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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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
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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