"If Buddhism is about universal truth then who or what is Buddha if not a man who follows a set of rules such as cleanliness rules etc. Is this rule(s)not leading to a truth? "
Answer: I am firmly believe Buddhism is absolutely talks about the universal truth. The truth that is onmipresent in the whole universe. Since u lack knowledge of Buddhism, it is my previlige to share the Buddha's teachings on you. Shakyamuni realized that all life extends throughout the vast universe from a limitless past into a limitless future. He intuitively percieve the essence of life pervading the whole universe and became aware of his own Life breathing in harmony with the rhythm of the universe.
The Buddha realized that the only way to bring happiness to all men was to create a Human society based in this profound principle, the truth of which no one else had ever realized. In practical terms this means that one must purge one's own life of defilement and then refashion human society from the foundations. To succeed in this task one must make a close examination of the nature of life- the basic starting point for all human activities- and acquire a grasp of the laws that govern it. In other words, implicit in the truth to which the Buddha had come Enlightened was a mighty, unprecedented revolution.
The Buddha devoted the rest of his Life to carrying his philosohy to the ordinary people which lead leaving to the vastness of his teachings for the sake of happiness to all people. During his last eight years, this trend encouraged him to expound his ideas in their fullest form. His most mature thought is embodied in the LOTUS SUTRA(i had always said on it)
" Buddhism is about the organization of thought, not the following of some rules."
comment: What is organization if it is not rules to be followed? "
Answer: Basically people tend to think Buddhism as passivistic, quietitude religion.Like what u saw keeping monastic rules and precepts. On the other hand,The Lotus Sutra urges people to carry out the bodhisattva practice--that is, to relieve suffering and bring joy to others. It maintains that self-actualization comes through real effort and constructive engagement in securing the welfare of others. This is in marked contrast with the view some hold of Buddhism as an ascetic, reclusive or passive religion.