The Dalai Lama apologizes after a video shows him telling a boy to ‘suck my tongue’

NEW DELHI – The Dalai Lama, the 87-year-old spiritual leader of Tibetans, apologized on Monday after footage emerged of him telling a young boy to “suck my tongue” at a public event.

“A video was circulated showing a meeting recently when a young boy asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama if he could give him a hug,” said one. statement on the exiled leader’s Twitter account, which has 19 million followers.

“His Holiness would like to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends around the world, for the hurt his words may have caused.”

The statement said the Dalai Lama leader “often harassed people he met in an innocent and playful manner, even in public and in front of cameras. He regrets the incident.”

Sticking one’s tongue out is a sign of respect or agreement, and is often used as a greeting in traditional Tibetan culture, according to the Institute for East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

According to Tibetan folklore, a cruel ninth-century Tibetan king had a black tongue, so people would stick out their tongues to show they were not like him, according to the institute. website. There is no mention of tongue sucking on the site.

The video, which has garnered more than one million views on Twitter, appears to show the Nobel Peace Prize laureate trying to give the boy a peck on the lips in front of an audience. The crowd can be heard clapping and laughing, as a man captures the moment on the phone.

Beijing regards the Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, as a dangerous separatist.

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He has worked for decades to attract global support for linguistic and cultural independence in his remote, mountainous homeland.

He now lives in a compound next to a temple surrounded by green hills and snow-capped mountains in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala.

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