I am not a Buddhist and have never been one given my disposition; here in Africa Buddhism isn’t known at all. Funny thing is Buddha, too, was not a Buddhist. He is the only person who was able to predict accurately how his Teaching would become forgotten over a span of 2,500 years.
A Buddha is a person who has been on the path to Nirvana or Enlightenment before their current life. Therefore no single person in the history of both written and unwritten that has ever attained to this state accidentally. This is the single reason the message of such persons becomes misunderstood as times change and new modes of life become common.
This state of Awakening is the common denominator in all religions and doctrines everywhere in the world namely: Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Hassidism, Ze, Taoism and so on. The concept may appear to be different in appearance but if you remove the cloak of dogma you are bound to discover the same God.
Therefore the idea of the “five disappearances” can be observed among all dogmas and philosophies. Truth is, as time goes, even our thinking gets influenced by the change of the times. You cannot understand today from the Teaching of Mohammed, for instance, the same way you could understand 1,200 years ago when he was still alive. The same applies with the Teachings of Jesus.
Over time, the Teaching of various Masters of Light gets interfered with by the minds of the theologians and scholars who more often than not blow the original meanings of different “methods of attainment” out of reasonable proportion.