FLANKED by an entourage of minders, bodyguards and media, the Dalai Lama played by his own rules when he visited Uluru for the first time on Saturday.
Hand in hand with traditional landowner Sammy Wilson, the exiled Tibetan leader referred to as ‘His Holiness’ was walking to a sacred section of the iconic rock, the Mutijulu Waterhole.
When asked about his first impressions of Uluru, the Dalai Lama replied it was “quite strange”.
“I’m very, very keen for further discussions.”
“Any Indigenous people from different parts of the world … their culture … it is very important to keep your cultural heritage.
“Mix with modernity and of course, now, English language … so that you can have an education … then you can effectively preserve your own identity.”
Mr Wilson, also the chairman of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park’s board of management, said through a translator that he agreed with the Lama’s wisdom.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gets a closer view of Uluru. Picture: Justin Kennedy
“It was good to hear him talk about the importance of that in order to keep your culture strong, you should also embrace English and modern things as well,” Mr Wilson said.
True believers of the Lama’s teachings had travelled from around Australia for the moment.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama meets local children from Mutitjulu Community. Picture:
“But if peace wouldn’t work for them, they would use violence.
“Whereas His Holiness would not do it. He’s born in the image of the Lord of Compassion. He will spend the rest of his life and afterlife, just for peace, to get independence for Tibet.”
Following his tour of the waterhole, the Lama was taken into the nearby Mutijulu community to meet with local leaders.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama tries his best to get a closer view of Uluru.
Later in the afternoon, he gave a community talk to hundreds who gathered on the oval of Ayers Rock Resort, in Yulara.
The origins of the Lama’s trip to Uluru came during a flight over the region, a few years earlier, when the pilot dipped down to give the holy man a good view of the sight, sparking his interest to return.