84000 Glossary of Terms

Our trilingual glossary combining entries from all of our publications into one useful resource, giving translations and definitions of thousands of terms, people, places, and texts from the Buddhist canon.

ཡི་དགས། | Glossary of Terms

    ཡི་དགས།

    yi dags

    preta

  • Term
Publications: 38

One of the five or six classes of sentient beings, into which beings are born as the karmic fruition of past miserliness. As the term in Sanskrit means “the departed,” they are analogous to the ancestral spirits of Vedic tradition, the pitṛs, who starve without the offerings of descendants. It is also commonly translated as “hungry ghost” or “starving spirit,” as in the Chinese 餓鬼 e gui.

The pretas live in the realm of Yama, the Lord of Death, where they are particularly known to suffer from great hunger and thirst and the inability to acquire sustenance.