2/13/13: We are excited to announce, Tonglen's Page has made the Site Spotlight!!
Special thanks to Lilmiss1995 for the beautiful drawing below :)
The sun is hidden behind Shenkuu's towering cliffs, the mists are rising by the sea shore, and on a small farm a Nimmo is sitting.
He is just sitting. His breath as constant as the blue sky, his face broad and kind. His palms are open before him, as if they cradle something very precious in their green hue. He is sitting behind a curtain of bamboo, near a pond in the cool shade of a willow tree. You take a bold step forward, hoping your foot falls on silent ground.
Something flickers in the Nimmo's face, and soon his eyes are open. They greet you, dark brown eyes like those of a great, soft, bear.
Hello, friend He says.
You take a step back, take a look of the Nimmo, and notice a straw hat sitting upon his head; it shelters his face but the result is not menacing. The hat seems out of place, and when you look to his clothes they do too. Overalls and a simple plaid shirt.
You have found me somehow, it must be the will of something good, I think. He says smiling.
Tell me, do you like lotus blossom tea?
You nod a quick yes, and watch the green Nimmo rise from his cushion by the pond. He is all limbs, skinny legs and long hands, but there is a grace to his walk. A grace and a lightness usually seen in the very young.
Now that you think of it, you cannot even begin to guess the Nimmo's age.
You can join me if you like. It's nearly five and dark will be here soon, I'll take you to my cottage.
You hardly know him, but he seems harmless enough. Still, you ask him about himself.
There is not much to say about me. I have lived on this farm since I was a little tad pole, I suppose you could say I grew up sheltered. He responds.
Things changed when I left my home to explore the world. I came back different. The Nimmo has a distant look in his eyes, he then turns to the sky. You are both walking thorough the tall grasses and through farmlands.
Lightmites are flickering lowly in the fields. The Nimmo watches them tenderly and a warmth spreads over his face again, and he looks on in complete awe.
You join him, taking in the day. Purples and light oranges blend near the sky line, clouds are full of depth, the breeze is warm, the trees hold their leaves.
How did your travels change you? You question him.
I learned about the suffering of the world. He whispers.
Soon a small house comes into your view, it is low to the ground and rounded with a thatch roof. A small porch stretches out before it, there is a table there and a wood burning stove.
Come on, I want to hear your story. He speaks again in a soft voice, and he smiles.
I don't even know your name. You argue.
How rude of me, I forgot. I'm Tonglen.
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Hard to tell, huh?
Place of birth: Shenkuu
Personality: Tonglen is compassionate, kind and gentle. He is often perceived as "provincial" or "simple" by those who do not know him well due to his quietness and plain speech and clothing.
Appearance: Tonglen has soft brown eyes that mist, he often wears orange robes or simple farmer's attire.
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Likes: Nature, Tea, His cottage, Books, You.
Dislikes: Large crowds, Twisted words, Pollution and Litter.
Tonglen offers to show you around his home. It is a small place and very tidy. The front door is round, and opens into a living area that over looks over his garden. In the room is an old cupboard, a low table and sleeping mat. Tonglen motions to the storage piece, and tells you it holds all of his possessions.
Taking a key from his pocket, he makes his way to the cupboard and opens the lock.
Inside is an array of items, from food to books, everything is there.
He motions to each item and tells you a little bit about it.
This is one of my favorite books, it speaks of Zen and how to find peace in the most tumultuous and uncertain of times.
Nimmo Meditation is a very nice read if you are interested in meditating. It covers the basic elements of calming the mind. A kindly teacher from Shenkuu City gave me this book when I was very small.
Planning Shenkuu Gardens" may sound a bit impractical, it is actually very helpful for those living in Shenkuu who would like to start a garden. It acknowledges the trouble of planting on an incline and offers good solutions.
I don't know if I've told you, but I love Jazz music. This book is about the great band Jazzmosis and the music they create. They have to be a pretty great with such a cool Nimmo playing for them!
I write in this notebook, all sorts of things. What? No! It's not a diary, it's a journal.
My Pha (my father) always said that is was an art to use ink and quill.
But sometimes I use pencils when I am not feeling artistic c:
By far my favorite tea! It comes in a very nice tin too. I take this till to the market and refill it whenever I am out of tea leaves.
Such a nice treat, it is nice to have mushrooms in my soup in cold season.
Ahh, Lotus Rice. My favorite meal. I thought I had eaten them all... guess not! *takes a bite*
These are some leftover seeds from this planting season. I am hoping they will keep until next year.
I bought this lovely teapot while traveling through the Lost Desert. My old one had just cracked and was unusable. It is now serving as a plant pot on the porch.
These come in handy when I am tending to wounds. You never know when you'll need to wrap the wing of a wounded wild thing.
This is my meditation pillow. I take it everywhere with me. It is very light to carry. My ahma (mother) sewed the cover for it before I left left home.
These are my robes, I wear them when I am not working in my garden or going out of doors.
*Tonglen laughs* Oh, these are just my sleeping clothes! A bit silly, but I DO like lilypads.
I wear these when I work in my garden or go to the mountains.
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Next Tonglen leads you out the back door and towards his vegetable garden. The garden consists of a few clean rows, markers sticking up from their beginnings, sprouting green heads peaking up from the soil. Tonglen walks cautiously around the perimeter and you follow him to the far side of the garden. There stands a red fence and behind the fence is a tall hedge.
Somewhere up above a cloud passes over the sun, and the world below is bathed in blue light, a washed out scene is before you. But the Nimmo is unfazed. He stands constant there, by the fence.
Did I tell you about Bodhicitta?
You shake your head no.
This is where I met her you know
The Nimmo motions toward the fence and the hedge.
She is my petpet, though she is more of a friend than a pet.
She could leave anytime, but she chooses to stay.
He goes on to tell you how he met her, how she came out of the hedge, wounded and small. She was just a baby then, the color of clover. Though Kazeriu are beautiful creatures when they are grown, they are rather unsightly infants.
Beauty is never permanent externally.
Tonglen says, scanning his garden, with soft eyes.
I cannot promise Bodhi will show her face, though she might.
He adds with a slight smile.
A noise you mistake for the beating of a drum sounds suddenly, and then like a sigh the gates of the sky are opened sending forth rain. It comes in sheets, and for an instant your eyes meet those of the Green Nimmo before you. You exchange a quick smile, and he lifts his palms upwards, catching the rain in his hands.
Then he regains his sense, and bids you to come back to his cottage. You both run back, through the tall grass. Once you are both inside and drying by the wood stove, the Nimmo tells you that you will get to meet his petpet for certain.
For all her independence, Bodhi does like company on a rainy day. If you will sit there and wait for a sound at the door, I will put on that tea I promised you.
Tonglen disappears into the adjoining room that you take for a kitchen, and leaves you on your own. You listen to the rain, gentle if not for the occasional boom of thunder. If you listen very closely you can make out the sound of birds singing. You are struck with the seclusion of Tonglen's home, a small place in the Shenkuu countryside. Though when you look out the window, you can see the familiar sight of the Lunar Temple in the misty distance.
Just as the Nimmo had said, you hear a muffled scratching noise coming from the door. It is not hurried or frenzied, and has the likeness of a knock.
Rising from your cushion on the tatami floor, you crawl to the door and open it.
There is a petpet there, green as reeds, and beautiful. She stares at you with wide eyes and walks in doors. There she curls up by the window, still save for the rise and fall of her breathing.
Tonglen returns, carrying a wooden tray and tea. Steam curls up from your cups, like a hovering spirit. The Nimmo hands you a cup carefully, and you sip the tea, detecting the slight taste of Jasmine and Lotus Blossom.
Bodhi, having recognized her owner's return, glides over to where you both sit. She makes a spot for herself in the his lap, and slumbers again.
It is said that Kazeriu are magical creatures, creatures of myth and mist. Bodhi has many stories to tell if you listen carefully.
Speaking of stories, you have not yet told me yours.
You respond cleverly.
A story for a story?
Tonglen asks you, a statement you cannot help but agree to.
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Tonglen was raised on a farm somewhere in Shenkuu, though we do not
exactly know where. It was a wholesome place, with abundant harvests every
fall. Tonglen's family grew fruit trees, and sold honey and rice cakes at the market. His parents were protective of their son and sheltered him from the world outside.
Neopia Central and Altador were places he only read of in books, and read he did. Anything he could get his hands on, Tonglen read.
Often times, early in the morning he would slip out his window and go to lower crests of the mountains. He would sit there and think quietly to himself, his eyes misting at the sight of the sun rising from the depths of dawn.
He was inquisitive in his youth, and tender to all creatures he came across. Goldie's caught in fishing nets, Lightmight's with broken wings, he found them and held them like small burning embers. Sometimes he brought them back to life. It was in this rural setting that Tonglen learned the most fundamental laws and truths.
Though as Tonglen grew he was usually ignored or written off by his peers. They found him simple and provincial, and pretended his was not in the room at all. When the time came for him to grow up and find his way, Tonglen was very much afraid. But sometimes there is a strength in the gentle that cannot be conquered. In spite of his timid inclinations, he would not stay.
He left the mists of Shenkuu and did not stay long enough to watch the sunrise.
Tonglen took a long journey to the Haunted Woods and did not stop until he had seen all of neopia. Over the coarse of four years he had seen his fare share of suffering, wonder and invention. He had seen the sun rise in every land, and had felt darkness fall over every city.
Slowly a strength grew inside of him, and in his weakness he found empathy. He never stopped growing or questioning, and he never lost the mists in his eyes.
He finally returned home, and though he admits himself he could not change the city, the city had certainly changed him.
He lives now in his cottage by the farm where he used to live. He spends his time gardening, reading and watching the sun spread over the dips and rises of Shenkuu.
He touches everyone he meets in a small way, and works downhill, towards the conflict as best he can.
You've probably seen him somewhere, no?
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It is nearing six o'clock and soon darkness will be about you. Tonglen goes to fetch a small photo book for you. He says he would like you to meet his family.
Though I do not have any photos of my parents, I would like to show you the other members of my family. I cannot say they are blood relatives, but they are very close to me.
he says quietly, handing the book over to you. As you turn the pages, he tells you about each person depicted in the photographs. He smiles as he speaks, and looks tenderly at the neopets on the pages.
I met Morgaine
when I was young, she was walking in the Brightvale woods one morning, and we became fast friends. She treated me like I was a person, not just a young child. She is very wise, and has many skills in magic. Morgaine lived on a misty isle in her youth, though she is on the mainlands these days. I sometimes think she is homesick for the sea and the mists. Morgaine studies the stars, and her home is full of star charts and strange potions. I have noticed that Morgaine has a stubborn streak, and many regrets. Sometimes I find it hard to learn about Morgaine, she is not one for talking about herself, and is a bit mysterious.
I must say Gwenhwyfar
and I did not get on very well when we first met. She had, and still has, a hard shell. A protective armor that is hard to break through. We talked genuinely for the first time about her fear of open spaces, I think. Gwenhwyfar grew up sheltered, like myself, but in a different way. She was treated coldly by her father as a child, which resulted in insecurity and dependence. Underneath her exterior of ice Gwen is really a very sad and soft person. In rare instances her soft underbelly shows through, and I feel I know her better. For all her external beauty, Gwen carries an coldness around her shoulders that can be deterring to most.
is a very good friend of mine. Rin hails from the snowy crests of Terror Mountain. He travels through the white landscape, walking stick in hand, to help those stuck in storms. I consider him to be one of my greatest influences and teachers. He has a warm heart in the midst of a cold region, and his home is a safe haven in the cold.
is older than he appears, though he certainly acts young. He has a very short attention span and a love of The Meepits.
I try to teach him how to be still, and he teaches me patience, even if it is in an indirect way. Kevkor takes me on walks, and shows me many small details, close to the ground. He is fascinated
by bugs, mushrooms and oddly shaped rocks. I think I have learned a lot from Kev since we have met. I am happy to call him my younger brother.
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Nimmos of Neopia
After tonglen puts away the photo book, he asks you if you would like to hear about his kind. You sip your tea and agree to hear about his species. He smiles at you and begins to speak:
I am a Nimmo.
We Nimmos are not the most popular species in this world, making up only 1.13 percent of the population, so I understand if you've never heard of us. We are known to be kind, thoughtful and wise as a whole. There are many well known Nimmos through out neopia, though some are more renowned than others. Some of these Nimmos I have met, others I have read about, or heard about from travelers.
I had the pleasure of meeting Ryshu when I visited Mystery Island on my travels. Ryshu is an instructor at the Training School, there he will train anyone, as long as they offer him a magical stone. I tried asking him about these stones, though he was strangely quiet on the subject. While I was on Mystery Island I took classes from Ryshu himself. I learned many things from him, like how to further master the breath and the mind. Though he is a warrior, Ryshu practices peace and tells that the greatest master is master only of himself.
The Nimmo Traveller
The nameless Nimmo Traveller is another notable character, he is said to wander all of Neopia, though he does not say why, or where he is going, he just walks. Orange robe swaying, bare feat on the ground, the only path he travels is his own.
As a child my Pha always told me to dwell not on the past, and to forget the future, that the only time important is the present. I think that is the reason for this traveling Neopet. Though I have never come across him, I would love to meet him one day.
I've met many a kind Nimmo shop keeper while traveling the globe, though the one I consider the closest friend would have to be Orrin. Orrin has a shop in my home land of Shenkuu. He works in his shop Exotic Foods, where he sells many interesting items. On market days when I am in the Shenkuu mainland I stop by his shop to talk over tea. He is always giving me some kind of new fruit or vegetable to try. Though he may seem a bit- well scatterbrained- to some he is actually quite interesting when you get past his eccentricities. He knows just about every herb and root in all of Shenkuu, but is favorite remains the simple Bluchard Root.
Gorunda the Wise
Lastly there is Gorunda the Wise. Her's was a name I heard almost every evening. My Pha would come into my room and sit beside my bed on a chair, there he would tell me the most wonderful stories. Gorunda was a regular character in these nightly tales, I remember widening my eyes as I listened to the stories with awe. Gorunda was very old and knew all the secrets from the Beginning of time. She lived all alone in the Haunted Woods, and gave advice to all who braved the spooky forest to visit her.
I had always thought Gorunda was just a figure of legend, that is until I met her, but now is not the time for that Story
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Tonglen's tale is almost done, and he gathers up your cups and plates and stacks them neatly. He goes to the kitchen, and on his return he goes around the circular room and lights the little paper lanterns that string around the room. The lanterns are hung on a thin piece of rope that dips and rises across the ceiling. Its strange but you never noticed that lanterns until now, perhaps because they are light colored and worn, and not the typical bright red and gold.
You watch him, completely at peace. You forget about the world outside for this short while, your worries, your fears, the future, the past, it is all behind you, or before you. It is not you.
Tonglen resumes a sitting position near you, and you look on his face under the golden light of many lanterns. His eyes look very deep, but very warm.
You feel as though you could curl up there on the tatami matt floor and fall asleep.
Toglen silently notices your sleepiness, and offers a place in his home, or to walk you home in the twilight.
You chose the latter of the options and watch as Tonglen rises with you and heads to the door.
When you step outside the rain has stopped. It is that gentle moment, right after a storm, when the sun resumes its decent into night. Everything goes back to the way it was, the sun dips, just as it has for a thousand days. All that serves as a reminder of the rain are the drops that cling to the tall grass about you.
Please come again.
Tonglen says, he is standing next to you on the porch. You know the moment you step off the porch, the moment you make your way through the tall grass, that the spell will be broken.
Is it always like this?
You ask the Green Nimmo.
He does not hear you at first, he is looking out at the world before you with damp eyes.
No, this is something different.
Is all he says.
At long last you leave the porch, and the Nimmo follows you, until he is leading you out of the wilderness. Mountains spring up around you, and trees carry the weight of their leaves, a curtain of mist is inclosing around you.
I have one more thing to show you, if you would let me.
Tonglen says quietly.
You agree. And he guides you through a mountain pass. You do not walk for very long, and then you are there. At the top of the mountain.
The mists all pass by you in currents, and you are left there in complete clarity.
You feel many things, happy, at peace, and a little sadness is there too. Everything is still and clear and when you turn to your left and your right your friend is gone.
Then you hear a voice.
Do you know your way home now?
Tonglen continues, suddenly next to you as if he has never left your side.
It's easy to see everything now, isn't it?
And he is right. The whole of Shenkuu sprawls out before you, the Temple, the shops, the sea, the cliffs. Other things are clearer too.
Will we meet again?
You ask the Nimmo.
He nods and then he bows before you.
Thank you, traveller.
Is the last thing the Green Nimmo says to you before departing into the mists.
You continue down the mountain and are soon back in Shenkuu, the port where you will find your way back home.
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Before you leave....
Before you depart, we would like to share with you a few fun links and facts, that relate to Tonglen in some way or another!
Tonglen is a Tibetan
word that means "taking and giving" to take in suffering, and sent forth compassion and peace. I had always imagined Tonglen would live in Tibet if he lived in the real world.
Here are a few more Tibetan words:
Tonglen's Rice paper Dumplings:
Cha, or Ja: tea
Deb, or Tep: book
One of Tonglen's favorite meals is Rice paper Dumplings. They are great for everyone to eat because they are Vegetarian and Gluten Free.
Rice paper sheets can be found at most grocery stores or the asian market. This recipe works well if you have a deep fryer, but a simple fry pan and oil works too!
What you will need: Mushrooms, Cabbage, Soy Sauce (optional, can be bought gluten free) , Carrots, and Rice paper.
If you have a deep fryer fill it with oil and set it on high heat to warm up.
Slice your cabbage, mushrooms and carrots and cook them in a pan. Use oil, and cook over medium heat.
Next wet your rice paper sheets in warm water and place the cooked filling in side. Wrap the dumplings. I uses one sheet per dumpling. But it depends on the size of your rice paper.
Place the wrapped dumpling in the deep fryer and cook for 2-5 minutes. (Depending again on your heat) The dumplings should be crunchy on the outside.
If you choose to use a fry pan, simply place a good amount of oil in the pan and fry them, this should take 5-7 minutes.
Best paired with a bowl of miso soup.
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Below are a few places in Neopia that Tonglen likes to visit.
is a kind Nimmo called Babagabadoosh's gallery dedicated to all things Nimmo!
is another gallery, it is dedicated to Tonglen's homeland, Shenkuu.
If you would like to link back, feel free to take a piece of quilt or a button. Button courtesy of the lovely Katie, from Meow Buttons.
Would you like to have your pet's character page listed here? Neomail me!
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This is where we will part for now. If you've reached this far, thank you. If you've skimmed ahead, thank you anyway!
Please know that even after you've exited and left this corner of neopia, even after you've returned to where you were before, that you are always welcome to return.
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