Home > Book Review, Lessons for the Modern Man, Men and Spirituality > “Breakfast with Buddha” – A Book Review

“Breakfast with Buddha” – A Book Review

I mentioned this book in my post yesterday as a sign of alignment of my path with the Plan of the Universe. It was a delightful Christmas gift and I raced through the book anticipating each new scene and experience: a good laugh, a shed tear, an unfolding story well told. Here is my short review:

I had not read anything by Roland Murello before I received this book. And I haven’t read a good “road-trip” story in a long time. Both encounters have been very rewarding. And perhaps the rewards have been deeper because I could so easily identify with all of the characters!

You don’t have to identify with any of the characters, however, to enjoy the book. If you are interested in a story of the movement of a fairly typical upper middleclass, middle aged American guy moving through early spiritual awakenings, then I highly recommend this well written book.

Otto Ringling is the main character. He grew up as a Lutheran in the Midwest (North Dakota) on a wheat farm. (I grew up as a Lutheran on a dairy farm in Wisconsin.) He is comfortable in his life: loving wife, two teenage kids whom he adores, great job publishing food books (he loves to eat fine food accompanied by great wine); all is going really well for him. But he has these nagging little discomforts with all of this; small inner tremors that begin to shake things up a bit.

Otto has a sister, Cecelia (mine is a sister-in-law). He calls her Seese (I call mine Cees). He claims his Seese is “as flaky as a good spanakopita crust.” (I won’t say anything here about my Cees, except that I love her!). Otto’s journey truly begins with the sudden death of their parents, the bigger tremor that really begins to shake his foundation.

Otto’s gradual awakening is guided by a Rinpoche, a “friend” of Cecelia. The story unfolds as a road-trip (just Otto and the Rinpoche) from Cecelia’s home in New Jersey to their parents’ farm in North Dakota. There are hilarious scenes through the whole trip, well described, often involving the search for the perfect meal along the meandering journey, as Otto serves Rinpoche a dose of true Americana and Rinpoche serves Otto a dose of the true way to awakening.

The book is light, fun, poignant, silly, profound and just plain enjoyable as a spiritual awakening travelogue. Perhaps I enjoyed it so much because it rang so true for me. But I think anyone who is beginning to get in touch with the truth and their own spiritual awakening will also enjoy the book.

And the best news for me is there is now a sequel: Lunch with Buddha. I can hardly wait to get my copy; and I’ve got a B&N gift card to spend!

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