About The Puti TreesDating back almost 1500 years ago, these two poems are quoted from the original Zen classic, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch and distinguish differences in creativity between master (Shen Xiu) and apprentice (Hui Neng). The same classical verse can have vastly different conceptions. The second stanza is better equipped to embody (more suitably embodies) the Zen frame of mind in addition to have been more widely circulated.
As every person’s understanding of Zen is a bit different, I’d like to offer my understanding: 1.) each person’s body is a tree of wisdom, every person’s soul is a mirror of brightness (‘the light’). It is important to carefully take care of this light in order to maintain a state of purity versus one of fallen dust.
2.) perhaps the tree of wisdom does not even exist; perhaps brightness (‘the light’) is not a mirror. Actually, if nothing exists, how then might we have dust?