Dalai Lama apologizes after video asking child to 'suck' his tongue sparks outcry
The Dalai Lama has apologized for kissing a child on the lips and asking him to "suck my tongue" at an event in northern India.
After a video of the Dalai Lama kissing a child and asking him to "suck his tongue" at an event held in northern India, the Dalai Lama apologized.
Monday's statement by the office of the Dalai Lama stated that he "wishes for an apology to the boy and to his family, as well his many friends around the world for any hurt his words may have caused," adding that he "regrets the incident."
The statement stated that "His Holiness often teases those he meets in an innocuous and playful manner, even before cameras,"
After a viral video of the exchange that took place in Dharamshala, a hillside town, in February, his apology was received by many social media users. Many were critical of the Dalai Lama’s actions.
The video shows the young boy approaching Nobel Peace Prize winner and asking him, "Can you hug me?"
The 87-year old spiritual leader invites the boy onto stage, points to his cheek, and then says "first here." This prompts the boy to hug him and give him a kiss.
The Dalai Lama points to his lips and then says, "then I think also here." The Dalai Lama then pulls the boy’s chin and kisses his mouth.
After a few seconds, he said "And suck me tongue", poking his tongue out.
It is unknown who the boy is. He attended an event at the M3M Foundation. This is the philanthropic arm Indian real estate company M3M Group. It is based in Dharamshala where the Dalai Lama resides in permanent exile. CNN reached out to M3M Foundation for comment.
Haq: Center for Child Rights, a prominent Delhi-based child right group, stated to CNN that it condemned "any form of child abuse" in response to the incident.
It said: "Some news refers Tibetan culture about showing tongue. But this video is not about any cultural expression. Even if it were, such cultural expressions will not be accepted."
Tenzin Gyatso is currently the Dalai Lama and the most well-known Buddhist figure.
Millions revere the Dalai Lama as the principal spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism's "Yellow Hat" school. He is also the reincarnation for his 13 predecessors.
After the failed Tibetan rebellion against Chinese occupation forces, the spiritual leader has been based at India since 1959. Later, he established Dharamshala in northern India as a government-in exile. This led to thousands of Tibetans following him.
This is not the first incident involving an octogenarian in February.
After a BBC interview in 2019, he apologized and said that if a female Dalai Lama were to succeed him, she would be "more attractive".
When referring to the increasing number of African refugees entering Europe, he had suggested that Europe be preserved for Europeans the previous year.
Or an African country? He said that it was also impossible, and added that it is better to "keep Europe in Europe for Europeans."
LINK & __LINK__etwork, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.