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The Petavatthu is a Theravada Buddhist scripture, included in the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Pali Canon's Sutta Pitaka. It is composed of 51 verse narratives describing specifically how the effects of bad acts can lead to rebirth into the unhappy world of petas (ghosts) in the doctrine of karma.[1] It gives prominence to the doctrine that giving alms to monks may benefit the ghosts of one's relatives (see Ancestor worship).


  • "Stories of the departed", tr Henry S. Gehman, in Minor Anthologies of the Pali Canon, volume IV, 1942, Pali Text Society[1], Bristol
  • In Peta-Stories, tr U Ba Kyaw & Peter Masefield, 1980, Pali Text Society, Bristol; translation of the commentary, with the verses embedded; the PTS's preferred translation

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Petavatthu - Stories of a Hungry Ghost". Retrieved 2007-02-01. 


  • Egge, James. Religious Giving and the Invention of Karma in Theravada Buddhism, Routledge (UK), (2002) ISBN 0-7007-1506-1

External links[edit]