There are some special supernatural creatures mentioned in the Buddhist Tipitaka, which include for example:

  • Beings of negative births living like gods
  • Floating creatures in immense pain only seen by the Arahants
  • Evil creatures who only reside in ponds in the jungle
  • Evil creatures who eat their own babies

Where in the Theravada Tipitaka can I find out more about these creatures? These stories are ascribed to (i.e. told by) the Buddha.

  • 1
    This question seems very broad. Could you somehow edit it, to limit the amount of answers and perspectives possible? Maybe you could limit the questions to only asking about "ghosts" in Buddhism?
    – user2424
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 12:11
  • 1
    I edited the formatting but I don't understand the question. Can you ask about a specific sutta perhaps, so we know what kind of "creatures" or what kind of "supernatural" you're asking about? Do you know why you used the-buddha as a tag for the question? And what do you want to know about them?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 22:47
  • OK,Thanks for the comment @ChrisW . Here are the answers for your questions. i am expecting answers from Tipitaka (Theravada), I mentioned the-buddha tag expecting record of past events between lord buddha and such beings.There has been many such occasions (I've heard some). As for what kind of supernatural, there has been very special events (Beings of negative births living like gods,Floating creatures in immence pain only seen by the Arahants.).
    – Theravada
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 23:51

2 Answers 2


I think you're looking for or trying to reference the "Petavatthu" in the Khuddaka Nikaya.

Wikipedia says,

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. It gives prominence to the doctrine that giving alms to monks may benefit the ghosts of one's relatives (see Ancestor worship).

A Google search for Petavatthu returns other references and sources and translations on this subject.

Beware that S. Dhammika writes,

Interestingly, the Buddha considered ‘talk about ghosts’ (petakatha) to be unedifying and unbecoming for serious Dhamma practitioners (D.I,8). The Petavatthu would by any interpretation qualify as ‘talk about ghosts.’ It is also interesting to note that the Thai Sangha has never recognized either the Petavatthu or the Vimanavatthu as canonical. All scholars who have examined the Petavatthu – Rhys Davids, H. S. Gehman and Prof. Abhayanayaka – ascribe to it a late date. Winternitz wrote that it ‘probably belongs to the latest stratum of literature assembled in the Pali Canon.’

He also says that that doctrine was an existing Brahminical belief.

There seems to be English-language translations of (at least 20 of) the stories here: http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Petavatthu inluding at least one about a creature which eats it's own babies.

  • So, how does Buddhism define a Ghost? Are there ghosts according to Buddhism?
    – Gokul NC
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 13:26

I found a good source, (Sutra pitaka,Vimana vattu )


This is a summary of such Supernatural events as explained by Lord Buddha. I respect the source because it is from a leading Theravada monastery in my country (Mahamewnwa Buddhist Monastery,Srilanka).I have mentioned the original source of the stories if you are interested in it.

  • 1
    On StackExchange an answer which is only a link isn't usually accepted as an answer: please see Are answers that just contain links elsewhere really “good answers”?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 0:37
  • @ChrisW thank you.I just found it and i am yet to listen to it completely.this is a summary of such events as explained by Lord Buddha. I respect the source because it is from a leading Theravada monastery in my country (Mahamewnwa Buddhist Monastery,Srilanka).I will edit my answer according to your suggestions.
    – Theravada
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 0:42
  • 1
    On this specific StackExchange site (i.e. "Buddhism.SE") there are reference-request questions to which a reference (a link) may be an acceptable answer. Even those answers are often a reference directly to a text in the Tipitaka. If you want to post this link (to an audio), please also post at least a summary of what's said in the audio (especially a summary of whichever the part[s] of the audio answer the question).
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 0:45
  • 1
    Please answer the question: e.g. the question asked "Who are the special supernatural creatures" and so the answer should answer that question.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 0:50
  • 1
    According to mahamevnawaedmonton.com/dhamma-talks the Vimana vattu is "Stories of Gods"; whereas "Stories of Ghosts" is the Peta Vattu.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 1:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .