- To speak no word that is not true
- To make no weapon with which one man may kill another
- Never to use the One Power as a weapon except against Darkfriends or Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme defense of her life, the life of her Warder, or another Aes Sedai
These oaths were never necessary in the past, however sometime between the Trolloc Wars and the War of the Hundred Years it was decided that Aes Sedai needed to show the world that their use of the One Power was not a threat, and so the Three Oaths became part of the Aes Sedai raising ceremony.
Phrasing sentences so as to lead the listener to conclusions the speaker desires without saying anything false, are "breath and bread" to Aes Sedai. They cannot lie outright though, unless they are Black Ajah.
Recently it was discovered that use of the Oath Rod was actually shortening Aes Sedai lifespans dramatically.
Though the actual making of Power Wrought weapons is forbidden, it is curious to note that after the rediscovery of Cuendillar, the weave is not used on the weapons and armor of the forces of the Light against the Shadow. Since the weapon is already made, Aes Sedai are merely altering is physical properties and therefore not creating a weapon in it's entirety. Perhaps this is due to the conception that examples of Cuendillar are primarily pieces of art or tableware.
Recent thoughts Edit
After discussion with Siuan Sanche, Egwene al'Vere comes to agree that the Three Oaths are the heart of what it is to be Aes Sedai. She has also openly discussed the possibility of releasing Aes Sedai from the oaths upon retiring, letting them live out their full lifespans in peace.