For example: In Tibetan Buddhism we are taught that yidam Yamantaka has the form of buffalo head and human body. In lower tantra teachings, this form is hold true and visualization is based on such. Yamantaka heart mantra is recited 100,000 times in order to achieve siddhi, or the formation of Yamantaka thought form.
When a Yamantaka thought form is formed, the practitioner will be able to actually 'see' this thought form.
Up until the Highest Yoga Tantra, practitioners are thought to create the thought form of Yamantaka in 'generation stage'. Once this thought form is formed, then the practitioner will engage in the 'completion stage' to make this Yamantaka thought form as his 'illusion body'.
Ultimately this thought form becomes the practitioner's luminous body during the dying process through consciousness transference technique.
Thought form creation is allowed in lower teaching until the stage of Great Perfection in Tibetan Buddhism. Once a practitioner is deemed qualified to receive the teaching of the Great Perfection, then he must engage in a thought form destroying exercise to purify his body, speech and mind.
In Great Perfection, thought forms are flawed as they are merely our mental creations. Whatever being created are impermanent. This is clearly stated in Vajra Sutra (金刚经):
In Zen Buddhism, the way to break a practitioner's thought forms is through the means of sudden stimulation by a Zen master.
The Great Perfection has a set of systematic methods to get rid of our thought forms so that we can see our inherent pure light.
Thought forms helps us to do things faster but in a way bogged us down in our comfort zones. These thought forms gradually became our stumbling blocks that prevented us from seeing the truth.
Other methods to break our stereotypes are meditation and fasting in isolation without praying or chanting. It is only through isolation of body, speech and mind that make our thought forms show themselves in front our pure and original state of mind.
The methods of isolation and breaking of thought forms can be found in all major religions in this world with some religions more emphasized than the other. Buddhists are more opened to mind training and Christians do meditate and reflect on the teaching of God too.
Are you ready to let go of your old thought forms and proceed to higher spiritual developments?