I've recently discovered the concept of Tulpa or "thoughtforms", and I have some questions.
Are thoughtforms a common phenomena in Buddhist teaching - that is, do many practitioners (monks or otherwise) have experience in creating thoughtforms?
Is it something that a layperson could do, and if so, is it recommended to do so without any other training (for lack of a better word) in Buddhism?
From what I have read so far, Buddhist texts state that these thoughtforms are illusions created by our own minds - but an actual sentient being that can be conversed with is a very powerful illusion. Do Buddhists believe that thoughtforms are a manifestation of the subconscious mind, and therefore a gateway to our own inner workings? If so, is that dangerous?
For those with personal experience with thoughtforms:
Are your thoughtforms permanent?
Knowing that they are illusions, how "real" do they feel? Are their voices different to that of your mind's voice? Do all of your interactions with the thoughform take place in the mind, or have you experienced them in a physical way?
Have you ever felt attached to a thoughtform, and has being a host for one ever cause you emotional strain?
Does your thoughtform take on a physical shape or image, and if so, was this a conscious decision by you, or did the Tulpa decide it's own form?