters is how you treat people." "Live a good life. Help people. Meditate. Don't Hurt." And seven days later, a miracle: Otto is transformed.
The comedic aspect falls short, too. Two oddballs, picture Zippy the pinhead and Walter Matthau, leave the planet for seven days to travel in the mash potatoes and gravy of the mid-west. There are some lame scenes where the crimson robed monk is embarrassingly out-of-place (swimming in a Speedo at a Minnesota lake, mini-golfing in Wisconsin) and where Otto struggles in his spiritual awakening (tearing muscles in a yoga class). Amusing possibilities, but Merullo's humor is flat. Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" interplay with his friend Katz come to mind as far funnier.
In spots, Merullo is very ordinary and humdrum. An entire paragraph devoted to the motel décor in South Bend that depicts Notre Dame football? The observation that football, not Catholicism, is the religion at Notre Dame? C'mon. Cliché. Detailed descriptions of mid-west German restaurants down to the pictures of lederhosen on the walls? Yawn.
Merullo isn't too bad at describing meals. By the time, our boys hit dinner, like ever-famished Otto, we are ready to dive into the New York strip steak and roasted shallots.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book made me happy. I would recommend it to people who are accepting of other religions, opinions, and an occasional reference to reincarnation without writing the whole... Read morePublished 3 days ago by MOM
Very well written...absolutely enjoyed the book. Plan to read lunch and dinner also!Published 4 days ago by Jean Finn
I wasn't feeling great when I read this and it took me to a different place, where I felt better.I could totally see the monk sitting in the car, going bowling, going golfing. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Mary E. Krauski
This was quite the journey. It was interesting and kept me engaged from start to finish. How lovely it would be to ride along.Published 20 days ago by Mrs. B. Librarian
Excellent! Can't wait to continue their journey in Lunch with Buddha.Published 26 days ago by Happy Customer
Not a book you can read in a hurry. Take your time. There's lots to think about. Really liked it. Enjoyed the humor.Published 27 days ago by Carol Jean Erickson