A tulpa is a sentient thoughtform willed into existence by a creator.
Although the word “tulpa” has historically been used to refer to a supernatural thoughtform from Buddhist teachings, the western version of tulpas are considered distinct and a different phenomenon than the ones of Buddhism.
The westernized version of tulpas originated from the /x/ board on 4chan . From there, the concept grew, with a few people making guides on how to create tulpas, and some of the original guide makers and those who took interest in the concept moved to IRC to talk about it. Interest in tulpas took off when they were mentioned on 4chan's /mlp/ board, a board decidated to discussion of the show My Little Pony. Soon after, the first tulpa forum, tulpa.info, was born.
Despite the origin of the term and idea of tulpas from a supernatural concept, the tulpa community tends to skew towards neurological and psychological explanations for the existence of tulpas.
The tulpa community predominantly focuses on creating thoughtforms, which then with time and attention achieve and display sentience. Which each tulpa and creator will have a different goal, the community tends to focus on communication between the tulpa and their creator, and practices such as imposition and possession.
There are often two types of tulpas talked about in the tulpa community. Many tulpas are created purposefully with the creator often assigning traits and characteristics to them and ingraining those traits in their tulpas until they start to communicate and gain sentience. Accidental tulpas are tulpas that pop up unexpectedly, often being the result of the same process done unknowingly or without intent.
1. ^“The History of Tulpamancy.” Tulpa.io, tulpa.io/history-of-tulpas.