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Tulpamancy for Self-Transformation


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(edited)

Hi everyone!

This is my first post here, though I am not new to the world of tulpamancy. I've been kind of orbiting around the topic for a couple of years, reading guides, doing research and trying to decide whether and how to begin setting up a system.

 

My question today relates to tulpamancy for self-improvement, or even better, self-creation or autopoiesis. I would like to ask if anyone has attempted a project similar to mine, or even if not, if anyone has any advice for what I'm doing. This post might be kind of long, for which I apologize. If you'd prefer, please feel free to skip to the TLDR at the bottom.


In my pursuit of more knowledge on this subject, I've read most of the guides out there, but have also been pulling information from older sources. Most people here are aware that the modern practice of tulpamancy originated in large part from early 20th-century spiritualist reinterpretations of Tibetan Buddhist techniques for enlightenment. This is probably the most developed historical example of tulpamancy, but I would argue that other sources suggest that similar practices existed in a few other places. 


Specifically, the ancient Stoics utilized techniques that may have produced entities similar to tulpas; they would develop thoughtforms in their minds who represented long-dead Stoics, and would converse them and ask for counsel. These types of exercises involved visualization of the person, imagining talking to them, thinking or writing dialogue with the individual, asking them for advice, considering what that person would do in that situation, etc. Some suggest that Marcus Aurelius' Meditations was written as part of an effort in doing this, particularly after the death of his beloved teacher Junius Rusticus. In addition to known Stoics, they would also contemplate a mythical figure that was a perfect embodiment of Stoic values: The Sage.


These practices probably didn't always generate full tulpas, but it seems plausible that in some cases they could have. In any case, I'm less interested in how tulpa-like their practices were than I am in how far things can go.


Coming back to the Tibetan practices--I've done a deep dive into their methods and goals, and it seems that there are different levels and techniques based on the practitioner's level, the school, etc. But the main idea is that one generates one or more deities, including the visualization and imposition steps that this community emphasizes, but also some specific techniques to bring about "clear light" and awakening into the tulpa/deity. Things can branch out from there--at some levels the deity/tulpa might bestow the practitioner with certain abilities, or give them instruction, or one might be able to merge with the deity and manifest its virtues, awakened mindset, thoughts, and even physical imposition in one's own life (so that one sees oneself as the deity, not just in terms of identity but in a manner just as real as any visual imposition). In the highest tantra, there is some mention of sex with a deity in order to channel those energies into enlightenment.


One more thread before I explain what I'm trying to do. I was also reading a book called King, Warrior, Magician, Lover which is about the Jungian archetypes of masculinity. Towards the end of the book, it discussed some techniques for awakening these archetypes in modern men. To my surprise, many of these were very similar to tulpa (or perhaps daemon) forcing exercises, including creation, visual and personality imagination and dialoguing as if those archetypes were real entities of their own.


TLDR: My objective is to develop myself along both Buddhist, Stoic (and possibly Jungian and Nietzschean) paths. What I would like to do is combine these ancient practices with modern tulpamancy techniques (which I can see are quite powerful) to create thoughtforms that will help me to do so.


I have already begun to create a "wonderland" (which is also suffused with elements of a memory palace) to this end.


Some potential things I am considering doing:

  • Creating tulpas in the form of great sages of the past to be companions and advisors in my efforts. I am not sure how to do this effectively, but aside from normal forcing techniques, I imagined including a phase where I would have them parrot the works they wrote in real life (with the understanding that these tulpas are not literally their ancient namesakes but rather emulations of them, free to diverge as they would after their initial creation)
  • Creating entities that might not be quite at the level of tulpas or deities, but might represent Jungian archetypes or things I want to develop (like the masculine archetypes mentioned above), and will be used for the purpose of merging with, switching or something else in a way that allows me to maximize those attributes
  • Actually doing Tibetan deity yoga, perhaps with a teacher


From what I can tell, the tulpamancy community has developed enormously in the past decade, but is still a relatively new phenomenon. What I'd like to ask is:

  • Has anyone else here tried to do any of these things before?
  • What's been your experience if so--successes or failures?
  • Any advice along any of the three paths I mentioned?
  • Have you experienced anything to make you think that tulpamancy would make it difficult to achieve goals like Buddhist awakening, which involves dissolution of the self and conception of people or things as distinct entities, as well as joy and clarity of mind?
  • Do any of the three paths mentioned above seem like they might make the other objectives difficult or impossible?


If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. Would love to hear your thoughts!

Edited by Ascendant
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Hi. I've kind of tried similar things to what you've talked about. I haven't had much success so far, though.

 

More specifically, I've tried deity yoga or something like it, though not with a teacher,  just kind of winging it, I guess. It resulted in me dreaming as what I was attempting to merge with, and I could have a mind more similar to the target temporarily as well, but I can't do it strong enough to be of much use.

 

10 hours ago, Ascendant said:

Any advice along any of the three paths I mentioned?

 

I think a far more powerful and effortless concentration would have made my attempts far more likely to have more substance. Getting the mind to be malleable and wieldly like the Buddha talks about and stuff. I'm fairly confident the ancient people who seriously did these practices didn't have concentration at the level of an average worldly person back then, much less now. It is from jhanas that "powers" arise. If you are going for awakening, such concentration is generally needed for that anyway, as well.

 

10 hours ago, Ascendant said:

Have you experienced anything to make you think that tulpamancy would make it difficult to achieve goals like Buddhist awakening, which involves dissolution of the self and conception of people or things as distinct entities, as well as joy and clarity of mind?

 

I had wished to talk to an awakened tulpamancer long ago to ask questions like this and more, but never found one.

 

I don't think it would inherently get in the way, but if not careful, practicing tulpamancy has the potential to create difficulties that are certainly a distraction to awakening. At the same time, it might be able to do the opposite, I suppose. Really just have to measure your expectations and attachment to the idea of other people, and not have a system that creates a lot of conflicts. That's what I think so far, anyway.

 

10 hours ago, Ascendant said:

Do any of the three paths mentioned above seem like they might make the other objectives difficult or impossible?

 

I don't personally see any of the goals you listed as making another one impossible or difficult. They seem similar or fluid to me in my experience. Take everything with a grain of salt though. I'm not a teacher. Just a person also interested in tulpamancy and Buddhism, and trying to figure out how anything works.

Creation for creation's sake.

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(edited)

A tulpa can absolutely be a role-model for better ways of thinking and being, especially if you have a good idea of what that way of being is like already.

 

However, they will not be perfect, even if you think they are. Especially in the cases of creating an "enlightened" tulpa, or one based on Jesus/Buddha/etc., I issue the warning to remember they are only what your own brain is capable of simulating. As wise as they may seem, they can be no wiser than your own brain. Meaning for example, even if something they say sounds incredibly profound, you should only use it as guidance and not as gospel, because it still came out of just your own brain.

 

Neither overselling nor underselling - your brain is (and thus your tulpas are) capable of far more than most people imagine - my own tulpa Reisen seemed a perfect-enough "enlightened" person, and she helped me change who I was immensely for the better over many years. Having that role model exist in your own head is just much more powerful than only reading about them. But, she is not "perfect", nor would be a Jesus or Buddha tulpa, or a tulpa of someone who was a master of any given skill, et cetera. Just keep in mind that there are limitations (and that you may be fooled into thinking there're not, because the extent of what your brain is capable of simulating is pretty great) and you should be fine.

Edited by Luminesce

Hi! I'm Lumi, host of Reisen, Tewi, Flandre and Lucilyn.

Everyone deserves to love and be loved. It's human nature.

My tulpas and I have a Q&A thread, which was the first (and largest) of its kind. Feel free to ask us stuff.

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(edited)
21 hours ago, Ascendant said:
  • Has anyone else here tried to do any of these things before?
  • What's been your experience if so--successes or failures?
  • Any advice along any of the three paths I mentioned?
  • Have you experienced anything to make you think that tulpamancy would make it difficult to achieve goals like Buddhist awakening, which involves dissolution of the self and conception of people or things as distinct entities, as well as joy and clarity of mind?
  • Do any of the three paths mentioned above seem like they might make the other objectives difficult or impossible?

 

What you're doing has great potential. I don't believe you need to make a tulpa to do that. You can "channel", as in simulate, anyone you want and somewhat get their perspective to the best of your knowledge. It would be a pseudo-independant perspective given you're trying to think like them and not like yourself. I used this technique before in writing exercises with little success. I didn't try very hard though. When my headmates became mature, it became a trivial task.

 

They helped me through a personal chakra/shadow work system before I knew what these were. I don't know how they did that, but they may have tapped into hidden knowledge I somehow had. They can draw on memories and experience that you don't through your perspective anyway.

 

They also led me to a spiritual awakening via my experience with switching. It gave me a distanced perspective and helped in the development of autoreset.

 

In terms of your paths, that's pretty unique in this community, so I don't know anything else about if it would work for you.

 

Tulpamancy helps with introspection and connection to intuition and hidden knowledge whether you intend to or not.

 

Good luck!

 

Edited by BearBaeBeau
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(edited)

I guess I should say a couple other things, yeah. First, making tulpas should always be considered for long-term reasons, not to accomplish a specific goal and then forget them or something. And second - although your plans should theoretically work to my knowledge, they don't quite follow traditional Tulpamancy norms, so you likely won't get much direct help (or maybe acceptance, depending on what you do) from Tulpa communities.

 

And your intentions seem positive and well-founded enough so I didn't say anything, but maybe be careful with the "merging/switching"-types of things. You can't shortcut your way to any kind of "enlightenment" or self-improvement, for starters, but also it can be destructive to your well-being or at least destabilizing to your personality to try and do stuff like that. Compounding on my advice from before about how "perfect" tulpas (or just any tulpas who are particularly "good at something" that you're not) tend to be more illusion than truth in practicality, trying to merge/switch/etc. with them to shortcut changing yourself is dangerous to your groundedness in reality and your own head.

 

They can be amazing influences, and I won't say that switching or merging for positive benefits is impossible, but you won't get the results you want from "cheating" your way to developing as a person. And for those susceptible to this sort of thing, trying to mess with your personality can cause some mental problems best avoided.

 

Best to keep your personal development traditional, while tulpas or thoughtforms can help (as encouragement, advisors, or by leading the way as role models).

Edited by Luminesce

Hi! I'm Lumi, host of Reisen, Tewi, Flandre and Lucilyn.

Everyone deserves to love and be loved. It's human nature.

My tulpas and I have a Q&A thread, which was the first (and largest) of its kind. Feel free to ask us stuff.

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On 4/1/2021 at 10:31 AM, Ascendant said:
  • Have you experienced anything to make you think that tulpamancy would make it difficult to achieve goals like Buddhist awakening, which involves dissolution of the self and conception of people or things as distinct entities, as well as joy and clarity of mind?
  • Do any of the three paths mentioned above seem like they might make the other objectives difficult or impossible?

The main conflict in pursuing these paths in conjunction with one another is that Buddhist awakening requires the dissolution of the self, and ideally all selves. Conversely the Stoic, and by extension our more traditionally western style of tulpamancy is all about building up these external identities and keeping them around, as advisors, as companions, and so on - all while building up virtue, logic and self-control as core pieces to your host ego's functioning.

 

The purpose of deity meditation as I understood it however, is to create one of these entities and then dissolve it intentionally. The ultimate goal is not to build the thoughtform but to train you to let go of thoughtforms in general, including the thoughtform that your own ego is comprised of.

 

The two goals are entirely opposed, though the skills involved are complementary and deeply related - the manipulation of identity in the brain. One cannot fill oneself with new, complex secondary egos and still attain the goal of dissolving all egos. So which is it that you actually espouse? The Stoic way is that all that is necessary for happiness is virtue. Virtue in Stoicism consists of a will that is in agreement with Nature. Buddhism on the other contends that will and the self is the root of all suffering.

 

Personally I look at the Buddhist goal of self-dissolution and see only a mixture of psychologically suggested bliss combined with a state that's fundamentally anathema to a cohesive and grounded core identity that is useful for regulating and scrutinizing information about reality. I also have problems with it being based on experiential rather than logical models of nature. I vibe more with Stoicism - though not much more. If I really had to pick a school of thought in Greek philosophy it would probably be Epicureanism, which none the less puts me closer to desire to achieve a better functioning ego or set of egos rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.

 

That said: If there's one thing I've learned about people it's that some need experiential models, rather than logical ones - Stoicism is not for everyone; Buddhism is not for everyone. Philosophy is best regulated with the awareness that no philosophy actually works universally as a set of functional behaviours. I have no intention or desire to dictate my views as a result - but I would say you need to make a choice as to which path is actually the one that resonates with you, or whether you have reached a third conclusion, because from an outside perspective it looks like you may be about to attempt to walk in two opposite directions at once.

 

On 4/1/2021 at 10:31 AM, Ascendant said:
  • Has anyone else here tried to do any of these things before?
  • What's been your experience if so--successes or failures?
  • Any advice along any of the three paths I mentioned?

The one thing I do have direct experience with is the creation of Jungian shadow-self thoughtform. This one was actually done unintentionally long before I discovered tulpamancy, but has adopted new vividness as I have come to understand precisely what he is.

 

Essentially, there is no real difference in him between what he is and any other thoughtform. The more he is interacted with in a way that is autonomous the more he fails to be purely an archetype. Archetypes are too simple to be people in the end. He actively wishes to remain separate from my life as a way of keep his core ideas relatively pure and as close to representing the unconscious as possible - and only wishes to be used as a tool as a result.

 

However, it should be noted that the development of a thoughtform that you communicate with is not actually necessary to switch or merge with an identity. Before tulpamancy, my main field of expertise regarding this comes from Chaos Magic's ideas (which I accept purely in a psychological context, rather than a metaphysical one). If you are unfamiliar, one of the chief practices of Chaos Magic involves invoking archetypal identities (without prolonged Forcing, as tulpamancy would put it) with the intention of merging with them. I would suspect that it would be much easier to "invoke" a particular archetype if it remains a purer idea this way, rather than something which will invariably be tested and change itself when its modes of behaviour prove too simple.

 

As for any sagely historical figures? That's just tulpamancy, no more no less. The content of the identity is irrelevant to how it will function and be made. There's not going to be anything different about pursuing the creation of one of these that you should know other than it being heavily dependant on a mixture of your initial understanding of their identity mixed with how vigorously their points of view are tested rather than indulged.

Zen - Host.

Mika - Tulpa. Homegrown.

Rhys - Tulpa. Initially a Literary Thoughtform.

If text is uncoloured, presume Zen is talking. We all go by he/him.

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3 hours ago, ZenAndMika said:

One cannot fill oneself with new, complex secondary egos and still attain the goal of dissolving all egos.

I am not sure if awakening requires having no egos, if that is what is meant by dissolving them. I use to think it would, but it seems to me it is just a big change in relationship to them as you no longer see them as enduring things and instead as fluid and constantly changing. That they aren't some fundamental quintessence of your being or what is truly you. A lot of the insights related to awakening have to do with nature of suffering it seems, though emptiness of self is at the end, but I don't think it means that a process of "self" isn't going on.

 

I suspect being awakened might make it easier to channel different personalities actually and it makes a person really spontaneous. Awakened people often have quirky personalities too and aren't like robots, well some might be like that. Becoming awakened might get rid of motivation to do any of this at all though, or it might not.

 

3 hours ago, ZenAndMika said:

Personally I look at the Buddhist goal of self-dissolution and see only a mixture of psychologically suggested bliss combined with a state that's fundamentally anathema to a cohesive and grounded core identity that is useful for regulating and scrutinizing information about reality.

I think one can attain awakening and still be able to scrutinize information about reality very well as far as I can tell, perhaps even better than before. The ones I'm mostly aware of seem to be at least, anyway. Maybe ones who live away from society entirely and don't need that ability to survive lose it if it isn't something they care about, but I don't think it is some inherent thing in awakening.

 

Grain of salt anyway. That's what I figure right now from what I've come across reading and listening to them. I would prefer to talk to one

Creation for creation's sake.

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4 hours ago, TB said:

I am not sure if awakening requires having no egos, if that is what is meant by dissolving them. I use to think it would, but it seems to me it is just a big change in relationship to them as you no longer see them as enduring things and instead as fluid and constantly changing. That they aren't some fundamental quintessence of your being or what is truly you. A lot of the insights related to awakening have to do with nature of suffering it seems, though emptiness of self is at the end, but I don't think it means that a process of "self" isn't going on.

There are stages to awakening, this is true, but half-pursuing it without actually focusing on attaining Nirvana... What would be the point? Buddhist techniques are fundamentally geared toward that goal, not simply the realization of the transitory nature of the self. If that's your only qualifier for awakening, then I have attained that state without requiring Buddhism: I certainly acknowledge that my egos are merely an illusion and that suffering and happiness are both transient. Where I specifically disagree with Buddhism is not that understanding, or even the understanding that suffering arises from ego: My issue with it is specifically espouses that an end to desire and the will are the only way to achieve true happiness, when the actual issue is a will that lacks the tools to regulate and understand itself; and pursues goals that do not bring it happiness.

 

If you create a deity and do not dissolve it; if you dabble in Buddhism with no intention of dissolving the self; what you're doing is rejecting Nirvana in a very literal sense. You're becoming attached to what Buddhism would consider a distraction - Worse, even, you're becoming attached to a second full ego, which is a delusion in Buddhism and the main obstacle in attaining Nirvana in the first place. That's not Buddhism at the end of the day: It's closer to western philosophies.

Edited by ZenAndMika

Zen - Host.

Mika - Tulpa. Homegrown.

Rhys - Tulpa. Initially a Literary Thoughtform.

If text is uncoloured, presume Zen is talking. We all go by he/him.

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17 minutes ago, ZenAndMika said:

There are stages to awakening, this is true, but half-pursuing it without actually focusing on attaining Nirvana... What would be the point?

 

Becoming a stream enterer or reaching 2nd path or so is still very worth it even if one doesn't become a full blown arhat, as suffering will reduce tremendously from even that.

 

I also have come to understand awakened people do still have... well I don't want to say desire, it becomes very difficult to talk about in english, I think. But there is a difference between the kind of desire that arises that causes agitation or sense of being driven by it, as opposed to being motivated to improve things out of compassion for self and others, without being tangled up in a drivenness of it. It's a state of continual completeness and satisfaction independent of whatever is going on, but still being able to experience emotions and go about doing what you think is good, which I guess is a kind of "want". I think in Buddhist terminology the bad and good desires are distinguished between the words tana and dana.

 

I too use to be dissatisfied by what appeared to me to be buddhist idea of how to achieve true happiness, but the more I learn about meditation and awakening and how it affects people, the more it seems like it isn't exactly what I thought at first. It really does seem like a state of being able to have your cake and eat it too. Though, achieving it as a lay person is certainly much harder due to distractions, which is why many people at least spend some portion of their life away in a monastery or frequent retreats to get there.

 

I wish I could talk about it from an experiential standpoint. I hope to get there though, but I have a lot of stuff to work on before I have hope of that possibly happening. A large chunk of what I learned comes from Shinzen Young, though also many others. I certainly don't have a complete understanding, but the more I understand, the more it appears it doesn't require actually giving up one's entire life life for a cave, and any amount of awakening is better than none, though I'd say it starts with stream entry, which does under many definitions involve at least one experience of Nirvana or cessation, among other things.

Creation for creation's sake.

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54 minutes ago, TB said:

Becoming a stream enterer or reaching 2nd path or so is still very worth it even if one doesn't become a full blown arhat, as suffering will reduce tremendously from even that.

 

I also have come to understand awakened people do still have... well I don't want to say desire, it becomes very difficult to talk about in english, I think. But there is a difference between the kind of desire that arises that causes agitation or sense of being driven by it, as opposed to being motivated to improve things out of compassion for self and others, without being tangled up in a drivenness of it. It's a state of continual completeness and satisfaction independent of whatever is going on, but still being able to experience emotions and go about doing what you think is good, which I guess is a kind of "want". I think in Buddhist terminology the bad and good desires are distinguished between the words tana and dana.

This somewhat gets into what I mean: Buddhism has developed a great many tools that I consider valuable. But it is a mistake to view them through a lens of only being possible with Buddhism. Outside of Buddhist jargon for these lesser states of near-Nirvana, what is effectively being described is nothing more than a state of contentment, achieved by understanding of the self and the inevitability of pain, making it meaningless emotionally. This only requires self-study and reflection over a significant period of time - learning to unpack your own emotional responses to things and what they mean and recognizing what you're able to do to change yourself. None of that requires Buddhist ideas.

 

Buddhism makes an assertion that life is suffering, and sets its ultimate goal as the end of that suffering. But it's philosophically narrow even if it touches on some fascinating truths by virtue of being a very reflective philosophy, and I reject the core premise. Life is life. Suffering is barely relevant if you're emotionally healthy - it isn't to me. But when I do experience it, it's a sign there's something serious wrong that requires a reorientation of my goals and behaviours. Suffering is ultimately useful - It's healthy to glance over it emotionally, but deeply dangerous to glance over it intellectually.

Edited by ZenAndMika

Zen - Host.

Mika - Tulpa. Homegrown.

Rhys - Tulpa. Initially a Literary Thoughtform.

If text is uncoloured, presume Zen is talking. We all go by he/him.

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