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Ebola hit US journalist deemed Buddhist guru's reincarnation

By Ians English

Washington, Oct 8: The freelance NBC News cameraman diagnosed in Liberia with Ebola virus, was once deemed reincarnation of a Buddhist master teacher who played a key role in introducing Buddhism to the West.

Ashoka Mukpo, 33, is the son of a British-born aristocrat who married a famous Buddhist monk when she was 16 year old. She is now married to the journalist's biological father, a prominent Rhode Island doctor, according to media reports.

Mukpo's mother, Diana Mukpo, formerly Lady Diana Pybus of North Umberland, is said to have had an affair with Mitchell Levy, personal doctor to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, while still married to the Tibetan Buddhist lama.

She gave birth to Ashoka in 1981. Trungpa, who went on to become a major figure in the transmission of Buddhism to the West, adopted Ashoka as his own and deemed the boy a 'tulku', the reincarnation of a Buddhist master teacher, reports said.

Ashoka Mukpo's parents told reporters on Monday that their son is scared but "enormously relieved to have arrived at a Nebraska hospital for treatment.

"He's enormously relieved to be here," Diana Mukpo was quoted as saying.

"Of course, it's still quite frightening, but he's hanging in."

Both parents said they had tried to talk to Mukpo after he returned from Liberia, where he had spent two years working with an aid group, according to NBC News.

"I asked him if he was crazy and did everything I could...to dissuade him," Levy said.

Diana Mukpo said: "I begged him from a mother's perspective. I said, 'Please don't go'."

He realised the risks but insisted on going, she said.

Mukpo is the sixth American to be infected with the virus that has killed over 3,500 people in West Africa

NBC News cited doctors at the Nebraska Medical Centre - which successfully treated American doctor Rick Sacra for Ebola - as saying they have not decided on a treatment plan, or whether to use experimental protocols, on Mukpo.

One drug used on two other Americans who recovered will not be available for weeks, the channel said.


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