'There are these four types of persons found in the world. What four? Those who are concerned neither with their own good nor the good of others, those who are concerned with good of others but not their own, those concerned with their own good but not that of others, and those who are concerned with both their own good and the good of others. Just as a stick from a funeral pyre, burning at both ends and smeared with dung in the middle, serves no useful purpose as fuel in the village or as timber in the forest- using such a simile do I speak of the those concerned neither with their own good nor the good of the others. Those concerned with the good of others but not their own are more excellent and higher than this. Those who is concerned with their own good but not that of others is more excellent and higher still. But those who is concerned with both their own good and the good of others - they are of these four persons the supreme, the highest the topmost and the best. Just as from a cow comes milk, from milk cream, from cream butter, from butter ghee, and from ghee the skimming of ghee, which is said to be the best, even so, those who are concerned with their own good and the good of others are, of these four persons, the supreme, the highest the topmost and the best.' A.II.95
This is a typical example of the profundity of so many of the Buddha’s discourses. He starts by pointing out the obvious – that some people think of no one but themselves – and then he calls into question a commonly held assumption – that to help others and not yourself, being totally self-sacrificing, is the most noble thing you can do. This point can give rise to some very interesting thoughts and considerations. As can the words ‘for the good’. And with his usual skill the Buddha rounds it all up with a most appealing analogy, the extracting of the essence of lovely, creamy, warm, nourishing milk. Just one point. What is the skimming of ghee (sappimanda)? When you make ghee you will notice little bits of butter milk, water and maybe one or two cows’ hairs or dirt in the bottom. When you skim off the golden-colored ghee leaving this residue behind, that is the skimming of ghee.