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Tulpa is a term used in the works of Alexandra David-Néel to describe the concept of "emanations" within Tibetan Buddhism. The term tulpa is David Néel's phoneticization of the Tibetan term sprul pa (Skt. nirmita).[1]

David-Néel described tulpas as "magic formations generated by a powerful concentration of thought."

Some Western "new age" practitioners have equated the term tulpa with the term thought form.

In recent years, a subculture has formed online whose members advocate the creation of hallucinations or imaginary friends which they call tulpas.[2][3][4][5]

For the traditional meaning of this term within Buddhism, see nirmita.


  1. The term is also phonetically rendered as trulpa.
  2. Luhrmann, T. M. (October 14, 2013). "Conjuring Up Our Own Gods". The New York Times. 
  3. Thompson, Nathan (September 3, 2014). "Meet the 'Tulpamancers': The Internet's Newest Subculture Is Incredibly Weird". Vice. 
  4. Samuel Veissière, PhD (Sep 2014). "Talking to Tulpas: Sentient Imaginary Friends, the Social Mind, and Implications for Culture, Cognition, and Mental Health Research". Academia. 
  5. White, Ian (November 30, 2014). "Love Me, Love My Tulpa". Paranormal Underground. 

External links

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