On the Road with Buddha – a review of Dinner with Buddha by Roland Merullo

Merullo_Dinner_buddha_8_14.inddDinner with Buddha by Roland Merullo is essentially a novel that also has spiritual lessons that are an important part of the plot.

Otto Ringling is a sort of Everyman representing the seeking, skeptical human. Volya Rinpoche is a world renowned spiritual teacher and Otto’s brother-in-law. Together they travel around what I think of as the American West. They see both what are considered the great places to go sight-seeing and the more ordinary places that people live most likely getting there via a meal at a local restaurant.

Along the way, Otto is exposed to many lessons of a spiritual nature. Some are easier for him to swallow than others. The hardest one of all may be that his niece might be the next Dalai Lama. To be honest, the author almost lost me on that one. But I realized that wasn’t as important as Otto’s reaction to the news.

This is the third book in this series. Breakfast with Buddha is the first one and is described by the Boston Globe as “Enlightenment meets On the Road.” I think this book could basically be described the same way.The actual places they travel aren’t the same, but the idea of all this change happening on a road trip is the same.

It took me a while to read the book because I was trying to absorb the lessons to a degree as I read. It could be read straight through without doing that, but it seems you would miss out on a big part of the book that way. Or if you want the lessons after absorbing the fiction, you could always go back and read it again.

I gave this book 3 stars. I liked it. I enjoyed the story for the most part. I didn’t like the aimless feel to some of the traveling around. It felt plotless in those parts and slowed down my reading. The spiritual lessons continued during those parts, but the sense of them having a destination faltered.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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