A video showing Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama kissing a minor boy and purportedly asking him to "suck his tongue" has gone viral on social media. The video has drawn sharp criticism from internet users across the world, questioning the limitations of religious practices and the "privileges" of spiritual leaders.
The period and authenticity of the video could not be ascertained as there was no reaction to it from the office of the Dalai Lama. The staff of the Dalai Lama did not respond to phone calls and WhatsApp messages to get reaction to video, as reported by The Tribune.
In the video, Dalai Lama is seen kissing the child on his lips as he bows down to pay respects. The spiritual leader subsequently asks the boy if he could suck his tongue. While most Twitter users vented out their anger, terming the act as "disgusting", "outrageous" and "condemnable"; some pointed out that this might have a religious rationale, linked with Tibetan Buddhism.
The clip was shared on Twitter. “Pedo-Dalai Lama kissed an Indian boy at a Buddhist event and even tried to touch his tongue, the boy then resisted. What a disgusting scene. In the video published on the “official” networks, the scene was obviously cut… as if by magic! (sic),” the caption read.
One of the users even claimed that this is a popular practice in Tibetan Buddhism, followed since the 9th century. To this, people argued some of the traditional religious practices need debate and discussion in context with the modern world and laws on the ground.
"This is an alarming scene! The Dalai Lama, who has had ties to NXIVM in the past, has been caught on camera trying to make advances on an Indian boy. You can clearly see the boy's body language as he yanks back the first time, then throws his head upward, as the Dalai Lama says "suck my tongue," a Twitter user who goes by the name Natly Denise said.
This is not the first time that the Dalai Lama has been embroiled in controversy. In 2019, he sparked outrage with comments about the appearance of a potential female successor, stating that she should be "attractive." The comments were widely criticized as "sexist" and drew condemnation from around the world. The Dalai Lama later apologized for his remarks.
Dalai Lama is a revered figure among Buddhists and a symbol of resistance against Chinese rule in Tibet. Last month, he named an eight-year-old boy as the 10th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche, the third-highest rank in Tibetan Buddhism. This move is likely to further irk China, which has accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting separatism in Tibet. Dalai Lama currently resides in Himachal Pradesh's Dharamshala.