I liked playing with the paddymelons with Sophia and Ginny, having yummy breakfasts, the red sand, climbing up the sand dune, and seeing Uluru and Kata Tjuta, going to the sunset at Uluru. It looked really nice and colourful, playing in the apartments with Ginny trying to find me around the corner, riding Genghis Khan (the camel) and walking back from the meditation at Uluru with Khenpo la. Hector (7 years old)
Hello. My name is Sophia, I went with my Mum and Dad to Khenpo’s Uluru Retreat. I must admit it was an amazing experience. Early in the morning we would go to Uluru or Kata Tjuta and do a meditation with Khenpo. I went to a couple of the teachings during the day and went to some of the sunset meditations. My favourite part was kicking my soccer ball all the way through the track in Kata Tjuta and after that, playing a big game of soccer with Khenpo and a few other nice people – it was great! Along the way I met some really lovely people who also did the retreat, it was such a nice experience and I am so lucky to have been able to get to do this amazing retreat. Sophia (11 years old)
It is with enormous gratitude that I write a few words to acknowledge the potency, purity, and treasure of our recent Pilgrimage to Uluru. This journey had so many components: firstly, the focus on pilgrimage with a great Tibetan teacher as in Khenpo la, whose knowledge of the Buddha’s teachings is matched to his excellent warm, friendly, and joyful nature and his reverence of place, culture, and people of wherever he visits. Khenpo is a gift who skilfully weaves nature’s gifts with a unique style of teaching and guided meditations to enable deep absorption of each moment spent in these places, with such reverence for country and respect for the indigenous people and ease with every move. There were two beautiful children aged 7 and 11, who enriched the group with their amazing gentle wisdom and delight in every minute. They were so inspirational and gave us all such hope and wonder for the future of the world, as in if such children contribute with generous, sensitivity, worldliness and vital spirit.
The sangha who supported this retreat were also just perfect, ranging from Ann’s gift in organisation, grace and behind the scenes soothing; Tsultim in his jovial warm and clever kindness in driving, picking us all up and softly/quietly attending to anything needed with a gentle grace; Tjenka and Zara’s bright creative grace in every action and interaction whether driving buses, listening, and helping the team or the retreatants with love and service; as well as the delectable creative nourishing food presented with ease and love from Tony’s wondrous ways. The food was amazing, every single person present was fresh, interesting and an individual treasure!
Khenpo never ceases to enrich all with his gentle wise ways along with bringing us the precious jewels of Buddha with practical messages that filter in through us. Each day we witnessed these sacred sites for hours from dawn through sunrise and sunset to dusk it truly was so powerful. I only hope I get to go on many more pilgrimages with Khenpo. The beauty of the teachings and the mind training to remind us of all we can mindfully manage a supreme and loving life by being infinitely joyful, skilful, and compassionate. These teachings were creatively etched in our hearts via the glow of the effervescent colours of those rocks.
Our week pilgrimage honoured these sacred stories of country intertwined with sacred lessons from Buddha to bring us into a presence and honour of each day observing the dawn, huddling out at dark, and softly witnessing the light on those sacred spaces come alive in silent meditation in awe of this. The teachings, the food, the fun, the warm interactions, the divine sunsets, and the presence of each of us present. It is now 2 years since closure of the activity of tourists climbing this magnificent Uluru, to me it felt as if she was saying thank you and shinning an extra vibrancy in all the various lights we were gifted with.
Some information from sacredland.com that I feel is important to share: Rising 1,100 feet above the Australian desert, the red sandstone monolith known as Uluru is not just an international tourist destination but a symbol of the Aboriginal struggle for land rights and a model for collaborative indigenous-governmental land management. Uluru and its neighbour Kata Tjuta, a series of 36 rock domes, comprise an area of spiritual significance to Anangu, the local Aboriginal people whose belief system is intertwined with the landscape.
The traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park speak Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara and call themselves Anangu – “we, Aboriginal people.” Anangu lived in the deserts of Central Australia for tens of thousands of years before the arrival of white settlers, leading a nomadic hunting and gathering way of life rooted in a spiritual relationship with the land.
Anangu believe that the world as it is today, was created by heroic ancestral beings that roamed the land before humans existed. As these beings moved from place to place – meeting friends, fighting, having adventures, performing ceremonies – they shaped the landscape and left some of their spirit behind. Thus, the exploits of Anangu’s spiritual ancestors are mapped throughout the land in topographic features like waterholes, rock formations, caves, hills and gorges, and these features are regarded as sacred places.
Anangu culture has always been a vital part of Central Australian life. Anangu Tjukurpa teach that the landscape was formed as their ancestral beings moved across the barren land. For the Anangu people, live revolves around Tjukurpa, the cultural underpinnings of their society. Life and rebirth are vital in their beliefs, with Tjukurpa stories passed down from generation to generation. These stories, dances and songs underpin all Anangu belief systems and society behaviours. Elders pass the stories to younger generations as deemed appropriate. Anangu must share their oral history to keep ensuring the continuation of their culture for generations to come.