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Author Topic: Is the creation of Tulpa by non-monastic laypeople safe? Or even possible?  (Read 297 times)

EnderDragonFire

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I recently discovered that there is an entire subculture on the internet dedicated to creating Tulpa and living with them permanently. I found this very surprising and was somewhat skeptical of it; in the Indian and Tibetan mystical tradition, Tulpa are something that can only be created by skilled, spiritually awakened individuals, typically Buddhist monks. There is also a widespread belief on the internet, both within the Tulpa subculture and within pseudo-scientific communities, that creating Tuplas is dangerous for one's mental health.

I really don't know what to make of all this. There "Tulpa" being discussed on the internet don't seem to have much in common with the Tulpa of the Indian and Tibetan mystic tradition. Those Tupla are only conjured for short times, not permanently, and they are never seen as dangerous. The internet "Tulpa" are supposedly capable of stealing the mind and body of the person who conjures them; nothing like that is ever discussed in Buddhist literature on the subject.

So, are these people just appropriating a word and using it incorrectly, or are they actually doing something that can be related directly to traditional Tibetan Buddhist Tulpa creation? I really am skeptical that they are creating Tulpa; there might be *something* supernatural going on, but I don't think it is what they sat it is. It just doesn't match the traditional description of the Tulpa very well at all. What do you think? Especially those with Buddhist or Yogic backgrounds?
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So, are these people just appropriating a word and using it incorrectly,

Given my reaction to your post is "Oh, is that where that word's from?  Good to know", yeah, that's my assumption.

(The meaning of 'tulpa' I have encountered is an entity that emerges from the energies of a space and acts to preserve the environment it prefers, often a hostile one.  This seems rather unlike the thing you are pointing at.)
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I really don't know what to make of all this. There "Tulpa" being discussed on the internet don't seem to have much in common with the Tulpa of the Indian and Tibetan mystic tradition. Those Tupla are only conjured for short times, not permanently, and they are never seen as dangerous. The internet "Tulpa" are supposedly capable of stealing the mind and body of the person who conjures them; nothing like that is ever discussed in Buddhist literature on the subject.

Yeah, I think that the 'Tulpa' thing in the west was the result of a mistranslation/misunderstanding of a Buddhist concept. In fact, I think a Season 10 episode of the X-Files actually references this briefly. Not that I really know much about it.

So I'm calling bollocks.

Faemon

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are these people just appropriating a word and using it incorrectly

I vote yes.

The closest I've found to a primary text about it are the journals of French explorer Alexandra David-Neél, who wrote about intense and rigorous meditation practices followed by not being able to control the result, and others who had not conducted the meditation beginning to catch some glimpses of the, umm, imagined person? Followed by equally rigorous meditation practices to make it all stop.

I considered some similarity to Dion Fortune's "Psychic Self Defense" where something as commonplace as brooding then generated an, umm, imaginary wolf?

From what I have read, contemporary tulpamancy is more of a subculture than a tradition or even a system necessarily.
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The closest I've found to a primary text about it are the journals of French explorer Alexandra David-Neél....

<looks her up on Wikipedia> Oh, look! Theosophy!

Which is what I expected, since ISTR having encountered the word in books on neoPagan witchcraft from the '70s/'80s (possibly the Farrars' A Witches' Bible, possibly something else, but I can't double-check since I'm in the middle of moving and the book and I are about two and a half miles apart). So....

... are these people just appropriating a word and using it incorrectly....?

I'll join the crowd gathering around that position, but with a nuance: it's most likely not a new appropriation, made by those in the current 'tulpamancy' subculture; chances are they got it from neoPagan use, which got it from, as Faemon notes, mid-20th-century British occultism, which got it from Theosophy's romanticization/exoticization/appropriation of 'The Mysterious East' - with the exact meaning of 'tulpa' shifting as it's taken up by different groups with different goals and perspectives.

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EnderDragonFire

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it's most likely not a new appropriation, made by those in the current 'tulpamancy' subculture; chances are they got it from neoPagan use, which got it from, as Faemon notes, mid-20th-century British occultism, which got it from Theosophy's romanticization/exoticization/appropriation of 'The Mysterious East' - with the exact meaning of 'tulpa' shifting as it's taken up by different groups with different goals and perspectives.

Interesting! I know that Theosophy took a lot of ideas from Hindu and Buddhist mysticism and metaphysics, so that doesn't really surprise me. It is new information however; I was not aware that the term had such a long history of use within Western occultism.
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I recently discovered that there is an entire subculture on the internet dedicated to creating Tulpa and living with them permanently. I found this very surprising and was somewhat skeptical of it; in the Indian and Tibetan mystical tradition, Tulpa are something that can only be created by skilled, spiritually awakened individuals, typically Buddhist monks. There is also a widespread belief on the internet, both within the Tulpa subculture and within pseudo-scientific communities, that creating Tuplas is dangerous for one's mental health.

I really don't know what to make of all this. There "Tulpa" being discussed on the internet don't seem to have much in common with the Tulpa of the Indian and Tibetan mystic tradition. Those Tupla are only conjured for short times, not permanently, and they are never seen as dangerous. The internet "Tulpa" are supposedly capable of stealing the mind and body of the person who conjures them; nothing like that is ever discussed in Buddhist literature on the subject.

So, are these people just appropriating a word and using it incorrectly, or are they actually doing something that can be related directly to traditional Tibetan Buddhist Tulpa creation? I really am skeptical that they are creating Tulpa; there might be *something* supernatural going on, but I don't think it is what they sat it is. It just doesn't match the traditional description of the Tulpa very well at all. What do you think? Especially those with Buddhist or Yogic backgrounds?
The concept of what is referred to as "thoughtforms" in my spiritual-religious system has much in common with concepts of "tulpas", as some have described them.  There is no "cultural-appropriation" involved and I really do not care if people allow themselves to perceive it that way.  I have created my own concept of thoughtforms as a means to more powerfully and vividly evoke and experience various forces Above and Below and Within, for whatever reasons, whether as a temporary measure or as something more long term.

When a person describes how a god or goddess manifested before them, or some demon, or angel, it ties in with my spiritual-religious system's concept of thoughtforms.  What these people are seeing and experiencing are perceived in my culture as apparitions created by the mind to forge a stronger connection with forces Above and Below and Within.  They are unreal, but real.  Unreal imagined vessels for real forces... be those forces aspects of our own individual or collective human Nature, or something out of this world.




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EnderDragonFire

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The concept of what is referred to as "thoughtforms" in my spiritual-religious system has much in common with concepts of "tulpas", as some have described them.  There is no "cultural-appropriation" involved and I really do not care if people allow themselves to perceive it that way.

I didn't say "cultural appropriation" I simply said "appropriation." One of those terms is negative and politically charged, and one of them is not. Anyone has the right to believe however they like to, and that included taking concepts from other cultures and belief systems.

However, when you take a *word* from another group of people, and apply it to a different concept, while claiming that the concept is the same one they are referring to, that is definitely a *from* of appropriation. It is misleading and disingenuous and only serves to confuse people.

If someone talks about "The Buddha" and is referring to someone other than Siddhartha Gautama, for example, you can expect a large amount of confusion to result from that. If someone talks about "Jahanam" when not referring to the Islamic concept of Hell, similar misunderstanding will result. Or, for another example, if someone talks about the "Eucharist" when not referring to Christian rite that commemorates then Last Supper, you will only serve to mislead the people who you are talking about.

If you are using a highly specific, technical term, that is only used in one context, within one religion, to mean something other than what it normally means, that is going to cause problems. If you like a concept and want to borrow it and modify it, you should probably make that clear by *changing the term* that you are using so people don't think you are trying to conflate your practice with their own, or to appearing to represent their faith tradition.

Tulpa is a Buddhist concept, also occasionally mentioned in Yogic writings. It isn't a general term for all similar concepts in all religions. If you use it, people might reasonably think you are trying to claim to follow Buddhism. It is similar to the problem that arises when non-Jews refer to their mystic practice as Kabbalah; it implies a certain cultural affiliation and experience level that they typically don't possess.
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