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Lions Roar : March 2015
Ebola Survivor Ashoka Mukpo I T WAS A BIG STORY: NBC cameraman contracts Ebola in Liberia. He was flown to the U.S. for treatment, and there was national relief when he recovered. Few noted the sig- nificance of his unusual name: Ashoka—the first Buddhist king of India—and Mukpo—family name of the famed Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Journalist Ashoka Mukpo is the son of Lady Diana Mukpo, widow of the late Trungpa Rinpoche, and physician Mitchell Levy. He was even recognized at a young age as a tulku, the rebirth of an important Tibetan teacher (“a reincarnated Tibetan god,” one sensationalist tabloid called him). In person, he is thought- ful, articulate, and deeply devoted to both his Buddhist practice and his work for the people of West Africa. For the first time, Ashoka Mukpo discusses in detail his Buddhist practice and how it helped him get through the ordeal of Ebola. ANDREA MILLER: You lived in Liberia for a couple of years, and then returned to help when the Ebola crisis broke out. Were you afraid? Fear is a very powerful emotion, but we’re trained as Buddhist practitioners to go through fear. I’ve tried not to let fear define what I do in life. At the same time, it’s important to have some intelligence as you’re moving through your fear so you don’t do something foolish. Fear can sometimes be a good reminder IKnewIHad to Practice” “ Ashoka Mukpo following his recovery. “There’s no frame of reference for me to describe just how sick I was.” PHOTO BY KRIS CRAIG / PROVIDENCE JOURNAL PHOTO BY TIM FRECCIA SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2015 46