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Is Dalai Lama a child abuser? As misinformation has already begun to swirl, let’s look at the facts.

Is the Dalai Lama a child abuser? Inside the scandal

Following allegations of inappropriate behavior toward a young boy at a public event in India, the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has apologized. About 100 recent graduates of the Indian M3M Foundation attended the incident, which happened in late February at the Dalai Lama’s temple in Dharamshala. People throughout the western world are now asking the question: “Is the Dalai Lama a child abuser now?”

Now, from our own standpoint, we could say many things. Yet almost everyone knows that the culture in which the Dalai Lama exists is quite different than many of ours. So we have to ask, is the Dalai Lama really a child abuser? As misinformation has already begun to swirl, let’s look at the facts before anything else gets lost in translation.

The facts

In a video of the incident, one of the male students can be seen approaching a microphone and requesting a hug from the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama gestured to the boy’s cheek and said, “First here,” inviting him onto the platform where he was seated. The Dalai Lama was then given a hug and kissed on the cheek by the young boy.

The boy was still being held by the Dalai Lama as he said, “I think here also,” and gave him a kiss on the lips. Then, while holding out his tongue and bringing their foreheads together, he instructed the boy to “suck his tongue.” The Dalai Lama laughed and pulled the boy in for another hug as the audience laughed. The boy stuck out his tongue and started to walk away.

Instant reaction

The interaction was criticized by many who saw the video after it quickly went viral online, calling it “inappropriate,” “scandalous,” and “disgusting.” The Dalai Lama’s office issued an apology, claiming that the controversy had caused his actions to be “innocent and playful.” The question of whether or not he is a child abuser seems like an easy one to find an answer to for the majority of the English-speaking world.

“His holiness wishes to apologize to the boy, his family, and his many friends around the world for any hurt his words may have caused,” the statement read. Even in public and in front of cameras, His Holiness enjoys innocently and jokingly teasing the people he meets. He regrets what happened.

Although the identity of the boy in question is unknown, the incident has caused the Dalai Lama to come under intense scrutiny for his behavior. Haq: The well-known Delhi-based Center for Child Rights has issued a statement denouncing “all forms of child abuse.” 

The article continued, “Some news mentions Tibetan culture regarding showing the tongue, but this video is unquestionably not about any cultural expression, and even if it were, such cultural expressions are not acceptable.”

Potential fallout

The incident comes after earlier disputes involving the Dalai Lama. He caused a stir in 2019 when he said that the Dalai Lama “should be more attractive” if he came back as a woman, for which his office issued an apology. In the same year, in response to the increasing number of African refugees arriving on the continent, he suggested that Europe should be kept exclusively for Europeans.

According to the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, sticking out one’s tongue is a gesture of respect or agreement and was frequently used as a greeting in traditional Tibetan culture. It is crucial to remember that cultural references shouldn’t be used to justify improper behavior or actions.

The 13 predecessors of the current Dalai Lama are revered by millions as the reincarnation of the most well-known living Buddhist leader in the world. Since Tibet was annexed by China in 1959, he has lived in exile in India as the most revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism. Later, he led thousands of Tibetans who had followed him to Dharamshala, where he established a government-in-exile.

What’s ahead

This incident has highlighted the necessity of holding all leaders, regardless of how highly regarded they may be, accountable for their deeds. It is crucial that everyone, including spiritual leaders, respects others’ boundaries and abstains from inappropriate behavior or actions. The Dalai Lama’s apology is a positive step, but it is crucial that he go further to make sure that similar incidents don’t occur again in the future.

In the end, the accusations made against the Dalai Lama are grave and have drawn widespread condemnation from both individuals and child rights organizations. Even though the leader’s office issued an apology for the incident, many people are still troubled by his actions and how they might affect abuse victims.

The controversy also raises concerns about how other parts of the world might view and interpret Tibetan cultural practices. As the world continues to grapple with issues of abuse and exploitation, it is important to hold all individuals, regardless of their stature or position, accountable for their actions and to prioritize the safety and well-being of all individuals, particularly children.

What do you think will happen to the Dalai Lama now? Is Dalai Lama a child abuser in your eyes? Should he be prosecuted despite the cultural differences? Do you think he should be in jail regardless? Let us know in the comments!

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