Sūtra (Sanskrit: सूत्र, Pāli: sutta, Ardhamagadhi: sūya) is an aphorism (or line, rule, formula) or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual or, more broadly, a text in Hinduism or Buddhism. Literally it means a thread or line that holds things together. The word “sutra” was very likely meant to apply quite literally to these texts, as they were written down in books of palm leaves sewn together with thread. This distinguishes them from the older sacred Vedas, which until recently were only memorised, never committed to paper.
In ancient Indian literature, sutra denotes a distinct type of literary composition, based on short aphoristic statements, generally using various technical terms. This literary form 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: svādhyāya). Since each line is highly condensed, another literary form arose in which commentaries (Sanskrit: bhāṣya) on the sutras were added, to clarify and explain them.
老子 Lao Tzu (600 BC)
All beneath heaven knows beauty is beauty
only because there’s ugliness,
and knows good is good
only because there’s evil.
Being and nonbeing give birth to one another,
difficult and easy complete one another,
long and short measure one another,
high and low fill one another,
music and noise harmonize one another,
before and after follow one another:
that’s why a sage abides in the realm of nothing’s own doing,
living out that wordless teaching.
The ten thousand things arise without beginnings there,
abide without waiting there,
come to perfection without dwelling there.
Without dwelling there: that’s the one way
you’ll never lose it.
Translation : David Hinton
Original Language : Chinese Mandarin