Book Review: Breakfast with Buddha

It wasn’t as if I’d been suddenly turned gullible in western Indiana, but the raspy hard edges of my suspicion had been worn down, and I have to admit that it frightened me.  This was not a physical feat but something else, a shakiness at the base of who I thought I was.

Breakfast with Buddha is a wonderfully witty ride through America both physically and spiritually.  Through this road trip parable, Robert Merullo challenges us to analyze our own spiritual life and see the equality of compassion and happiness.  Without preaching, he weaves a tale that gives us reason to see all religious traditions in a different light.

I enjoyed every page as Otto Ringling takes us from his wonderfully upper middle class perfect life to the point where he is prostrating to a Skorodovian monk.

The journey begins when Otto is tricked by his sister into transporting her guru across the country on his way to North Dakota.  Along the way, he acquires some realizations about his life, his family, and his spirit.  Volya Rinpoche is an amalgam of several eastern traditions, zen master, Tibetan lama, yoga guru all mixed in a delightfully wise and funny character whose purity of spirit runs through the pages.  Through his words, actions, and silence, Rinpoche shows Otto how to remove the chaos that controls his life and appreciate each moment.

We’ve all had moments when the fabric of our belief system is challenged and this book delves into that challenge with humor and wit.  The western skepticism of eastern philosophy is touched on through interaction with a Catholic nun, Philosophy professor, and Otto and handled in the inclusive manner of the Dalai Lama.  As the hard shell of Otto’s belief system is cracked, the teachings reveal their truths in a way that is completely relevent to his life.

As Cecelia (Otto’s sister) put it “The country needs help, spiritual help.  He’ll change your life too, if you just let him“.  While the book itself isn’t going to necessarily change your life, hopefully it will give you pause to contemplate where your life is spiritually.

~ Review by digging_the_dharma

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Breakfast with Buddha

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  2. Sounds cool. I just bought Buddha or Bust at the Library Book Sale:

    “Journalist Perry Garfinkel circumnavigated the globe to discover the heart of Buddhism and the reasons for its growing popularity ~ and ended up discovering himself in the process.”

    I’m re-reading Eat, Pray, Love. Buddha or Bust is next up.

  3. nrhatch, Another good book along the same theme is “The Accidental Buddhist” by Dinty Moore (yes that’s his real name). The Tibetan teacher in that book is the spiritual advisor at our center (Drepung Loseling). The events in the book where written before the center moved to its current location and changed its name. Geshe Lobsang-la just laughed at me when I asked him about it. He hasn’t heard from the author since that time.

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