Many cultures around the world believe that a person’s thoughts have the power to change the way life turns out. Some even say that thinking about certain things will invite those events to come into our world. Certain studies definitely suggest that there might be some truth to this. Optimists, for example, are more likely to be successful than pessimists are.
For the most part, it’s almost accepted that there is some truth to the idea of having thoughts and intentions change life around us. But, what if thoughts could do more than just change luck? What if, by some strange power, they could take on a life of their own?
In Tibetan culture, it’s believed that a person can create something called a “tulpa,” and what it’s supposed to be suggests that our minds are more powerful than we really think them to be. Now that the concept has become more popular on the net, people are actively trying to create their own tulpas. But, is this really a good idea?
So, What Is A Tulpa?
A tulpa is a thoughtform that is so heavily-concentrated upon, it ends up taking on a life of its own. Much like an “imaginary friend,” a tulpa starts out as a character that’s thought up by a person. However, after much thought about said character, the character starts to develop a personality independent of the thinker’s.
Since the internet began to get interested in this idea, the concept of a tulpa started to evolve and diverge. The concept of a tulpa in the traditional Tibetan form and the more modern concept are extremely different, even going so far as to have different methods to create them.
How Is A Tulpa Made?
It all depends on whether you believe the tales of old-world Tibet, or if you are a fan of more modern tulpa mythos. In both mythologies, a tulpa is made by concentrating heavily on creating a fictional character until it starts gaining sentience on its own.
The creator will think of everything regarding the tulpa, including its personality, its appearance, as well as its preference. In time, the thoughtform starts to become more and more real. However, that’s where the creational steps stop being the same.
In the realm of Tibetan lore, tulpa creation also involves meditation as well as possibly using certain rituals to strengthen it. Among more modern incarnations of the myth, regularly talking to it and emphasizing your belief in the tulpa will help.
The Tibetan Tulpa Story
In Tibet, tulpas are fairly serious business and are viewed as a thoughtform that becomes its own being. In the 11th century, creating a tulpa was considered to be an exercise in creating your own deity. The idea was that students should be able to see that all deities are exercises of the human mind. Students who accepted the deity as true were seen as failures.
That being said, students would have a lot of reason to feel like the tulpa was a legitimate deity. After the person creates a tulpa, it starts having its owner personality and thoughts that are totally parallel to the creator’s. But, that’s not all that happens. Rather, that’s just the start of what occurs when a tulpa is made.
Tulpas start becoming increasingly powerful after they’re created. At first, the creator will only see glimpses of the tulpa out of the corner of their eye. After a while, they will be able to see the tulpa stand beside them. Soon, others start seeing the tulpa. Then, the tulpa starts to be capable of interacting with real-life objects.
According to some lore, powerful tulpas can go out to do tasks, can be sent to meet others, or could even be created to harm others. In some rare cases, tulpas may actually buck the control of the creator and turn against them. The results can allegedly be fatal.
How Powerful Can Tulpas Be?
According to Tibetan belief, a tulpa is only as powerful as the thoughts it came from. A tulpa that came about from someone who was unfocused or didn’t take part in serious meditation might not really have a very corporeal form, or may just seem like a grey mist. On the other hand, a tulpa that is made from an extremely powerful thought could quickly became a god-like being.
Do Tulpas Always Turn Against Their Creators?
No, not always. However, it’s often a matter of it being better to be safe than sorry. Generally speaking, the practice of creating a tulpa is considered to be something that only experienced monks should do. Moreover, it’s also meant to be a test of understanding the world around you.
The Concept Of Modern Tulpas
In the more modern sense, people started to see tulpas as less of a spiritual thing and more of an “imaginary friend” type of concept. The general consensus with most modern tulpamancers on the internet is that tulpas live in a person’s mind, independent of the person’s own thoughts. However, they can’t really get their own bodies or powers.
Modern tulpas are generally just seen as independently-thinking characters that can be spoken to, but live in their owner’s minds. Some tulpa creators will go as far as to create a “wonderland” setting for their tulpa to reside in, and a handful even claim to give control of their bodies over to their tulpas for a set amount of time.
Most forums that are dedicated to creating tulpas tend to view their creations as friends, and while they are allegedly independent of their creators, still seem to be under their creators’ control. They can end up being merged, punished, or just erased by their creators. Having a tulpa go rogue in this sense is almost unheard of.
Due to the potential of being “possessed” by a tulpa and viewing yourself as having multiple personalities, some people outside of the tulpa community question whether or not the more modern practice encourages mental illness. Considering that much of the behavior mimics Dissociative Identity Disorder, it’s easy to see where this skepticism comes from.
Are Modern Tulpas A Matter Of Mental Illness?
It’s clear that traditional and modern tulpa creation are very different, even when it comes to the reasons that they’re made. The concept of concocting hallucinations that live in your mind doesn’t seem healthy, and truthfully, is regarded as dangerous by many therapists.
That being said, many of the people who are in the modern “tulpamancy” community claim that having these thoughtforms and personalities helps them become better people. Some even claim that the concept helps them become more outgoing with people around them and improves their ability to enjoy life. So, it’s not fully certain how heathy or unhealthy this practice is.
Can People See Modern Tulpas?
In modern tulpa circles, it’s generally accepted that the only people who will be able to see or interact with a tulpa is the person who made it. This is a stark contrast to the concept of Tibetan tulpas, which can be seen by others and even lift up objects on their own.It seems like a lack of interaction with others is the great divisor when it comes to tulpa stories from the past and present. The fact that others can’t see these beings often is raised by skeptics who believe that modern tulpamancy is a sign of mental illness.
The Dangers Of Creating A Tulpa
Creating a tulpa isn’t something that most people would advise in trying, especially if you’re a believer in Tibetan lore. Though the idea of creating a sentient thoughtform with your mind sounds really cool, it comes with serious dangers.
One of the most famous cautionary tales comes from a French explorer called Alexandra David Neal. Neal studied Tibetan religion during her travels, and eventually attempted to create a tulpa. Her tulpa was meant to be a fat, jolly monk who would follow her around.
At first, nothing really happened, but that quickly changed. Soon, she started to see the heavyset form of a monk flit around the corners of her room. The tulpa then started to appear to her, then to others, and then started to talk to her.
Then the problems started…
The monk, once joyous and plump, started to get more slender. As he lost weight, he started to become more menacing. People started to remark about the malevolent being around Dr. Neal, though the tulpa would only interact with her. Eventually, Neal began to fear for her life.
Neal realized she needed to work against the creature she created, and with the help of some Tibetan monks, she was able to get rid of the being. Neal never quite forgot what happened in TIbet.
Oddly enough, Dr. Neal’s story isn’t the only cautionary tale against tulpamancy. Traditional beliefs about tulpas regularly suggest that these beings can grow resentful of their creators and the tasks they’re expected to perform. Some rumors even suggest that tulpas that grow too resentful can kill their creators.