The Dalai Lama has unleashed a new scandal after making an inappropriate request to a child during an event held a few months ago in India. The repercussion was such that the spiritual leader of Tibet had to offer an apology after the video was released in which he appears kissing the child on the mouth. In addition, in the images, you can see how the Dalai Lama asks the child to “suck his tongue.”
“His Holiness (Dalai Lama) sometimes interacts with people he meets innocently and playfully, even in public and in front of cameras. The Dalai Lama would like to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as to all his friends around the world. He regrets the incident and apologizes for the pain his words may have caused,” was part of the message from his public relations office.
Given what happened with the Dalai Lama and the child, this is not the first time the dignitary has been at the center of a scandal. Throughout history, the highest representative of Tibet has had many controversial episodes.
The Dalai Lama’s Scandals
1.- The Dalai Lama Kisses a Child on the Mouth
In the video that has generated controversy worldwide, the Dalai Lama, who is currently 87 years old, appears talking at a distance with a child who asks him during the event if he can hug him. The Dalai Lama accepts and tells him to first kiss him on the cheek and then hug him.A few seconds later, the spiritual leader points to his lips and tells the boy to kiss him there as well. At that moment, he kisses the child on the mouth, and all the attendees start laughing and also clapping.
Finally, the Dalai Lama asks the child to “suck his tongue” and places his forehead exactly touching the child’s forehead. In fact, in the video that has gone around the world, you can clearly see how the historical figure sticks out his tongue in front of the child. Although the images have only just come to the public light, the event took place in February of this year and was organized by the M3M Foundation, which works to help many marginalized communities in India. The foundation is under the auspices of the prestigious real estate group, M3M India.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) April 10, 2023
2.- The Dalai Lama Asks For an Attractive Female Successor
The Dalai Lama already caused controversy in June 2019 when he spoke about the possibility of a woman becoming the first and next successor of Buddhism after his passing. “The possibility of a female Dalai Lama is very high for the years to come,” the leader told a press conference and jokingly added that she should be “very attractive.” In the wake of the uproar over his words, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner issued a statement in which he publicly apologized for a comment that was intended as a joke, but ended up taking on a sexist meaning among the public.
3.- The Dalai Lama Against Refugees
The Dalai Lama noted during a visit to Sweden in 2018 that “Europe belongs to the Europeans,” and that refugees, at some point, should return home to rebuild their countries. At the time, Europe was facing a major refugee crisis from Syria and Turkey, so his statements were seen as a gesture against immigration, especially after the rise of the far-right in the general elections that Sweden had held a few days earlier.
4.- The Dalai Lama and the Abuse of Buddhist Monks
The Dalai Lama acknowledged in 2018 that he had been aware of the s3xual abuse of minors by Buddhist monks since the 1990s and that he had discussed the issue with Western Buddhist leaders as early as 1993. In an interview with several Dutch media, the Dalai Lama stated that the testimonies and stories that four Dutch and Belgian victims brought to his attention in an unprecedented meeting in Rotterdam were not new to him, because he “already knew all these things” for several decades.
He also claimed to be aware of the accusations against Sogyal Rinpoche, one of the best-known and most controversial Buddhist masters, accused since 1992 of all kinds of abuse of his students in various retreat centers in Europe, especially in the south of France.
South African opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have called on Indian police to arrest and prosecute the Dalai Lama for child abuse, following a viral video where he kissed a boy on the lips and asked him to "suck his tongue".https://t.co/aCBKNELX7T pic.twitter.com/21O3MG4PRk
— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) April 11, 2023
Who Is the Dalai Lama?
Lhamo Thondup, also known as Tenzin Gyatso, was born on February 6, 1935, in the small town of Taktser in Tibet. After several signs and visions, this two-year-old boy from the province of Amdo was designated as a possible incarnation of the Dalai Lama, the 14th in history. Two years later, after being part of a shortlist of three candidates, Thondup was officially recognized and elected as the Dalai Lama. Gyatso fled Tibet for India in 1959, following China’s intervention in that territory. Although thousands of Tibetans fought for their independence, most died at the hands of repression by the Chinese government.
In India, on November 17, 1959, the famous dignitary received the authorization to implement a government in exile in the city of Dharamsala (where, by the way, a few weeks ago, the controversial incident with the child took place). At the moment, there are more than 140,000 Tibetan refugees in that locality. In 1989, when he was 54 years old, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts around the world to seek freedom for Tibet without promoting the use of violence. Although it is still unknown who his successor will be, the announcement could be made in the coming months.
With information from EFE / Cover photo: EFE / Johan Nilsson
Story written in Spanish by Miguel Fernández in Cultura Colectiva News