Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lunch with Buddha” as Want to Read:
Lunch with Buddha
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lunch with Buddha

(Breakfast with Buddha series #2)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,960 ratings  ·  238 reviews
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 f ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by AJAR Contemporaries (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lunch with Buddha, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Catherine Lacy Zirkle Book two. If read the first one; continue. You won't regret it.…moreBook two. If read the first one; continue. You won't regret it.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,960 ratings  ·  238 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Lunch with Buddha
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
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
Jun 10, 2013 rated it liked it
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. I
Leah (Books Speak Volumes)
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 spirit
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Rob Bottass
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
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! ...more
Oct 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perhaps this deserves a 5 star; however, I found it a little slow going through the beginning, unlike "Breakfast with Buddha". Probably, because we already know Otto and Rinpoche, it's six years later, Otto is practicing meditation regularly, and they are on another 6-day road trip. That said, I love Merullo's writing, his humor, his thoughtfulness, his life discussions with "Volvo". There seemed to be less 'teaching' in this book (Rinpoche to Otto) and more of Otto's insights and checking in wi ...more
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Stacy Boyles
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 "Dinne ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this Series

Some months ago I read "Breakfast With Buddha" which I really enjoyed. After that book I knew at some point I wanted to read number two in the series. I really like the two main characters: Otto, a successful cookbook editor living in the New York City area and Rinpoche, a "famous" holy man and brother-in-law to Otto. Their experiences together on a road trip beginning in Washington State are a delight and the best part of this book. Otto is struggling with many doubts after the
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this series. This novel tracks Otto's grief from the family memorial service for his wife in Washington, thru another roadtrip with Rinpoche (funny but packed with lots of "lessons"), to some growth in his understanding of the interior life. Otto is so relatable and real, someone who struggles with the chaotic mind and dislike of boredom like I do. His progress is realistic and lovely. ...more
Brittany Horton
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Covid book #3 - I enjoyed breakfast far more. I doubt I’ll continue in this series but it was good reminder of the Buddhist mindset in this chaotic time.
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As wonderful as the first book. Merullo has such a beautiful, fluid writing style. I can’t wait to start ‚Dinner with Buddha‘!
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lunch with Buddha is a sequel to Breakfast with Buddha. A charming, insightful, non-threatening roadtrip for the soul. After Otto Ringling spreads his wife's ashes at a small lake in rural Washington, he embarks on yet another roadtrip with his now brother-in-law, Volya Rinpoche, a spiritual master from the Russian Buddhist tradition, back to North Dakota.

Otto's children have grown since the first book, his son a college athlete and his daughter set to enter her first year of college on the east
Maria Paiz
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 th
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. So honest and funny, despite the deep existential issues that Otto is facing on this one (I'm comparing it with Breakfast with Buddha, of course). I missed Otto and Volya - it was so comforting to be on a road trip with them again. I was genuinely happy for Otto, he gave me hope as to my own internal processes with bereavement and spirituality. I want to start Dinner with Buddha right away but I feel like I need to savor this book a little longer.

Merullo's writing is so elegant. He n
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Rita Graham
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book that combines road trip, spiritual exploration, and life-changing events. The main character lost his wife and began a road trip with his children and brother-in-law who is a spiritual leader. Otto is searching for some understanding of what his life means after the death of
his beloved wife and what the future holds for both himself and his grown children. The author leaves the door just a bit open to the idea that there's
more to life than the things we can measure a
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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! ...more
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just like *Breakfast with Buddha*, this one reads like an autobiography. It is so authentic, I have to keep telling myself it’s a work of fiction. A beautiful story. Sort of like reading Ekhardt Tolle as a novel.

I am re-reading this one as well, having just finished for the second time Breakfast with Buddha.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
I must have missed something. I had high hopes for this book after loving the first. If there was any humor, It was lost among the cynicism and sad resignation. The narrator’s tone reminded me of a pedantic priest’s Sunday sermon, slow and plodding. I only lasted until chapter 8 before giving up on this audiobook.
Nov 05, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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." ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Mildly adequate, definitely not as good as Breakfast with Buddha. Even though Otto Ringling has been meditating for six years and getting 1/1 time with Rinpoche, now a well-known and much beloved spiritual teacher, Otto's more disgruntled, cynical, and self-absorbed than ever before. Merullo gives him good cause with the plot set up: Otto just lost his wife Jeannie to a three-year battle with cancer. At least that's what I think it was, there's not a lot of detail on the disease. It's all about ...more
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great for book group discussions.

Lunch with Buddha By Roland Merullo is the second in a three book fictional series that begins with the delightful Breakfast with Buddha where we meet the core characters : Otto Ringling, a NYC food book editor transplanted from a Dakota farm upbringing and Volya “Rinpoche” the Siberian monk thrown in prison for ten years before becoming an American immigrant.

The two very different characters go on a mutually enlightening road trip together in both the first an
Paul Manytravels
My first experience with reading Roland Merullo was "Dinner with Buddha," the third in his Buddha series of which Lunch with Buddha was the second. All three of the "Buddha" books were excellent and I have also read four other Merullo books which were also excellent.
Lunch with Buddha, like the other spiritual fiction books penned by Merullo, depicts a journey wherein various incidents allow for spiritual lessons, making the journey both a physical journey as well as a spiritual one. Each book w
Mark Robison
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
There was one scene where I wanted to stop reading and write a vitriolic review about how the book went off the rails. And I might have, but not too long after, there was a passage that fit seamlessly into the storytelling where the narrator mentions that sometimes when reading a book, something will happen and you'll want to say, “That’s false, that’s a false note.” It doesn’t ruin the book, he says, but it’s memorable. If that little acknowledgment about what happened a few scenes earlier hadn ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Remember Otto Ringling and The Rinpoche's journey from New Jersey to Dickinson, North Dakota?
Well, they are at it again!

As much as I enjoyed Breakfast with Buddha, I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, Lunch with Buddha. Maybe because it starts out on Whidbey Island (WA) sister island to Camano Island (WA) where I live. Roland did excellent research on Whidbey Island and the local areas of Western Washington state, along with all the other places Otto and The Rinpoche traveled in this book.

There are
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Good Morning, I Love You: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire Your Brain for Calm, Clarity, and Joy
  • Afterlife
  • Under the Rainbow
  • Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain
  • The First Rule of Ten (A Tenzing Norbu Mystery, #1)
  • Creative Calling: Establish a Daily Practice, Infuse Your World with Meaning, and Succeed in Work + Life
  • Mr. Chartwell
  • Fool's Crow: Wisdom and Power
  • Terminus (Threshold, #4)
  • Ellis Island and Other Stories
  • Erewhon (Erewhon #1)
  • Two Against the North (originally titled Lost in the Barrens), by Farley Mowat: A Novel Study
  • Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle
  • A Place on Earth
  • Walden Two
  • Doc: The Rape of the Town of Lovell
  • Son
  • Buried
See similar books…
ROLAND MERULLO is an awarding-winning author of 24 books including 17 works of fiction: Breakfast with Buddha, a nominee for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, now in its 20th printing; The Talk-Funny Girl, a 2012 ALEX Award Winner and named a "Must Read" by the Massachusetts Library Association and the Massachusetts Center for the Book; Vatican Waltz named one of the Best Books of 201 ...more

Other books in the series

Breakfast with Buddha series (3 books)
  • Breakfast with Buddha
  • Dinner with Buddha

News & Interviews

  In most romances, a romp in the hay comes after many chapters of meeting cute, silent pining, and steamy banter. Not so for books that...
29 likes · 4 comments
“My father he always say that the oil is already inside the student, already there from all time. The teacher only has a match and makes it light, and then the student isn’t a student anymore, just a friend, going the same way down the dark road but seeing now by himself.” 2 likes
“The real work was the identification of those aspects of yourself that led to what he called “the negative emotions”—anger, envy, bitterness, greed, cynicism, hatred and the like—things that poured hurt into an already overfull world.” 1 likes
More quotes…