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A sutra is a Sanskrit word that means "string, thread". In Indian literary traditions, it also refers to an aphorism 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, Buddhism and Jainism.

A Sanskrit manuscript page of Lotus Sutra (Buddhism) from South Turkestan in Brahmi script.
A manuscript page from Kalpa Sutra (Jainism)

A sutra (IAST: sūtra सूत्र) is a Sanskrit word that means "string, thread". In Indian literary traditions, it also refers to an aphorism 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, Buddhism and Jainism.

In Hinduism, sutra denotes a distinct type of literary composition, a compilation of short aphoristic statements. 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 and Aranyaka layers of the Vedas. Every school of Hindu philosophy, Vedic guides for rites of passage, various fields of arts, law and social ethics developed respective sutras, which helped teach and transmit ideas from one generation to the next.

In Buddhism, sutra or sutta refers mostly to canonical scriptures, many of which are regarded as records of the oral teachings of Gautama Buddha. The Pali form of the word, sutta, is used exclusively to refer to the scriptures of the early Pali Canon, the only texts recognized by Theravada Buddhism as canonical.

In Jainism, sutra or suya refers to canonical sermons of Mahavira contained in the Jain Agamas and to some later (post-canonical) normative texts.