6 reviews

Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel
by Roland Merullo

Published: 2007-10-02
Hardcover : 323 pages
14 members reading this now
36 clubs reading this now
4 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 6 of 6 members
The only thing certain about a journey is that it has a beginning and an end?for you never know what may happen along the way. And so it is with this journey into the minds and souls of two very different men?one of them in search of the truth, the other a man who may have already found ...
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(The only thing certain about a journey is that it has a beginning and an end?for you never know what may happen along the way. And so it is with this journey into the minds and souls of two very different men?one of them in search of the truth, the other a man who may have already found it.

When Otto Ringling, a husband, father, and editor, departs on a cross-country drive from his home in a New York City suburb to the North Dakota farmhouse in which he grew up, he is a man on a no-nonsense mission: to settle the estate of his recently deceased parents. However, when his flaky sister convinces him to give a ride to her guru, a crimson-robed Skovordinian monk, Otto knows there will be a few bumps in the road.

As they venture across America, Otto and the affable, wise, irritating, and inscrutible holy man engage in a battle of wits and wisdom. Otto, a born skeptic, sees his unwanted passenger as a challenge: a man who assumes the knowledge of the ages yet walks a mortal's path. But he also sees their unexpected pairing as an opportunity to take Volya Rinpoche on a journey of cultural discovery, with visits to quintessentially American landmarks (the Hershey's factory, Wrigley Field) and forays into some favorite American pastimes (bowling, miniature golf, dining out).

It is Otto, however, who has embarked on the real journey, that of self-discovery, led by his strange and remarkable passenger. By the time they reach North Dakota, Otto's head is reeling with the understanding that so much of what he had believed?as well as so much of what he had doubted?must be rethought before his journey can truly begin.

Witty and inventive, Breakfast with Buddha takes readers into the heart of America and in the process shows us a man about to discover his own true heart.

Editorial Review

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Merullo names a number of books that influenced his writing. If others have read some of these, discuss where these themes appear.
A basic understanding of Buddhism and yoga is helpful to the discussion.
by rakkmm (see profile) 03/17/11

We started off by asking what would you do if you planned a trip with someone and instead of that someone going with you, a monk was going to join you?
by Diane860 (see profile) 01/30/10

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Our discussion leader provided food mentioned in the book
by teresa58 (see profile) 05/26/12
Food is a major character in this book. Otto feeds his body with gusto. Equally enthusiatic, Rinpoche serves food for the soul.
by rakkmm (see profile) 03/17/11
Many cuisines are enjoyed in Breakfast with Buddha. It might be interesting to serve samples of each. Open a map of the US to use as a table covering. Trace their route.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by Brendan P. (see profile) 04/03/23


  "6 days on the road wirh Buddha"by Audrey H. (see profile) 11/29/17

Much discussion was had on the change in the main character, Otto, while traveling with a guru from NYC to NDak. Interesting and at times humorous.

by Linda H. (see profile) 09/30/15

  "Breakfast with Buddha"by Linda M. (see profile) 07/26/15

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! It is interesting to see the change that comes over Otto as he travels with Rimpoche to North Dakota, introducing him to the United States. Very humorous at times!... (read more)

  "good book"by amanda m. (see profile) 07/25/15

Our book club rating was 4.25 on a scale of 1-5. We enjoyed the authors use of humor. Yoga and a swimsuit had us laughing!

  "A Bit Dated"by Judith B. (see profile) 06/25/14

Our group had a good discussion. Some readers didn't get the point of the book. Is it a road-trip story? A spiritual quest story? or Just an amusing story? Probably all three. We selected it because... (read more)

  "RCPL Book Club"by teresa s. (see profile) 05/26/12

Of the 14 people that attended the discussion, 11 enjoyed the book. Two people liked it till the ending - the bowing at book's end sparked a lively debate. Only one person stated that she didn't like... (read more)

  "Little characters in nice book"by Jeff D. (see profile) 05/05/11

With but two real characters this keeps you interested in the opposites; what will happen next, whether the story will succeed, and what will happen in the end. it generally works and works well, at least... (read more)

  "Two unlikely companions embark on a NY to ND road trip with surprising results."by Roberta K. (see profile) 03/17/11

Conned into driving his sister's Rinpoche to the family home in ND, Otto decides to show this spiritual leader a bit of America. Along the way, this odd couple find lessons to be taught, and learned, in... (read more)

  "Enjoyable read!"by Betsy H. (see profile) 01/19/11

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