The Dalai Lama has issued an apology for his actions at an event earlier this year.
After a video spread online April 9 that appears to show the 87-year-old attempting to kiss a child on the lips, His Holiness expressed regret for his actions.
"A video clip has been circulating that shows a recent meeting when a young boy asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama if he could give him a hug," the Dalai Lama's team said in a statement on Twitter April 10. "His Holiness 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."
The statement continued, "His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras. He regrets the incident."
In the controversial video, a young boy can be seen approaching the Nobel Peace Prize winner before asking, "Can I hug you?" The spiritual leader proceeds to invite the boy on stage where they share a hug and a kiss.
The Dalai Lama then points to his lips, and says, "I think finally here also." He then pulls the boy's chin and kisses him on the mouth. "And suck my tongue," he says, leading to a few chuckles from the crowd.
While sticking out one's tongue can sometimes serve as a greeting in Tibet, according to the BBC, a Delhi-based child rights group called HAQ—Center for Child Rights—denounced the Dalia Lama's actions.
"Some news refers to Tibetan culture about showing tongue," the organization said in a statement to CNN, "but this video is certainly not about any cultural expression and even if it is, such cultural expressions are not acceptable."
While the identity of the boy is not known at this time, CNN reports he was at a February event with the M3M Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Indian real estate company M3M Group, based in Dharamshala, where the Dalai Lama lives in permanent exile.
This isn't the first time the Dalai Lama has apologized for his actions.
In a 2019 interview with the BBC, the Dalai Lama commented on who might succeed him after his death. "If female Dalai Lama comes," he said, "she should be more attractive."
Soon after, his team released a statement saying His Holiness "is deeply sorry that people have been hurt by what he said and offers his sincere apologies."