The very original meaning of Buddhism Nirvana is that when a well-achieved monk or nun dies, the flesh body of the monk or nun is discarded and the soul ascend to heaven.
Later "Buddhism Nirvana" is used to address the death of any monk or nun. Whether a monk who dies will genuinely ascend to heaven is not definite. He or she will go into normal reincarnation the monk or nun has not succeeded in his/her cultivation.
Buddhism founder Shakyamuni went into Nirvana at the age of 80 on the 15th of February in Chinese lunar calendar. This date is a major Buddhism festival.
Shakyamuni's finger relic.
After Shakyamuni's Nirvana his body was cremated. After cremation, there were a lot of relics left including bone relics, teeth relics, a middle finger relic and large amount of pearl shape relics. These relics were divided into eight parts and given to the eight countries of ancient India. They took the Buddha relics back to their respective countries and built stupa to preserve and worship the Buddha relics.
|The gold tower in which Shakyamuni's finger relic is preserved.
These relics looked shiny and are even harder than iron. When some monk's relics were struck with a iron hammer, the relics were not deformed a single bit when the iron hammer is deformed.
The middle finger relics of Shakyamuni is now being preserved in Fa-men Temple, Shanxi Province of China.
Unrotten body of well-achieved monk Wu Yunqing.
Jiu-hua Mountain located in An-hui province of China is one of the four greatest renowned Buddhism Mountains of China. According to records, there have existed totally fourteen unrotten flesh bodies of monks who had gone into Buddhism nirvana. Five of them were destroyed in Cultural Revolution. And now there are five left.
These unrotten bodies are not mummies that have been processed specially but bodies kept in normal environment. Actually the local climate is quite wet. They do not get rotten because of their effective cultivation in Buddhism.
In An-yang county of He-nan province, there is a well-achieved monk named Wu Yunqing. He lived 160 years before going into Nirvana in 1998. His body did not get rotten in eight years afterwards. Now the local government is displaying it in a glass coffin.
Nirvana is a human's completion of cultivation and going to heaven. Scientifically speaking, heaven is also a material existing time-space. Gods live there and they have society as well. That time-space just cannot be seen by ordinary people's flesh eyes.
In order to go to heaven, humans need to cultivate one's spirit and comply with the standard there. On the other hand, one also needs a body composed of high energy matter in order to live in heaven. This body can either be evolved during one's cultivation practice or be given by God when one reaches completion.
The other main ancient Chinese religion Taoism is also to let people overcome death and ascend to heaven, but in Taoism practitioners do not discard their bodies. They take their flesh bodies over to heaven when going into Nirvana. However, many well-achieved Taoists did not want people to look for them after they left. So they manifested like normal deaths in order to elude people. This is called Shi-Jie (尸解), which is just a fake death performed through supernormal abilities. On some cases, their family members heard some people saying the person who died was still seen living somewhere. Then they opened the coffin to verify it, but found nothing but a shoe or a stick.
Painting on Shakyamuni going into Nirvana.
The existence of the body relics of Shakyamuni and the monks unrotten bodies shows that their bodies had been evolved into high energy matter and could not be burnt away through cremation.
Actually Shakyamuni, with his body already transformed into high energy matter, could also take away his flesh body. However, he gave up his body in order to leave this kind of practice to humans. This is to let his disciples maximally give up one's attachments and desires, which include the attachment to the whole human body. Therefore, all Buddhists discard their bodies when going into Buddhism Nirvana.
From oriental culture's point of view, western orthodox religions are also ways of cultivation practice. They are just totally focusing on spiritual improvement and do not have the concept and exercises to evolve the physical body.
Many western people know about Yoga and Taichi. Actually Yoga and Taichi were originally also high level cultivation practices that can make people reach completion and ascend to heaven,but nowadays people have lost the spiritual parts of Yoga and Taichi and have only inherited the physical movements.