Dr. Hun Lye (Könchok Yedor) was born and raised in a Buddhist family with a very devout paternal grandmother in Penang, Malaysia. From a very young age, all matters related to religion, ritual and mythology were of special interest to him. While learning about all the major world religions and spiritualities with keen interest, Dr. Lye felt a particular natural affinity to Buddhism. As a child, he often accompanied his grandmother to a local nunnery and spent much time there. Like many Buddhists in Malaysia, Dr. Lye considered the differences between Theravada, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna forms of Buddhism to be ultimately inconsequential and all of them equally represented the legacy of the Buddha. As Dr. Lye often puts it: “Buddhism is Buddhism is Buddhism.” Thus Dr. Lye earnestly practiced the teachings of the Buddha without partiality. In high school (Penang Free School), he was a leader of the Buddhist students’ society which was primarily grounded in the Theravada tradition of the Sri Lankan, Burmese and Thai varieties. At the same time, he venerated the late Venerable Master Hsuan Hua of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah, California as his Refuge and Lay-Precepts master. To formally receive his Refuge-vows, Dr. Lye was required by the Venerable Master to complete 50,000 prostrations and so he earnestly completed them as a teenager.
In 1989, Dr. Lye came to the United States to attend college. It wasn’t until then that Dr. Lye became exposed to teachers of the Tibetan tradition. Dr. Lye met his first Drikung Kagyü teacher, Drupön Sonam Jorphel Rinpoché who was then visiting the US from Nepal for the first time. That was the start of a natural journey that led to Dr. Lye’s primary lineage identity and affiliation as Drikung Kagyü. Later, while in graduate school at University of Virginia, Dr. Lye mainly served and learned from Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoché at the Tibetan Meditation Center in Frederick, Maryland, USA.
In 2003, Dr. Lye earned a doctorate degree in Religious Studies (specializing in Buddhism) from University of Virginia. For the next ten years, Dr. Lye taught religious studies at two American academic institutions in North Carolina while at the same time supporting a small but burgeoning Buddhist community in Asheville, North Carolina. During this period, Dr. Lye also led several pilgrimage and study-tours to Tibet, Ladakh and Nepal. The community that Dr. Lye supported in North Carolina slowly evolved into the founding of Urban Dharma North Carolina in 2011. By mid 2012, Dr. Lye started to transition from his career in academia into a full-time Dharma-teacher. In 2013, soon after Dr. Lye made the final decision to leave the secular, Western academic field, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang Rinpoché (Head of the Lineage) appointed Dr. Lye as a “dorjé lopön” (lit. “vajra-master”) of the Drikung Kagyü Lineage and was formally enthroned and charged with the responsibility of transmitting the teachings and practices of the lineage that he has himself received and practiced well. Soon after the enthronement, Dr. Lye was sent by His Holiness to visit and teach at Drikung centers in South America. Since then, Dr. Lye has been dividing his time between serving as His Holiness’ special assistant in various projects in Asia, North and South America and supporting to Buddhist community at Urban Dharma. Dr. Lye also teaches on a regular basis over the Internet to groups in Malaysia, Peru, Guatemala, and Little Rock, Arkansas (USA).