[b]Have you ever wondered what happened to spirit houses when they die?[/b]
If you have been to Thailand then you must have seen the spirit houses. They are everywhere. Just about every house has one – also every business, school and even petrol stations! These little ornate houses on a pole, are for the guardian spirits of the land. When people build houses on the land they disturb the local spirits. In order to pacify the spirits you need to build them a house more splendid than your own. When I originally started teaching at my school there was only a small spirit house. After they had built the new six storey building they then had to buy a larger and better spirit house. I don’t think any of my neighbours have a spirit house, but at the far end there is a very large spirit house. Three actually. Those are for all of us though, I suppose, we could still have our own.
Back to the original question. What happens to spirit houses after they become too old or break? Well, you cannot just throw them away. You have to take them to a special spirit house “graveyard”. I took the picture above in Samut Prakan alongside the road. There is quite an important shrine at this point so people from around the area have brought their broken spirit houses and Buddha images and put them to rest here. I have also seen broken shrines in a corner of temples grounds.