Breakfast with Buddha

December 26, 2012

“When his sister tricks him into taking her guru, a crimson-robed monk, on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused.” (back cover)

I’ll say. I wasn’t amused either.

A magazine had recommended Breakfast with Buddha (by Roland Merullo), and when I finally spotted it on a bookshelf at the Cloud and Leaf (a lovely gem in Manzanita, Oregon) a few years later, I didn’t hesitate to buy it and get it home.

I repeat: I was not amused. But … determined to make the best of an apparently unsatisfying purchase, I eventually discovered a spiritual (?) kinship with Otto that kept me reading. I had discovered my friend inside the book and I wanted to make sure that he made it through in one piece.

And then, when an early confrontation with Rinpoche tripped Otto up, “He [Rinpoche] watched me. There was the tiniest smile at the corners of his mouth. ‘Why angry?’ he asked.” I found myself crumpled up in a heap alongside Otto. Why was I so angry, so hostile, so afraid, of a character in a book? Was Rinpoche the challenge or was it life itself?

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