The top Buddhist spiritual leader apologized to the boy and his family, with his team saying he “often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way”.
The Dalai Lama has apologized after outrage over a video of him kissing a child on the lips and asking him to “suck my tongue” at a public event.
The 87-year-old spiritual leader apologised to the boy and his family, with his team saying he “often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way”.
“A video clip has been circulating that shows a recent meeting when a young boy asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama if he could give him a hug. His Holiness wishes to apologise to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world, for the hurt his words may have caused.
His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras. He regrets the incident,” said an official statement on the exiled Tibetan leader’s Twitter account, which has 19 million followers.
The viral video, which has one million views on Twitter, showed the Dalai Lama kissing a young boy on the lips and touching his foreheads with him as the audience claps and laughs. Then the leader sticks out his tongue and says: “Can you suck my tongue?”
The video triggered a huge backlash, with Twitter users denouncing it as “disgusting” and “unbecoming”.
“So the Dalai Lama is kissing an Indian boy at a Buddhist event and even tries to touch his tongue. He actually says ‘suck my tongue’. Now why would he do that?” tweeted user Joost Brokers.
“Why is the Dalai Lama fondling this young boy and asking him to ‘suck his tongue’?” questioned Stew Peters.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner had earlier apologized in 2019 for controversially saying if his successor were to be a woman, “she should be attractive”.
“If a female Dalai Lama comes, she should be more attractive,” he said to the BBC in an interview.
Last month, the Dalai Lama named an eight-year-old US-born Mongolian boy as the 10th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche, the third highest rank in Tibetan Buddhism.
Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting separatism in Tibet and it does not recognize the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), which represents about 100,000 exiled Tibetans living in around 30 countries including India, Nepal, Canada, and the US.