RI man with Ebola described as important Buddhist symbol

By: Rebecca Turco

PROVIDENCE – Aside from being a freelance photographer, Ashoka Mukpo is an important symbol in Tibetan Buddhist culture.

Mukpo is recognized as a tulku, which is described as a reincarnation of a religious teacher. 

The 2009 documentary Tulku follows the lives of several tulkus, including Mukpo. His mother, originally Diana Pybus, came from a wealthy British family and as a teenager married Chögyam Mukpo, a Buddhist monk twice her age. Although that man is not Mukpo’s biological father, he later recognized the child as a tulku. 

Mukpo then traveled to Tibet to be enthroned as the reincarnation of a highly-regarded monk. With this ceremony, he assumed leadership in the monk’s monastery, as well as surrounding villages. 

In Tulku, which was made by his half-brother, Mukpo described this experience as intense. Mukpo said he feels his path is not to be a teacher in monk’s robes, but wants to give back in other ways. 

© 2014 WLNE-TV 2014

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