preta ［餓鬼・薜茘・薜茘多］ (; gaki, heirei, or heireita): Originally, in ancient India, spirits of the deceased. Incorporated into Buddhism, preta came to mean hungry spirits. In Buddhist scriptures, they are depicted as having human form with swollen bellies and throats as small as needles. Persons who lead lives of unrestrained desire or selfishness were said to be reborn as preta. The realm of preta is the second of the Ten Worlds, in which dwellers are tormented physically or spiritually by relentless craving, particularly hunger and thirst. This realm is also interpreted as representing the state of life of someone consumed with insatiable desire. See also hungry spirits.