Dalai Lama apologises for controversial kissing incident
The Dalai Lama has issued an apology following the emergence of a video showing the spiritual leader kissing a child on the lips and asking him to "suck my tongue" during an event in Dharamshala, India.
In a statement, the Dalai Lama's office expressed regret for the incident and apologized to the boy, his family, and the spiritual leader's friends worldwide for any harm caused by his words.
The statement explained that the Dalai Lama often teases people he encounters in a playful and innocent manner, even in public and in front of cameras. However, the video of the exchange has gone viral on social media, with many users criticizing the Dalai Lama's actions.
In response to the incident, Delhi-based child rights group Haq: Center for Child Rights told CNN that it condemns "all forms of child abuse."
The organization stated, "Some news refers to Tibetan culture about showing tongue, but this video is certainly not about any cultural expression and even if it is, such cultural expressions are not acceptable."
The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the best-known living Buddhist figure in the world and the principal spiritual leader of the "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism.
He has been based in India since 1959, following an unsuccessful Tibetan uprising against Chinese occupation forces.
This incident is not the first time the octogenarian has stirred controversy in recent years, with previous statements about a female Dalai Lama's attractiveness and European immigration also drawing criticism.
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