The Dalai Lama apologizes after a video of a child kissing sparked widespread response

The Dalai Lama apologizes after a video of a child kissing sparked widespread response

A video clip showing the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso (87 years), the spiritual leader of Tibet, asking a boy to “suck his tongue”, sparked different and violent reactions on social media, prompting the Dalai Lama to apologize. According to Indian newspapers, the video, which went viral, shows the Dalai Lama kissing the boy’s lips and then placing his forehead on his forehead before sticking out his tongue and asking the child to suck it. He is also heard asking the young boy in the video: “Can you suck a tongue?”
According to the “Times of India” website, the video is taken from an event that took place in McLeod Ganj, a suburb of the city of Dharamshala in northern India on February 28, where M3M, the charitable arm of the Indian real estate company M3M Group, was sponsoring a religious ceremony.
The Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso is the holiest figure in the Tibetan Buddhist religion, and he has lived in exile in India since 1959, when China annexed Tibet.
“His Holiness wishes to apologize to the boy, his family and many friends around the world for the hurt his words may have caused,” said a statement posted on the Dalai Lama’s Twitter account. He added, “His Holiness often annoys people he meets in an innocent and fun way, even in public places and in front of cameras, and he regrets the incident.”
The identity of the boy is still unknown, despite the spread of the video. Commenting on the incident, a children’s rights group in India said in a statement that it condemns “all forms of child abuse”. She added, “Some news mentions the Tibetan culture about showing the tongue. But this video is definitely not about any cultural expression. Even if it is, such cultural expressions are not acceptable.”
This is not the first time the Dalai Lama has raised criticism. In 2019, the Dalai Lama’s office apologized after the latter told the BBC news network that any future female Dalai Lama should be “attractive”.

Reactions

As the video spread across the internet, many denounced it as “indecent”, “scandalous” and “disgusting”. On the other hand, sympathizers of the monk tried to justify what happened, pointing out that His Holiness shares a special bond with young minds. For him, the children of this generation are the main protectors of the world, the bearers of peace, and what happened is not an expression of ill will.
According to The Times of India, sympathizers report that holding one’s tongue is a sign of respect or agreement, and is often used as a greeting in traditional Tibetan culture. One story from Tibetan folklore says that a cruel 9th-century Tibetan king had a black tongue, so people would extend their tongues to show that they are not like him.
This custom has a long history. In Seven Years in Tibet, Brad Pitt’s character encounters a group of Tibetans who stick their tongues at him.

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