The incident occurred at a public gathering in February at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharamsala, where the exiled leader lives. He was taking questions from the audience when the boy asked if he could hug him.
The Dalai Lama invited the boy up toward the platform he was seated on. In the video, he gestured to his cheek, after which the child kissed him before giving him a hug.
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 footage triggered a backlash online with social media users condemning his behavior as inappropriate and disturbing.
“His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras,” the statement from the Dalai Lama read.
The Dalai Lama has made the hillside town of Dharmsala his headquarters since fleeing from Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. India considers Tibet to be part of China, though it hosts Tibetan exiles.