I draw two interpretations from the first story....a absolutist or theist view and a even flavor view.
In the first a theist interprets it as taking people as they are. The poor as well as the rich, a Joseph in the manger story. No one would give that family a decent place to stay that night(which is a misread of accomodations in that part of the world 2k years ago) but nevertheless. Christian fundametal theism however always favoring the family as opposed to the individual. But the same theme. Some, the wise men recognized this homeless family member to be a great individual. The child in Christian thought being the most potential and worthy of veneration by such wise men, speaking perhaps of a inner psychiological issue of retention of family line perhaps. It is always for or of the children not us, in that way of thinking but that is a aside. So it could be interpreted that way.
The second interpretation would have the teacher useing the clothes as a metaphore to describe what is most important to teachers of the dharma, the dharma itself. The mundane or close to us being perhaps most important as opposed to the intellectual understanding of things(the periphery). The intellectual understanding and displayal, considered being the most important thing of greatest status to mundane individuals, but the intellectual being considered of little importance to the teacher. The removing of the cloak would be the intellectual being peripheral or outer to the inner the (considered mundane or commonplace) the real understanding grasped from meditational means which all may employ rich poor learned unlearned. Japanese Zen seemingly has a history of the highest teachings not being accessible to the poor and unlearned but only to the rich and well learned( and probably all lineages do). A form of Buddhism evolved in Japan to counter that situation years ago. The host invited not the dharma but the periphery of the dharma to the feast. That which is most obvious but perhaps misleading.
Meditation all can do and the real all can do.....this is a great teacher as evidenced by his holding that view despite his coming from a history of exclusion and such. He rose above that nonsense but that is a aside.
The second.....the teacher is asked to write what encompasses the greatest wisdom. Attention is simply this thing. That is the teachers view. Why, is conjecture....... my guess would be, to endeavor any wisdom firstly attention is necessary. Without such all is just words. Attention is clearly lacking seeing the noble yelling. The teacher responds whispering. The teacher is aware of the yelling, the emotional state, and clearly his response balances that. The noble obviously is not. So several lessons..
Attention is the greatest wisdom(producer?)
All things of the emotions lack substance(the emotional need not be responded to with emotion but perhaps with balancing effect)
Lack of attention(the noble) fosters lack of awareness and wisdom
So that's my take as a uneducated layperson with little understanding. So feel free to take it with a grain of salt or knowing my writings....do not read it at all.
As a aside on retreat in a retreat house of sorts I have had occasion years ago, to sit and listen as I did house chores, to benefactors, who were planning the visit of a great lineage holder. It was to my amusement quite pragmatic in which they applied things as status and monies given, to who was invited to certain close dinners and contacts, not available to the general public. When eventually it became time to sit down and eat at the same table with such benefactors, I felt indeed like it was a plate of crap I was holding in my hands, and not a plate of the finest foods... such seemed the response to my sitting at this same table with those fine peoples, odious seemed the response to such a notion that I would be doing such a thing. If they could have held their noses I think they certainly would have. To my take they had not integrated even the first of the two responses to the first story. Which by my take left me to conclude they were not even as the theist, relgiously inclined, seemed to be. A view I normally consider inferior in that context of heirarchy. Ever see peoples such as these in a supermarket or such.....quite often they will reluctantly if at all, acknowledge your presence. The theists equilivent..... much as I consider their things not well thought out....invariably if you are a member of their group each and every one will greet you with open arms a handshake in that situation.
And internet seems not much different....the cloak of wisdom is the only one acknowledged and confirmed. And bodhisttava other than in a cerebral sense(dedicating prayers good will and such) forget about it. Ever notice the most heinous dispicable abusive peoples on the internet put addons to their names such as....with compassion, or with love?
It seems such things are to a extent ingrained by mechanism into all religions to my observation. So no particular slight intended to Buddhists, the first interpretation of the first story is still only a partial read by my take. Though taking the second interpretation and not also the first cannot seemingly be done.
A lineage holder is in town and certain things mysteriously disappear from the temple at certain times and then mysteriously return the next day..... Yes dear reader, it may be certain ceremonies are being performed and you and others are not seemingly being asked what empowerments you hold to see if you may participate of if you want to participate No it seems that is not the issue.
Sad to say. Every person for themselves at this time and place in human things with a couple of rare exceptions. Degeneracy it is called. Which is why, relatedly, compassion, real compassion not found in a book or seperate from a person, is by my take the only viable measure of spiritual progression. Of what worth is the knowing of the nuances of types of bodhisttavic action, buddha nature, and the differentiation by school of thought, the absolute definition of nirvana, the quotation of learned scholors and masters, the performance of the greatest of empowerments, the continual exercise of the most important sadahanna, the continual recital of prayer or mantra, even the memorization of each and every sutra or sutta....if one does not even know enought to treat others with respect when situations call for such respect, or to say...hello to you fellow sanga member!! at a supermarket. Seems pretty worthless to me and I'd suppose such will serve little in the bardo to see what is seen as illusionary. Even theists will be better served by their faith is my guess. Most,(certainly not all) seem to grasp the first story in the first interpretation. Buddhists(certainly not all)....seem to not grasp the first interpretation as much as the second. Which means their second is faulted and by my take....quite lifeless and dead. A dead thing they carrry around their neck which follows them throughout what seems like eternity....intellectual understanding, without a shred of wisdom attached to it. A formless realm with no cognition available for what seems a eternity may be such a creatures descibed fate. All but the me which allows the intellectual but reinforceing the me; never disappearing quite all.
Just my personal opinion and not a person who claims any Buddhism, though I have stolen much from Buddhism,and what I have stolen may be considered quite useless. So again...take it with a grain of salt. And to state I hold quite a bias on this thing, though it is not a theist Buddhist nor secular bias. Zen stories.....I feel they should be real, right here and now, even those that are not Zen stories.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.