Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? by Ajahn Brahm is also available under the title Opening the Door of Your Heart, but because we’re the kind of reviewers who prefer the gritty realism of manure to the notion of skipping lightly through emerald forests, we’re sticking with the original title. The subtitle to the original is Inspiring Stories for Welcoming Life’s Difficulties, and we can tell you that there are 108 of the beauties just waiting to be discovered here.
Before we continue, we should state that we are heavily biased towards Ajahn Brahm. Here at Buddhist Book Reviews we only write reviews of books that we have found to be genuinely helpful, but in this case we are even more biased than usual.
Anyone who picks up this book will soon understand why. Ajahn Brahm, who comes from London and has a working class background, is the kind of guy who doesn’t pull any punches. Yes, he’s a Buddhist monk of long-standing – he studied under Ajahn Chah and is now the Abbott of Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery as well as being the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia – but he’s also very much in touch with the lives, concerns and problems of regular folk. Furthermore, he isn’t afraid to speak in terms that laymen and women can understand and relate to, most often packing his wisdom in stories that are as entertaining as they are practically helpful.
Flick through the titles of the 108 stories in Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? and you will see just what you have to look forward to. The Idiot’s Guide to Peace of Mind, Being a Dustbin, A Truckload of Dung, Opening the Door of Your Heart, The Chicken and the Duck, The Exorcist, Hare Krishna, Blind Faith and The Worm and His Lovely Pile of Dung are just some of the stories that you will find here.
Many of the stories in this book are based on the author’s true-life experiences before, during and after his period of study under Ajahn Chah, and whilst most of these stories will make you laugh out loud, their humour doesn’t detract at all from their usefulness. On the contrary, every story here contains at least one real gem of wisdom that will help you to view life a little differently. Read the whole book and the impact that these nuggets of good sense will have on your day-to-day experience will be substantial.
Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? will obviously delight anyone who is already familiar with Ajahn Brahm or the Thai forest tradition, but really this book is for absolutely everyone. Buddhist, non-Buddhist, old, young, tall, short – if you’re the kind of person who can read whilst breathing in and out at the same time you should grab this book without delay. In fact, grab two copies and give one away.
Or, if you really would prefer a soft-focus cover, grab an audio copy of Opening the Door of Your Heart instead – and please feel free to skip through the emerald forests to your heart’s content.