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Vattakaparittam- The Quail’s Protection

 

On one occasion when the Buddha, accompanied by a large following of monks ws returning from their morning alms round, they were confronted by a raging forest fire. Fearing for his safety, the monks rushed to his aid only to find him standing right on the path of the raging fire un-scorched. 

Amazed by the sight, they sang praises of the Buddha’s power. The Buddha then explained to them that what they are witnessing today is actually the power of an previous “Act of Truth” which he had performed in his former life as a quail. On account of what happened in the past no fire will burn this very spot throughout the whole aeon. 

In his previous birth as a quail, there broke out a forest-fire. Fearing for their lives all creatures, including his own parents fled away abandoning the helpless baby quail in the nest. The young bird was then too young to walk much less fly. Forsaken and all alone he call to mind the virtues of past Buddhas and made a firm assveration that by the power of Truth may the fire recede. The angry flame calmed down and waived the spot of sixteen hectors (lengths) just like a burning torch had been dipped into water. The fire was extinguished by the miracle of the Truth uttered by the baby-quail. As this spot will remain for the whole aeon untouched by fire, this miracle is called the aeon-miracle. 

This paritta sutta of six stanzas in Pali is found in the Jataka, Cariyapitaka and Khuddaka Nikaya Pali Text and is  recited to protect and prevent from the dangers and conflagration and forest fire.

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