Read Lunch with Buddha by Roland Merullo Online


On the surface, LUNCH WITH BUDDHA is a story about family. Otto Ringling and his sister Cecelia could not be more different. He’s just turned 50, an editor of food books at a prestigious New York publishing house, a man with a nice home in the suburbs, children he adores, and a sense of himself as being a mainstream, upper-middle-class American. Cecelia is the last thing fOn the surface, LUNCH WITH BUDDHA is a story about family. Otto Ringling and his sister Cecelia could not be more different. He’s just turned 50, an editor of food books at a prestigious New York publishing house, a man with a nice home in the suburbs, children he adores, and a sense of himself as being a mainstream, upper-middle-class American. Cecelia is the last thing from mainstream. For two decades she’s made a living reading palms and performing past-life regressions. She believes firmly in our ability to communicate with those who have passed on. It will turn out, though, that they have more in common than just their North Dakota roots.In LUNCH WITH BUDDHA, when Otto faces what might be the greatest of life’s difficulties, it is Cecelia who knows how to help him. As she did years earlier in this book’s predecessor, BREAKFAST WITH BUDDHA, she arranges for her brother to travel with Volya Rinpoche, a famous spiritual teacher — who now also happens to be her husband.After early chapters in which the family gathers for an important event, the novel portrays a road trip made by Otto and Rinpoche, in a rattling pickup, from Seattle to the family farm in North Dakota. Along the way the brothers-in-law have a series of experiences — some hilarious, some poignant — all aimed at bringing Otto a deeper peace of mind. They visit American landmarks; they have a variety of meals, both excellent and awful; they meet a cast of minor characters, each of whom enables Rinpoche to impart some new spiritual lesson. Their conversations range from questions about life and death to talk of history, marijuana, child-rearing, sexuality, Native Americans, and outdoor swimming.In the end, with the help of their miraculous daughter, Shelsa, and the prodding of Otto’s own almost-adult children, Rinpoche and Cecelia push this decent, middle-of-the-road American into a more profound understanding of the purpose of his life. His sense of the line between possible and impossible is altered, and the story’s ending points him toward a very different way of being in this world....

Title : Lunch with Buddha
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780984834570
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 392 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Lunch with Buddha Reviews

  • Marlowe01247
    2019-04-02 02:38

    am notorious for my cynicism. Show me a book that carries an "upbeat" message, and I'll show you a new way to light my wood stove. It's not just the soupiness or the upbeatitude of the message that bothers me, either. After all, we all need our fantasies. Rather it is the implicit arrogance in the proselytism, the smug certainties, and the lack of any sense of irony or humor endemic to this genre.I love LUNCH WITH BUDDHA,optimism and all, because it lacks all the flaws of the genre I have just described. It is a very funny book, especially in the richness of its characterizations. It is suitably ironic because none of the major characters, not even the great teacher himself, takes himself or herself too seriously. It is a moving book because the problem it pivots on will belong to half of all people in love, sooner or later. It is a gripping book in the depth of the emotional morass from which Otto, the protagonist, tries so hard to remove himself. It is a brave and honorable book because it takes phonies and bigots severely to task, and even raps the knuckles of cynics like me.Merullo is a skillful writer with a special talent for plot and character. If he wrote more about sex, he would sell more copies, but he is the kind of author who has to be completely comfortable with what he produces. He writes to satisfy his own standards, to bring enjoyment and knowledge to his readers, and not just to sell copies. He is totally authentic, as honest a writer as one can imagine.In this novel , which is "spiritual" in both the French and English senses of that world, he recognizes that as repulsive as organized religions might appear to folks like me, that revulsion cannot negate the deep need for a spiritual life in each of us. Hard-wired for wonder, like it or not, even the most rational of us wants to pass through some wardrobe door into a world that doesn't make any sense but does so in a way that is holds some grace, even some beauty.For me, Dostoevsky offers that kind of experience. You need not be a Christian to accept his sense of true goodness. I feel the same way about Blaise Pascal,that most poetic of mathematicians and most touching of Christian apologists.Merullo is less specific than either of these. He has no doctrine. No Christian, neither is he anything else easily defined. By the end of this book, however, with all its rollicking action and brilliantly-drawn characters, with all its gentle satire and vivid portraits of the West, I enjoyed a kind of relief, a kind of spiritual easing, that I have not felt in decades.To tell the truth, that feeling didn't last. But that might be more my fault than the fault of this fine new novel.

  • Kathryn
    2019-04-19 01:35

    First Sentence: JFK was an asylum, a processing plant, a study in chaos - snaking likes, recorded announcements, furious passengers with their taped-up baggage, clerks fielding complaints in the midst of the madness.Favorite quote: But most of us have our fussy spots, our territories of indulgence, don't we? Coffee, wine, an obsession with watching sports or with travel, cars, or clothing, a passion for hiking, an addiction to sex, work, cocaine, shopping, talking?I loved this book. It was funny, thoughtful, comical, a bit deep in places and it made me think about some things. I adore that when a book has me thinking. They travel around and near right where I live, so much of the book I knew right where they were. I cannot wait to read the third and last book of the series Dinner with Buddha.

  • Leah (Books Speak Volumes)
    2019-03-29 05:30

    Following the death of his wife, middle-aged Otto travels to Washington State with his two college-age children to spread Jeanie’s ashes at a site special to the couple. After an emotional gathering with his family, he embarks on a road trip across the American West with his sister’s husband, Volya Rinpoche, a world-renowned spiritual man and teacher of Buddhism.As on the pair’s previous road trip a few years before, Otto tries to teach Rinpoche about American culture and Rinpoche bestows spiritual lessons upon Otto. The two men experience the beautiful bounty of the untamed West while Otto struggles with the loss of his wife and searches for peace of mind through the teachings of the spiritual master.I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I’m all about road trip novels, afflicted by wanderlust as I am, and although I’m not religious, I am interested in the philosophical teachings of different religious traditions. A book about taking a road trip with a Buddhist spiritual leader is right up my alley. However, although I enjoyed this book, I didn’t feel the emotional connection I was hoping for.I also was thrown off by the little, seemingly false notes Otto senses in Rinpoche. Instead of seeing him entirely as a spiritual, enlightened man, Otto perceives some of Rinpoche’s actions to be phony, an act. For example, Rinpoche, who hails from the Siberian region between China and Russa, seems to speak English worse now than he did when Otto met him many years ago; in the last few years, he has picked up some linguistic quirks that he didn’t have before, such as pronouncing “very” as “wery.” Maybe these observations are more reflective of Otto’s cynicism than Rinpoche’s spiritual sincerity, but they were a little bit off-putting.Another thing that bothered me was how Otto seems to think everything is about him all the time — everything Rinpoche or his sister, Cecelia, does MUST somehow be a lesson for him. It doesn’t matter how obscure the connection is; Otto WILL figure out how Rinpoche’s wanting to ride a water slide or Seese’s making plans to prolong their trip is meant to teach him some valuable spiritual lesson. It seemed quite self-centered, but maybe that should be expected from a man who is grieving his wife’s death and is on a road trip with a spiritual leader, trying to piece his life back together?These were really only minor annoyances in a book that I really did enjoy. It was funny and sad and touching, and I love reading about different regions of the U.S. This country is so beautiful, and I feel incredibly lucky to have seen as much of it as I have, but I yearn to travel more and experience the incredible vistas America has to offer. I loved the descriptions of the land, the towns, and the people Otto and Rinpoche met along the road.Lunch with Buddha is the sequel to Breakfast with Buddha, a novel about Otto’s first road trip with Rinpoche. I haven’t read the first book, but it wasn’t a detriment to my reading experience. The previous trip is alluded to a few times, but I didn’t feel as if I was missing important information for not having read it. Merullo did a great job making this book stand on its own despite being a sequel. I’m not sure if I’ll read Breakfast with Buddha, but Lunch with Buddha was an enjoyable read.More book reviews at Books Speak Volumes.

  • Amy
    2019-04-02 23:30

    I am still trying to process this book. That is why I only gave it 3 stars. I might need to go back and change the rating later, but something about it just didn't sit right with me. I felt Otto was more worried about food than anything else. There was more time spent on his own musing than instruction from Rinpoche. In Breakfast with Buddha, I felt I was learning right along with Otto. I was coming to new understandings. I was growing. I felt a sense of wonderment and joy at Rinpoche's words. Is did not feel that in Lunch with Buddha. There was a lot of foreshadowing of a future book, and I hope that book comes to fruition, because I really need closure with these characters.Much of this book deals with the death of a loved one, and feeling alone after that person dies. I am no stranger to death. I struggled with understanding it many years ago, and maybe because I am not in that place myself, this book didn't connect as much. Or maybe it is because I believe I will see my loved ones again-- that they are not gone. I'm just not sure.What I did get from this book is a reminder to let people be. Love people no matter who they are- homosexual, homeless man, twanswestite, Muslim, Jew, etc. The other overwhelming message I got is that we have stop looking at the faults of others, and instead look at our own faults, and work on those faults.Overall a good book, but not what I was expecting.

  • Dianneb
    2019-03-24 01:30

    I thoroughly enjoyed this very interesting sequel to Breakfast with Buddha, altho I liked Breakfast from the minute I began reading; was part way into Lunch before it really grabbed my attention. The author's descriptions of the states/countryside/people as these 2 travelers make their way from the west coast to North Dakota made me feel like I was right there with them -- and now I want to visit these same locations! As I read the book I wondered how much of the descriptions were authentic and how much was part of the author's imagination. Loved finding out that the author and his family made this trip before he starting writing this book - so his imagination only lent itself to the story and the conversations, communication, interactions between the characters.

  • Betty
    2019-03-24 00:40

    I loved "Breakfast with Buddha" - but this one is even better - and deeper. I love the way Merullo develops Otto's character and gradually takes him to a different level. Otto Ringling in "Lunch with Buddha" would not have been possible without his experiences in 'Breakfast with Buddha." The way Rinpoche shows him that there is more to life than being a good person in the first book enables Otto to slowly develop a more spiritual life, in spite of the tragedy in his life. I can't wait for "Dinner with Buddha" - for that is certainly to come!

  • Rob Bottass
    2019-04-18 05:31

    I expected the sequel to Breakfast with Buddha to fall short of my joy with Merullo's first book in this series. Instead, I was completely satisfied. I won't provide any spoilers; however, the range of emotions this book touches held my attention in every chapter. The audiobook version was well done, as was Breakfast. Can't wait to begin Dinner!

  • Maria Paiz
    2019-04-03 06:47

    Otto Ringling and his unconventional guru Volya Rimpoche are back, this time trying to make sense of death. Otto's wife has passed away and as he struggles with bereavement, he also faces the fear of his own mortality. As Otto opens his heart to inner life, he realizes that his doubts and fears are simply thoughts, and those may always be observed and altered.Life constantly blinds us to our truest selves. We have two paths before us: the same way, or a different way. In meditation we can see things more clearly because it helps us observe our thoughts or actions, so we can choose a better path. We can sense our highest intelligence, our biggest Self: perhaps what others call God. We can never have all the answers, but there is an abundance of good inside all of us. One positive thought inside one person's head translates into a million positive ripples all around. I hesitated before buying this book because it's a sequel to "Breakfast with Buddha", which I loved, but my experience with sequels so far hasn't been good. Still, I went ahead and am glad I did. The characters are relatable, familiar, and believable, and Merullo offers a light, friendly narrative that makes you want keep reading and thinking about life and the wisdom of buddhist principles.

  • Lynn
    2019-04-19 00:59

    Otto and his now brother-in-law, Rinpoche are on the road again. Somehow this trip was not as satisfying as the first (Breakfast With Buddha). There is a lot of sadness as Otto's family tries to come to terms with the death of wife/mother/sister-in-law, Jeannie. There is a disturbing sub-context about the possible future of Celia and Rinpoche's daughter, Shelsa. And, just generally, less levity this time around. The quirky and thoughtful characters are all here, the life and spiritual lessons are still threaded throughout to be pondered upon but... I don't know. Though I enjoyed the book, I ended it feeling disappointed. Apparently there will be at least one more book in this series - trilogy? Maybe when they are all tied together I will feel differently. I hope so because this is a far cry from my usual exuberance over Merullo's work.

  • Stacy Boyles
    2019-03-28 05:52

    This book was good but not as good as Breakfast with Buddha. This story deals with Otto Ringling, the main character, losing his wife to a terrible 2 year illness. Soon thereafter, he realizes both of his children will be off at college and he will be all alone. They set out on a family trip once again spending time with his good friend and brother in law, Volya Rinpoche. Volya and Otto's sister have a beautiful and very special daughter which makes the story even more interesting. This extended family work together to get through their grief and end up with different views for the next chapter in their lives.Runnette is the perfect narrator for both books and I am excited that he also narrates Dinner with Buddha which just came out in June 2015.

  • Susan
    2019-04-12 04:44

    This book follows on the heels of "Breakfast with Buddha" which I also really enjoyed. Both stories involve road trips in which Otto the main character and his friend (now brother in law) Rinpoche have terrific adventures and great conversations. In this book, Otto's wife has recently died and the family is meeting out west to spread her ashes in a loved spot by a river. Otto is trying to deal with his grief and changing relationship with his almost adult children. It deals with weighty subjects in a humorous and compassionate way. I'm really hoping the author is inspired to continue with "Dinner with Buddha"

  • Caroline
    2019-04-20 04:58

    Parts of this book are better than Breakfast with Buddha, and some parts are worse. Unfortunately, the book is much more depressing, due to its subject matter and events since Breakfast. However, the Buddhist theories are interesting and explained so well by my favorite fictional Tibetan-ish Monk, the Rinpoche. Again, our narrator gets a little irritating and the end is again slightly stupid (I don't mince words). But I am looking forward to Supper or Dinner with Buddha, which is suppose to come out in Summer 2015.

  • Chris
    2019-04-06 04:47

    I read this in sequence with Breakfast with Buddha, with Golfing with God in between. Collectively they are for me a meditation on the spiritual evolution of a Catholic voice seeking deeper spiritual understanding by looking through the lens of Eastern traditions and seeing, feeling harmony at the center.

  • Rhonda
    2019-03-23 23:32

    I loved Breakfast With Buddha so much I sent copies to my entire family! Now it seems I will have to do the same for Lunch with Buddha! The books are funny, insightful, sometimes sad, but carry an overall uplifting Buddhist message. They are intuitive teachings, learned through "living" the characters' lives. I look forward to Dinner with Buddha!

  • M
    2019-04-06 08:00

    I was somewhat disappointed in this book, which I did not like nearly as much as Breakfast with Buddha. I need to read it again, though.

  • Mike Radice
    2019-03-30 07:45

    Loved this book. Otto and Rinpoche are funny, interesting and complicated characters and I love their journeys together. I hope Roland writes as his next book, "Dinner with Buddha."

  • Debbie
    2019-04-16 07:42

    A nice sequel to "Breakfast with Buddha", consistent characters and a little philosophy. Main character Otto Ringling continues to be an "everyman", struggling to become a better person while living his day to day life, having some success as he works toward more enlightenment but, like many of us, falls off the path on a regular basis and is learning to be an observer of his life and actions. A light and worthy read.

  • Brian Madigan
    2019-04-20 00:52

    Great series so far - often spiritual books are more on concept and less on practice - this book illustrates the difficulties of the road less traveled. Dealing with tragedy , doubt about his guru and figuring out how to incorporate spiritual practice in his live - are all covered in this book. Would recommend the audiobook - really enjoyed the narrator - made it better for me.

  • Dorothy Caswell
    2019-04-23 05:46

    Another provocative and entertaining read. Otto looks more into his life and meaning since his wife died. He also takes another road trip with Rinpoche and finds himself questioning about his life and his children's lives. On a retreat for 3 days he reads and ponders and does yoga and finds a peace he has not had since his wife died.

  • Vickie
    2019-04-12 04:37

    I loved this book. I loved all the Buddha books. They seem to be exactly the kind of book that is good for me to read: inspiring me to be better and think beyond the mundane minutia of life. I highly recommend all three of Roland Merullo's Buddha books, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  • Kevin
    2019-04-09 00:36

    I really enjoyed this 2nd book in the series, but it wouldn't satisfy everyone. I found reading about a three day solitary retreat exciting and interesting. If you are interested in such things I highly recommend this novel.

  • Anne
    2019-04-21 04:49

    I liked Breakfast with Buddha better. This was less travel and more spiritual, which is okay, but not what I was looking for in this book. I still like Otto and Rimpoche's relationship and Otto and his sister's relationship.

  • Stephanie Holt
    2019-03-26 07:40

    Even better than Breakfast with Buddha which was exceptional. I loved the detailed descriptions of personal experience with meditation. It gave me a picture of meditation that helped me accept my own meditation experience better. I look forward to Dinner!

  • Amy Brack
    2019-04-20 01:44

    Very enjoyable, just like Breakfast. It's especially great for a daily commute to work, with the road tripping and all. It gave me a lot to think about, and like Breakfast, makes me strive to have more purposeful time with just my thoughts.

  • Elaine Donovan
    2019-03-26 00:45

    Otto continues his philosophical quest and learns new things about the world and his place in it.

  • Sierra Michaels
    2019-04-07 03:40

    All three in this series is good and fun with interesting characters.

  • Matt Stump
    2019-03-24 05:56

    Not as good as Breakfast, but still a good read.

  • Aubrie Hackathorn
    2019-04-08 02:35

    LoveD!Lunch With Buddha read that causes you to dig deep! Well worth the read! I'm looking forward to Dinner With Buddha!

  • Carol
    2019-04-11 06:37

    I think I liked breakfast better, but this one is pretty good too.

  • Sbberns
    2019-04-20 03:52

    Another delightful listen!