Many countries in Asia hold a common belief that land due to development is often inhabited by the entities and spirits of ages past. These may consist of local deities tied to the earth, Mahoraga, or other spiritual beings. If prior preparations and proper tributes are not carried out before construction begins, it might compromise the health and safety of the workers involved, or even jeopardize the successful completion of the project. Even if the house or building is somehow completed, the sanctity of the people within may also be adversely affected.
It is believed that these spiritual entities, in addition to the natural forces of the universe, contribute to the essential well-being of the occupants in the final building. For example, sites with a history of violent murders and wars are cesspools of negative energy.
In addition to the prescribed ceremonies, Thais also believe that they need to bury auspicious objects in the ground before construction of any building can take place. For important buildings such as temple halls, governmental buildings or buildings for Royalties, an elaborate ceremony called Phithi Wang Silaroek (Ground Stone Ceremony) is conducted, where 9 types of auspicious wood, with other items (such as flowers and money), are buried below the foundations of the building.
For regular buildings such as houses and other places of residence, a simpler ceremony called Phithi Tang Sao Aek is performed, where a selection of auspicious items are placed inside a hole on the grounds and covered with soil or cement.
In both instances, elaborate astrological calculations are mandatory, to determine a fortuitous and exacting day and time for the ceremony to take place. For example, the date needs to astrologically compatible with the birthdate of the owner of the building. The variables are stringent and dictate everything from the date and time of the ceremony to the order, placement, and orientation of the auspicious objects.
It is believed that such a ceremony and placements would ensure that the occupants enjoy harmonious relationships, better health, happier lives and for the most part, sidestep any unfavourable circumstances arising from cosmic or spiritual incompatibility.
For Building Construction of Buildings
Beside burying flowers, money and jewellery, these kinds of wood are also added:
1. Mai Rajapruek (Cassia fistula) – for Amnaj Wasana. Beneficial to politicians or people in positions of authority. Buried in the Northwest.
2. Mai Kanoon (Artocarpus heterophyllus) – attracts wealth and support from others. Buried in the centre.
4. Mai Thonglang
5. Mai Pai Srisuk
6. Mai Song Badan
7. Mai Sak
8. Mai Payoong
9. Mai Kan Krao
Other Traditions in Asia
In Indonesia and Malaysia, rituals are performed to exorcise any evil spirits from the land before inviting auspicious and protective ones. Sacred verses are also recited before purifying and blessing the land with holy water.
The Chinese will offer a feast to the land deities, and a blessing ritual will be carried out. For the Mahayana Buddhist, auspicious items such as Wealth Vases will be buried on the property.