Preta

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Preta (Skt., ‘deceased’; Pāli, peta). In Hinduism, the condition of the dead between death and joining the ancestors (pitṛ). Their state is that of a kind of purgatory; and the correct funeral rites (śrāddha) are essential if the transition is to be effected, since otherwise the preta may threaten the living. The pretaloka is the sphere where they remain until the rites are completed.

In Buddhism, their domain constitutes one of the three undesirable forms of existence (gati). Their karma is good enough to keep them from the hells (naraka) but not sufficient to project them to asura. If they do not receive appropriate support from the living, they can become vengeful. Their condition is described in Petavatthu (Khuddaka-nikāya).

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Preta

Hindu term for the soul of a departed. After death the soul was said to inhabit a subtle body the size of a man's thumb and remain in the keeping of Yama, judge of the dead. Punishment or reward arises for the preta depending upon the actions of the individual's life and may involve many rebirths.

Eventually through faith and enlightenment, the soul is translated to the heaven of the Pitris (the Manes or progenitors of the human race).