Frank Jude's Reviews > Breakfast with Buddha

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo
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M_50x66
's review
Jun 18, 10

bookshelves: fiction-novels
Read in June, 2010

I really like the narrator of this book. He's a regular guy with an above average level of self-awareness, but held back from the full open engagement with life that we can all fall victim to all too easily. There's humor and good social observation throughout.

The title, however, is a bit misleading. Author Merullo acknowledges sources as diverse as Thomas Merton and 'real' Buddhists such as Pema Chodron, Trungpa Rinpoche and Thich Nhat Hanh but also the new-agey Scott Peck. The "teachings" his character, Volya Rinpoche gives are certainly NOT what I'd call Buddhism. That's not necessarily a problem, of course, but the over-simplification of the "all religions" ecumenicalism and god-talk, but absolutely no mention of anatta tends to disappoint if you're looking for the real deal.

In fact, it's interesting that Merullo took what HAD to be obvious pains to avoid the real challenging teachings of the Buddha to offer this sugar-coated fluff. That he gives his spiritual teacher the title "Rinpoche" and titled his book "Breakfast With Buddha" ends up seeming a sly marketing strategy.

But still, it was an enjoyable and engrossing read, and one I do recommend. Hey, I guess I'm just a sucker for road books.
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