The Dalai Lama has issued an apology after a video surfaced showing him kissing a young boy on the lips and then asking him to “suck my tongue” at an event in Dharamshala, northern India. The spiritual leader expressed regret for any harm his words may have caused and apologized to the child, his family, and his friends worldwide. The Dalai Lama’s office explained that he often engages in innocent and playful teasing, even in public and before cameras.
In the video, the young boy approaches the 87-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner and asks for a hug. The Dalai Lama invites the boy on stage and asks for a hug and kiss on the cheek. He then points to his lips, prompting the boy to kiss him on the mouth. After a few seconds, the Dalai Lama pulls the boy’s chin and says, “And suck my tongue,” while sticking his tongue out.
The incident has sparked outrage on social media, with many users criticizing the Dalai Lama’s actions. Child rights group Haq: Center for Child Rights issued a statement condemning all forms of child abuse, noting that even if the video represents a cultural expression, such behavior is unacceptable.
The Dalai Lama is the best-known living Buddhist figure and the principal spiritual leader of the “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism. After fleeing Chinese occupation forces, he has been based in India since 1959. The spiritual leader established a government-in-exile in the northern Indian city of Dharamshala, leading thousands of Tibetans who followed him there.
This is not the first time the Dalai Lama has faced controversy. In 2019, he apologized for saying that a female Dalai Lama should be more attractive. In the previous year, he suggested that Europe should be kept for Europeans in response to the rising level of African refugees entering the continent.