Sūtra


Sūtra

Sūtra (Sanskrit, Devanagari सूत्र) or Sutta (Pāli), literally means a rope or thread that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or large a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. It is derived from the verbal root "siv-", meaning "to sew" (these words, including Latin "suere" and English "to sew" and "suture", all derive from PIE *"syū-").

In Hinduism the 'sutra' is a distinct type of literary composition, based on short aphoristic statements, generally using various technical terms. The literary form of the "sutra" was designed for concision, as the texts were intended to be memorized by students in some of the formal methods of scriptural and scientific study (Sanskrit: "IAST|svādhyāya"). Since each line is highly condensed, another literary form arose in which commentaries (Sanskrit: "IAST|bhāṣya") on the "sutras" were added, to clarify and explain them. [For discussion of the literary form for "IAST|sūtras", their terse nature as a summary of ideas for memorization, and the rise of the commentorial literary form as an adjunct to "IAST|sūtras", see: Harvnb | Tubb | Boose | 2007 | pp=1-2] .

In Brahmin lineage, each family is supposed to have one Gotra, and one Sutra, meaning that a certain Veda (Śruti) is treasured by this family in way of learning by heart.

One of the most famous definitions of a sutra in Indian literature is itself a sutra and comes from the Vayu Purana:

"alpākṣaraṃ asandigdhaṃ sāravad viśvato mukham / astobhyaṃ anavadyaṃ ca sūtram sūtra vido viduḥ"

"Of minimal syllabary, unambiguous, pithy, comprehensive, / non-redundant, and without flaw: who knows the sūtra knows it to be thus."

In Buddhism, the term "sutra" refers mostly to canonical scriptures that are regarded as records of the oral teachings of Gautama Buddha. In Chinese, these are known as 經 (pinyin: "jīng"). These teachings are assembled in part of the "Tripitaka" which is called "Sutra Pitaka". There are also some Buddhist texts, such as the Platform Sutra, that are called sutras despite being attributed to much later authors. Some scholars consider that the Buddhist use of sutra is a mis-Sanskritization of sutta, and that the latter represented Sanskrit sūkta (well spoken).

The Pali form of the word, sutta is used exclusively to refer to Buddhist scriptures, those of the Pali Canon.

utras primarily associated with Hinduism

Vedanga

*Shiksha (phonetics)
*Chandas (metrics)
*Vyakarana (grammar)
** Ashtadhyayi (Panini), discussing grammar
*Nirukta (etymology)
*Jyotisha (astrology)
* Kalpa (ritual)
** Srauta Sutras, performance of sacrifices
** Smarta Sutras
*** Grhya Sutras, covering domestic life
*** Samayacarika or Dharma Sutras
**** Sulba Sutras, architecture of sacrificial area

Hindu philosophy

* Yoga Sutras
* Nyaya Sutras
* Vaisheshika Sutras
* Purva Mimamsa Sutras
* Brahma Sutras (or Vedanta Sutra) (Badarayana)

utras primarily associated with Buddhism

See: Buddhist texts

Other Sutras

Associated with Christianity
* See: Jesus Sutras (related to Nestorianism in China )

See also

* Smriti
* Chinese Buddhist canon
* Tibetan Buddhist canon
* Ananda Sutram
* Kama Sutras

References


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

External links

* [http://www.fodian.net/world/ Buddhist Scriptures in Multiple Languages]
* [http://www.topchinesenews.com/listo.aspx?topic_id=20&msg_id=982&level_string=0 Chinese repository of Buddhist Sutras] translated into English. Also has other texts.
* [http://www4.bayarea.net/~mtlee/ Mahayana Buddhist Sutras in English]
* [http://web.singnet.com.sg/~alankhoo/Buddhism.htm#Sutras More Mahayana Sutras]
* [http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/index.htm The Hindu Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, and Vedanta] Sacred-texts.com
* [http://www.ece.lsu.edu/kak/sutra.pdf A Modern Sutra]
* [http://www.uwest.edu/sanskritcanon/index.html Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Canon]
* [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-sutta.html Pali Suttas at Access to Insight]
* [http://www.buddhistinformation.com/ida_b_wells_memorial_sutra_library/ Ida B. Wells Memorial Sutra Lirary] (Pali Suttas)
* [http://www.suttareadings.net Suttas read aloud]


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