The statement by His Holiness, “I’m preparing to die,” is brilliant; it’s very simple and hones in on the essence of practice.
We need to come back to what is necessary and practice with mindfulness. It is all the basic principles, getting that sense of urgency and a quality the Buddha refers to as appamāda, translated as heedfulness, circumspection, care.
Of all the qualities that we need to cultivate on the path from the beginning to the end, the one that stands out most is this quality of appamāda. It gives us the opportunity to keep drawing attention back to what is important and necessary in life.
In the Dhammapada, the Buddha says, “heedfulness is the path to the deathless; those who are heedful do not die. The heedless are as if dead already” (Dhp 21).
Cultivating the quality of appamāda is not about becoming anxious, trying to fix things and get everything right, because that is suffering right there. It is about feeling alive and fully present to the practice and with what we are doing.
This reflection by Luang Por Pasanno is from the book, Don’t Hold Back, (pdf) pp. 96-97.