Breakfast With Buddha: Otto’s Spiritual Change


Hey Everyone,

This is something from a long time ago that I wrote in response to the novel, Breakfast With Buddha. Enjoy!

Otto’s Spiritual Change

 In Roland Merullo’s, Breakfast With Buddha, a man named Otto Ringling goes on a journey with a man named Volyo Rinpoche. With the help of Volyo, Otto is taken on a spiritual journey and learns a lot about him and life itself. This is especially shown in chapter’s sixteen through nineteen of the book, which also relates back to the final chapter of the book. Chapters sixteen through nineteen relate to the final chapter of the book because the lessons that Rinpoche attempted to teach Otto throughout those chapters are all truly learned by Otto until] the final chapter.

In Chapter 16, Otto and Rinpoche stay at the Inn at Chagrin Falls. Eventually, he retreats to his room alone and writes a letter to his son, Anthony. His mind begins to wander and he thinks about the pleasures in life. He asks himself “wouldn’t the world disappoint me more and more often and more painful?” (124) He also wonders if the pleasures in life would diminish. At the end of this chapter, Otto comes to think that he has a lot left to look forward to in life. The way this chapter connects to the final chapter because he finds a new pleasure. His sister is going to have a baby and marry Rinpoche, which he finds to be a good thing and has that pleasure to look forward too. Therefore, he realizes that the pleasures won’t fade, but rather that there will be more to come.

In Chapter 17, the two traveling companions are taking a walk through the town and they are talking about judging people and wanting to be social accepted. They also discuss the topic of death and what they believe happens after death. Rinpoche also teaches Otto that there is a pleasure that beats all other pleasures without the use of drugs. This relates to the final chapter because it’s in that chapter that Otto learns to accept his sister for who she is and not judge her or her beliefs anymore. A lesson taught to him by Rinpoche.

In Chapter 18, Rinpoche decides that he has to mediate before they leave for their next stop. Otto refuses Rinpoche’s offer to join in. Instead, Otto watches T.V and isn’t too fond of it. He thinks basically that there are a lot of problems with today’s society. This connects to the final chapter because being back at his family’s farm, having all those memories; Otto realizes how good the world can truly be. Thinking about his old memories he realizes that there have been a lot of good times in his life and that there are more to come.

In Chapter 19, the two companions make there way to a restaurant called Little Budapet. The lesson of this chapter occurs when Rinpoche shows Otto a braid. Rinpoche shows the braid to Otto and says “Your spirit is together with their spirits like this, tight against each other” (146) By saying this, he means that Otto and all of his loved ones are connected by a tight bond. This chapter connects back to the final chapter of the book because Otto realizes that the lesson he learned in this chapter was true. His memories of his parents, the news about his sister and Rinpoche, his missing of his wife and kids, he realizes that the family is connected like that braid.

In chapters sixteen-nineteen Otto was taught a lot of good lessons, but he didn’t learn any of those lessons until the final chapter. Otto Ringling went from being a man stuck in his own ideas and beliefs and thinking all other ideas are weird, to being open minded and accepting of his sisters and Rinpoche’s belief.

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