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Dalai Lama speaks after ‘kiss’ video

Publish Date
Tue, 11 Apr 2023, 8:06am

Dalai Lama speaks after ‘kiss’ video

Publish Date
Tue, 11 Apr 2023, 8:06am

The Dalai Lama has apologised following outcry over him kissing a young Indian boy on the lips and asking him to “suck” his tongue.

The spiritual leader’s office released a statement on Monday after footage of the bizarre interaction, which occurred last month during an event for India’s M3M Foundation, went viral on social media.

The statement said he “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,” the statement read, also saying he “regrets” the interaction.

The leader of Tibetan Buddhism, Tenzin Gyatso, was hosting students and members of the foundation at his temple in Dharamshala, India, where he lives in exile.

In the video, the boy approaches the microphone and asks, “Can I hug you?”

The 87-year-old says “OK, come” and invites him on stage.

The Dalai Lama motions to his cheek and says “first here” and the boy gives him a hug and kiss.

He holds the boy’s arm and turns to him, saying “then I think fine here also” as he points to his lips.

The spiritual leader then grabs the boy’s chin and kisses him on the mouth as the audience laughs.

The Dalai Lama asked the boy to ‘suck my tongue’. Photo / Twitter

The Dalai Lama asked the boy to ‘suck my tongue’. Photo / Twitter

“And suck my tongue,” the Dalai Lama tells the boy, sticking out his tongue.

They press their foreheads together and the boy briefly pokes out his tongue before backing away, as the Dalai Lama gives him a playful slap on the chest and laughs.

The boy goes to move away but the Dalai Lama shakes his hand and holds it to his cheek, before pulling him in for another hug.

He then offers the boy some spiritual advice, telling him to “look [to] those good human beings who create peace, happiness” and not “not follow those human beings who always kill other people”.

The clip caused a stir in India, with some online branding the footage “creepy” and “disgusting”, while his supporters insisted he was “joking around” with the boy, according to local media.

The video has also gone viral on Spanish-language social media.

 “This video is scandalous,” Colombian journalist Vicky Dávila wrote on Twitter. “The Dalai Lama kisses a boy who approaches him on the mouth. The attendees applaud and laugh instead of condemning this aberration.”

Last month, the official Twitter account for the Central Tibetan Administration shared a clip of the second half of the interaction.

“During his meeting with students and members of M3M Foundation at courtyard of Thekchen Choeling Tsuglakhang, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama advised a young Indian boy to look up to a good human being who always work for cultivating peace and happiness in the world,” Tibet.net wrote.

In 2019, the Dalai Lama was caught up in a sexism controversy after he remarked that if his successor were a woman, “she should be more attractive”.

His office was forced to issue an apology, saying that sometimes his “off-the-cuff remarks, which might be amusing in one cultural context, lose their humour in translation when brought into another”.

The prior year he also made headlines for suggesting on a trip to Sweden that refugees should return to their homes and help rebuild their countries because “Europe belongs to Europeans”.

- Frank Chung, news.com.au

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