ISBN 10: 1565129288 / ISBN 13: 9781565129283
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Inhaltsangabe: If life is a journey--with detours, paths from which to choose, and myriad roadblocks to overcome--then Otto Ringling is most certainly on
the journey of a lifetime.  

The first fifty or so years of Otto's journey were pretty good. He felt he had it all until one day he didn’t.

Looking for answers, he calls on his enlightened brother-in-law, Volya Rinpoche, a wise man with Russian roots, a Tibetan heritage, and an international reputation as a spiritual teacher. The two men first got to know each other on a journey years before, during which they explored both the real and spiritual aspects of the world around them. Now Otto needs his brother-in-law’s wisdom once more, and this time it turns out that Rinpoche himself is also looking for guidance.

They embark on a road trip over highways and back roads across the middle of America, hoping to sort out what’s troubling them. They encounter a diverse cast of characters along the way as they look for answers to life’s mysteries.

With its highs and lows, their trip is, of course, a metaphor for life’s larger journey. But it is also a lesson in love and gratitude.The two travelers peer beneath the surface of things to seek a deeper purpose. Luckily, for them and for us, we never know what’s waiting around the next bend in the road.

“We, like Otto, find our cynicism worn away by Rinpoche’s gentle instruction in the simple but terribly difficult art of letting go, living each moment to the fullest, seeing the sacred in the everyday . . . This brave, meditative author has carved a unique niche in American literature.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

From the Author: Roland Merullo reflects on the "Buddha" trilogy

What started out as a simple road trip from New York to North Dakota has evolved into a trilogy -- Breakfast with Buddha, Lunch with Buddha, and, soon, Dinner with Buddha. In Breakfast, my original intention was to introduce an ordinary American, Otto Ringling, to the wisdom of the East, especially their emphasis on meditation and contemplation. Once I got started along that path, though, I realized that I'd have to walk with him (or, I guess, ride with him, since they are all road-trip books) deeper into the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes discouraging forest of a true spiritual life.

I wanted him to have a deepening understanding of himself and of the world he inhabits. In order to do that, I needed to take him through love as well as loss and epiphany as well as disappointment. And, since I see these novels, also, as observations on modern American life, I wanted him to see other parts of this great nation. Lunch takes him and Rinpoche (and sometimes other family members) from Seattle to North Dakota. Dinner takes them from North Dakota, through the West's wide-open spaces, and deposits them in a city not exactly known for its emphasis on things spiritual.

Though all three books have a spiritual/philosophical core, I'm not out to preach or convert. What I try to do is to explore the larger questions of meaning without simply repeating the tenets of any one faith. I want to take a common-sense look at life, American life especially, a balanced, original, thought-provoking look. Like most of us, Otto is steeped in a Western way of thinking about the world. His is an exterior philosophy: be a good husband, father, and citizen; do no harm, and if there is an afterlife, you will be rewarded. The Eastern way -- best stated, perhaps, by Jesus' line "the kingdom of heaven is within you" -- focuses more on the interior world, on the working of the mind and the techniques one might use to change those patterns that are damaging or unhelpful.

In Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, I worked to strike a balance between those two world-views, letting Otto keep some of his practical, Midwestern ethics, but also letting him gradually open himself to Rinpoche's focus on the "thought stream", on things interior.

It can be weighty material. I understood that going into the first book and so I did everything I could to make the story strong enough, the characters interesting enough, and the book itself funny enough that it wouldn't come close to the dangerous territory of pious preachery (my word).

The response so far has been absolutely surprisingly wonderful. Six years after its publication, Breakfast continues to sell and continues to be a book club favorite. Lunch, still in its early childhood, shows every sign of following in its older cousin's footsteps. Dinner will be out in the spring of 2015.

I can't see myself going on and on after this trilogy is all in print. But I do have to admit to considering one more piece of Otto's spiritual path, one last step that I need to put him through. I welcome suggestions for a title, but I think that fourth book will be something a little bit different, not an American road trip at all. Maybe an end to the story, if there could possibly be such a thing.

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