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Is Tongue Greeting a Tradition in Tibetan Culture?

Dalai Lama has been in the headlines since the time a controversial video of him popped up on social media. In the video, the spiritual leader of Tibet can be seen kissing a young Indian boy. Then, the video showed him sticking his tongue out and asking the young boy to suck it. The video was recorded during an event that took place in India in February.

Recently, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate issued an apology after a video of him kissing a young boy caused a stir on the internet. A statement put out by Lama’s office on Twitter read, “His holiness wishes to apologise to the boy and his family as well as his many friends across the world, for the hurt his words may have caused.”

The statement shared on the official Twitter account of the 87-year-old head Buddhist Monk further read, “His holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras. He regrets the incident.” Continue reading further to figure out the meaning of tongue greeting in Tibetan culture.

Here’s all you need to know about Tibetan tongue greeting

For those of you who are unaware, let us tell you, sticking your tongue out has a different meaning in Tibetan culture than it does in the United States or the United Kingdom. According to the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, it is seen as a sign of respect or agreement and has also been used as a greeting in Tibetan culture.

The tongue greeting goes way back to Tibetan folklore. As per various reports, sticking out the tongue started when a ninth-century king with a black tongue and a cruel heart told people to prove their honesty and innocence by sticking out their tongues. Then, people would stick out their tongues to show the king that they were not the reincarnation of the cruel king and did not have a black tongue.

As of this moment, the common greeting is used when the Tibetans meet each other. Although, they normally don’t use the tongue greeting within a group setting. Let us share with you, that there is no mention of sucking the tongue in the traditional greeting. So, it does not explain why Dalai Lama asked the boy to suck his tongue.

How did the netizens react to Dalai Lama’s controversial video?

One social media user tweeted, “China is vindicated… Dalia Lama is not good and should be arrested with immediate effect.” Followed by a second user who penned, “The #dalialama “regrets the incident.” Bullshit! He regrets getting caught! How many other young little innocent boys have been asked to “suck my tongue?” When will we stand up and protect kids from those with “holy” titles!? This is unacceptable!”

Another user chimed in, “WTF, not the Dalia Lama asking that little boy to suck on his tounge…. I would’ve LOST MY SHIT if I was his parents, they just laughed, and were going to let their son get pressured into something SO inappropriate and disgusting.”

What is your take on Dalai Lama controversy? Drop your thoughts on it in the comments section below. Stay in touch with us for more updates from the world.

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Cerys Lafferty

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