The Uluru in central Australia is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, with its striking magnificent natural form, unpredictable colors, and divine inspiration. These features draw the hearts of explorers to the dreamlike wonderland. The origin of the rock is also shrouded in mystery.
Uluru, a Sacred Place of Origin for Aboriginal Culture
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is one of Australia’s most famous landmarks. It’s located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and stands 1142 feet high, two miles long, one mile wide, and boasts a circumference of 5.8 miles. Some people have alluded to Uluru as a “land iceberg” because the visible portion is only the portion showing above the earth’s surface. The vast majority of it lies hidden deep underground—an estimated 3.7 miles below the surface. Geologists believe that Uluru is 550 million years old, and Australian Aborigines consider it to be one of the oldest rocks on Earth.
Whether from a frontal or bird’s-eye view, Uluru looks magical, lying quietly in the middle of the Central Australian desert. It is unique and distinctive compared to the surrounding rough wilderness. In the morning, when the sun shines, Uluru glows red; in the evening, when it sets, the red glow becomes darker and richer. What’s even more amazing is that the rock’s color changes with the weather and is thus sometimes unpredictable. However, at closer proximity, one can see that Uluru is actually brown with a grayish tinge.
The explanation for Uluru’s bizarre color may be found in its composition: sandstone that contains iron powder. After oxidation, the iron powder turns red, giving Uluru its red appearance and its coined name as the “red heart” of Australia.
According to archaeological speculation, the Aboriginal people of Australia have been living on the surrounding land for 60,000 years, making them one of the oldest surviving civilizations in the world. The Aboriginal people of this area, the Anangu, practice a set of ancient laws and hold reverence for the natural world, as they believe that everything that happens in the world has a mystical meaning.
Like other Aboriginal regions in Australia, the Anangu people believe in Tjukurpa, also known as Dreamtime. They believe that Dreamtime is a separate system, parallel to the real world—a mystical zone between life and death—that exhibits all the innate rules of man and nature.
The Anangu believe that their ancestors are the spirits who created the world. In the ancient days of Dreamtime, these spirits roamed the Australian continent and recorded everything they saw through words or song. While roaming, the ancestors created the land, rivers, streams, hills, rocks, plants, animals, and people. The Uluru is thought to be the documentation of their work on earth. The experiences of the ancestors in Dreamtime took place in Uluru. In the Pitjantjatjara dialect of the indigenous people, Uluru means the “meeting place of reality and dreams.”
For the Anangu people, Uluru is not just a spectacular rock, but also their starting point of Creation and the place where their ancestors reside. Therefore, Uluru is a sacred place of origin for the indigenous culture. With the energy left behind by the ancestors after the creation of the world, there was no doubt that it was sacred and inviolable.
Around the caves, cliffs, and crevices of Uluru lie countless engravings and strokes that record the stories of the Aboriginal ancestors. It is said that certain parts of the rock represent the spirits of the ancestors, and that by touching it, the Anangu can enter Dreamtime, communicate with the ancestors, and receive their blessings.
Ancient Legends About Uluru
The culture and history behind Uluru, as well as its mysterious color, are fascinating. There is also a lesser-known origin story of the Uluru, one that is an ancient legend from the world of cultivation practice.
This story was told by Dr. Owen Yao, a specialist in superconductive materials. He said he first heard it over two decades ago from someone of a high level in the cultivation world, in May of 1999. He later recounted the story that he heard.
Before we get into the story, it might be best to elaborate on some of the concepts of space and time that Yao mentions.
The smallest particle known to scientists today is the quark. Although measuring particles by size isn’t condoned by scientists, it’s known that quarks are found inside a proton. Beyond the quark, it’s unknown how small the smallest particle is.
If we imagine an atom, the nucleus is at the center of the atom, and electrons orbit the nucleus. Protons are what make up the nucleus, and quarks make up the proton.
By a little stretch of the imagination, we can see how the atom is similar to a solar system, with planets rotating around a sun. If we imagine expanding the atom’s nucleus to the size of a galaxy, perhaps we would find numerous solar systems inside it. If it were expanded to the size of a universe, maybe it would contain many galaxies.
Scientists are able to see objects in the universe that emit light much more easily than those that don’t. So what can be seen through a microscope is still highly limited.
Yao’s story contains ideas like this “small universe,” which is not difficult to understand. Likewise, atoms of differing masses also have differing lifespans. So if this principle were applied to cosmic bodies, different universes and galaxies also have different lifespans. The lifespan of a universe can be very long; longer than the largest number known to man, while the lifespan of certain atoms may only be a few seconds. Time and space are relative.
Different dimensions have different units of time. As time passes at one speed in another dimension, time is passing at a much different speed here on earth. In Yao’s reiteration of the story he heard, he mentions a time that is in “the middle of the history of the universe.” There is no way to calculate exactly when that was because we can’t accurately know how old the universe is or what unit of time the universe goes by.
Yao tells the story he heard: ”Perhaps it was a coincidence, and although I stand by my belief that this story is a real-life account, others may very well regard it as another piece of fiction. The story takes place in the mid-level of the universe, during a time that can be considered the middle of the history of the universe.
“The universe that we reside in is a small one. So small that it can only be seen as a speck of dust within a bigger universe. If we can’t even see the edge of our own small universe, can you imagine just how large the bigger encapsulating universe must be?
“In the early days of the bigger universe, all lives were good, and the universe was free of anything evil and bad. However, this golden period of time could not be everlasting, according to a concept known among Buddhists as formation, stasis, degeneration, and destruction. At the beginning of all life, everything was wonderful and pure. Bad didn’t exist, and there weren’t any bad lives. When the universe reached the middle period in its development, the bad began to appear, and evil arose in the form of a demon with the sole purpose of committing horrible acts. There were many beings in the universe, especially Buddhas, Taos, and Gods, who wanted to rid the universe of the demon, and thus engaged it in combat. Because this demon belonged to the middle tier, it was quite capable and had great abilities. Many beings failed to defeat it and were even injured in battle.
“Finally, when everyone thought the demon was undefeatable, a Holy King suddenly arrived, carrying a Dharma Wheel. He was bestowed the name Enlightened One, or Holy One. The Holy One with the Wheel arrived with the purpose of destroying the demon, since the demon had committed countless heinous crimes that caused enormous ripple effects throughout the universe. The two fought and fought. It was a colossal battle. At the time, the lives of the universe referred to the clash as the great battle between good and evil in the large universe.
“They fought vigorously to the end, using various weapons, perhaps even magic and spells. There were so many details, and I heard this story over 20 years ago, so it is impossible for me to accurately or specifically recount the exact methods with which they fought. Nonetheless, in the end, the Holy One killed and destroyed the demon. However, while the demon was destroyed, the Holy One was also wounded. A drop of the Holy One’s blood and a drop of the demon’s blood fused together and fell toward earth, entering the atmosphere in the form of a big red rock, and finally landing in Australia. This big red rock eventually became known as Uluru.
“One thing that I wish to make clear here is that this story occurred during the middle period of development of the bigger universe. But, according to archeologists, the rock was deemed to be at most 500 million years old. One might ask how this can be. Well, the concept of time that we have today is limiting. Time is relative, and the time of different universes is also relative. So it would be inaccurate to equate our own concept of time to the larger universe’s concept of time. In other words, a million years on earth could equal far more or far less time in other dimensions. Since that drop of blood fell to earth, the time that it passed and experienced was not something that can be measured so absolutely with a machine.
“So the drop of blood coming to earth was a very, very long time ago. Although the fused drop of blood turned into the giant rock we see today, at the microscopic level, the blood of the righteous and the blood of the evil are still in battle. Sometimes you can even hear the sound of swords and spears clashing against each other, and the movement of soldiers and horses, when in close proximity to the rock. The rock also changes colors at different times.”
If this rock really has such a long history, is there any special meaning behind the legend?
“My summary of this story was that there is good and evil in the universe. Because good and evil are opposites, good should conquer evil as long as it is within the ability of the good. This is what the good should do. This reflects on Uluru, its surface, its history, and the fighting microscopic battles inside. I feel that it has this layer of meaning; that the evil must be eliminated.”
Yao said he was able to grasp a special meaning through the legend, but that he also believes that when everyone looks at the same thing, they’ll have different interpretations.
He said: “The story of the rock, of course, is longer and older than the indigenous people. The indigenous people believe a different legend, and people all have the desire to tie unexplained phenomena to their ancestors. This desire is very normal. From the point of view of modern-day scientists, Uluru is not just the largest intact piece of rock in the world, but it also doesn’t blend into its surrounding environment whatsoever. It is truly as if a large object had fallen from outer space and remained entirely whole when it landed. It’s completely different from the topography around it.
“Of course, there may be varying theories and conjectures out there, but if you look at it from a cultivation perspective, Uluru is actually an object from the future. It stands before our very eyes, yet what we humans are able to truly understand and comprehend from it is still very limited. Like what I mentioned before regarding the relativity of time and the various levels in the universe, science is unable to explain all observed phenomena.”
Whether it’s the legend of the Aboriginal Dreamtime or the ancient legend Yao heard, they both leave us with lingering questions: Where did the universe come from? How were humans created? And how did the Creators intend for humans to flourish in the world as we know it today? The Aborigines understood Dreamtime as a beginning that had no end. They saw it as a period of continuity between the past, the present, and the future. The ancient legend through Yao allows us deeper insight into the universe of formation, stasis, degeneration, and destruction.