Preta

Preta, also known as hungry ghost, is the Sanskrit name for a type of supernatural being described in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese folk and Vietnamese folk religion as undergoing suffering greater than that of humans, particularly an extreme level of hunger and thirst. They have their origins in Indian religions and have been adopted into East Asian religions via the spread of Buddhism. Preta is often translated into English as


Preta, also known as hungry ghost, is the Sanskrit name for a type of supernatural being described in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese folk and Vietnamese folk religion as undergoing suffering greater than that of humans, particularly an extreme level of hunger and thirst. They have their origins in Indian religions and have been adopted into East Asian religions via the spread of Buddhism. Preta is often translated into English as "hungry ghost" from the Chinese and Vietnamese adaptations. In early sources such as the Petavatthu, they are much more varied. The descriptions below apply mainly in this narrower context. The development of the concept of the preta started with just thinking that it was the soul and ghost of a person once they died, but later the concept developed into a transient state between death and obtaining karmic reincarnation in accordance with the person's fate. In order to pass into the cycle of karmic reincarnation, the deceased's family must engage in a variety of rituals and offerings to guide the suffering spirit into its next life. If the family does not engage in these funerary rites, which last for one year, the soul could remain suffering as a preta for the rest of eternity.
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