In a statement Monday, April 10, 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.
The spiritual leader’s 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 Dalai Lama 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.
He then pokes out his tongue and says: “And suck my tongue.”