These types of alleged entities are known by various names, such as the one above. As the blog title would imply, they are internally generated thoughts which have been externalised into the physical world. The Tulpa in mysticism is an entity which is created through sheer spiritual or mental discipline. In Indian Buddhist texts it is defined as any unreal, illusory or mentally created apparition. In black magic they are referred to as ‘Fetches’ and are used as a vehicle for the practitioner’s consciousness, usually in a form that is designed to terrify the victim at whom it is directed. This type of projected thought form bears a close relationship to astral projection.
The derivation of the word ‘fetch’ is unknown, but it may have some connection with fetish since it is something ‘made’ or ‘created’ by the magician.
The term ‘tulpa’ is used in the works of Alexandra David-Néel, a Belgian-French explorer, spiritualist and Buddhist, who observed these practices in 20th century Tibet. He wrote that ‘An accomplished Bodhisattva is capable of effecting ten kinds of magic creations. The power of producing magic formations, tulkus or less lasting and materialized tulpas does not, however, belong exclusively to such mystic exalted beings. Any human, divine or demonic being may be possessed of it. The only difference comes from the degree of power, and this depends on the strength of the concentration and the quality of the mind itself.’
According to David-Néel’s writings the tulpa has the ability to develop a mind of its own and will seek to free itself from its creator’s control and take on a life of its own. He goes on to say that he, himself, had created a tulpa which later developed a life of its own and had to be destroyed. The alleged materialised thought form (a monk) was apparently witnessed by others
‘Imaginary friends are a psychological and social phenomenon where a friendship or other interpersonal relationship takes place in the imagination rather than external physical reality’
Assuming, for the sake of argument, that there is some truth regarding projected thought forms, one can only imagine the ensuing chaos presented by them were we capable of conjuring up such entities. It is perhaps fortunate that It takes a disciplined mind and years of practice to create such and entity. What autonomous monstrosities, one wonders, could the fertile imagination of a child or a serial killer conjure up and unleash upon the world.
To date, however, there is no verifiable empirical evidence to support the existence of these so-called ‘sentient’ entities. However, this does not deter certain on-line factions of the community from insisting that they are real. At best, their evidence is anecdotal and doesn’t lend credence to the existence of tulpas.
Chidambaram Ramesh, an Indian author and researcher, has mentioned in his book “Thought Forms and Hallucinations” that the creation of thought forms and other mental entities like Tulpas etc., is the result of holographic mind processing. He works to rediscover scientifically influential ideas from ancient texts and time periods that have been largely forgotten by present day society, and examines these theories within the realm of contemporary science.
Tulpas: Real or Imagined?
If Alexander David-Néel is to be believed it would appear they are real; given that he asserts his tulpa was witnessed by others. Herein lies a paradox. According to the literature on the subject, perceiving the tulpa visually is initially done internally. At the early stages, it may be hard for one to visualize a stable form mentally and it may lack detail or flicker and fragment. Visualization is a skill that is developed through persistent use which is commonly referred to as “forcing.” As time goes on, the tulpa’s form will manifest as a stronger internal or external hallucination, [my emphasis] gaining stability in integrity, and a perceived increase of detail and substance.
The relevant word here is ‘hallucination‘, of which there are many types. This expression crops up consistently in forums concerning the nature of tulpas.
So far we have learnt that tulpas are a mental construction which can apparently act independently of, and parallel to, the practitioners consciousness. They are capable of independent thought and, according to some, have their own free will, emotions, and memories. In short, a tulpa is a sentient entity living inside the head of its creator, yet separate from him/her. To this author’s way of thinking this hardly constitutes true independence and free will.
Memories and Emotions.
From an information processing perspective there are three main stages in the formation and retrieval of memory:
- Encoding or registration: receiving, processing and combining of received information
Storage: the creation of a permanent record of the encoded information in short or long term memory.
Retrieval: the encoding of information requires a physical medium on which to store it. Since tulpas are not a physical medium how then is the information stored to be retrieved later as memories?
In popular culture the concept of tulpas is widespread and can also be found in fictional literature and films, to which I will add my own. They are:
Tulpa (2012 movie)
The Babadook (book)
Inside Out (movie)
The Fetch (a short story from my book ‘Strange Dominions’.)
In Your Eyes (2014 movie)
Harvey (1950 movie)
© David Calvert 2016
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