BUDDHALAND BROOKLYN by Richard C. Morais: A Review

One of my favorite reads of 2021

Over the past two years, I have read several that involved Buddhism. Three were told from the point of view of a cat, three involved road trips with a Buddhist monk, and this one gave me a new view of the life of a Buddhist priest/monk.

Seido Oda lived in rural Japan, given to the priesthood as a young boy, who dedicated his life to painting, poetry, and prayer. (Did you notice the order of the words?) Living in a monastery at the foot of majestic mountains, his priestly duties were such that he was an introvert, much more a poet than a “people person.” Unbeknownst to him, he was also judgmental, lacked empathy, and was very private and reserved. Imagine his shock when his supervisor sent him to open a temple in Brooklyn, New York.

Unsuited to his assignment, Seido underwent culture shock as well as depression over the state of his congregation’s spiritual condition. His assistant and housekeeper, Miss Jennifer, with her spiked hair and mini-skirts becomes his unlikely love interest (Yes, Buddhist monks can fall in love.) Mourning a dead fiancee, Miss Jennifer has problems of her own, but at the same time is perhaps the most promising acolyte/believer. All of the secondary characters are well-drawn and appealing for the most part. At times humorous, tragic and covering”a little bit of everything,” Morais teaches us that, “Home is where you find it.”

It is a darned good read! You can probably find it at your local library.

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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