Buddhism, Lao Tradition, Laos, Laos Trip, Thai Tradition, Thailand

A Spirit House

It is very common to see a spirit house in Laos and Thailand, whether at a temple, in front of a house or place of business.  So who lives in this spirit house, most people might think a ghost perhaps.  Personally I don’t think it’s a ghost, but must be some sort of spirit for them to call it a spirit house, but in Thai and I believed Lao also that it is called Sarn Phra Phum, and the word Phra means monk or equivalent of a high being, and in this case, it is believed that Thape lives in a spirit house, which loosely translated as angel,  guardian angel, or a spirit of higher being.

Here are some photos of the spirit house in Laos and Thailand from my recent visit, and my next post will be a translated ghost story of what happens if you don’t respect this higher being.

Updated 2/9/09: The photo below is a spirit house in front of a restaurant in the US.

Spirit House at Zenna Thai & Japanese Restaurant, photo by Dallas
Spirit House, photo by Dallas Lao

I saw this one along side of the road near the Mekong River in Vientiane, Laos.

Spirit House

In front of a guest house in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Spirit House

At a temple in Ubon, Thailand.

Spirit House

In front of my cousin PV’s house in Paksan, Laos.

Spirit House

In front a place of business in Vientiane, Laos.

Spirit House

In front of my aunt’s house in Paksan, Laos.

Spirit House

At a temple in Ubon, Thailand.

Spirit House

At Wat Chan in Vientiane, Laos.

Spirit House

In front a place of business in Vientiane, Laos.

Spirit House

At Tad E-Tou in Pakse, Laos.

Spirit house

This one below is at a temple in Ubon, Thailand.

Spirit House

A simple design at Mount Phousi, Luang Prabang, Laos.

Spirit House

These three are at Wat That Luang in Luang Prabang, Laos.  It is being used as a monument to house ashes (urns).

Spirit House

Spirit House

Spirit House

This one is big enough for a person to live comfortably in, it belongs to my aunt’s village in Paksan, Laos.

Spirit House

10 thoughts on “A Spirit House”

  1. Those look nice, a miniature that symbolizes “someone is out there, we need to pay respect” sort of thing.

    In HK I do see small-like frames outside the building’s entrance, with incense and offerings. And that always fascinates me.

    Asian culture and traditions are so strong that never ceases to amaze me.

  2. K, in the US, I’ve seen little red shrine or mantle inside a place of business, whether it be a grocery store or factory for good luck and prosperity, it’s also very fascinating to me of different culture.

    I live in a very strict neighborhood and had a pagoda in front, and they wrote a letter and asked me to remove “what appears to be a temple statue.” I wonder what would they say if I’ve a spirit house in front, they might say, “what appears to be a ghost house”.

  3. You have a good collection of spirit houses picture here. So it’s not a ghost house, more like a rest area for good spirits like Thevada. My mom sometimes pray to Mae Tollanee (like mother Earth) for good luck.

    I noticed the first picture had more cars and even a freeway in the background. Then I realized it’s from Dallas (such as in TX)? Very elaborate looking one too.

    Wow, Ginger your neighborhood won’t let you put up a pagoda. What did you do with the pagoda? We have a Japanese neighbor down the street that turn her whole front yard into a Japanese garden. She had pagodas, a small red bridge, Bonsai, all those things. Just missing the Koi fishes.

  4. Salat, my neighborhood is somewhat strict, I had to ask the homeowner’s association for permission before putting up the fence. We’re not allowed to have any ornament object that’s taller than 12 inches, and visible from the road.

    I moved my pagoda to my backyard next to my fish pond. I have more freedom to do things in my backyard, so I’m thinking about having a garden this year, I don’t think I have to ask permission to put up a fence for my garden, but I might do that just to be on the safe side.

    The first photo of the spirit houses is by Dallas Lao, from Texas.

  5. These photos are wonderful. I’d like to purchase a collection of them in book form, for my boyfriend. Does such a thing exist?

    1. Dina Streets, sorry but I don’t know of any such book. Maybe you can make a card for him and I can email you the high resolution of one picture that you really like, I think it’d make a nice gift.

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