WATCH: Video of Dalai Lama Asking Boy to Suck His Tongue Goes Viral

Credit: Dalai Lama/Twitter

The recent emergence of a viral video on social media shows the Dalai Lama gesturing to a young boy and asking him to "suck his tongue" during a public event in Dharamshala, India earlier this year. Reports suggest that the 87-year-old spiritual leader had asked the boy for a hug before making the remark.

In response to the video, the Dalai Lama has issued an apology stating that he "regrets the incident" and wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world for any hurt his words may have caused.

In a statement released by the Dalai Lama's office on Monday, it was acknowledged that His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras.

Credit: Dalai Lama/Twitter

While sticking out one's tongue can sometimes serve as a greeting in Tibet, the HAQ: Center for Child Rights, a Delhi-based child rights group, has denounced the Dalai Lama's actions and "all form of child abuse" in a statement.

The Dalai Lama has been living in India since 1959 after fleeing Tibet following its unsuccessful uprising against China. However, this is not the first time the Tibetan spiritual leader has been criticized for his public remarks.

In 2019, he apologized for suggesting a female Dalai Lama should be "attractive," and in the year prior, he was criticized for suggesting Europe should be for Europeans only while discussing the subject of African refugees.

Despite criticisms, the Dalai Lama's office has responded to the controversies by suggesting that the spiritual leader supports gender equality and opposes objectifying women.

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