PZI Teacher Archives

Mazu's Salt and Sauce (EV61)


After Mazu Daoyi received the Dharma from Nanyue Huairang, he went to Jiangxi to spread the teachings of the Zen school.

One day Huirang said to a monk, “Mazu is in Jiangxi teaching the Dharma, but there’s been no word from him … go to Mazu’s place, wait until he gives a talk, then ask, ‘How is it?’ Remember what he says and tell me when you come back.”

The monk did as instructed. When he asked, “How is it?” Mazu replied, “It’s been twenty years of getting by, but I’ve never lacked for salt and sauce.”

Huairang approved.

—Entangling Vines Case 61

Video October 25, 2023

Salt & Sauce, Trouble & Spice, Losing Things & Getting By

John Tarrant

Salt and sauce—the taste of life is complex. Even in times of deprivation, persecution and war, the flavor of life may include radical happiness. In Zen, we don’t have to know the solution, we just put the next foot forward. We ally with the capacity of life to dissolve outrage and the need to be either right or wrong. Difficulty and richness accord with each other. Walking the path is the gift of Zen, feeling the ancestors’ gifts of salt and sauce.

39' 57"