Maitripa was a Mahasiddhi or Buddhist adept who went on to become the teacher of Marpa the Translator. he lived in the 11th century. At one point he was expelled from his monastery for drinking alcohol and consorting with women, and so he placed a small leather cushion on the river Ganges and floated away.
Mahamudra is a word to describe (basically) the ”ultimate realisation” in tantric practise, so the Mahamudra of Maitripa is the distilled form of his wisdom and realisation. It is a very inspirational poem.
”To innermost bliss, I pay homage!
Were I to explain Mahamudra, I would say—
All phenomena? Your own mind!
If you look outside for meaning, you’ll get confused.
Phenomena are like a dream, empty of true nature,
And mind is merely the flux of awareness,
No self nature: just energy flow.
No true nature: just like the sky.
All phenomena are alike, sky-like.
That’s Mahamudra, as we call it.
It doesn’t have an identity to show;
For that reason, the nature of mind
Is itself the very state of Mahamudra
(Which is not made up, and does not change).
If you realize this basic reality
You recognize all that comes up, all that goes on,
The all-pervading dharma-body.
Rest in the true nature, free of fabrication.
Meditate without searching for dharma-body—
It is devoid of thought.
If your mind searches, your meditation will be confused.
Because it’s like space, or like a magical show,
There is neither meditation or non-meditation,
How could you be separate or inseparable?
That’s how a yogi sees it!
Then, aware of all good and bad stuff as the basic reality,
You become liberated.
Neurotic emotions are great awareness,
They’re to a yogi as trees are to a fire—FUEL!
What are notions of going or staying?
Or, for that matter, “meditating” in solitude?
If you don’t get this,
You free yourself only on the surface.
But if you do get it, what can ever fetter you?
Abide in an undistracted state.
Trying to adjust body and mind won’t produce meditation.
Trying to apply techniques won’t produce meditation either.
See, nothing is ultimately established.
Know what appears to have no intrinsic nature.
Appearances perceived: reality’s realm, self-liberated.
Thought that perceives: spacious awareness, self-liberated.
Non-duality, sameness [of perceiver and perceived]: the dharma-body.
Like a wide stream flowing non-stop,
Whatever the phase, it has meaning
And is forever the awakened state—
Great bliss without samsaric reference.
All phenomena are empty of intrinsic nature
And the mind that clings to emptiness dissolves in its own ground.
Freedom from conceptual activity
Is the path of all the Buddhas.
I’ve put together these lines
That they may last for aeons to come.
By this virtue, may all beings without exception
Abide in the great state of Mahamudra.”
After experiencing a vision of Avalokiteshvara, Maitripa travelled to the south of India, where he encountered his guru, the mahasiddha Savari. Savari is said to have shattered Maitripa’s preconceptions and expectations by appearing as a common swine herder in the company of two women. The next time they met, Savari appeared as a hunter of wild boar, further confronting the conventions of Maitripa’s worldview. However, on being instructed by Savari that, “Whatever is unborn is undying,” Maitripa’s doubts and hesitations were instantly dissipated. Thereafter, he received the Mahamudra (esoteric Buddhist) precepts and practices from Savari who had finally appeared before Maitripa in his ordinary human form.