A Buddha is an individual who has attained full Enlightenment – a person who is fully Awakened. Someone in this state is free of the Wheel of Birth, Death and Re-birth. In other words, a Buddha is able, once and for all, to leave behind the material world and enter Nirvana – the state of ultimate Liberation.

A Bodhisattva is someone who is on the path to Buddhahood. This person has taken a vow to do everything possible to attain the fully Enlightened state. A Bodhisattva lives only to become Awakened no matter how many lifetimes it takes or how difficult the struggle.  

Some Bodhisattvas also make a further vow – a vow that they will refuse to move onto Nirvana, even after becoming fully Awake, until all other sentient beings have entered before them.

Perhaps the most well known such person in the Dalai Lama. The current Dalai Lama (the one in exile) is the 14th incarnation of a Bodhisattva who made this vow hundreds of years ago. He continues to be reborn in the material world to help everyone else become liberated from the Wheel.

Now, I do not claim to be a Buddha. Neither am I a Bodhisattva. However, in this time of Covid, I have taken a similar type of vow.

My vow is this: I will not, willingly, take the Covid vaccine until everyone else who might want it has had the chance to take it before me. I will do all in my power to fulfill this vow. In this way, I will put all my fellow sentient beings ahead of me and assume the least and lowest position in the line. Only after all others have been inoculated will I take the vaccine myself.

It is important to understand that I make this vow in full humility and as a result of my concern for the well being of other people. This vow I take has nothing whatsoever to do with the possibility that the vaccine doesn’t actually work; that it doesn’t actually cure the virus; that it doesn’t actually protect anyone from getting the virus; that, even after taking the vaccine, it is still necessary to wear a mask and practice social distancing; that any resistance to the virus provided by the vaccine is likely only temporary and may require further inoculations in the future; or that, after taking the vaccine, many people display strange allergic reactions to it and some even die as a result.

No. I am not concerned with these trivial issues. My motives are honorable. I will not take the Covid vaccine until everyone else has had the chance to be inoculated and experiences restored good health.