Tibetan term for a phantom form generated by mental concentration.
In her book With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet
(1931), Alexandra David-Neel describes how she created a
tulpa of a monk, who supposedly became a recognizable member
of her party during a journey. Reportedly in the course of
time this phantom took on an independent life of its own.
David-Neel claimed it took six months of intense concentration
to dissolve this phantom.
A tulpa may also double as the magician who created it, employed
for protective purposes by appearing instead of its creator.
A tulpa should be distinguished from a tulku, which is either
the reincarnation of a saintly individual or the incarnation
of a non-human entity, such as a god, demon, or fairy.
David-Neel, Alexandra. Initiations and Initiates in Tibet. London,
1932. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y. University Books,
. The Secret Oral Tradition in Tibetan Buddhist Sects. San
Francisco City Lights, 1964. Reprint, Calcutta Maha Bodhi
Society of India, 1971.
. With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet. 1931. Rev. ed. as
Magic and Mystery in Tibet. New Hyde Park, N.Y. University
Books, 1956. Reprint, New York Dover Publications, 1971.