A thoughtform is the equivalent concept to a tulpa but within the Western occult tradition. The Western understanding is believed to have originated as an interpretation of the Tibetan concept. Its concept is related to the Western philosophy and practice of magick.
Tulpa (Wylie: sprul-pa; Sanskrit: निर्मित nirmita and निर्माण nirmāṇa;"to build" or "to construct") is a concept in mysticism of a being or object which is created through sheer discipline alone. It is a materialized thought that has taken physical form and is usually regarded as synonymous to a thoughtform.
Tulpa is a spiritual discipline and teachings concept in Tibetan Buddhism and Bon. The term 'thoughtform' is used as early as 1927 in Evans-Wentz translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, described as "giving palpable being to a visualization, in very much the same manner as an architect gives concrete expression in three dimensions to [...] his blueprint".
John Myrdhin Reynolds in a note to his English translation of the life story of Garab Dorje defines a tulpa thus:
- A Nirmita (sprul-pa) is an emanation or a manifestation. A Buddha or other realized being is able to project many such Nirmitas simultaneously in an infinite variety of forms.
The term is used in the works of Alexandra David-Néel, who claimed to have created a tulpa in the image of a jolly Friar Tuck-like monk which later developed a life of its own and had to be destroyed.