"As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world.
Basically Buddha tried to understand the truth of life by following both extreme and emptiness ends, but eventually realised it only can be gained from avoiding the extreme ends and following the middle path. At one point, Buddha summarise the whole idea behind the Buddhism by a gatha. (poetic sayings of Dharma)
"keep away from all evil, to cultivate the good and purifying one's mind are the teachings of all buddhas"
I owe you an explanation about reference 'evil' in the early gatha. The evil in here not means the exorcism, demons, Satan or any other form of EVIL but the obvious bad things that a being have to avoid. These can be rise from three unwholesome roots - greed, hatred and delusion. Greed can manifest in the form of selfishness, avarice, envy, jealousy, covetousness..etc. Hate can manifest as ill will, malice, strife, resentment, revenge, pride...etc. Finally the delusion..or the misunderstanding of reality of things, the impermanent to be permanent and not understanding the law of cause and effect.
Conversely, good, wholesome and skillful actions are based on the three wholesome roots - non-greed or generosity, non-hate or loving kindness and non-delusion or wisdom.
the ultimate goal of ever Buddhist is enlightenment, which is the total and permanent eradication of greed, hatred and delusion by cultivating generosity, loving kindness and wisdom.
taken from Buddhabhasa (2008) http://buddhabhasa.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/buddhism-and-peace_11.html
This story so far concerned about giving a abstract about Buddhism. As I mentioned earlier, it's not a religion belong to some particular set of people, but a philosophy that anyone can live into. As opposed to this view, Today we can see a trend of considering it as another religion. Most of the time, people who rooted from Buddhist backgrounds tends to believe that it's yet another religion. Therefore applying different social parameters to pure Buddhism, turns it to be a neo-buddhism which represent an entirely different philosophy.