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Dinner with Buddha
Center Point Large Print edition. Large print edition.
Thorndike, Maine : Center Point Large Print, 2015.
Physical Description:
423 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
General Note:
"A novel."
"Eight years after Breakfast with Buddha skeptic Otto Ringling and Mongolian monk Volya Rinpoche set off across America on another unexpected road trip of discovery--from Indian reservations and farming towns to Colorado's New Age culture and the nonspiritual streets of Las Vegas"-- Provided by publisher.
Electronic Access:


Call Number

On Order



In Roland Merullo's Breakfast with Buddha, an inveterate skeptic and a world-renowned spiritual master set off across America. Now, some eight years later, the world has spun a few times, and what had been certainties in both men's lives have proved fleeting. Otto's future is less than clear after the death of his wife, the departure of his children to make their own lives, and the loss of the only remaining structure in his life -- his long-held job. For Rinpoche, the changes have been less daunting but nonetheless dramatic, as the encroachment of both technology and daily society threaten the solitude and peace of his North Dakota retreat, and he has been forced to acknowledge that his mysteriously gifted young daughter may be the next Dalai Lama.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

When Otto Ringling embarked on a road trip eight years ago with his Russian monk brother-in-law, Volya Rinpoche, in Breakfast with Buddha, he exposed the spiritual master to the messy intricacies of American society and, in turn, was taught the Buddhist method of self-discovery through meditation and mindfulness. They're on the road again, but this time with graver concerns: middle-aged Otto has experienced a series of life-changing losses, while Rinpoche's seven-year-old daughter may be the next Dalai Lama. Spurred on by crippling uncertainty, they travel through Native American reservations, roadside diners, casinos, homes of broken families, and more. Otto's underlying depression and grief is unearthed during his search for "the tonic for lardy middle-aged discouragement." Merullo masterfully depicts the struggles of practicing mindfulness moment by moment; Otto is not perfect and succumbs to self-defeating thoughts frequently, but it is his effort to learn and improve that serves as a powerful model. Merullo asks readers to be compassionate and conscious in a world of suffering, where following the road map of predictability does not give the best or even the most obvious answers. Otto and Rinpoche learn to "scrape the jadedness" from their habitual reactions in order to be present for themselves and for the world. Merullo's novel is full of nuanced, thoughtful prose and is an immensely satisfying conclusion to the series. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff Literary Agency. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Merullo (Vatican Waltz, 2013, etc.) offers a third installment in the spiritual adventures of Otto Ringling. Otto is in a slightly better place than he was after his cherished wife, Jeannie, died (Lunch With Buddha, 2012), but he's still resisting the assurances of his brother-in-law, noted Buddhist guru Volya Rinpoche, that suffering is merely a stage in his spiritual journey. Nor, visiting the North Dakota retreat center run by Rinpoche and Otto's sister, Seese, does he want to hear about Seese's dream vision proclaiming that Otto and his brother-in-law must travel "to the mountains" to facilitate the meeting of his 7-year-old niece, Shelsawho her parents believe is "a great spiritual being who'd been bornto save the world from cataclysm"with another great spirit who will help her change the world. Merullo doesn't make it easy for skeptical readers with this setup, but that's the point: on their road trip south, through some of America's most spectacular national parks as well as several grim Indian reservations and New-Age hotspots like Boulder, 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. Merullo never forgets how at odds this wisdom is with frenetic, plugged-in contemporary life, which makes all the more moving those times when Otto is able to surrender to it and see the world "as if the disguise had been yanked away." Sharp character sketches of people encountered on the way and occasional references to current events (it's August 2013) keep the narrative from floating away in spiritual self-absorption. It closes in Las Vegas (Rinpoche's love of gambling is a running joke), where Otto takes one more step along the path of accepting a new way of being and looking at the world. Clearly there's more to come. With six unconventionally religious novels to date, this brave, meditative author has carved a unique niche in American literature. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The last in a trilogy (Breakfast with Buddha, 2007; Lunch with Buddha, 2012) finds Otto Ringling once again on the road with his brother-in-law, renowned Buddhist monk Volya Rinpoche. Otto is seriously depressed, in mourning after the death of his beloved wife and bereft at having lost his job as a food editor. His sister, Cecelia, has had visions that her daughter is the next Dalai Lama, and she wants her husband and brother to set off on a trip to find the holy woman in the mountains who can help them. Along with side trips to casinos, sand dunes, and a Native American reservation, the two resume their relationship as teacher and acolyte, with Volya patiently coaxing Otto to give himself over to more meditation in order to fully appreciate living in the moment. Otto, unlike his visionary sister, has always been a skeptic about the usefulness of Eastern practices and struggles to find peace of mind. Merullo offers keen insight into and intelligent assessments of modern American life, but it is his compassionate portrait of a grieving Otto in search of inner tranquility that is most affecting.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Otto Ringling has come to a crossroads. Still struggling with his wife's death and the adjustments to his life without her, Otto returns to his family home in North Dakota, which is now a spiritual retreat run by his sister, Cecelia, and her husband, a famous Buddhist leader named Volya Rinpoche. Upon arrival, he is informed by Cecelia that she has had visions that her daughter may possibly become the next Dalai Lama. The mysterious person who must help his niece is located somewhere in the mountains and thus Otto finds himself on his third road trip with his brother-in-law. Rinpoche spiritually guides Otto with lessons and meditation as they meander through America's interior from North Dakota to Nevada. -VERDICT Merullo's third visionary adventure follows the same formula as Breakfast with Buddha and Lunch with Buddha, featuring a few humorous scenes and picturesque descriptions of the various areas and inhabitants encountered as Otto learns sacred lessons. While concepts of acceptance and being -nonjudgmental are spoon-fed to Otto throughout the story, Merullo is disappointingly inconsistent with the messages.- Joy Gunn, Paseo Verde Lib., Henderson, NV © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.