Vattakaparittam- The Quail’s Protection

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The Quail’s Protection

Atthi loke sīlaguṇo saccaṁ soceyyanuddayā
There is in this world the quality of virtue, truth, purity and tenderness.

Tena saccena kāhāmi saccakiriyamanuttaraṁ.
In accordance with this truth I will make an unsurpassed vow of truth.

Āvajjitvā dhammabalaṁ saritvā pubbake jine
Sensing the strength of the Dhamma, calling to mind the victors of the past,

Saccabalamavassāya saccakiriyamakāsahaṁ
in dependence on the strength of truth, I made an unsurpassed vow of truth:

Santi pakkhā apattanā santi pādā avañcanā
“Here are wings with no feathers; here are feet that can’t walk;

Mātā pitā ca nikkhantā jātaveda paṭikkama
My mother & father have left me. Jataveda the Fire, Go back!”
以及那些父母都出去的,啊! 迦达畏拉火,退回去吧! ”

Saha sacce kate mayhaṁ mahāpajjalito sikhī
When I made my vow with truth, the great crested flames,

Vajjesi soḷasa karīsāni udakaṁ patvā yathā sikhī
avoided the sixteen acres around me, as if they had come to a body of water.

Saccena me samo natthi esā me saccapāramīti.
My truth has no equal : Such is my perfection of truth.


The Story behind Vattakaparittam (鹌鹑护卫偈)

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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