1. a rule or aphorism in Sanskrit literature or a group of aphoristic doctrinal summaries prepared for memorization
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Sutra \Su"tra\, n.; pl. Sutras. [Skr. s?tra a thread, a string
of rules; an aphorism; fr. siv to sew.]
(a) A precept; an aphorism; a brief rule.
(b) A collection of such aphorisms.
2. pl. A body of Hindoo literature containing aphorisms on
grammar, meter, law, and philosophy, and forming a
connecting link between the Vedic and later Sanscrit
literature. --Balfour (Cyc. of India).
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a rule or aphorism in Sanskrit literature or a group of
aphoristic doctrinal summaries prepared for memorization
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
44 Moby Thesaurus words for "sutra":
adage, ana, analects, aphorism, apothegm, axiom, byword, catchword,
collected sayings, current saying, dictate, dictum, distich,
epigram, expression, gnome, golden saying, maxim, moral, mot,
motto, oracle, phrase, pithy saying, precept, prescript, proverb,
proverbial saying, proverbs, saw, saying, sentence,
sententious expression, sloka, stock saying, teaching, text, verse,
wisdom, wisdom literature, wise saying, witticism, word,
words of wisdom