The thesis is concerned with the 7th Century Mahāyāna Buddhist text Bodhicaryāvatāra (BCA) and its significance as a vehicle for cultural exchange. We trace its history in India and beyond, from its proposed author Śāntideva’s hand, its contemporary influence in India, and its impact in the lands—Nepal, Tibet, China, Mongolia, and beyond—and languages—Sanskrit, Newari, Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian, and others—where it travelled. The nature of its influence has varied with the times and places where it has found itself, but in all instances it received a prominent place of canonical status, and was mostly revered. This is perhaps surprising taking into account its late composition. As the thesis illustrates this is due to the orthopraxic nature of Buddhism, where the criteria for buddhavacana (word of the Buddha) is less based on historical assumptions, and more on the practical content of the Buddhist teachings. The BCA has received quite a lot of attention in modern scholarship since the first publication of a critical Sanskrit edition by Minayev in 1889. A large number of new manuscripts of the text have surfaced since then, and a separate chapter is dedicated to philological concerns and the dire need for a new and updated version that will take into account also the new knowledge we now have of the texts history. A mostly unnoticed commentary, the Bodhicaryāvatāra-ṭippaṇi, also receives is long overdue attention in this chapter. The text is still very influential within Mahāyāna Buddhism today, and the last chapter presents a lecture given on the text by the 14th Dalai Lama in January of 2009. The Dalai Lama’s approach is to relate the text’s contents to modernity in order to again make it a relevant contribution in people’s daily lives around the world.