Dalai Lama celebrates Māori culture in India

By Kelvin McDonald
Credit: OHHDL

The Dalai Lama has shown his affection for Māori culture is not just reserved for visits to Aotearoa, after greeting author Deepak Chopra with a hongi in India.

At a welcome at the author's residence in the city of Dharamshala yesterday, the Buddhist spiritual leader took great joy in explaining the customary greeting to gathered guests.

"Māoris (sic) have a certain tradition, touching nose," he is seen saying in footage shared to social media.

Adding some playfulness to his description, he then cautions guests that they could be in for a surprise if they aren't careful how they perform the hongi.

Drawing laughter from the crowd, he jokes that guests with small noses could find themselves inadvertently kissing someone on the lips before they succeed in pressing noses.

The Tibetan leader then stretches his hand out to lightly touch Chopra's nose before both men moved closer to rub noses.

The hongi was greeted with delight and smiles throughout the room.

In a country of 1.3 billion people, a global spiritual leader and world-famous author have celebrated Māori traditions.