Jataka Tale — The Baby Quail and His Mighty Flame: Threefold Flame

(Directions for slide changes are for AV, not the storyteller. All animation in slides plays automatically when changed.)

 Click here for a printable version of this story.

Good morning and welcome. And we welcome all the families and children on the broadcast.


Our story today is about the sacred flame in the Secret Chamber of our hearts. Do you know what that flame is called?  (Allow children to respond.)  Yes, the threefold flame. Today we are going to hear a Jataka tale.  Have you ever heard a Jataka tale?  (Allow children to respond.)  Jataka tales are Buddhist stories that teach a moral or virtue and are based on spiritual truths.  They are stories of the Buddha’s previous lives. The stories refer to Buddha as the Bodhisattva and often he takes the form of an animal. In our church, we know that people do not embody as animals. That is why these stories are called tales. We have changed this story a little to include our understandings of the flame within us.

The pictures that you’ll see on this large screen will help tell the story.  (Go to slide two.)


The Baby Quail and His Mighty Flame

 Once upon a time, the bodhisattva known as the Enlightenment Being, was born as a tiny quail. He had little feet and wings, yet he was still too young to walk or fly. His parents worked hard bringing food to the nest, feeding him from their beaks. He watched his parents scurry around with other parents searching for the tastiest and healthiest food they could bring to their babies. You can see that on this video. (Go to slide three. After video, go to slide four.)

This little quail received much more than food from his parents. Every time his mother or father placed a seed or grain into his small beak, they would say, “Always thank God for the food he gives you. Remember to say, ‘Oh God you are so magnificent.’”

Little Quail then would say his blessing of gratitude before swallowing his morsel of food. His parents also taught him, saying, “Be grateful for the flame in your heart, your threefold flame. Remember to Love the Light of God. Always Love Light.”

If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the words of the quail saying, “Love Light.” (Go to slide five.)  (Audio sound on next slide plays automatically. It repeats “Love Light” 4x.)

Now, often there are forest fires and a fire started when baby quail was still very young.  (Go to slide six.)

All the other birds flew away at the first sign of smoke, but baby quail and his parents stayed. As the fire spread and got closer to the quail’s nest, his parents tried lifting him to carry him to safety. But alas, their wings could not hold him. So, they remained with him. “We must now put our faith and trust in God,” baby quail’s father said. (Go to slide seven.)


The little one saw that the fire was destroying everything around him. He wanted to pray to God but he was too afraid. He looked at his loving and brave parents praying. He wanted to be like them, so he closed his eyes. He whispered, “Oh God, you are so magnificent.”

Then he began to have beautiful thoughts, “So great is the loving-kindness of my parents. My parents love me very much. Unselfishly they built a nest for me, and then fed me. When the fire came, they remained with me when all the other birds flew away. (Go to slide eight.)

“I am little and cannot go for help. I have wings, but I cannot fly away. I have feet, but I cannot run away. All I have left to use is my pure heart.

“So, now all I can do is obey my parents. I will meditate on the flame in my heart and recite my prayer.” So, the baby quail meditated on his threefold flame all the while saying, “Oh, God you are so magnificent, Oh, God you are so magnificent, Oh, God you are so magnificent.” (Go to slide nine.)

Then an amazing miracle took place. The flame of power, wisdom and love of God in baby quail’s heart grew and grew until it became larger than the little baby bird. (Go to slide ten.)

The knowledge of this flame spread beyond that one lifetime, and little quail became aware of many of his previous births. One of his previous lifetimes was that of a Buddha, a fully enlightened knower of Truth – One who has the power of Truth, the purity of wholesomeness, and the purpose of compassion. This flame in baby quail’s heart had become larger and more powerful than the fire burning throughout the forest.

Then the Great Being within the tiny baby quail spoke, “May all birds and other beings, who are still trapped by the fire, be saved. And may this spot be safe from fire for a million years!” (Go to slide eleven.)

And so it was. The physical fire was consumed by the blazing flame in this tiny bird’s heart. Baby quail, his parents, the birds and all the other creatures were saved from the fire. They continued to live in peace and love at this spot where the great bodhisattva had once lived. (Go to slide twelve.)



Conclusion: What do you think the moral of the story is? (Allow children to answer.)

The moral: Through devotion and good deeds, the Christ flame or the threefold flame in the secret chamber of the heart expands in love, wisdom and power and we can invoke miracles in our lives also. (Go to slide thirteen.)

Here is a print of Jesus that shows how he had expanded his threefold flame. You probably have heard about the many miracles that Jesus performed in his lifetime as he expanded his Christ flame.

Do you know that most people’s flames start at birth at about 1/16th of an inch, very teenie right? (Demonstrate on your finger how big that is.)

Do you know that we can expand our Christ all around us just like Jesus did? How can we do this? By becoming more filled with light – by being more loving, wise and Godly-powerful each day. Will you try to do this?

Let’s close our eyes, and meditate on our threefold flame as we say the prayer that the parents taught the little quail to say “Oh God you are so magnificent.” (3x)

Today in Sunday school you will do a fun activity about the quail and threefold flame.

Thank you so much for being here today.

Click here to download power point presentation.   Baby Quail




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