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January 09, 2014

Book Review - Buddhaland in Brooklyn by Richard C. Morais

This is a gentle and funny clash of culture novel . Reverend Oda has been a Buddhist monk from childhood and has made a life in rural Japan with art and nature his constant companions in his predominantly solitary meditations. A change in the leadership of his monastery coincides with the expansion of their particular form of Buddhism into America and he finds himself in New York, thrust pell mell into a group of enthusiastic but ill-trained and ill-informed converts. A major supporter has been running lessons from Buddhism for Dummies and they don't show proper respect for the priest. Oda has to disentangle his religious beliefs from his established cultural practices and seek his own as well as his congregation's enlightenment. He also manages to find the joy in New York's noisy and crowded environment. This was a thorough delight. Wendy

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