Monday, January 21, 2013

Buddhaland Brooklyn

Buddhaland Brooklyn

Richard C. Morais

When tragedy strikes, killing 11-year-old Seido Oda’s family, he enters a remote Japanese Buddhist temple to start training as a Buddhist priest. At 18 he re-enters the world to study painting at university but returns, an introverted recluse with few friends, to the temple to teach. Why then is he chosen, at age 40, to move to Brooklyn to guide the building of an American temple? He can’t see how he can succeed, but for his only friend he will do this one thing. So begins the story of this rigid, socially inept Buddhist priest. Once in Brooklyn, cultures clash. He is disgusted by the American Buddhists who pray to get things, not for enlightenment. How will he fit into America and guide these wayward Buddhists while learning to love himself?

I loved this book. I was taken at once by the beautiful descriptions of rural Japan, which contrasted so sharply with the images of Brooklyn. Oda’s relationships with the Americans are both touching and funny.

- Barb Booth

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