Nirvana or Resurrection and Ascension?


Buddhists believe that the Buddha himself attained enlightenment at the age of 35 and so did not reincarnate when he died at age 80. The Buddha claimed that he entered a state of Nirvana when he died. What this state is like cannot be known since it is "outside of all conceivable experience."[1]

In contrast, after his death by crucifixion, the Bible records that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and he appeared on numerous occasions to many people. He appeared on 14 different occasions that are recounted in the Four Gospels and Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. These different appearances are summarized below in the order in which they occurred:
  1. To Mary Magdalene, while she was weeping outside the empty tomb. He told her not to hang onto him, but to go to his disciples and tell them that he would be ascending into heaven.[2]

  2. To a group of women who were hurrying to tell the disciples about the empty tomb. They clasped his feet and worshiped him.[3]

  3. To two men on the Road to Emmaus, who without recognizing Him told Jesus about the events of His death. Jesus reminded them that the prophets spoke of the Messiah having to suffer and then entering into glory. He began with Moses and the Prophets to explain all the Scriptures that were about Him.[4]

  4. To Simon Peter also known as Cephas.[5]

  5. To all the disciples except for Thomas, after the two men arrived with Jesus from the Emmaus road. He showed them his wounded hands and feet and was given a piece of fish to eat.[6]

  6. To the disciples and Thomas, when they had gathered together a week later. He allowed Thomas to touch his hands and side where the wounds were.[7]

  7. To seven by the Sea of Galilee [Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Canain Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples], as they were out fishing. Jesus served them bread and fish.[8]

  8. To Peter, when He questions Peter three times, asking him if Peter loved Him, and telling him to feed his sheep.[9]

  9. To 500 men and women.[10]

  10. To James.[11]

  11. To all His disciples.[12]

  12. To the disciples, when He commissioned them[13] to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."[14]

  13. To those gathered as He ascended into heaven.[15]

  14. To Paul.[16]
During appearances 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7, specific details of the account make it clear that Jesus had a physical body after his resurrection and so he was not just a disembodied spirit.


[1] "Nirvana: Parinirvana," Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana#Parinirvana. Retrieved November 13, 2012.

[2] Mark 16:9-11 and John 20:11-18.

[3] Matthew 28:8-10.

[4] Mark 16:12 and Luke 24:13-32.

[5] 1 Corinthians 15:3-5a and Luke 24:34.

[6] Luke 24:36-43, Mark 16:14 and John 20:19-24.

[7] John 20:26-29.

[8] John 21:1-14.

[9] John 21:15-23.

[10] 1 Corinthians 15:6.

[11] 1 Corinthians 15:7.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-18 and Luke 24:44-49.

[14] Mark 16:15b.

[15] Mark 16:19-20 and Luke 24:50-53.

[16] 1 Corinthians 15:8.
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