Dalai Lama’s biggest controversies, from ‘attractive female successor’ to asking boy to ‘suck his tongue’

The Dalai Lama is facing widespread criticism after a video of him kissing a child on the lips at a Buddhist event went viral, prompting him to apologise.

The video showed the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism kissing the boy on the lips as he stepped forward to pay his respects.

The Dalai Lama can be heard saying in the video “can you suck my tongue” and stick his tongue out.

In a statement on Monday, the Dalai Lama’s office said it was “sorry about the incident”.

“The Dalai Lama often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way,” the statement said.

“His Holiness wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends around the world, for any pain his words may have caused.”

This, however, isn’t the first time the spiritual leader has faced backlash for his comments.

Here’s a look at all of his previous controversial comments:

“If a female [successor] comes her face should be very, very attractive’

In a 2015 interview with the BBC, the religious leader said: “I think female[s] she should take on a more important role and then – I told the journalist – if a woman comes, her face should be very, very attractive”.

His comments came recalling remarks he made a decade earlier to a French journalist that there must be a female Dalai Lama because, he said, women had a greater “biological” capacity “to show affection … compassion.”

Female successor must be “very, very attractive”

In an interview with the broadcaster in 2019, the Dalai Lama reiterated his 2015 comments that a female successor should be “very, very attractive”, otherwise she would be “of little use”.

“If a female Dalai Lama comes, then she should be more attractive,” he said.

The spiritual leader was asked if her statement could be seen as objectifying women and whether taking up the mantle of the Dalai Lama should be about who a person is inside.

“Yes, I think both,” he replied.

His office later issued a statement apologizing for the remarks.

“His Holiness really meant no offense. He is deeply sorry that people have been hurt by what he said and offers his sincere apologies,” the statement read.

Trump lacks ‘moral principle’

Also in the 2019 BBC interview, the spiritual leader criticized former US President Donald Trump for his “lack of moral principles” over the US administration’s treatment of children on the US-Mexico border.

“When I saw pictures of some of those little kids, I was sad,” she said.

“America…should assume global responsibility.”

Jawaharlal Nehru’s self-centered attitude

In 2018, the Dalai Lama fueled another controversy after he said India and Pakistan would have remained united after the end of British colonial rule were it not for the “self-centered attitude” of the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

“Jawaharlal Nehru’s self-centered attitude was the reason why Muhammad Ali Jinnah could not be appointed prime minister of India,” he said.

His office later apologized for the comment.

“Europe belongs to Europeans”

In 2018, the Dalai Lama sparked anger over his comments about refugees in Europe.

“Welcome them, help them, educate them… but in the end they should develop their own country”, he said speaking of the refugees.

“I think Europe belongs to the Europeans”.

The Dalai Lama is regarded by Buddhists as the manifestation of the Buddha or Bodhisattva who chooses to reincarnate to serve others.

The current Dalai Lama has lived in India since his self-imposed exile from Tibet following the arrival of Chinese troops in 1959.

In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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