eric summarizes Mahayana vows:
Standard Bodhisattva vows:
1. Beings are limitless, I vow to save them all.
2. Afflictions are endless, I vow to transform them all.
3. Dharma doors are boundless, I vow to learn them all.
4. Buddhahood is unsurpassed, I vow to realize it.
Those are the standard Bodhisattva vows that serve as the bedrock foundation for Mahayana practitioners set on the Path of Buddhahood. From my understanding, those four are a representation of what a Buddha does or ultimately achieves.
Beyond this, there are the customized and personalized vows each individual chooses to uphold or take on. These are simply based on what the individual feels a connection to or wishes to achieve as they work towards and when they ultimately realize Buddhahood.
It's as if for one who was to become a doctor, they would take the "Hippocratic Oath" before they begin their careers and attempt their best to uphold the oath.
Beyond this, each doctor has their own personal interests and inclinations, whether that may be within pediatrics, cancer research, palliative care and so on. Therefore, they would have their own vows, goals, or "oaths" within these areas beyond the "Hippocratic Oath".
So in essence, the foundation of Buddhahood is in those 4 standard vows, however people are free to still choose to uphold and take on vows beyond this based on their inclinations and what they believe to be important
2) Not sure if these are my favorite perse, however they never fail to instill a great sense of awe within whenever I read them:
Venerable Master Hsuan Hua's 18 Great Vows
If you're interested in reading more, you can check out Medicine Master Buddha's vows
, Amitabha Buddha's 48
, or Samantabhadra's 10
Interestingly enough, I noticed from one sutta that there are mentions of vows in EBT although they aren't as pronounced as in Mahayana sutras. It was mentioned when Sariputta and Moggallana were selected as the Buddha's two chief disciples that the reason they were chosen is because of vows they had made in previous lives to do so once Shakyamuni became a Buddha.
This was brought up as earlier disciples of Shakyamuni complained when he chose Sariputta and Moggallana as the chief disciplies, especially when they had not even been in robes for that long.
Vows in EBT tend to be a lot more focused in terms of one lifetime. The greatest of vows being Shakyamuni's determination to not arise from the Bodhi tree until he realized full and complete enlightenment