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World of hungry spirits

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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world of hungry spirits
餓鬼界 (Jpn gaki-kai )

    Also, realm of hungry spirits or world of hunger. The second of the Ten Worlds and one of the three, and the four, evil paths. When viewed as a state of life, the world of hungry spirits is a condition ruled by insatiable selfish desire for food, profit, fame, or pleasure. In The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind, Nichiren characterizes the world of hungry spirits as "greed." One in this state is tormented physically and spiritually by relentless craving. The causes for falling into this state are such tendencies as greed, miserliness, and jealousy. Both the Sanskrit word preta and the Chinese word kuei, whose Japanese reading is ki (of gaki ), literally mean "the deceased" or "spirits of the deceased." The world of hungry spirits is described in the sutras as an underground realm five hundred yojanas beneath the surface of the earth located just above hell. The Treatise on Accordance with the Correct Doctrine describes three kinds of hungry spirits, each of which is further subdivided into three, and the Meditation on the Correct Teaching Sutra lists thirty-six kinds.

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