Tulpas - Creatures of the Mind : Mystery Files

Creatures of the mind

The term "creatures of the mind" is not an entirely alien concept to most of us. We are well aware that madness, drugs and alcohol can create non-real creatures and beings, which appear terrifyingly real to those who are unfortunate enough to experience them.

Every one of us has also experienced in our dreams, the extreme realness of the phantasms created by our minds when deep in sleep, and many of us in our childhood were accompanied by "imaginary friends", who were not only as real to us as any of our other friends, but also remained with us for years.

Although familiar with such creatures of the mind, we tend to regard them as imaginary and confined to a different reality. We would not expect them to interact with the real world, and we certainly would not expect them to be visible to anyone else.

Merely imagination?

That people can create imaginary creatures or people within the confines of their own minds is one thing, to have such mind creatures appear to - and interact with other people is quite another. This state of affairs suggest that such mind creatures are not merely imaginary, but actual entities in their own right.

There have always been stories of such creatures - Etheric counterparts of living people who whilst undergoing an out-of-the-body experience produce a sort of ghostly twin - a doppelganger - who functions independently of their more earthly twin, and yet is able to communicate and interact within the "real" world.

It is also believed that magicians practised in the black arts can also, by intense visualisation, and concentration, create creatures that will do their bidding, although few people outside occult circles have ever claimed to have witnessed such an event.

There is one area of the world where mind creatures are accepted as a reality. The place is Tibet, and such creatures are known as Tulpas.

Drepung Monastery and the mountainous land of Tibet - Home of the Tulpas
Drepung Monastery and the mountainous land of Tibet - Home of the Tulpas | Source

In the mountainious land of Tibet, it is said that mind-creatures called Tulpas, can be created at will by yogi adepts, or those who are skilled in the magical arts. Tulpas can sometimes be created accidentally by, for instance, the fear and imagination created by a lonely traveller when lost in a forbidding area of the country, or the collective imaginations of a group of particularly superstitious villagers which combine to create an externalised form of their fear - a Tulpa.

It is said that skilled practitioners can produce any of ten different kinds of Tulpas, from animals through humans, to more supernatural beings.

Dangerous game

The creation of Tulpas is however frought with danger. Tulpas, on their creation may seem gentle and compliant, but the longer they exist, the stronger they grow, and the more independent and harder to control they become.

Some particularly powerful Tulpas create Tulpas of their own known as yang-tul, which in turn are also capable of producing their own emanation known as a nying-tul. Practitioners capable of producing multiple layered Tulpas such as these are thankfully rare and tend to be confined to the Buddhist saits or Bodhisattvas.

But the burning question is, of course, are Tulpa's merely figments of the imagination - or are they real entities.

Alexandra David Neel
Alexandra David Neel | Source
Magic and Mystery in Tibet
Magic and Mystery in Tibet

This is the book in which Mystic and Adventurer Alexandra David Neel relates her experience of creating a tulpa.

 

The Creation of a Tulpa

The 19th century French Schollar and explorer Alexandra David Neel spent 14 years in Tibet studying Tantric Buddhism under the tutelage of the most eminent Lamas of the time. She became the first female Lama (and the only female Lama of that time) and was widely acclaimed for her contribution to the understanding of the Tibetan ways of thought.

She later published two accounts of her experiences in Tibet and in her book "Magic and Mystery in Tibet" , she describes her experiments to create a Tulpa of her own. Aware of the dangers inherent in the creation of a Tulpa Alexandra decided that her Tulpa would take the form of a benign, jolly, Friar-Tuck type Monk.

She wrote: "my habitual incredulity led me to make experiments for myself, and my efforts were attended with some success... I chose for my experiment a most insignificant character: a monk, short and fat, of an innocent and jolly type.

I shut myself in tsams [meditative seclusion] and proceeded to perform the prescribed concentration of thought and other rites. After a few months the phantom monk was formed. His form grew gradually fixed and life-like looking. He became a kind of guest living in my apartment".

Neel then broke her seclusion and went on a tour taking tents accompanied by her servants. The Tulpa monk decided to accompany her.

"Though I lived in the open, riding on horseback each day, the illusion persisted... It was not necessary for me to think of him to make him appear. The illusion was mostly visual, but sometimes I felt as if a robe was rubbing lightly against me, and once a hand seemed to touch my shoulder"

Alexanrda David Neel spent 14 years in Tibet studying Tantric Buddhism
Alexanrda David Neel spent 14 years in Tibet studying Tantric Buddhism | Source

As her Tulpa grew in vitality, it became more independent, appearing unbeckoned and becoming more unruly. A distinct change in his phisical features became aparrant.

"The features which I had imagined, when building my phantom, gradually underwent a change. The fat chubby-cheeked fellow grew leaner, his face assumed a vaguely mocking, sly, malignant look. he became more troublesome and bold. In brief, he escaped my control".

Imagination becomes reality

Things then began to turn from unusual to really strange. The Tulpa became visible to others. Some of her companions (who were not aware of her Lama status or her thought experiments), began asking her who the "Stranger" was that kept turning up in their camps.

The Tulpa was sometimes percieved by others as less than human.

"Once, a herdsman who brought me a present of butter saw the Tulpa in my tent and took it for a live lama"

The Tulpa was now becoming so troublesome that Neel decided it was time to get rid of it - The Tulpa however, had other ideas and resisted the attempts to dissolve it.

"I ought to have let the phenomenon follow its course, but the presence of that unwanted companion... turned into a "day-nightmare"... So I decided to dissolve the phantom. I succeeded, but only after six months of hard struggle. My mind creature was tenacious of life"

Thoughts are Things?

It is an oft used expression amongst devotees of personal development methods that "thoughts are things" - an interesting psychological concept, but what if it is true?

What if thoughts, concentrated and directed in a specific way can actually give life to independent beings? Alexandra David-Neel believed this to be the case.

"There is nothing strange in the fact that I may have created my own hallucination. The interesting point is that in these cases of materialization, others see the thought-forms that have been created."

- Be careful what you wish for -

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Comments 21 comments

Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

Yikes! Scary thought. Very interesting hub. Thumbs up and shared.


karthikkash profile image

karthikkash 4 years ago from India

nice hub :) I do indeed believe that our imagination can indeed take physical form with intense concentration.


CR Rookwood profile image

CR Rookwood 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

Cool hub! I was reading about the UFO researcher John Keel, who also studied magic in the far east for quite a long time. Some of the people who knew him well felt he might have accidentally had a hand in creating the 'Men In Black' that he is credited for discovering. I can imagine that--he was an intense guy. Thumbs up!


jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

Creepy! This definitely makes you wonder how powerful the mind really is.

Voted up and interesting!


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

@ karthikkash - as the Bard said " There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreampt of in our philosophy"


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

@ CR Rookwood - It makes one wonder if UFO's themselves could be a manifestation of the same thing.


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

@ jennzie - Yes, perhaps it is true that "thoughts are things".


CR Rookwood profile image

CR Rookwood 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

They are associated with the Anja chakra, so maybe! (Hey, there's a cool hub! Race you to it.)

:)


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

@ CRRookwood - I think you have the head start on that one :)


onegreenparachute profile image

onegreenparachute 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

oooh! Am I ever glad I find it impossible to hide myself away for a few months. Who knows what I would come up with!! The concentrating part might be a tad difficult too. Voted up and more! Shared too.


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

@onegreenparachute - I know what you mean. Creating them is one thing, but then when they refuse to go away again, you have to wonder who is in charge.


Mogheh 4 years ago

Interesting hub, never heard of these before. Voted up


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

Thanks Mogheh - Yes, weird concept isn't it?


Mogheh 4 years ago

I'd be interested to know any more information you have on these, and what the Tulpa in her experiment was doing when "The Tulpa was now becoming so troublesome that Neel decided it was time to get rid of it". It's interesting that other people were able to sense it also.


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

@ Mogheh,

The Tulpa, which at first was regarded as a sort of psychological "toy" for Neel's own amusement, became increasingly autonomous. and would often appear unbidden by Neel (and sometimes, others), at inappropriate times and places, and would resist efforts to make him disappear again (Tulpas apparently have a tendency do do this after some time in existence). There is a link to Neel's book "Magic and Mystery in Tibet" in the Hub in which Neel recounts her story.


mizjo profile image

mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

The East seems to be the cradle of mysticism and magic, both black and white. I know of a cinema in Kuala Lumpur which had a seat that nobody was allowed to sit on. It used to move and jump to unseat the person on it and would stop as soon as vacated. Nobody ever saw the 'thing' that inhabited it but it was reputedly someone who had died on it. The cinema owners did not dare do anything to that chair. I do not know the end of the story, whether they finally shut down or not, because I left the country some years ago.

What about the danger of the ouija board? If the spirit that is called up does not want to leave, the players cannot leave the board either.

There are lots of tales in the East of spirits imprisoned by evil witchdoctors to do their bidding, mostly to cause harm to their enemies or enemies of those paying the witchdoctor to do the deed. But there is always a final price the witchdoctor has to pay the spirit.

I've never heard of the Tibetan tulpa. It seems to be a 'thought made flesh'. It does not seem to do any harm though, even if it refuses to be thought away.

This is a very interesting hub. Thanks, Gaizy.


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

Thanks Mizjo, It's a strange tale indeed. I had never heard of anything even similar to this before I came upon the story.


The Lost Dutchman profile image

The Lost Dutchman 4 years ago from Flanders (Belgium)

Jeez man! Glad to be your fan... this is Great Stuff! (With Capitals, yeah!)


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

Thanks Lost Dutchman, glad to have you on board.


Minnaloushe profile image

Minnaloushe 3 years ago

Very nice hub! Neel inspired me to try this myself and I made a small dragon tulpa. I played with it on my desk for everyday, first it was just a pretend. Then it became a real in short "flashes". I suspect my own mind always so I tested it on our cat, and could urge my tulpa up to the cat and it would be staring at it the whole time and hiss as the dragon came closer. and then I got bored and moved on to other experiments :)


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 3 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

Interesting...

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