Arthur Lillie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Arthur Lillie (24 February 1831 – 28 November 1911), was a Buddhist, soldier in the British Indian Army, and a writer.


Lillie christened as George Arthur Howard, was the youngest son of Sir John Scott Lillie and his wife Louisa, born at North End, Fulham.[1][2] He was an officer in the British Indian Army. While in India, he became a Buddhist.[3] His books on religion were poorly received by scholars.[3][4][5] Lillie appears to have written the original rule book for a Scottish croquet tournament, which, if so, continues to be his best-received work.[6]

Arthur Lillie also took an enthusiastic interest in Gospel of the Hebrews. In Buddhism in Christendom Or Jesus the Essene he wrote

At any rate the account of the last supper in the Gospel of the Hebrews was manifestly quite different from the accounts given in our present gospels. There we see nothing about James drinking out of Christ's cup, a fact which proves that the contents of the cup must have been water, for St. James was bound by the vow of the Nazarite to drink water for life.

He was critical of the claims of Helena Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society. He believed that Blavatsky had faked the Mahatma letters and was a plagiarist.[7]

Lillie became a landscape painter and joined the Suffolk painters. He remained a bachelor and, when in England, shared a household, first with his widowed aunt, Alicia Bunbury, and then with his unmarried sister, Louisa. He died in Kensington in 1911, aged 80.


  • Buddha and early Buddhism (1881)
  • The Popular Life of Buddha: Containing an Answer to the "Hibbert Lectures" of 1881 (1883)
  • Buddhism in Christendom, Or, Jesus, the Essene (1887)
  • The Cobra Diamond (1890)
  • The Influence of Buddhism on Primitive Christianity (1893)
  • Madame Blavatsky and Her "theosophy": A Study (1895)
  • Croquet: Its History, Rules, and Secrets. (1897)
  • Croquet Up to Date: Containing the Ideas and Teachings of the Leading Players and Champions (1900)
  • India in Primitive Christianity (1909)
  • Râma and Homer: An Argument that in the Indian Epics Homer Found the Theme of His Two Great Poems (1912)
  • Gospel of the Hebrews 30 page article extracted from Influence of Buddhism on Primitive Christianity 1893 by Kessinger Publishing and listed as 2005.


  1. ^ Burke, John (1841). Burke, J. & J.B. The Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland, London: 1841, p.178-9.
  2. ^ "Suffolk Painters". Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b The Literary World. July 15, 1893. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  4. ^ Quote from July 15, 1893 Literary World: "[Lillie] works his theme with more industry than convincing skill or power. A wide reader without great power of mental digestion, his results are interesting but indecisive. We imagine that at many points in the vast literature gatherin around two great heroes or religious teachers there would be found resemblances or analogies more or less striking. ... What value as science these have may be shown in one, out of scores, taken at random (page 67: "'They parted my garments.' The Abbe Huc tells us (Voyages II, page 278) that on the death of the Bokte Lama his garments are cut into little strips and prized immensely." The connection between the gambling of executioner-soldiers for the victim's garments as their perquisite and the eager quest of holy relics of a saint by devout devotees is not clear to one studying the influence of Buddhism on early Christendom. Most of the remainder of Mr. Lillie's little work of 180 pages is devoted to proving that in the New Testament there is an Essene and an anti-Essene Christ; modern biographers have failed in there attempts to combine the two."
  5. ^ The Quest of the Historical Jesus By Albert Schweitzer, John Bowden, 2001, ISBN 0-8006-3288-5, p.519 "The influence of Buddhism on Primitive Christianity, London 1893, is to be numbered among the fictitious works on the life of Jesus. The fictitious element consists in Jesus being made an Essene by the author, and Essenism being equated with Buddhism."
  6. ^ "The early history of the Scottish Croquet Championship". Archived from the original on 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  7. ^ Maskelyne, John Nevil. (1912). The Fraud of Modern "Theosophy" Exposed. G. Routledge & Sons. p. 83. "Mr. Lillie, as a student of Eastern literature, has attacked Madame Blavatsky for her plagiarisms laboriously and has given extracts side by side with the books she copied. Mr. Lillie has also proved that the Mahatma letters were written by Madame Blavatsky, for he has pointed out certain peculiarities of her composition and spelling in them."

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]