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[General] tulpa background and history
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Philip K. Dick

The Word

The literal meaning of the word "Tulpa" is something like "magical creation". The suffix -pa, (or -po, the other masculine form, or -ma & -mo, the feminine forms) is used in Tibetan to mean a person who is from somewhere or does something. Assuming the "tul" can be loosely translated to magic, that would make "tulpa" a person who comes from magic.

A plural in Tibetan is usually formed by adding "rnams" to it. So the correct plural of tulpa may be something like "tulpa-rnams". In English, we usually pluralize Tibetan words ending in -a by either adding -s on the end, or just keeping the word the same. So the correct English plurals of "tulpa" are "tulpas" and "tulpa".

Eastern History

Tulpas originally came from either Tibetan Buddhism, or Bon, an indigenous religion of Tibet. Some scholors claim that Bon grew out of Tibetan Buddhism, while others claim that it predated it. At present, we can't say for sure.

Most of what we know about tulpas in the traditions of Tibet comes from Alexandra David-Neel, a Belgian-French woman, who was the first Westerner to extensively explore Tibet.

David-Neel, in her book Magic & Mystery in Tibet (also published as With Mystics & Magicians in Tibet -- you can read it here or here (pdf)) first talks about the concept of tulkus. "The word tulku means a form created by magic," she writes. Usually it applies to (re)incarnations of people, deities, or other entities in human form. The Dalai Lama is a tulku. David-Neel says that Jesus Christ is a western analog to the tulku -- an incarnation of a god in human form.

David-Neel spoke to the Dalai Lama himself in 1912. In response to her questioning, he told her "A Bhodisatva [something like a Buddha] is the basis of countless magic forms. By the power generated in a state of perfect concentration of mind he may, at one and the same time, show a tulpa of himself in thousands millions [sic] of worlds. He may create not only human forms, but any forms he chooses, even those of inanimated objects such as hills, enclosures, houses, forests, roads, bridges, etc."

In the last chapter of her book, David-Neel goes on to describe several instances where she saw the tulpas of other people, and the creation of her own tulpa.

Note that a tulpa in Tibetan legend can always be seen by others. This is part of the reason that many people want to change the name of our modern phenomenon. What we create are not tulpas.

Actually, what we do here is more like what David-Neel describes as the yidam. A yidam is a sort of deity created in much the same way -- in fact, when she describes the creation of tulpas, she says they are created "by a lengthy process resembling that described in the former chapter on the visualization of Yidam". Yidams, unlike tulpas, were not seen by other people. The purpose of the yidam is to teach the student that as such a realistic thing can be created by the mind, nothing in the world should be considered any more than a mirage.

The Philosophy

The purpose of this teaching, and the foundation for the creation of the Tibetan yidams and tulpas of legend is idealism. Idealism (when it doesn't refer to the unrealistic pursuit of ideals) refers to a philosophy which rejects the existence of physical matter, saying that the entire world consists of ideas.

Idealism has been a big part of some sects of Buddhism and other eastern religions for many centuries, but it has also been a part of western philosophy. George Berkeley (pronounced Barkley) suggested that nothing we see has any physical being, and everything is merely ideas in some all-knowing mind.

Berkeley had some strange ideas about his idealism. He seemed to have thought that he had proven it beyond a doubt, and that the philosophy likewise proved the existence of God. He was mistaken in both these assumptions. He assumed that because we cannot disprove his theory, it must be true -- while failing to notice that when he supposedly disproved the commonly-held materialist theory, his arguments were rather flimsy.

Berkeley's other major flaw was in assuming that idealism proves the existence of God. Of course he existed in a time before computers, and could not have known that programming can simulate worlds even better than minds. In other words, we could all be living in the Matrix, and we'd still be in an idealist reality, but without necessitating the existence of God.

Berkeley couldn't have known about computers, but he did make another flaw in his "idealism proves God" theory -- that he assumed that everything must exist in the same mind. It has been suggested that reality is shared ideas -- that gravity exists because everyone believes in it. This concept is known as consensual reality.

There are two ways of looking at consensual reality. I'll call the first majority absolute. This means that whatever the bulk of the people in the universe believe, it applies everywhere. Everyone believes in gravity, therefore we can't levitate with the power of our minds. However, if you could somehow convince everyone that gravity is more of a suggestion than a law, then we could levitate.

The other way of looking at consensual reality is the pocket exception view. This is where things that aren't observed by non-believers can happen, even if they aren't believed by the majority of the population. So some lonely monk meditating in the mountains of Tibet may be able to levitate if he believes in it -- even though the bulk of the planet doesn't.

Ultimately, none of this has been proven though, and by definition, some of it can't be proven. On the other hand, if what the Tibetans said about tulpas is true, then maybe some of this is as well.

Modern History

Alexandra David-Neel's book was the premiere source on tulpas in English for many decades. But I should mention that in the book Hypnotism, G.H. Estabrooks describes imposing a polar bear with hypnosis, though he seems to have been unaware of the Tibetan practices.

The book The Mothman Prophecies was written in 1975, but the 2001 revised edition was the first to mention tulpas. This is the book that introduced the concept to the internet. For the next eight years, the concept was mentioned occasionally on paranormal forums, and a few people even started making tulpas during this period.

In 2009, tulpas began to take off on 4chan's paranormal board, /x/. Irish wrote the first creation guide, and FAQman's guide came soon after. Before long, /x/ was sick of tulpas, and the idea spread to other boards, like /jp/, /sci/, and /a/, before eventually migrating to /mlp/. On March 14th, 2012, A-Jay posted the first tulpa-dedicated thread, making /mlp/ the internet home for tulpa discussion.

In April 2012, Pleeb created a Powerboard for tulpa discussion, registering, which has been the biggest tulpa community online to the present date.

Lolflash - click it, you know you want to

Seems to me like the wrong section. Not really a guide or anything.
The THE SUBCONCIOUS ochinchin occultists frt.sys (except Roswell because he doesn't want to be a part of it)
Moved from Guide Submissions to General Discussion.
I think this is intended to be a Resource.

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Philip K. Dick

The irony of that quote is that all his life Philip K. Dick had a tulpa of his dead sister. That's possibly even what that quote was referring too, as she was with him no matter how much he disbelieved her existence (according to reports, and his notes).

Also, there were tulpa makers in the 1970's and 1980's. They were working from books published during the "self help" craze of the time. There was even one which was written by a psychologist which was basically a Californian popularization of Tibetan methods ("a thought friend to love and aid you").

Before anyone asks: No, we will not answer questions about the books. We have already had enough grief from people who don't understand that
  1. it's easy to lose books over a period of 40 years and several house moves,
  2. the Internet didn't exist in 1970, and
  3. the paperbacks in the 70's tended to disintegrate after a single reading - don't believe me? Try to find an intact copy of the original Star Wars novel from 1977.
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Wherever you all feel it belongs is fine.

I actually hadn't heard about Philip K. Dick's sister, but I did hear about him creating a tulpa late in life. Though I don't know if it's true. Still, if any famous writer were to have a tulpa, I bet he'd be the one.
I highly appreciate this post. It's very neutral and informative. I learned something, for a change.

If you don't mind, I will copy this over to another tulpa website, including all credit due.
Sorry, I missed your post. Of course, feel free to post this wherever you like. Smile
Alright. You can find it here. Once again, thanks for your post.
(02-20-2014, 11:08 AM)Nobillis Wrote: Try to find an intact copy of the original Star Wars novel from 1977.

Little off-topic, but...

I'm in the middle of moving right now, and while packing/unpacking the contents of my bookcase I found out that I actually have one of those. 7th printing, June 1977.

Did I win anything?
"You've got to believe to achieve." -Hank Hill
(02-25-2014, 10:01 PM)Scylla Wrote: Alright. You can find it here. Once again, thanks for your post.

Thanks for the link. I read through the forums, and I like the look of the place. I might join, but then I barely even post here, so maybe not.

(02-26-2014, 02:06 PM)NeonKnights Wrote: Little off-topic, but...

I'm in the middle of moving right now, and while packing/unpacking the contents of my bookcase I found out that I actually have one of those. 7th printing, June 1977.

Did I win anything?

Well, it contradicts Nobillis' words, but in a way, it proves her point. That book does look like it would disintegrate as you read it.

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