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Breakfast with Buddha 1st (first) edition…
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Breakfast with Buddha 1st (first) edition Text Only (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Roland Merullo

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9134517,955 (3.73)72
When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger--and amuse himself--he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world--and more important, his life--through someone else's eyes. Gradually, skepticism yields to amazement as he realizes that his companion might just be the real thing. In Roland Merullo's masterful hands, Otto tells his story with all the wonder, bemusement, and wry humor of a man who unwittingly finds what he's missing in the most unexpected place.… (more)
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Title:Breakfast with Buddha 1st (first) edition Text Only
Authors:Roland Merullo
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Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo (2007)

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I enjoyed this novel very much. It was a slow, meandering read but the characters were well developed. I wanted to meet them, spend time hanging out with them. I would love to read more encouraging novels like this one that spends time with real people in ordinary circumstances. ( )
  ColourfulThreads | Feb 18, 2021 |
Otto Ringling is having a hard time processing his parents' deaths via car accident. He drives from New York to New Jersey to pick up his sister, Cecilia for the long drive to their parents' farm in North Dakota to settle the estate. (Cecilia is afraid to fly.) But she talks him into driving her friend, Volya Rinpoche instead to open a meditation retreat on her part of their inheritance. Otto is not pleased believing Volya is a scam artist taking advantage of his sister.

But over the long drive the very positive Rinpoche is able to help Otto open his heart and mind. And learn about himself, his life, his beliefs and misbeliefs. Otto comes to like, respect and admire Rinpoche, and understand what he is trying to do to help people.

Excellent novel about choosing your life's paths, spiritual, or superficial, loving or hateful, productive or wasteful, insightful or insensitive.

I truly believe most of us will benefit from reading this book. Its beautiful optimistic and hopeful message that changing for the better is possible, and results in true fulfillment.
  Bookish59 | May 21, 2020 |
this was funny and good overall. a nice way to get some buddhist thoughts going w/o the dry stuff from cryptic Zen riddles.

i was slightly annoyed at the narrator at first. but perhaps because i am all too similar !!
( )
  aabtzu | May 18, 2020 |
This was just the right book for me in this moment. By its nature, it encouraged me to slow down and take a breath. I appreciated the guru's question, "Why so angry?" I enjoyed Otto and the guru's adventures in Americana, especially the Hershey's and Chicago entries.

While I didn't love this as much as some of my bookish friends, I will likely read the subsequent installments. ( )
  joyblue | May 6, 2020 |
A road trip with an unexpected (and initially unwelcome) passenger leads narrator Otto Ringling to an unexpected destination.

Ringling is still returning to the family farm in North Dakota to settle his parents' estate, but along the way he begins to see "some primary color of the interior world that had simply been -- and still was -- just outside the spectrum visible to my inner eye." This intimation of change has come from his conversations with his passenger, Volya Rinpoche -- a Tibetan guru inserted into the front seat of Ringling's car by his "flaky as spanikopita crust" sister, Cecilia. Cecilia uses her fear of flying to make the swap seem logical, only revealing later and in small increments that there are other considerations involved.

The novel is an interesting blend of East-meets-West as the cynical Ringling (a high-powered New York A-type editor) is at first annoyed, then perplexed, then increasingly intrigued by Rinpoche, and a traditional road-trip tale, with the pair taking in bowling, a trip to the Hershey candy factory, sightseeing, swimming, and a major-league baseball game along the way. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Mar 13, 2020 |
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Epigraph
Humor is a prelude to faith and
Laughter is the beginning of prayer.
--REINHOLD NIEBUHR
Like the lark that soars in the air, first singing, then silent, content with the last sweetness that satiates it, such seemed to me that image, the imprint of the Eternal Pleasure.
--DANTE, "Paradiso"
Genuine belief seems to have left us.
--WALT WHITMAN, "Democratic Vistas"
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear.
--WALT WHITMAN, "I Hear America Singing"
Dedication
For
Arlo Kahn
and
For
Michael Miller
First words
My name is Otto Ringling (no circus jokes, please) and I have a strange story to tell.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger--and amuse himself--he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world--and more important, his life--through someone else's eyes. Gradually, skepticism yields to amazement as he realizes that his companion might just be the real thing. In Roland Merullo's masterful hands, Otto tells his story with all the wonder, bemusement, and wry humor of a man who unwittingly finds what he's missing in the most unexpected place.

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When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger---and amuse himself---he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world---and more important, his life---through someone else's eyes. Gradually, skepticism yields to amazement as he realizes that his companion might just be the real thing. In Roland Merullo's masterful hands, Otto tells his story with all the wonder, bemusement, and wry humor of a man who unwittingly finds what he's missing in the most unexpected place.
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