|Largest Buddha in the world, Thimphu, Bhutan (Michael Foley Photography/Flickr.com)|
The body will go away, even as it is now going away. But without continuing to wander on in samsara -- oppressed by the Three Poisons of the heart (greed, hate/fear, delusion) -- there is no death. One has overcome Mara.
Construct high hopes
Watch the seagulls eat the trash
|"Ugh, this heaven again? Onward and upward!"|
Humans, purified in heart and mind by concentration and intensification (samadhi) can develop liberating insight (vipassana). It is not an intellectual pursuit but a far more natural realization.
One does not wait for death to see if one was right, if confidence (faith, conviction) was well placed.
Had he "died," he would have reborn. And there are many heavens -- many sense sphere worlds in space, many subtle fine material worlds, and a few immaterial worlds (arupa loka) to have been reborn into IF rebirth were any way to bring about the end of suffering.
But they in no way compare to experiencing nirvana.
Nothing compares to nirvana. Most Buddhists are not actually practicing to realize nirvana, even if they say they are.
The Buddha did it, the arhat disciples did it, the non-teaching (pacceka) buddhas did it. And we can, too.