Dalai Lama Faces Backlash Over Video Asking Child to ‘Suck’ His Tongue

The Dalai Lama sparked backlash after a video of him kissing a boy and asking him to “suck my tongue” at an event in Northern India went viral.

The religious leader issued an apology through a statement published by his office last Monday. In the statement, the Dalai Lama said he “wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world, for the hurt his words may have caused,” adding that he “regrets” what he did.

His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras,” the statement added.

The Dalai Lama’s apology came after netizens criticized his actions when a video showing the exchange between the child and the Buddhist leader went viral.

The incident occurred during an event organized last February by the M3M Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Indian real estate company M3M Group, based in the hillside city of Dharamshala, where the Dalai Lama lives in permanent exile.

The viral video showed the young Indian boy approaching the 87-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner before asking if he could hug him.

The Dalai Lama invited the boy to the stage, pointed to his cheek, and said, “First here,” prompting him to hug and kiss him.

Afterward, he pointed to his lips and said, “Then I think finally here also,” to the boy before pulling his chin and kissing him on the mouth.

And suck my tongue,” The Dalai Lama said after a few seconds, poking his tongue out.

The boy’s identity remained unknown, and CNN, one of the many major news outlets covering the incident, contacted the M3M Foundation for comment.

Haq: Center for Child Rights, a prominent child rights organization based in Delhi, responded to the incident and said it condemns “all form of child abuse.

Some news articles refer to Tibetan culture about showing tongue, but this video is certainly not about any cultural expression, and even if it is, such cultural expressions are not acceptable.” the rights group added.

However, some of the Dalai Lama’s supporters decried the criticism the spiritual leader received for his actions, claiming that they were misinterpreted under a Western lens.

Expression of emotions and manners today has been melted together and become vividly westernized,” Namdol Lhagyari, a Tibetan activist in exile, tweeted. “Bringing in the narrative of other cultures, customs and social influence on gender and sexuality to interpret Tibetan way of expression is heinous.

According to the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, sticking out one’s tongue was often used as a greeting in Tibetan culture and is often seen as a sign of respect or agreement among Tibetans.

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the most famous Buddhist figure in the world and is the leader of the “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism.

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