A lifelong friend of the Dalai Lama, one of Australia’s most beloved preachers, has admitted that the Tibetan spiritual leader’s “suck my tongue” video didn’t look good at all.
The Reverend Bill Crews, who counts the Dalai Lama among his closest friends and says he “embodies a lot about Jesus,” was asked for his thoughts on the controversy on Crews’ Sunday night radio program on 2GB.
Caller, Craig, asked Crews “on-air: I can’t understand why people are defending him as I just can’t see how it could be acceptable under any circumstances or in any culture.”
Craig referred to the video of the Dalai Lama’s encounter with a young Indian boy, in which he kissed the boy on the lips before asking him to “suck” his tongue.
The music video caused a storm on social media, with commentators labeling the Dalai Lama’s actions as “outrageous,” “disgusting” and “absolutely sick,” prompting him to apologize.
Viewed millions of times on Twitter, it infuriated people to call for him to be “arrested for pedophilia” and label him a “treacherous false prophet.”
Reverend Bill Crews (above with the Dalai Lama) is a lifelong friend of the Tibetan spiritual leader who he says is a “warm, accepting and good man,” but on the radio said the video “didn’t look good at all ‘
The Dalai Lama sticks his tongue out at the Indian boy and then says “suck my tongue” in what his detractors say is disgusting, but which Tibetans say is a custom in their culture
Considered one of Australia’s “National Living Treasures” because of his Rev Bill Crews Foundation’s work caring for the homeless and poor, Crews has known the Dalai Lama for decades.
Crews has visited the Tibetan Buddhist leader’s temple in Dharamsala, Tibet and hosted him on a national Australian tour.
On the radio, Crews responded to Craig’s question by saying, “Well Craig, I don’t know.” I have to say I watched it – I watched it really closely because he’s a good friend of the ghost and I really can’t explain it at all.
‘I can not explain. And what I will do is if I see him, I will ask him. I can tell you that.
‘I’ll ask him and we’ll see. I have no idea. It doesn’t look great, that’s what I have to say. It doesn’t look good at all.’
In the video, the Dalai Lama first asked the boy to kiss him on the cheek before pointing to his lips. He held the boy’s face as they seemed to kiss for a moment, then the couple pressed their foreheads together.
The 87-year-old then said, “And suck my tongue,” and the boy slowly crept forward to the holy man’s outstretched tongue, before going back without making any connection.
Rev Bill Crews hosts the Dalai Lama on a 2013 Australian tour when the Nobel Peace Prize winner visited for ten days to lecture on ethics
The Dalai Lama, now 87, has divided opinion over the controversial video featuring the boy. Some call it a crime and others accuse China of negative publicity.
Before letting the child go from the event held in February by India’s M3M Foundation, the Dalai Lama told the boy to “look at those good people who create peace and happiness” and not “follow those people who always kill other people’. ‘.
Rev. Crews has previously described the Dalai Lama as “a very warm, accepting and good man,” according to the magazine The senior: ‘I describe him as a good Christian and he describes me as a good Buddhist’.
Following the worldwide publicity of the incident, the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile has maintained that the Dalai Lama was merely displaying his “innocent grandfatherly, affectionate attitude.”
Penpa Tsering, political leader of the exiled Central Tibetan government, said the spiritual leader had been “falsely labeled with all kinds of names that really hurt the sentiment of all his followers.”
An explanation on Twitter of the Tibetan custom of elders kissing grandchildren and then saying “eat my tongue,” which the Dalai Lama appears to have slightly misquoted
Others have pointed the finger at the Chinese government for expressing controversies and accusations.
Tibet, formerly its own realm in mountainous western Central Asia and including part of Mount Everest, was annexed by the People’s Republic of China in 1951.
The Dalai Lama was made Tibet’s head of state around this time, in his teens, then fled Tibet for exile in India and continued to lobby for the self-government of his homeland, much to China’s chagrin.
Human rights violations in Tibet in the 21st century have reportedly included disappearances, torture, detention, denial of internet freedom and religious oppression.
Revered as a spiritual leader by Tibetans, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, the Dalai Lama travels the world meeting people from corporate executives to Hollywood stars. In 1989 he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Regarding his book, Twelve Rules for Living a Better Life, which is dedicated to the Dalai Lama, Bill Crews said he found it inspiring.
“It’s great to be able to survive when your people are slaughtered,” Crews told The Senior.
The boy in question was interviewed on camera afterwards and said: ‘It was great to meet His Holiness. You get the positive energy, I think you are happier. You smile a lot more’
And there’s a depth and a spirituality to him that’s great, just great.
“When I first met him, I said I couldn’t see that he and Jesus weren’t friends.”
Since the video, staunch defenders of the Dalai Lama have come to say there is a simple cultural explanation for what he was doing with the boy.
In a YouTube video, a second-generation Tibetan refugee in the US, Jigme Ugen, said a game was played between Tibetan elders and children that expressed exactly this display of affection.
For example, children who approached their grandfather were asked to kiss their grandfather’s forehead, touch their nose and kiss, and during the kiss, the grandfather gave the child a piece of food or a treat.
“Then (the grandfather) would say, ‘I’ve already given you everything, so all that’s left is for you to eat my tongue,'” Ugen said.
He explained that the words for ‘eat my tongue’ are ‘che le sa’, but because the Dalai Lama speaks in broken English – he only started learning English when he was 48 – he spoke a little wrong and said ‘suck ‘ instead of ‘food’.
The spiritual leader’s office posted on social media its apologies “to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends around the world, for the pain his words may have caused.”
It also read: ‘His Holiness often teases those he meets in an innocent and playful manner, even in public and in front of cameras’.
The boy in question was interviewed on camera after the meeting and said: ‘It was great to meet His Holiness. It was very nice to meet him.
“He has a lot of positivity. Once you have the positive energy I think you are happier. You smile a lot more.
“It was a really good experience overall.”