Just to clarify, no self does not mean there is no self at all. The emptiness of self is not nothingness, but the mere absence of an inherently existent or independently existent self. The self that does exist is an 'I' imputed by consciousness in dependence upon the aggregates of body and mind appearing. This applies to other phenomena too, so when we say their is nothing created and no one to create it, this does not mean nothing exists at all or that there is no self that exists at all. Buddha taught the middle way, not nihilistic view. Therefore, phenomena do exist, but not in the way they are conceived to exist by the self-grasping mind. For further reading, consult books about emptiness such as Heart of Wisdom (tharpa publications).
As for Buddhism being a branch of Hinduism, this is a common misconception. There are some similarities in certain labels such as karma, reincarnation, and even the chakra system. However, upon close investigation we find that the beliefs, practices and goals behind such labels in Buddhism are very different from Hinduism. I'll leave the specific research to those who care to check, but I guarantee there is a huge difference.
Vajraboy was given a thumbs down for his explanation of people just being mind, yet it is true. Buddha Shakyamuni did explain this, but it is from the point of view of certain universal lifecycles such as is explained by P'ang in his posting.
Buddha taught that all existent phenomena are appearances to mind produced by karma. Karma is the universal law of cause and effect applied to the person, and is a sanskrit term meaning action. It refers to various things such as the intention that initiates actions of body speech and mind, and to the results or effects of those actions. Mind produces actions and these place potentialities in the mind. When conditions come together, those potentialities (causes) manifest appearances to the mind (effects). In short, mind is the creator of all phenomena, thus phenomena are constantly being created and destroyed by mind.
As you can see, although Buddha did explain many cosmological things, he was giving his disciples an idea of what is going on and faith that Buddhas have a galactic transdimensional perspective. This gives practitioners faith in attainments, and this is the main reason Buddha taught at all, for people to attain liberation from suffering.
These days there is very little attention given to Buddhist cosmology by Lamas (except in Kalachakra Tantra) because the most important thing is to practice and gain the realizations that protect us and others from suffering, not to waste precious time getting overly concerned with how things were created.