1. Vattaka Jataka (No. 35). The Bodhisatta was once
born as a quail, and before he was old enough to fly, fire broke out in the
forest wherein his nest was. Seeing no means of escape, he made an Act of Truth
(sacca kiriya), calling to mind the holiness of the Buddhas and their doctrines.
The fire retreated to a distance of sixteen lengths and then extinguished
itself. The story was related in reference to a fire which broke out in the
jungle when the Buddha was travelling in Magadha with a large company of monks.
Some of the monks were frightened and suggested various methods for putting out
the fire, while others said they should seek the Buddhas protection. This they
did and the Buddha took them to a certain spot, where he halted. The flames came
no nearer than sixteen lengths from where they were standing, and in approaching
the spot extinguished themselves. When the monks marvelled at the great power of
the Buddha, he told them the story of the past and said that, owing to his Act
of Truth as a quail, that spot would never be harmed by flames during the whole
of this kappa. J.i.212ff.; cp.i.172.
2. Vattaka Jataka (No. 118). The Bodhisatta was
once born as a quail, and was caught by a fowler who sold birds after fattening
them. The Bodhisatta, knowing this, starved himself, and when the fowler took
him out of the cage to examine his condition the quail flew away and rejoined
The story was told in reference to a young man of Savatthi
called Uttarasetthiputta. He had descended from the Brahma world and had no
desire for women. Once, during the Kattika festival, his friends sent him a
gaily decked woman to entice him, but he gave her some money and sent her away.
As she came out of his house, a nobleman saw her and took her with him. When she
failed to return, her mother complained to the king, and the setthiputta was
told to restore her. On failing to do so, he was taken off for execution. He
resolved that if by any means he could escape execution he would become a monk.
The girl noticed the crowd following the young man, and on learning the reason
she revealed her identity and he was set free. He, thereupon, joined the Order
and soon after became an arahant. J.i.432ff.
3. Vattaka Jataka (No. 394). The Bodhisatta was
once a forest quail living on rough grass and seeds. A greedy crow of Benares,
who was in the forest, saw the quail and thought that the good condition of his
body was due to rich food. The quail, seeing the crow, talked to him, and then
the crow discovered that the quail had a beautiful body not because he ate rich
food, but because he had contentment of mind and freedom from fear.
The story was related in reference to a greedy monk who is
identified with the crow. J.iii.312f.
4. Vattaka Jataka. See also the Sammodamana Jataka,
which is evidently also referred to as the Vattaka Jataka.