In Tibetan Buddhism, a Tulpa is a creature that is summoned into creation through sheer force of will. Since the 1970's, the term has been used in Western culture to refer to a "sentient, sapient being coinhabiting with [a] host consciousness". Some consider a tulpa little more than a hallucinatory imaginary friend; others believe tulpae are sentient, self-aware entities sharing a brain with their host. The act of hosting tulpae is known as tulpamancy. Online communities have grown around the concept in recent years, with r/tulpas and tulpa.io being two of the most popular. Evidence for the existence of tulpae as legitimate, autonomous, self-aware beings remains unconvincing; as very little psychological research has targeted the phenomenon, most evidence is purely anecdotal, and the research that does exist employs descriptive methods only. Research conducted on dissociative identity disorder (referred to in previous iterations of the DSM as multiple personality disorder) is provocative, however, in that it challenges the widely held intuition that the human brain can support only a single sense of self; in any case, what is clear is that additional scientific study of the topic is well warranted.
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