Once upon a time the Exalted One was in residence at Savatthi, at Jetavana, in Anatha Pindika's Grove. At that time the Exalted One addressed the monks: "Monks!" "Reverend Sir!" replied those monks to the Exalted One. The Exalted One said this:
"In olden times, monks, a hawk attacked a quail with violence and caught it. Now, monks, as the hawk was carrying off the quail, the quail thus lamented: 'I am indeed unfortunate, I possess little merit,--I who walked in forbidden ground, in a foreign region. If to-day I had walked in my own ground, in the region of my fathers, this hawk would not have been equal to a combat with me.'
"'But, quail, what is your feeding-ground? What is the region of your fathers?'
"'A field of clods, turned up by the plow.'
"Then, monks, the hawk, not exerting his strength, not asserting his strength, released the quail. 'Go, quail! Even there you will not escape from me.' Then, monks, the quail went to the field of clods, turned up by the plow, and mounting a big clod, stood and called the hawk: 'Come now, hawk, I dare you! Come now, hawk, I dare you!'
"Then, monks, the hawk, not exerting his strength, not asserting his strength, flapped both his wings and attacked the quail with violence. When, monks, the quail knew: 'This hawk is coming for me with a vengeance!' he entered a crack in that very clod. And, monks, the hawk struck his breast against that very clod.
"'For, monks, so it goes with whoever walks in forbidden ground, in a foreign region. Therefore, monks, walk not in forbidden ground, in a foreign region. If, monks, you walk in forbidden ground, in a foreign region, the Evil One will obtain entrance, the Evil One will obtain lodgment. And what, monks, is forbidden ground, a foreign region? The Five Pleasures of Sense. What are the Five? Pleasurable Sights, Sounds, Odors, Tastes, Contacts. And what, monks, is lawful ground, the region of the fathers? The Four Earnest Meditations. What are the Four? Meditation on the Body, on the Sensations, on the Thoughts, on the Conditions of Existence. Walk, monks, in lawful ground, in the region of the fathers. If, monks, you walk in lawful ground, in the region of the fathers, the Evil One will not obtain entrance, the Evil One will not obtain lodgment.'"