An Ancient Tale Invokes Today’s Heros in Japan

I write this as 50 heros try last ditch efforts to  avert a nuclear disaster in Japan.  The Jataka story of the Brave Parrot comes to mind.  First, here, quoted from the NY Times  is a brief description of what these hero’s are doing.
“They crawl through labyrinths of equipment in utter darkness pierced only by their flashlights, listening for periodic explosions as hydrogen gas escaping from crippled reactors ignites on contact with air.
They breathe through uncomfortable respirators or carry heavy oxygen tanks on their backs. They wear white, full-body jumpsuits with snug-fitting hoods that provide scant protection from the invisible radiation sleeting through their bodies.”

Once, Buddha was reborn as a beautiful parrot who brought joy to those who saw him flying through the forest.  One day, the parrot witnessed a flash of lightning and a quickly spreading fire.  The forest animals ran every which way in great panic blinded by the smoke.  The parrot flew again and again to the river, diving in, then flying through the heat and the smoke in a desperate effort to put out the fire by shaking down what few drops of water that remained on his wings.

For the rest of a beautiful version of this story, retold by Rafe Martin, which is featured on the Learning to Give website- follow this link.

We will soon know if the efforts of these brave souls will prove effective.  We wait in gratitude for their sacrifice.



  1. Hi Bob. Thank you for this story. I’m doing an art piece as an environmental project and I want to offer my next small piece as a token to these heroes in Japan. I hope you don’t mind if I take from your inspired writing.

  2. As always Bob your thoughts are timely and touching. Thank you for reminding us about the heroes in Japan who are risking their lives for all. The word “courage” is too small to encompass their sacrifice.


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