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A Creature of the Mind

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Alexandra David-Neel was born Louise Eugenie Alexandrine Marie David in France in October 1868, and was the first woman to gain the title of a Tibetan lama. A committed Buddhist who lived to the highly impressive age of one hundred years, she was a noted traveler, and someone who had a deep passion and love for Asia, and particularly so the Himalayas. David-Neel was also someone who helped bring to the Western world the phenomenon of the Tulpa.

Essentially, a Tulpa is an enigmatic form of life that has its origins within the mysterious depths of the human mind; but which, when carefully focused upon by the creator, and dutifully nurtured, can break free of its brain-based moorings and take on a degree of independent reality in the world at large. In simple terms, what we imagine internally – when we, quite literally, put our minds to it – can mutate into full-blown reality of an external nature.

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Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz, a writer, anthropologist, and pioneer in the study of Tibetan Buddhism, said of the Tulpa concept: “In as much as the mind creates the world of appearances, it can create any particular object desired. The process consists of giving palpable being to a visualization, in very much the same manner as an architect gives concrete expression in three dimensions to his abstract concepts after first having given them expression in the two-dimensions of his blue-print.”

He elaborated further: “The Tibetans call the One Mind’s concretized visualization the Khorva (Hkhorva), equivalent to the Sanskrit Sangsara; that of an incarnate deity, like the Dalai or Tashi Lama, they call a Tul-ku (Sprul-sku), and that of a magician a Tul-pa (Sprul-pa), meaning a magically produced illusion or creation. A master of yoga can dissolve a Tul-pa as readily as he can create it; and his own illusory human body, or Tul-ku, he can likewise dissolve, and thus outwit Death. Sometimes, by means of this magic, one human form can be amalgamated with another, as in the instance of the wife of Marpa, guru of Milarepa, who ended her life by incorporating herself in the body of Marpa.”

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