This is a complete translation of the Petavatthu found in the Sutta Pitaka faithfully preserved in the theTheravada Buddhist tradition.
From this book you are going to learn the actions that lead to the ghost world and how beings are suffering living as ghosts. You will notice that they all lived in the human world like we do now. Here, the Supreme Buddha explains the suffering of the ghost world with a simile:
By investigating a person’s mind using my psychic powers I understand how that person behaves. This person having behaved in such a way, on the dissolution of the body, after death, will reappear in the realm of ghosts. Later on, I see that he has reappeared in the realm of ghosts and is experiencing much painful feelings. Suppose there was a tree growing on uneven ground with few leaves creating little shade, and then a man burnt and exhausted by hot weather, tired, dry and thirsty, headed to that tree in hopes of resting in the shade. A wise person then sees the thirsty man who has taken the path towards the tree and realizes that the path that man is on will lead him to a dry tree.