The Dalai Lama has apologized for asking to suck my tongue and kissing a young boy on the lips, which sparked outrage on social media.
As per a statement released by his office on Monday, the 87-year-old Buddhist monk “expresses remorse for the occurrence” and desires to offer an apology to “the young boy and his family, along with his numerous acquaintances globally, for the pain his words might have inflicted.”
“His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras,” the statement adds.
Video depicts the Dalai Lama requesting the boy to “lick my tongue”
In a video of the widely shared incident on social media, a young boy approaches the Dalai Lama and requests a hug.
While still maintaining his grip on the boy, the Dalai Lama extends a warm embrace, and the boy willingly reciprocates. As per a live translation of the occasion, the spiritual leader invites him onto the stage and gestures towards his cheek, stating “beginning from this spot.”
The audience claps and chuckles as the speaker kisses the boy’s cheek and cups his chin, saying “I believe this is the spot” while gesturing to his own lips, then indicating the leader.
The boy slowly moves his head closer to the Dalai Lama, but only appears to withdraw before his forehead touches. “Suck my tongue,” the Dalai Lama then adds, pausing.
Taking place at the Tsuglagkhang Temple complex, where the Dalai Lama dwells, the occurrence occurred during a February event. Organized by the M3M Foundation, a philanthropic branch of a well-known Indian real estate conglomerate, over 120 students who successfully finished a skills training program were present.
M3M did not respond to NPR’s request for more information about the boy’s identity. The foundation posted photos from the event in early March, including some with the boy featured in the video.
The video has been circulated millions of times on social platforms.
The video has been viewed over 4.1 million times, featuring at least one tweet displaying it. Commenters on social media have labeled it as “abusive,” “disgusting,” and “scandalous,” leading to its rapid spread on the platform.
The video, which has been shared by right-wing influencers in the United States, attempts to use evidence of rampant pedophilia without any substantiated claims.
In Tibet, it is customary to greet others by sticking out one’s tongue, which is known as “the king with a black tongue” stemming from a myth dating back to the 9th century.
One aspect of the tradition that doesn’t seem to be present is tongue-sucking. The Tibetans began revealing their tongues when their king died, as it was their way of incarnating him.
The Dalai Lama has been a focal point of debate for quite some time.
The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is believed by the followers of the spiritual sect to be the 13th incarnation of his predecessors. He is widely recognized as one of the most prominent spiritual leaders in the world, specifically as the principal leader of the Yellow Hat school.
The person in their eighties has caused a few controversies in recent years.
“He proclaimed that Europe is the rightful possession of the people native to the continent,” expressing his belief that the increasing influx of African refugee migrants should repatriate to their respective continents in 2018. Furthermore, during an interview with the BBC the subsequent year, he expressed remorse for suggesting that if he were to have a female successor, she “ought to be more visually appealing.”
Since 1959, after an unsuccessful uprising against Chinese occupation, the Dalai Lama has been residing in Dharamshala, a city located on the northern green hillside of India. Beijing still holds hostility and suspicion towards the Tibetan Buddhists.
Having received guidance on locating his successor, he intends to seek counsel from his advisors when he reaches approximately 90 years old. Despite aspiring to reach the age of 113, the Dalai Lama has dedicated his entire life to promoting the independence of Tibet and has implemented measures to guarantee the continuity of this objective even after his passing.