A recent video of the Dalai Lama asking a young boy to “suck his tongue” raised eyebrows and…wait for it…set tongues a-wagging last week.

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The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of millions of Buddhists, made the odd request during a visit to India.

Now, many Tibetans are speaking out to say that it’s not really as weird as people are making it out to be.  This is according to an article at Vice.

Seriously? How is asking a little kid to “suck your tongueNOT weird?

The Dalai Lama, Amidst Protests, Visits Frankfurt
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When I saw this video last week I wondered, “Is this some kind of cultural practice or phenomenon that we in the West are just not aware of?”

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I mean, Dalai (Mr. Lama?) wasn’t doing this in private. It all unfolded on a dais in front of a huge crowd of people.

According to the Vice article, this bizarre behavior is “completely lost in cultural interpretation and its English translation”. 

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Tibetans say that the joke…”Che le sa”…which translates roughly to “eat my tongue” is a common way of “teasing” and joking with young children.

Alright, here we go.  Here’s a video of a Tibetan man explaining how the Dalai Lama’s “joke” was “totally innocent” and “not strange at all."

Here’s the abbreviated version if you don’t want to watch the video: it’s a well-known expression of affection (but not THAT kind of affection) between elderly Tibetans and children.

When a kid goes up to an older person, a grandfather for instance, the child is asked to kiss their grandfather’s forehead, touch their nose and kiss them on the lips.

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Then (and this is where the tongue comes into the picture) the grandfather says, “Since I’ve given you everything I have…the only thing left is for you to eat my tongue.”

Oh! That makes PERFECT sense…said no one is not from Tibet.

The interaction happened back in February but the video only went viral last week.

The Dalai Lama is 87 years old.

So, no telling how many times he’s had his tongue sucked?

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