That's why it's important to keep verifying and examining folks claims. In my experience, the difference between Theravada and Mahayana is not so much in the doctrines but more about the approach. While this is not lumping all of Mahayanists, it's a very common pattern that they tend to put a lot more emphasis on the teaching of their masters than the Buddha's words, as evidenced by this own thread. To Theravadins, whether it's Shinran, Mahasi Sayadaw, or John Doe, none get special favor/treament when it comes to the fact-checking process. Mahayanists on the other hand, again not all of them, seem to favor their masters' words over their sutras even when their own teaching encourage the Four Dharma Reliances which is similar to the Buddha's Four Great References.
yes, I agree. Theravada is more critical with his own world while the Mahayana is more evasive. Maybe for that reason we are seeing so many Mahayana schools and with more marked differences?. It can condition the Historical evolution in a strong way.
In that episode, I remember how many people logically said that those visions "cannot be enlightenment" according the Theravada teaching. And one can say "well said". Although at the other side, I didn't remember the bhikku said that those visions where nibbana, I believe he didn't say that.
A mahayanist would see in those episodes a part of the enlightened activity, while a theravadist will discuss that point because it is not linked with nibbana.
In Mahayana, this would be part of the enlightenment process because the enlightenment it's something more wide, despite the goal it is also nirvana. In Mahayana terms, it becomes implicit that the same Reality it's enlightenment. And from here "the Buddha" is a different thing in its "phenomenical" sense, and then it is already present in the many manifestations of Reality. So we can make Zen gardens showing the Buddha in a hedge and to say Thanks to Amida because we have found the Path and nothing can impede our enlightenment.
In that way, the mahayana follower is unveiling that enlightened nature in his progress, and it is not strange seeing those descriptions and visions at some point. However, the Theravada tradition never would agree with such wide notion, and these visions or phenomena hardly would be accepted as a part of Enlightenment because nibbana it's the only point here. End of dukkha and final happiness are strictly linked with nibbana defined as the non-conditioned and unborn.
Making a gross simplification, this would be like seeing a cloth half-dirty or half-clean. And maybe the difference is not in the cloth but there is a great difference in the understanding of what to do in the Path and how we should understand what happens.
By the way, Walshe see some connection with faith vehicles like the Pure Land in the faith-follower of SN 55.24:
"Yet if he has merely faith, merely affection for the Tathaagata, that man, too, does not go to... states of woe."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
- footnote 
"An encouraging message for many! Cf. the end of MN 22, and also the charming image of the new-born calf in MN 34. The Commentary (MA) to MN 22 says such people are termed "lesser stream-winners" (cuulasotaapannaa). This term is discussed in VM XIX, 27. The stress laid here on the importance of faith is interesting in view of later developments such as the Pure Land Schools (e.g., Jodo-Shishu or "Shin-Buddhism" in Japan).