(Dharamsala) The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, apologized on Monday after the publication of a video showing him kissing a child on the mouth.

A statement posted on his official website said the 87-year-old leader regrets the incident and would like to “apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends around the world, for the hurt his words have caused.” could cause. »

The incident happened during a public gathering in February at Tsuglakhang Temple in Dharamsala, where the exiled leader lives. He was answering questions from the audience when the boy asked if he could hug him.

The Dalai Lama invited the boy to climb up to the platform he was sitting on. In the video, he gestured to his cheek, after which the child kissed him before hugging him.

The Dalai Lama then asked the boy to kiss him on the lips and stuck out his tongue. “And suck my tongue,” the Dalai Lama can be heard saying as the boy sticks out his own tongue and leans in, prompting laughter from the audience.

The images aroused the ire of Internet users, who considered his behavior inappropriate and disturbing.

“His Holiness often teases the people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and in front of the cameras,” the statement read.

The Dalai Lama has made the city of Dharmsala his headquarters since fleeing Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. India considers Tibet to be part of China, although it welcomes Tibetan exiles.