An awkward video circulating the internet shows the moment the Tibetan Spiritual Leader kissed a young Indian boy on the lips and then asked him to suck his tongue. This has sparked outrage online, with some commentators branding the Dalai Lama’s actions as scandalous, disgusting, and sick. But a few have sprung to his defense, claiming the leader was simply joking.
The clip showed as Dalai Lama inviting the boy on stage during a charity event at his temple in Dharamshala, India.
The boy then asked the Dalai Lama, “Can I hug you?” to which Tenzin Gyatso responded, “Okay, come!” But the spiritual interrupted the boy, asking him to first kiss him on the cheek, before pointing at his lips. He then held the boy’s face as they briefly kissed and pressed their foreheads together. As the boy pulled away, the Dalai Lama further instructed him: “And suck my tongue.”
The young boy, as seen, slowly inches forward toward the 87-year-old’s outstretched tongue.
Attendees at the event, held by India’s M3M Foundation, could be heard laughing as the boy nervously followed the orders. And before letting the child go, the Dalai Lama didn’t, however, hesitate to impart some wisdom, telling him to “look to those good human beings who create peace, happiness and not to follow those human beings who always kill other people.” This isn’t the first time the spiritual leader has sparked a controversy.
In 2019, Dalai Lama caused an uproar when he claimed that if his successor were to be a woman, she would have to be more attractive.
At the time, he apologized after the comment sparked a backlash, stating he was sorry and genuinely meant no offense. The monk’s office also said his off-the-cut remarks lost their humor in translation while insisting that the Dalai Lama was a strong supporter of women’s rights. A few weeks ago, the spiritual leader courted more controversy when he named a boy, 8, as the reincarnation of the third most important spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism.
The title of the child, with joint US and Mongolian nationality, is the tenth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche, the faith’s leader in Mongolia, according to The Times.
Rumors about the boy’s identity, believed to have a twin, have swirled around the spiritual community for years, but his existence has only now been confirmed with his public appearance in India, where the Dalai Lama lives in exile. The unveiling, according to DailyMail, has since sparked fury in China, which previously said it would only recognize Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leaders whose special government-approved appointees have been approved by the government.
Of his recent act, others described the Dalai Lama as an insidious false prophet, with a poster, Rakhi Tripathi, writing: “What did I just see? What, that child must be feeling? Disgusting.”
Another user, Sangita, wrote: “Utterly shocked to see this display by the #DalaiLama. In the past, he’s had to apologize for his sexist comments. But saying “Now suck my tongue” to a small boy is disgusting.” The office of the spiritual leader has yet again posted a formal statement, writing: “His Holiness wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world, for the hurt his words may have caused.”
The statement added: “His Holiness often teases the people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras.” “He regrets the incident.”
Nonetheless, the Dalai Lama remains the universally recognized face of the movement for Tibetan autonomy. But then, the international attention he once received for winning the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize faded, and invitations to mingle with global dignitaries and celebrities decreased. This is partly due to the leader’s reduced travel commitments as he ages and also because of China’s increasing economic and political influence. Beijing has accused him of advocating for China’s separation and has labeled him as a ‘wolf in a monk’s robe’.