Social Media Reacts to Dalai Lama's Controversial Encounter with Young Boy
Written by: Bonnie Chapman
A recent interaction between the Dalai Lama and a young boy has sparked shock and concern around the world. The spiritual leader asked the boy for a kiss on the lips and then requested the child to suck on his tongue. An official apology was issued on the Dalai Lama's official page, explaining that the spiritual leader often teases people in an innocent and playful manner, even in public and before cameras, and regretted the incident.
This incident raises concerns, as it is not the first time a religious figure has been accused of taking advantage of their position with regard to children. However, the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California notes that sticking out one's tongue is a sign of respect in Tibetan culture. According to a member of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, the Dalai Lama's statement about tongue sucking was a joke or playful interaction with the child.
Social media users have debated the cultural context of the incident. One Reddit user shared their experiences growing up in South Asia, where older relatives kissing young children on the lips is common. They suggested that the Dalai Lama's comment was a joke, and he did not understand the child's request for a hug. Another user defended the Dalai Lama's unconventional upbringing, arguing that he might not comprehend societal norms.
While it is difficult to determine the Dalai Lama's intentions, it is crucial to acknowledge that, regardless of cultural context, his actions were inappropriate and caused harm.