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Dec 03
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Surviving Ebola

Ashoka MukpoLetter from Ashoka Mukpo
to the extended Shambhala Community

Ashoka Mukpo, son of Lady Diana Mukpo, contracted the Ebola virus after working for a month as a freelance cameraman for NBC and other media outlets. After being diagnosed in Liberia, Ashoka was flown to the Nebraska Medical Center in early October, where he was isolated in a biocontainment unit, given constant fluids and an experimental Ebola drug. He made a full recovery, and lots of national news, and was able to return home to recuperate in Rhode Island. He has written this letter to us, his extended sangha.

I’d like to offer a deep bow of thanks and heartfelt love to you all. After I got sick, much of my world was instantly stripped away. In the space of fear and nakedness that I was suspended in while waiting to be evacuated, so much of my concept of what I thought was important revealed itself as illusion. What I was left with was what remained at the core of my being. My greatest attachments and deepest loves. You remained in my heart at a moment when I had space for little else. My family, my closest loved ones, and my lineage.

I want you to know how important you all are to me, and how thankful I am for your presence in my life. The outpouring of love and support that came from the extended Shambhala sangha was overwhelming and affected me deeply. This community that we share and have built is a blessing, and I’m lucky to be a part of it. I felt the love and companionship that so many of you offered into the wind and it gave me strength. It continues to make me strong.

Going home at last: Ebola survivor Ashoka Mukpo, an NBC freelance cameraman, poses with his father, Dr. Mitchell Levy and his partner Helen Finlay after being discharged from a special unit at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday, photo courtesy of Reuters and the Daily Mail

Going home at last: Ebola survivor Ashoka Mukpo, an NBC freelance cameraman, poses with his father, Dr. Mitchell Levy and his partner Helen Finlay after being discharged from a special unit at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday,
photo courtesy of Reuters and the Daily Mail

Let’s not give up on what we have or each other. I see now more than ever that this is about the person on the cushion next to ours, and the effect our presence and compassion can have on each other. I hope that I will have endless opportunities to offer the same love, generosity, and support to others that so many of you gave to me in the past few months.

To my eternal family of warriors: I love you all from the bottom of my heart, and I’m proud to be a part of your world. Thank you for being you and caring for your fellow practitioners. I hope you are encountering joy on your paths and offer a warrior’s bow for helping me to carry on with mine. Ki Ki So So.

Ashoka Mukpo

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11 responses to “ Surviving Ebola ”
  1. Diana and Jim Torbert
    Dec 7, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts in that beautiful letter. You all look so joyful in the photo – and we are feeling joy and thanks for your recovery. love, Jim and Diana Torbert

  2. Linda Mockeridge
    Dec 5, 2014

    Thank you for reminding us of our need to be aware of the person next to us and for our fragile, precious life. I was touched by your letter of appreciation. I delight in your recovery. Love and the very best, Linda

  3. Theresa Barritt
    Dec 5, 2014

    It is such an enormous relief and joy to see you healthy and smiling. Thank you for sharing your experience and inspiration. I hope we see and hear from you more often! Love, Theresa

  4. Lyndon Comstock
    Dec 5, 2014

    I don’t know whether this is the appropriate place to mention it or not but you might like to know, Ashoka, that Khenpo Tsering of Surmang contacted Karma Monastery when you were in the hospital to let them know about your illness. They did prayers for you. Like all of us, your dharma relatives in Tibet were relieved to hear of your recovery.

  5. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I held you in my practice when I heard of your challenge with Ebola. I also hold in my heart and practice those living and dying in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. I have a guess that you share my love and concern for those on the front lines of the battle against disease.

    Let’s keep working to help them. Thank you for bringing forward their lives and heart breaking challenges.

  6. Barbara Marion Kitzis
    Dec 4, 2014

    It is such a Joy to know you are doing well….

    For the 22 years that I worked at Naropa University aka The Naropa Institute…. I have always felt a very strong connection to our Founder and all of his extended family…. Therefore, I could not help but feel a part of your struggle to get well…

    It has been such a Joy to read your letter of thanks. I see how the community efforts, good wishes and prayers can create positive change…

    Have a Joy-Filled Holiday and a Very Happy New Year..

    Padma Zangmo

  7. Betsy Pond
    Dec 4, 2014

    Sending continued love and gratitude to you and your family. The level of courage and grace manifested by each of you supported my own path and practice.

  8. thanks for the lovely letter. Such good news that you will be able to continue on your path with such an open heart.

  9. Jessie Litven
    Dec 3, 2014

    Ashoka, you’ve made me cry several times in the last little while. Thanks for making me cry again. I’m so grateful for all of your journalism to bring to light what has been happening in West Africa.

  10. We love you too, Ashoka! We are so glad you are recovered!

    Love, Matt, Iektje & Emma

  11. Timaree Bierle-Dodds
    Dec 3, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts Ashoka.
    Good luck on continued strength, health and moving forward with whatever deep heartfelt dharma activities benefit others.
    Yours in the Shambhala dharma,
    Timaree Bierle-Dodds
    Vancouver WA

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