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Sutra ( sa, सूत्र, translit=sūtra, translit-std=IAST, translation=string, threadMonier Williams, ''Sanskrit English Dictionary'',
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Oxford University Press
, Entry fo
''sutra''
page 1241
) in
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
literary traditions refers to an
aphorism An aphorism (from Ancient Greek, Greek ἀφορισμός: ''aphorismos'', denoting 'delimitation', 'distinction', and 'definition') is a concise, terse, laconic, or memorable expression of a general truth or principle. They are often handed do ...
or a collection of aphorisms in the form of a manual or, more broadly, a condensed manual or text. Sutras are a genre of ancient and medieval Indian texts found in
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
,
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
and
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion. It is one of the oldest Indian religions. The three main pillars of Jainism are ''Ahimsa in Jainism, ahiṃsā'' (non-violence), ''anekāntavāda'' (non-absolut ...

Jainism
. In
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
, sutras are a distinct type of literary composition, a compilation of short aphoristic statements.Gavin Flood (1996), ''An Introduction to Hinduism'', Cambridge University Press, , pages 54–55 Each sutra is any short rule, like a theorem distilled into few words or syllables, around which teachings of ritual, philosophy, grammar, or any field of knowledge can be woven. The oldest sutras of Hinduism are found in the
Brahmana The Brahmanas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South As ...
and
Aranyaka The Aranyakas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia ...
layers of the
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the o ...

Vedas
. Every school of
Hindu philosophy Hindu philosophy encompasses the philosophies, world views and teachings of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that origina ...
, Vedic guides for rites of passage, various fields of arts, law, and social ethics developed respective sutras, which help teach and transmit ideas from one generation to the next. In
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
, sutras, also known as ''suttas'', are canonical scriptures, many of which are regarded as records of the oral teachings of
Gautama Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an , a religious leader and teacher who lived in (c. 6th to 5th century BCE or c. 5th to 4th century BCE). He ...

Gautama Buddha
. They are not aphoristic, but are quite detailed, sometimes with repetition. This may reflect a philological root of ''sukta'' (well spoken), rather than ''sutra'' (thread). In
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion. It is one of the oldest Indian religions. The three main pillars of Jainism are ''Ahimsa in Jainism, ahiṃsā'' (non-violence), ''anekāntavāda'' (non-absolut ...

Jainism
, sutras, also known as ''suyas'', are canonical sermons of
Mahavira Mahavira ( sa, महावीर:), also known as Vardhamana, was the 24th ''Tirthankara In Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion and the method of acquiring perfect knowledge ...

Mahavira
contained in the
Jain Agamas Jain literature refers to the literature of the Jain religion. It is a vast and ancient literary tradition, which was initially transmitted orally. The oldest surviving material is contained in the canonical ''Jain Agamas,'' which are written ...
as well as some later (post-canonical) normative texts.


Etymology

The Sanskrit word ''Sūtra'' (
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
: सूत्र,
Pali Pali () is a Middle Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan invasion theory (disambiguat ...
: ''sūtta'',
Ardha Magadhi Ardhamagadhi Prakrit was a Middle Indo-Aryan language and a Dramatic Prakrit thought to have been spoken in modern-day Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India India (Hindi: ), officially the Re ...
: ''sūya'') means "string, thread".M Winternitz (2010 Reprint), A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, , pages 249 The root of the word is ''siv'', "that which sews and holds things together". The word is related to ''sūci'' (Sanskrit: सूचि) meaning "needle, list", and ''sūnā'' (Sanskrit: सूना) meaning "woven". In the context of literature, ''sūtra'' means a distilled collection of syllables and words, any form or manual of "aphorism, rule, direction" hanging together like threads with which the teachings of ritual, philosophy, grammar, or any field of knowledge can be woven. A ''sūtra'' is any short rule, states Moriz Winternitz, in Indian literature; it is "a theorem condensed in few words". A collection of ''sūtras'' becomes a text, and this is also called ''sūtra'' (often capitalized in Western literature). A ''sūtra'' is different from other components such as ''
Shloka Shloka or śloka ( sa, श्लोक , from the root , Macdonell, Arthur A., ''A Sanskrit Grammar for Students'', Appendix II, p. 232 (Oxford University Press, 3rd edition, 1927).) is a poetic form used in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively ...
s'', ''Anuvyakhayas'' and ''Vyakhyas'' found in ancient Indian literature. A ''sūtra'' is a condensed rule which succinctly states the message, while a ''
Shloka Shloka or śloka ( sa, श्लोक , from the root , Macdonell, Arthur A., ''A Sanskrit Grammar for Students'', Appendix II, p. 232 (Oxford University Press, 3rd edition, 1927).) is a poetic form used in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively ...
'' is a verse that conveys the complete message and is structured to certain rules of musical meter, an ''Anuvyakhaya'' is an explanation of the reviewed text, while a ''Vyakhya'' is a comment by the reviewer.Max Muller
History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature
Oxford University Press, page 110–111


History

Sutras first appear in the
Brahmana The Brahmanas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South As ...
and
Aranyaka The Aranyakas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia ...
layer of Vedic literature.M Winternitz (2010 Reprint), A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, , pages 251–253 They grow in number in the Vedangas, such as the Shrauta Sutras and Kalpa Sutras. These were designed so that they can be easily communicated from a teacher to student, memorized by the recipient for discussion or self-study or as reference. A sutra by itself is condensed shorthand, and the threads of syllable are difficult to decipher or understand without associated scholarly
Bhasya Bhashya (Sanskriti: भाष्य; bhāṣya) is a "commentary" or "exposition" of any primary or secondary text in ancient or medieval Indian literature. Common in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a c ...
or deciphering commentary that fills in the "
weft Warp and weft are the two basic components used in weaving Weaving is a method of textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibr ...

weft
". The oldest manuscripts that have survived into the modern era that contain extensive sutras are part of the
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the o ...

Vedas
, dated from the late 2nd millennium BCE through to the mid 1st millennium BCE. The
Aitareya Aranyaka The Aranyakas (; Sanskrit: ' ) constitutes the philosophy behind ritual sacrifice of the ancient Hindu sacred texts, the Vedas. They typically represent the later sections of Vedas, and are one of many layers of the Vedic texts. The other parts o ...
, for example, states Winternitz, is primarily a collection of ''sutras''. Their use and ancient roots are attested by sutras being mentioned in larger genre of ancient non-Vedic Hindu literature called ''Gatha'', ''Narashansi'', ''Itihasa'', and ''Akhyana'' (songs, legends, epics, and stories).
Max Muller Max or MAX may refer to: Animals * Max (dog) (1983–2013), at one time purported to be the world's oldest living dog * Max (English Springer Spaniel), the first pet dog to win the PDSA Order of Merit (animal equivalent of OBE) * Max (gorilla) (19 ...

Max Muller

History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature
Oxford University Press, pages 40–45, 71–77
In the history of Indian literature, large compilations of sutras, in diverse fields of knowledge, have been traced to the period from 600 BCE to 200 BCE (mostly after Buddha and Mahavira), and this has been called the "sutras period". This period followed the more ancient ''Chhandas period'', ''Mantra period'' and ''Brahmana period''.


Hinduism

Some of the earliest surviving specimens of ''sutras'' of Hinduism are found in the ''Anupada Sutras'' and ''Nidana Sutras''. The former distills the
epistemic Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...

epistemic
debate whether Sruti or
Smriti ''Smriti'' ( sa, स्मृति, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is ...
or neither must be considered the more reliable source of knowledge, while the latter distills the rules of musical meters for
Samaveda The Samaveda (, from ' "song" and ' "knowledge"), is the Veda of melodies and chants. It is an ancient Vedic Sanskrit text, and part of the scriptures of Hinduism Hinduism () is an and ', or way of life. It is the , with over 1.2 bill ...
chants and songs. A larger collection of ancient sutra literature in Hinduism corresponds to the six Vedangas, or six limbs of the
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the o ...

Vedas
. These are six subjects that said in the
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the o ...

Vedas
to be necessary for complete mastery of the Vedas. The six subjects with their own ''sutras'' were "pronunciation (
Shiksha ''Shiksha'' ( sa, शिक्षा IAST: ISO 15919, ISO: Śikṣā) is a Sanskrit word, which means "instruction, lesson, learning, study of skill".Sir Monier Monier-WilliamsSiksha A DkSanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologi ...
), meter (
Chandas Sanskrit prosody or Chandas refers to one of the six Vedanga The Vedanga ( sa, वेदाङ्ग ', "limbs of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, somet ...
), grammar ( Vyakarana), explanation of words (
Nirukta ''Nirukta'' ( sa, निरुक्त, , "explained, interpreted") is one of the six ancient Vedangas, or ancillary science connected with the Vedas – the scriptures of Hinduism.James Lochtefeld (2002), "Nirukta" in The Illustrated Encycloped ...
), time keeping through astronomy (
Jyotisha Jyotisha or Jyotishya (from Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Euro ...
), and ceremonial rituals (Kalpa). The first two, states Max Muller, were considered in the Vedic era to be necessary for reading the Veda, the second two for understanding it, and the last two for deploying the Vedic knowledge at
yajna Yajna ( sa, यज्ञ, yajña, translit-std=IAST, sacrifice, devotion, worship, offering) refers in Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, ar ...
s (fire rituals).Max Muller
History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature
Oxford University Press, pages 108–113
The ''sutras'' corresponding to these are embedded inside the
Brahmana The Brahmanas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South As ...
and
Aranyaka The Aranyakas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia ...
layers of the Vedas. Taittiriya Aranyaka, for example in Book 7, embeds sutras for accurate pronunciation after the terse phrases "On Letters", "On Accents", "On Quantity", "On Delivery", and "On Euphonic Laws".Max Muller
History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature
Oxford University Press, pages 113–115
The fourth and often the last layer of philosophical, speculative text in the Vedas, the Upanishads, too have embedded sutras such as those found in the
Taittiriya Upanishad The Taittirīya Upanishad (Devanagari: तैत्तिरीय उपनिषद्) is a Vedic era Sanskrit text, embedded as three chapters (''adhyāya'') of the Yajurveda. It is a ''mukhya'' (primary, principal) Upanishad, and likely comp ...
. The compendium of ancient Vedic sutra literature that has survived, in full or fragments, includes the Kalpa Sutras, Smarta Sutras,
Srauta Sutras Kalpa ( sa, कल्प) means "proper, fit" and is one of the six disciplines of the Vedānga, or ancillary science connected with the Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvav ...
, Dharma Sutras, Grhya Sutras, and
Sulba Sutras The ''Shulba Sutras'' or ''Śulbasūtras'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languag ...
. Other fields for which ancient sutras are known include etymology, phonetics, and grammar.


Post-vedic sutras

Some examples of sutra texts in various schools of
Hindu philosophy Hindu philosophy encompasses the philosophies, world views and teachings of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that origina ...
include *
Brahma Sutras The ''Brahma Sūtras'' ( sa, ब्रह्म सूत्र) is a Sanskrit text, attributed to the sage Badarayana Badarayana (IAST Bādarāyaṇa; Devanāgari बादरायण) was an Indian philosopher, who is estimated to have lived a ...
(or Vedanta Sutra) – a Sanskrit text, composed by Badarayana, likely sometime between 200 BCE to 200 CE.NV Isaeva (1992), Shankara and Indian Philosophy, State University of New York Press, , page 35 with footnote 30 The text contains 555 ''sutras'' in four chapters that summarize the philosophical and spiritual ideas in the
Upanishads The Upanishads (; sa, उपनिषद् ) are Vedic period, late Vedic Sanskrit texts of Hindu philosophy which supplied the basis of later Hindu philosophy.Wendy Doniger (1990), ''Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism'', 1st Editio ...
.James Lochtefeld, Brahman, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing, , page 124 It is one of the foundational texts of the
Vedānta ''Vedanta'' (; sa, वेदान्त, ), also ''Uttara Mīmāṃsā'', is one of the six (''āstika'') schools of Hindu philosophy Hindu philosophy encompasses the philosophies, world views and teachings of Hinduism Hind ...
school of
Hindu philosophy Hindu philosophy encompasses the philosophies, world views and teachings of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that origina ...
. *
Yoga Sutras Patañjali Statue (traditional form indicating kundalini or incarnation of Shesha) The ''Yoga Sutras of Patañjali'' is a collection of Sanskrit sutras (aphorisms) on the theory and practice of yoga - 195 sutras (according to Vyasa, Vyāsa an ...
– contains 196 sutras on
Yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of Asana, physical, mind, mental, and Spirituality#Asian traditions, spiritual practices or disciplines that originated in History of India, ancient India, aimed at controlling ('y ...

Yoga
including the eight limbs and meditation. The ''Yoga Sutras'' were compiled around 400 CE by
Patanjali Patañjali ( ta, பதஞ்சலி, sa, पतञ्जलि) was a sage in ancient Tamilakam Tamilakam (: ''tamiḻakam'') refers to the geographical region inhabited by the ancient . Tamilakam covered today's , , , and southern p ...

Patanjali
, taking materials about yoga from older traditions. The text has been highly influential on Indian culture and spiritual traditions, and it is among the most translated ancient Indian text in the medieval era, having been translated into about forty Indian languages. * Samkhya Sutra – is a collection of major
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...
texts of the
Samkhya ''Samkhya'' ( sa, साङ्ख्य, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and re ...
school of Hindu philosophy, including the sutras on
dualism Dualism most commonly refers to: * Mind–body dualism, a philosophical view which holds that mental phenomena are, at least in certain respects, not physical phenomena, or that the mind and the body are distinct and separable from one another ** P ...
of Kapila. It consists of six books with 526 sutras. *
Vaisheshika Sutra Vaisheshika or Vaiśeṣika ( sa, वैशेषिक) is one of the six schools of Indian philosophy (Historical Vedic religion, Vedic systems) from ancient India. In its early stages, the Vaiśeṣika was an independent philosophy with its o ...
– the foundational text of the
Vaisheshika Vaisheshika or Vaiśeṣika ( sa, वैशेषिक) is one of the six schools of Indian philosophy Indian philosophy refers to philosophical traditions of the Indian subcontinent. A traditional Hindu classification divides āstika an ...
school of Hinduism, dated to between the 4th century BCE and 1st century BCE, authored by Kanada. With 370 sutras, it aphoristically teaches non-theistic naturalism, epistemology, and its metaphysics. The first two sutras of the text expand as, "Now an explanation of
Dharma Dharma (; sa, धर्म, dharma, ; pi, dhamma, italic=yes; ta, aṟam, italic=yes) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the s ...
; The means to prosperity and salvation is Dharma."Klaus K. Klostermaier (2010), A Survey of Hinduism, Third Edition, State University of New York Press, , pages 334–335 *
Nyaya Sutras (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose ...
– an ancient text of
Nyaya (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the language of clas ...
school of Hindu philosophy composed by Akṣapada Gautama, sometime between the 6th century BCE and 2nd century CE.Jeaneane Fowler (2002), Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism, Sussex Academic Press, , page 129 It is notable for focusing on knowledge and logic, and making no mention of Vedic rituals. The text includes 528 aphoristic sutras, about rules of reason, logic, epistemology, and metaphysics. These sutras are divided into five books, with two chapters in each book. The first book is structured as a general introduction and table of contents of sixteen categories of knowledge. Book two is about ''
pramana ''Pramana'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. ...
'' (epistemology), book three is about ''prameya'' or the objects of knowledge, and the text discusses the nature of knowledge in remaining books. * Mimamsa Sutras – the foundational text of the Mimamsa school of Hinduism, authored by Jaimini. It emphasizes the early part of the Vedas, i.e., rituals and religious works, as means to salvation.Jeaneane Fowler (2002), Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism, Sussex Academic Press, , pages 67–86 The school emphasized precision in the selection of words, construction of sentences, developed rules for hermeneutics of language and any text, adopted and then refined principles of logic from the
Nyaya (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the language of clas ...
school, and developed extensive rules for epistemology. An atheistic school that supported external Vedic sacrifices and rituals, its Mimamsa Sutra contains twelve chapters with nearly 2700 ''sutras''. * Dharma-sutras – of Āpastamba, Gautama, Baudhāyana, and Vāsiṣṭha * Artha-sutras – the Niti Sutras of Chanakya and Somadeva are treatises on governance, law, economics, and politics. Versions of Chanakya Niti Sutras have been found in Sri Lanka and Myanmar. The more comprehensive work of Chanakya, the
Arthashastra The ''Arthaśāstra'' ( sa, अर्थशास्त्र, ) is an ancient India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 ye ...

Arthashastra
is itself composed in many parts, in ''sutra'' style, with the first Sutra of the ancient book acknowledging that it is a compilation of
Artha ''Artha'' (; sa, अर्थ) is one of the four aims of human life in Indian philosophy.James Lochtefeld (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Rosen Publishing, New York, , pp 55–56 The word ''artha'' literally translates as "me ...
-knowledge from previous scholars. *
Kama Sutra The ''Kama Sutra'' (; sa, कामसूत्र, , ; ) is an ancient Indian Hindu Sanskrit text on sexuality, eroticism and emotional fulfillment in life. Attributed to Vātsyāyana, The most ancient book on Kamasutra was composed in A ...
– an ancient Indian Sanskrit text on sexual and emotional fulfillment in life * Moksha-sutras *
Shiva Sutras The Śiva·sūtras, technically akṣara·samāmnāya, variously called ', ''pratyāhāra·sūtrāṇi'', ''varṇa·samāmnāya'', etc., refer to a set of fourteen aphorisms devised as an arrangement of the sounds of Sanskrit for the purposes ...
– fourteen verses that organize the phonemes of Sanskrit *
Narada Bhakti Sutra The ''Narada Bhakti Sutra'' (IAST: ) is a well known sutra venerated within the traditions of Hinduism, reportedly spoken by the famous rishi, sage, Narada. The text details the process of devotion (Bhakti), or Bhakti yoga and is thus of particula ...

Narada Bhakti Sutra
– a venerated Hindu sutra, reportedly spoken by the famous sage Narada


Buddhism

In Buddhism, a ''sutta'' or ''sutra'' is a part of the canonical literature. These early Buddhist sutras, unlike Hindu texts, are not aphoristic. On the contrary, they are most often quite lengthy. The Buddhist term ''sutta'' or ''sutra'' probably has roots in Sanskrit ''sūkta'' (''su'' + ''ukta''), "well spoken" from the belief that "all that was spoken by the Lord Buddha was well-spoken".K. R. Norman (1997), ''A philological approach to Buddhism: the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai Lectures 1994''. (Buddhist Forum, Vol. v.)London: School of Oriental and African Studies,p. 104 They share the character of sermons of "well spoken" wisdom with the Jaina sutras. In
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
, these are known as 經 (
pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...

pinyin
: ''jīng''). These teachings are assembled in part of the
Tripiṭaka ''Tripiṭaka'' () or ''Tipiṭaka'' (), meaning "Triple Basket", is the traditional term for ancient collections of Buddhist sacred scriptures. The Pāli Canon The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scripture Religio ...
which is called the ''
Sutta Pitaka Sutta may refer to: *Sutta Nipata The ' () is a Buddhist scripture, a Sutra, sutta collection in the Khuddaka Nikaya, part of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. Sections The ''Sutta Nipāta'' is divided into five sections: Uraga Vagga ("The ...
''. There are many important or influential
Mahayana Mahāyāna (; "Great Vehicle") is a term for a broad group of Buddhism, Buddhist traditions, Buddhist texts#Mahāyāna texts, texts, Buddhist philosophy, philosophies, and practices. Mahāyāna Buddhism developed in India (c. 1st century BCE on ...
texts, such as the ''
Platform Sutra The ''Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch'' ( or simply: ''Tánjīng'') is a Chan Buddhist scripture Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from Literature, literary texts by being a compilation or discuss ...
'' and the ''
Lotus Sutra The Lotus Sūtra () is one of the most influential and venerated Buddhist Mahāyāna sūtras The Mahāyāna Sūtras are a broad genre of Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social system, ...
'', that are called sutras despite being attributed to much later authors. In
Theravada Buddhism Theravāda (; Pāli Pali () is a Middle Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of the ''Pāli Canon'' or ''Tripiṭaka, Tipiṭaka'' as wel ...
suttas comprise the second "basket" (pitaka) of the
Pāli Canon The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something ...
. and
Bhikkhu Bodhi Bhikkhu Bodhi (born December 10, 1944), born Jeffrey Block, is an American Theravada Theravāda (; Pali, Pāli, lit. "School of the Thero, Elders", borrowed from Sanskrit स्थविरवाद (sthaviravāda, literally “doctrine of the ...
describe the
Sutta pitaka Sutta may refer to: *Sutta Nipata The ' () is a Buddhist scripture, a Sutra, sutta collection in the Khuddaka Nikaya, part of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. Sections The ''Sutta Nipāta'' is divided into five sections: Uraga Vagga ("The ...
as


Jainism

In the Jain tradition, sutras are an important genre of "fixed text", which used to be memorized. The
Kalpa Sūtra The ''Kalpa Sūtra'' ( sa, कल्पसूत्र) is a Jain text Jain literature refers to the literature of the Jainism, Jain religion. It is a vast and ancient literary tradition, which was initially transmitted orally. The oldes ...
is, for example, a Jain text that includes monastic rules, as well as biographies of the Jain
Tirthankaras In Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion and the method of acquiring perfect knowledge of self and universe and perfect joy through Extrasensory perception, extrasensory means as em ...

Tirthankaras
. Many sutras discuss all aspects of ascetic and lay life in Jainism. Various ancient sutras particularly from the early 1st millennium CE, for example, recommend devotional
bhakti ''Bhakti'' ( sa, भक्ति) literally means "attachment, state of mind where the devotees surrender himself or herself unquestioningly to God. The union of the human soul with a supreme God, man's love and devotion for God are some of ...

bhakti
as an essential Jain practice. The surviving scriptures of Jaina tradition, such as the Acaranga Sutra (
Agamas Agama is a Sanskrit word which is a term for scriptures in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism: * Buddhist Āgamas, a collection of Early Buddhist Texts * Āgamas in Hinduism, a term for the scriptures of several Hindu Hindus (; ) are person ...
), exist in sutra format, as is the
Tattvartha Sutra ''Tattvārthasūtra'', meaning "On the Nature '' ''artha">nowiki/>''artha''.html" ;"title="artha.html" ;"title="nowiki/>''artha">nowiki/>''artha''">artha.html" ;"title="nowiki/>''artha">nowiki/>''artha''of Reality 'tattva'' (also known as ...
, a Sanskrit text accepted by all four Jainism sects as the most authoritative philosophical text that completely summarizes the foundations of Jainism.


See also

*
Ananda Sutram Ánanda Márga "The Path of Bliss", also spelled ''Anand Marg'' and ''Ananda Marg'') or officially Ánanda Márga Pracáraka Saḿgha (organization for the propagation of the path of bliss), is a world-wide socio-spiritual organisation ...
*
Chinese Buddhist canon The Chinese Buddhist canon refers to the total body of Buddhist literature deemed canonical in Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East A ...
*
List of suttas Suttas from the Sutta Pitaka Sutta may refer to: *The Pali version of the Sanskrit term Sutra *In Buddhism, a discourse of the Buddha: see Sutra and List of suttas {{disambiguation ... of the Pali Canon Pali () is a Middle Indo-Aryan lit ...
*
Sastra ''Shastra'' (, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientifi ...

Sastra
* Sutra copying *
Sutram The dictionary gives the meaning of the Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit ...
*
Tibetan Buddhist canon The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describe ...


Notes


References

* * Monier-Williams, Monier. (1899) ''A Sanskrit-English Dictionary''. Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass. p. 1241 *


External links


SuttaCentral
Public domain The public domain consists of all the creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, wr ...

Public domain
translations in multiple languages of suttas from the Pali Tipitaka and other collections.
Buddhist Scriptures in Multiple Languages
Sacred-texts.com
A Modern sutraIda B. Wells Memorial Sutra Library
(Pali Suttas)
Chinese and English Buddhist Sutras
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