Buddha's First Sermon:
The Gospel of Buddha - a very thorough overview:
The Pictorial Buddha-charita - life of Lord Buddha:
The Many Forms of Lord Buddha, or maybe not:
A Glossary of Buddhist terms:
In a scripture called Tevijjasutta of the Dighanikaya, Lord Buddha has a conversation with two Brahmanas named Bharadvaja and Vasettha. They ask him which of their ways is the true way to God (these two had been arguing). Buddha asked them if they, their teachers or predecessors had ever seen God. They said no. He compared them to a young man who was heard loudly declaring his love for a lady. When asked who she was, what she looked like, etc., he said, "I don't know."
In the same scripture, Buddha says, "For Brahma I know, Vasettha, and the world of Brahma, and the path which leadeth to it. Yea, I know it even as one who has entered the Brahma-world, and has been born within it!"
Two ancient Buddhist philosophers, Aryadeva and Candrakirti say that Buddha's doctrine can be summed up in two words: ahimsa and sunyata.
Regarding the self (atman), Nagarjuna's Madhyamakasastra says Buddha taught both atman and anatman (self and non-self).
In the Anguttaranikaya Lord Buddha declares he had once been Maha Brahma.
In the Donasutta Buddha declared himself to be neither a deva, nor gandharva, nor yaksa, nor human being.
Buddhist enlightenment means understanding pratitya-samutpada, "conditioned co-production."
In Mahayana Buddhism are three conceptions of Buddha's identity: Dharmakaya, the Nirvana-being or body; the Sambhogakaya, the heavenly being (body); and the Nirmanakaya (the human being). The Mahasamghika sect declared all forms of Buddha besides the lokottara (transcendental form, or dharmakaya) to be magical or ficticious (their view of the historical Buddha). The real Buddha is ever in trance. The historical Buddha is like a moon reflection in a lake.
Samvrtti-satya (conventional truth) and Paramartha-satya (absolute truth).
Lord Buddha to Anathapindaka: "Who is this that shapes our lives? Is Iswara a personal creator? If Iswara be the maker, all living things should have silently to submit to their maker's power. They would be like vessels formed by the potter's hand, and if that were so, how would it be possible to practice virtue? If the world had been made by Iswara then there should be no such thing as sorrow or calamity or sin; for both pure and impure deeds must come from him. If not, there would be another cause beside him, and he would not be the self-existent one. Thus you see, the thought of Iswara is overthrown.
"Again it is said that the Absolute has created us. But that which is absolute cannot be a cause. All things around us come from a cause as a plant comes from the seed; but how can the Absolute be the cause of all things alike? If it pervades them then certainly it does not make them.
"Again it is said that self is the maker. But if self is the maker, why did he not make things pleasing? The causes of sorrow are real and objective. How can they have been made by the self?
"Again if you adopt the argument that there is no maker; that our fate is such as it is and there is no causation; what use would there be in shaping our lives and adjusting means to an end? therefore we argue that all things that exist are not without cause. However, neither Iswara, nor the Absolute, nor the self, nor the causeless chance is the maker but our deeds produce results both good and evil. The whole world is under the law of causation and the causes that act are not unmental, for the gold of which the cup is made is gold throughout."
The Buddha said what the soul is not, but he did not say what it is.
Buddha, to the wondering monk Vachgotta's question on the existence or non-existence of the soul, said nothing; to Ananda he explained: "If I had answered him that there is a soul, that would have confirmed the doctrine of the Sramanas and Brahmanas who believe in the immortality of the soul. If I had said there is no soul, then I would have confirmed the doctrine of those who teach the absolute annihilation in death."
Nagarjuna, commenting on this, said that Buddha taugh both atman and anatama as it suited the hearer. But Buddhism does not attach importance to the question, because the permant self is little-known and is an abstruse concept. "All worry about the permanent self is in vain; the ego is like a mirage and all tribulations that touch it will pass away: they will vanish like a night-mare when the sleeper awakes."