Q: What is the power of your last wish or last intention before the moment of death?
A: The strength of your last mind state really depends on the totality of your kamma.
Other things you have done prior to that moment may actually outweigh the power of that mind state. For instance, if you have any particularly heavy kamma—and “heavy” in this case means either very, very good or very, very bad—that will be more powerful.
If there’s anything that you’ve done habitually during life, that will also have more power than your last mind state—which means that you’ve got to practice until it becomes a habit. If you’ve been habitually practicing, that will help push you through.
But the important principle to remember is that every skillful intention counts, even if everything around you and inside your body is falling apart. It’s never too late to make a skillful choice.
This reflection by Ajaan Geoff is from the book, The Karma of Mindfulness, (pdf) pp.99-100.