The Dalai Lama has apologized after a video emerged showing the spiritual leader kissing a child on the lips and then asking him to “suck my tongue” at an event in northern India.
In a statement Monday, the office for the Dalai Lama said he “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,” adding he “regrets” the incident.
His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras,” the statement said.
His apology comes after a video of the exchange, which took place during an event in the hillside city of Dharamshala in February, went viral on social media with many users criticizing the Dalai Lama’s actions.
In the video, the young boy can be seen approaching the Nobel Peace Prize winner before asking, “Can I hug you?”
The 87-year-old spiritual leader then invites the boy on stage and points to his cheek and says, “first here,” prompting the boy to give him a hug and a kiss.
The Dalai Lama then points to his lips, and says: “then I think finally here also.” He then pulls the boy’s chin and kisses him on the mouth.
“And suck my tongue,” he says after a few seconds, poking his tongue out.